Call for no more new HIV infected children

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
According to UNAIDS Report 2013, an estimated 260,000 children below 15 years were newly infected with HIV in 2012 in low and middle income countries. While the first paediatric HIV case in India was recorded in 1987, in 2012 out of the 2,100,000 people living with HIV in India, 200,000 were children below 15 years.

Dividing the country on communal lines

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
Rambabu is a dalit activist working for the empowerment of marginalized section of the population in rural Hardoi. He feels for the first time in any elections that people are being divided on communal lines. His religious identity is in conflict with this caste identity and is beginning to create pressure on him to vote in the forthcoming elections on communal lines. Needless to say the result could be disastrous for the country.

MPTs are innovative strategies to transform women's health

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, are known to be primarily transmitted through sexual route which has created a major impact on sexual and reproductive health worldwide. Although some of the STIs are curable but others still do not have any effective preventive or therapeutics available such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus (HSV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). Globally, STIs and their complications rank in the top five disease categories for which adults and adolescent seek health care.

Electoral system biased against smaller parties

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
Anil Mishra is a candidate of Socalist Party (India) from Unnao in U.P. On 12 April, 2014 he sought permission of Election Officer of District Unnao to take out a bicycle rally with about a hundred people on 23 April from his village Khan Peer Ali Nevada to Auras town area. The polling in his constituency will take place on 30th April. The report filed by Assistant Returning Officer said that he had no objection to the rally as well as to the use of megaphone which was also requested.

Countries should know their endemic malaria to plan the fight well

World Malaria Day: 25 April 2014
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a manual to help countries to assess the technical, operational and financial feasibility of moving towards malaria elimination. WHO’s new guide, "From malaria control to malaria elimination: a manual for elimination scenario planning", will provide these countries with a comprehensive framework to assess different scenarios and timelines for moving towards elimination, depending on programme coverage and funding availability.

Implications of foreign funds received by Congress and BJP

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist 
In the context of movement against the Kudankulum nuclear power plant the PM had himself directly accused the movement of receiving foreign funds implying thereby that there were some foreign powers who were not interested in seeing development in India and therefore sponsored anti-development movements. Realty was that the office of the movement was being run from a Church. But most fisherfolk who formed the base of movement were Christians and it was quite natural for them that a movement to protect their interest should be run from their Church. Funds for the movement were collected from people.

International coalition exposes World Bank conflict of interest, calls for reform

Photo credit: 
Corporate Accountability International
[हिन्दी] On the heels of the World Bank's 2014 spring meetings, an international coalition of water rights groups from India and the United States issued a stern call for the institution to end its destructive promotion of water privatization under the guise of development. After a week of meetings, including high level events on water, no action has been taken to address the coalition’s concerns.

Call to make hepatitis C treatment affordable

CNS Image Library: June 2011
With patent barriers on new oral drugs to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in developing countries, the high price of new treatment could squander the opportunity governments now have to scale up diagnosis and treatment for the disease, said an advisory from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The caution comes as MSF welcomed the first-ever World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Meaning of slapping of Arvind Kejriwal

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
Photo credit: CNS
Several incidents of ink throwing at or trying to punch or slap Arvind Kejriwal have occurred now. It appears that some people, mostly from his own movement and party, are angry at him and are giving vent to their frustration in this manner. However, is Arvind Kejriwal the only leader with whom people are angry? Actually, people are probably more angry with big leaders of established parties. But have we ever heard of anybody slapping Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, L.K. Advani, Narendra Modi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav, Mayawati? Occasionally some Sharad Pawar or Buta Singh is targeted. Such incidents, though, are exceptions. And they were not repeated.

MDR-TB a real threat in Swaziland

Alice Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
Tuberculosis is taking the fast lane in Swaziland, and with approximately 1.3 million Swazis exposed to MDR-TB at first infection, it is increasingly becoming difficult to ignore it.  According to the WHO, of the nine million people who get sick every year with TB globally, one third of them are “missed" by health systems.

Rise in global health financing, but funding priorities shift

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Photo credit: CNS
A new research done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), at the University of Washington, indicates that globally the total development assistance for health (DAH) hit an all-time high of $31.3 billion in 2013 (a year-over-year increase of 3.9%), although funding priorities shifted. Findings of the research were presented in the report 'Financing Global Health 2013: Transition in an Age of Austerity' by IHME Director and report co-author Dr Christopher Murray and made public at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on 8th April, 2014.

"I did not choose HIV. HIV chose me..."

Manoj Pardesi
Manoj Pardesi - CNS
(First published by India HIV/AIDS Alliance) 
Pre ART: 1986 to 31st March 2004: “You have AIDS,” a counselor said to me in 1997. I don't remember the exact date, but suddenly everything went blank. The counselor had spoken to me for more than 20 minutes, but I just remembered his one sentence: “You have AIDS.” Only one thing came to my mind: everything is finished. I cursed God. Why did He choose me? Why only me?

Call for prioritising TB vaccine research

Tuberculosis, which takes approximately 1.3 million lives per year, imposes not only a huge cost to humanity, but also affects economies worldwide, and not only in developing countries. According to very conservative calculations, the direct costs of TB in the European Union add up to about € 537 million per year. With the threatening rise of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB and Extensively Drug-Resistant (XDR) TB in the whole world, it is likely that these costs will increase in the near future. Several WHO studies indicate that the disease cannot be eliminated without new vaccines.

Multi Drug Resistant TB Still a Menace

Diana Wangari, CNS Correspondent 
(First published in The Star News in Kenya on 15 March 2014)
Tuberculosis is ranked second among the infectious agents with highest mortality rates. According the WHO, 8.7 million people were infected with TB in 2011 with 1.4million deaths. This can be translated to approximately 1,500 deaths every day where 10% of these are children. Despite the high incidence rate, there appeared to be a silver lining after investigations showed a decrease in new infections and an estimated 85% success rate in treatment.