Air Pollution: Does Height Matter?

Alice Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
Photo credit: R Dwivedi/ CNS
Well the answer is yes-- the closer you are to the ground the more efficient is the inhalation of heavier airborne chemicals. Children are more vulnerable to the health hazards of these pollutants. Besides breathing a greater volume of air than adults relative to their body size, children being small and closer to the ground (as compared to adults) breathe in more of the heavier airborne chemicals than adults. They also have a higher heart rate, which allows substances that are absorbed into the blood to permeate tissues faster.

Indoor air pollution is a serious hazard for lung health

Rahul Dwivedi, CNS Correspondent, India
Pollution often refers to outdoor pollution of air, water, soil or other natural resources. But indoor air pollution within our homes is a serious health hazard for lung health which is often ignored. “Passive smoking and exposure to biomass cook stove smoke are also risk factors for developing active tuberculosis (TB) disease, especially in children. Biomass cooking fumes and tobacco smoke can also trigger asthma attacks. So the practice of using biomass fuel should be replaced by other safer and cleaner energy options” said Dr Surya Kant, Professor and Head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, King George’s Medical University (KGMU).

Food Sovereignity And Sustainable Agriculture Go Hand In Hand To Reduce Poverty

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Despite rapid economic growth, income inequality is rising in India and structural inequalities have kept entire groups trapped in poverty. Although India has reduced absolute poverty by 14% in the last decade more than 400 million of its people still live in poverty. It is home to one third poor of the world as well as to 40% (217 million) of the world’s malnourished children. It also remains at the bottom of the group of mid income countries with a GDP per capita at $ 1410 in 2011.

Securing land rights for women are critical for their upliftment

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
The threat of being evicted from ones home is a scary thought for anyone, more so for a woman. The fear of being ousted from her home forces her to live in an unsafe environment behind closed doors rather in the absence of a safe place that is rightfully her own. The Indian tradition of a daughter being ‘paraya dhan’ (her husband’s property) smacks of a patriarchal setup that implies denial of property rights to her. A land or a house which a woman owns legally is an asset which gives her the confidence and courage to fight life’s odds.

Call to link sustainability with post-2015 development goals

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh
One of the drawbacks of millennium development goals (MDGs) which countries aspired to meet by 2015 was that sustainability was missing. There was no sustainability indicator in place to assess development in MDG framework. With intense rounds of post-2015 Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) going on around the world, one positive sign is that sustainability is getting increasing attention in development discourses.

'Watch your step': Negotiations around post-2015 development agenda

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
The deadline for the realization of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by countries of the world is drawing to a close in 2015. The progress on MDGs might have been with mixed results, but lot of lessons need to be learnt while we frame new set of development goals and targets after 2015. The post-2015 discussions have been taking place since last one and a half years to address the issues of unsustainability, poverty, climate change, and global cooperation, with a view to integrate the economic, social and environmental aspects of global governance.

Debate: What do post-2015 strategic development goals mean to us?

Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
In the year 2000, countries of the world had agreed to meet the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Numerous consultative processes have been taking place around the world on what should be the development goals post-2015. A draft list of 17 Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) and 168 targets for post-2015 is expected to be presented before the UN General Assembly in September 2014 to agree on modalities and inter-governmental negotiations might begin from January 2015 onwards.

Old news but more alarming today: Appeal to support VHL (and MDR-TB) survivor

From CNS archives dated February 2013: Old news but more alarming today
This is an appeal from a person in her own words who urgently needs support for her healthcare needs. She is a brave woman who is a living example of the oft-quoted adage - 'When the going gets tough, the tough gets going...' Read her story in her own words -a real-life experience, full of grit, courage and determination, to continue living and spreading light despite seemingly insurmountable challenges.
(CNS has met and interviewed Payel and strongly supports her efforts to exercise her right to health. Please consider supporting her personal fight against Von Hippel Lindau (VHL) Syndrome and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Kindly find her contact details or ways to support below)

Curbing TB-HIV Co-infection In Children Is A Priority

Photo credit: R Dwivedi/CNS
Isaac Eranga, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
Two billion people — one-third of humanity — carry a latent TB infection. The vast majority of those infected latently live their whole lives without becoming sick with TB or spreading the infection. The body’s immune defenses seal the invading TB germs within a tiny capsule at the infection site, thus preventing them from multiplying. When the body’s immunity is compromised, like through HIV, the capsule containing the TB germs weakens and breaks.

Past, present and future attempts to measure childhood TB

Photo credit: R Dwivedi/CNS
Shobha Shukla - CNS Columnist
(This article is based upon a podcast from TB Alliance (Global Alliance for TB Drug Development), which is online here). The first estimates of the global burden of TB in children given by the WHO in 2012, suggested that there might be 530,000 children suffering from it. Subsequently there has been an uptake in the research in this field. A recent mathematical modelling study on the burden of childhood TB in 22 high-burden countries, (published in the Lancet) has revealed that there may be 650,000 annual cases of TB in children. Are these figures at odds with the estimate of 530,000 previously made by WHO?

Women living with HIV: Victims of social stigma

Chhatra Karki, CNS Correspondent, Nepal
‘HIV does not kill people, but the stigma does’. Stigma and discrimination refers to the prejudice and misbehavior with people living with HIV (PLHIV), further adding to their woes. Who else would know it better than 33 years old Tuka Devi (name changed), of Dadeldhura district in west Nepal.

Reports from the ground: How are TB-HIV collaborative activities being rolled out?

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
We know that nearly one third of the 35 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) have tuberculosis (TB), and 13% of 8.6 million new TB cases every year are HIV positive. Also 1 in 5 HIV associated deaths are due to TB. Moreover PLHIV are 21-34 times more likely to develop active TB disease than persons without HIV. So it becomes imperative to establish an effective collaboration between two vertical programmes and provide point-of-care services for both the infections through policies that promote effective screening for HIV among TB patients and provide early antiretroviral therapy (ART) to those who are confirmed to be HIV positive.

HIV-TB Co-infection perils around the globe

Chhatra Karki, CNS Correspondent 
TB co-infection in people living with HIV (PLHIV) has remained alarmingly high all over the world. Studies have revealed that the  risk of developing TB is 21-26  higher in PLHIV as compared to those who are HIV negative. Also, about one in five AIDS-related deaths in 2012 were attributed to TB. This poses a great challenge to many governments worldwide, since they have not yet taken integrated steps for its effective control.