New insights into treatment and prevention of HIV

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
The 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, that was recently held in Vancouver, brought together a broad cross section of more than 6,000 HIV professionals from around the world, with a focus on moving science into practice.

Early TB testing is vital to saving lives

Pretty Chavango, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
Photo credit: CNS:
According to the WHO Global Tuberculosis report 2014, TB remains one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases, with an estimated 9.0 million people developing TB and 1.5 million dying from it in 2013. Also, an estimated 480 000 people developed multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB)  in 2013. If all notified TB patients (6.1 million) had been tested for drug resistance in 2013, an estimated 300,000 cases of MDR-TB would have been detected.

Detecting anti-TB drug resistance upfront is a public health imperative

Lwin Lwin Thant, CNS Correspondent, Myanmar
Photo credit: CNS:
TB is a curable disease, but only when treated with complete course of drugs effective for a particular individual. If a person is resistant to one or more of anti-TB drugs given in a therapy then it can spell a public health disaster. So it is a public health imperative to detect drug resistance if any at the time of TB diagnosis and treat the person with drugs-that-work for her/him.

Call to register: Webinar for media - Lung health beyond 2015

[Webinar recording] We welcome you to register for an exclusive media webinar, on: Lung health beyond 2015, in the wake of intergovernmental negotiations on post-2015 development agenda currently taking place. Get connected with noted lung health experts from lead agencies such as the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), TB Alliance (Global Alliance for TB Drug Development) who will present and respond to questions live!

Xpert MTB/RIF: Will it help end TB ?

Dr Richa Sharma, CNS Correspondent, India
Photo credit: CNS:
TB continues to scar the face of public health even today with India harboring the highest burden of TB cases in the world. The WHO Global Tuberculosis Report (2014) quotes 21 lakh as the estimated incidence of all forms of TB in India and 60,000 MDR-TB among notified cases. Recently there have been renewed efforts to address the scary upsurge of MDR-TB that is thwarting attempts of TB control in the global and Indian context.

Nigeria adopts new strategy to end spread of TB

Humphery Chikezie, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
Photo credit: CNS:
Nigeria is ranked third among the 22 high TB burden countries in the world. A survey conducted in 2014 by the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme revealed over 600,000 new cases of TB in Nigeria with just about 92,000 cases placed on treatment. This figure is worrisome, because according to health experts, one person with TB can transmit the disease to around 12 persons in a single year.

The elusive goal of education for all

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen in their book 'An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions' have very clearly shown that while India has been leading the world in terms of GDP growth rate, its performance in social indices can only be compared with some sub Saharan African countries. At the time of Independence we were second behind Sri Lanka in South Asia with respect to social indices, today we are barely above Pakistan. Rest of the South Asian coutries, like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, etc. have moved ahead of us.

Early detection of MDR-TB is important

Catherine Mwauyakufa, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
Photo credit: CNS
In Zimbabwe, cases of multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) have reportedly been on the increase—from 5 cases in 2011 to more than 120 in 2014. It can be argued that this phenomenal increase in the number of MDR-TB cases detected is not a true reflection of the incidence of MDR-TB in the country. It could rather be blamed on the limited diagnosis of the disease in the past, due to poor availability of quality diagnostic tools.

Early diagnosis of drug resistance is crucial to ending TB

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
Image credit: CNS:
 Despite being treatable, TB remains a major global public health problem. As Dr Mario Raviglione, Director Global Tuberculosis Programme of WHO, informed, in 2013, 9 million people fell ill with TB in; 1.5 million men, women and children died from it; 480,000 people developed multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), with 210,000 associated deaths. Also, 60% of all MDR-TB cases can be attributed to India, China, Russia, Pakistan and Ukraine.

Sending them home to die: Tuberculosis in the mines

Photo credit: CNS
Alice Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
“You could easily share a room with sixteen other mine workers, if one develops TB he will take his medication and complete treatment while staying in the same room”, these were the words of Mr. Musa Ndlangamandla, a Swazi ex-miner who developed Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) after working in the mines for seven years in South Africa.

Drug Resistant TB: Healthcare delayed is healthcare denied

Alice Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
Photo credit: CNS  
Tuberculosis (TB), has been around for centuries, but drug resistant TB (DR-TB) seems to be a more recent development.  As defined by Dr Sarabjit S Chadha from the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) in India, DR-TB occurs when a patient with TB is resistant to at least one main drug used to treat TB.


Dr Sandeep Pandey and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Photo credit: CNS:
On June 4, 2015, twenty Indian soldiers of 6 Dogra Regiment got killed by NSCN (Khaplang) insurgent group in Chandel district of Manipur. The Information and Broadcasting Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a retired Colonel from Army whose claim to fame is a shooting silver medal in Olympics, informed citizens through media that this was a message to other countries which might be inimical to India.

Wrong development priority in spite of Socio-Economic Census and National Sample Survey findings

Dr Rahul Pandey, CNS Columnist
Graph credit: Dr Rahul Pandey
Partial results of two important official surveys were released recently. They point to dismal living standards of India’s rural population and rising cost of health and education beyond the means of ordinary citizens. In spite of this reality the Modi government is undermining the public health and public education sectors among other social infrastructures, as reflected in its funding priorities. This does not bode well for future living standards of India’s ordinary citizens who are already struggling with meeting basic needs.

Long walk to justice: Transgender voices from across India

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service (CNS) 
Photo credit: Shobha/ CNS
[CNS images] I had been there at the 1st National Hijra Habba in 2012. Witnessing the Third National Transgender Hijra Habba in 2015 was indeed a humbling experience as lot of water has flown during these 3 years. From 30 community participants in 2012, the number this year had swelled to a whopping 350+. The landmark Supreme Court (SC) judgement of 2014, recognizing transgenders as the third gender and granting them constitutional rights, seemed to have filled them with a new found confidence that was writ all over their beautiful and smiling faces. And they were just too eager to talk about their experiences and expectations.

Join the crusade: Big push for transgender and hijra welfare

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service (CNS)
Photo credit: Shobha/ CNS
[CNS images] It was indeed a humbling experience for me to be part of the Third National Hijra Habba (festival of transgenders) held recently in the capital city of India. Organised by India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Pehchan programme, it was the first event of its kind at the national level since the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement in 2014 recognizing transgenders as the ‘third gender’.

'Pehchan' has given transgender people a new 'Pehchan' (Identity)...

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service (CNS)
Priya, Transgender leader
Photo credit: Shobha/CNS
So said Priya when I met her at the community dinner on the eve of the recent 3rd Hijra Habba (Habba is a Kannada word meaning festival) event organized by Pehchān project in association with India HIV/AIDS Alliance in Delhi, that brought together over 350 hijras and transgenders from across the country to focus attention and demand implemenation of their constitutional rights. Her serene poise and calm demeanour immediately attracted my attention. Priya, a transgender from Hyderabad, and now a Training Officer with India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Pehchan Project, had to tread a thorny path before reaching this respectable position.