Putting people first is a critical cog in the wheel for responsive health systems

 

Shobha Shukla - CNS

 
Imagine a world where no one was suffering from any of the preventable diseases, be it non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or infectious diseases, or had to die untimely due to diseases that were primarily avoidable! Also imagine a tobacco free world - imagine a world where healthy balanced nutrition for all was a reality - where health for all was not just a chant but a reality for everyone where no one was truly left behind.

#WorldLocalizationDay: Peasants rise up to demand genuine food-system reforms

Food nourishes life. Our farmers produce more than enough food to feed all the people on the planet but due to socially unjust and ecologically unsustainable food systems, many people are forced to go hungry. Moreover farmers who help nurture life, continue to struggle for their livelihoods and human rights. In lead up to 2021 World Localization Day, farmers from all continents worldwide are uniting to demand genuine reforms in our food system that also localize supply-chains and help recover people’s connections to nature and community.

When the health system became the cause of death

Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhushan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs. 1.5 lakhs for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week. Madhurima Kundu, a Ph.D. student at Jawaharlal Nehru University was admitted for four days at Sultanpuri Government Isolation Centre for Covid patients in Delhi and has described the pathetic conditions related to availability and behavior of doctors, medical and para-medical staff, sanitation, food, medicines, linen and monitoring of oxygen in a petition filed in High Court. The ill patients had to go down to the reception to ask for every basic thing and stand in queues in scorching sun to get medicines. 

Peasants Rise Up: The oppression of small milk farmers

watch full episode of Peasants Rise Up here

Aside from the pasteurisation law, the government has already introduced the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act in 2016 and the Seed (Amendment) Act in 2015. Pakistan, as a member of the WTO, is bound by the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and is compelled to pass legislation that would protect the interests of intellectual property rights holders, which are mostly transnational corporations. 

[video] Covid and TB, HIV and other infections or chronic diseases

Save Lakshadweep: Stop 'reform' which is not socially just and ecologically sustainable

There is a growing call to save Lakshadweep islands from attempts to destroy them socially, culturally and ecologically. One of the key demands is for the government of India to recall the Administrator appointed in Lakshadweep immediately and ensure democratic rights to decision-making are held by the islanders.

Tobacco race: where quitters and non-runners are the real winners

Shobha Shukla - CNS

According to a recent study published in the The Lancet smoking killed 7.69 million people globally in 2019, while the number of smokers rose to 1.14 billion as the habit was picked up by young people around the globe. It was also the leading risk factor for death among males (over 20% of male deaths). Another worrisome finding is that 89% of new smokers are addicted by the age of 25, thanks to the continuous nefarious tactics of Big Tobacco, which is working round the clock to addict a new generation of customers.

Scaling-up interventions for non-communicable diseases in south-east Asia

The human cost of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is high with the World Health Organization (WHO) attributing over 71% of the annual global deaths to NCDs. The burden of NCDs is also unevenly increasing among low-income populations. Three-quarters of all deaths due to NCDs are in low- and middle-income countries.

Why reduce speed limit to 30 km/h? “Answer is blowin’ in the wind”

Due to the Covid lockdown in 2020, though the number of road traffic accidents declined yet deaths did not decline in the same proportion because people drive at higher speeds which continued to result in fatal accidents. Every year, more than 1.3 million people die in road traffic crashes – that’s one person every 24 seconds. Excessive speed is at the core of the road traffic injury problem, with 1 in 3 deaths on the roads in high-income countries attributed to speed. It is estimated that 40-50% of people drive above the speed limit, with every 1 km/h increase in speed resulting in a 4-5% increase in fatal crashes. The risk of death and injury reduces considerably when speeds are lowered.

[podcast] Lessons learnt: What the COVID-19 experience in India can teach us about HIV vaccine research, delivery and access

Today is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day! IAVI and CNS bring to you a very special podcast, Lessons Learnt: What the COVID-19 experience in India can teach us about HIV vaccine research, delivery and access, where three experts discuss the past, present and future of HIV research in the current COVID context, and the implications of this research on scientific and clinical practice, and community participation.

Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, aCast, Podtail, BluBrry, Himalaya, ListenNotes, American Podcasts, CastBox FM, Ivy FM, and other podcast streaming platforms.

Do not miss the writing on the wall: Managing asthma well is key to living life normally


If essential and lifesaving medicines and proper care are available, accessible and affordable for all people with asthma, they can manage their asthma properly and lead a normal life. On this year’s World Asthma Day, Dr Guy Marks, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australia and President of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) reminded us that even as asthma continues to be the most common chronic illness in children globally, it affects adults as well.

Peasants Rise Up (Sri Lanka): Women struggle to break free from sugar company’s control

 (you may also read it here on Asian Peaseant Coalition)


The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and PAN Asia Pacific’s No Land, No Life! Campaign, has launched the Peasants Rise Up broadcast series. The series, hosted by Bobby Ramakant of CNS and Christina Sayson, tackles landlessness, corporate control of agriculture, human rights, and other issues currently faced by the peasantry across Asia. The Peasant Rise Up series is part of the Global People's Summit for a Just, Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems. It celebrates the success stories of the peasant movement and highlights the call for land to the tillers as necessary for a truly radical food systems transformation.

Do not miss the writing on the wall: Managing asthma well is key to living life normally

If essential and lifesaving medicines and proper care are available, accessible and affordable for all people with asthma, they can manage their asthma properly and lead a normal life. On this year’s World Asthma Day, Dr Guy Marks, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australia and President of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) reminded us that even as asthma continues to be the most common chronic illness in children globally, it affects adults as well.

[video] Is it better to burn or bury a corpse?

World Asthma Day | 4th May, Tuesday


 Join us on World Asthma Day (4th May, Tuesday) at 2pm Singapore/ Manila/ KL time (1pm Bangkok/ Hanoi/ Phnom Penh/ Jakarta, 12:30pm Myanmar, 12 noon Bangladesh, 11:30am India/ Sri Lanka, 11:45am Nepal).

[video] Labour movement and Madhu Limaye

[video] Event Summary: Comic Launch: Corporate Capture of the UN

[video] Protest against profiteering from illness: Growing people's demand for free Covid vaccines for all

Quid Pro Quo system?

smoke from the electric crematorium in Lucknow

Narendra Modi once said he is a Gujarati and understands business. As time passes his business model is getting exposed and he is becoming more shameless like any ordinary businessman. It is quite clear to the people that he is not withdrawing the three controversial farm laws because all the three laws are meant to benefit the private corporations at the cost of farmers. In fact, the farmers’ movement has also openly targeted Adani and Ambani in addition to Narendra Modi as their enemies. Graphic flex banners are visible at the protest sites at Singhu and Tikri.

Government of India must immediately nationalize all healthcare infrastructure and services; and stop profiteering from illness

Growing number of people are demanding that Modi government and all state governments must immediately nationalize all healthcare infrastructure and services in wake of acute national emergency threatening public health and social justice in the country. Also, we demand that government must strictly enforce the 2018 Allahabad High Court’s Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice Ajeet Kumar order that all receiving salaries from the government and their family members should get themselves treated at government health care facilities. Implementation of this order alone will make the government health care robust.

We need more hospitals, not temples or mosques

As India runs a drive for vaccination against Covid the nature reminds us about our diminutiveness by an accompanying surge in Covid cases, the like of which was not seen last year. In 2020, India had reported the highest number of 98,795 cases in 24 hours on 17 September 2020 but now the new unfortunate peak was achieved in April 2021 with over 3.5 lakhs (over 350,000) of new cases in past 24 hours in the country. 

Exposed: Wolf in sheep's clothing - tobacco industry’s greenwashing attempts thwarted

At a time when the entire world is reeling under a severe public health emergency, the tobacco industry is not leaving any stone unturned to protect and expand its markets of products that are proven to cause deadly diseases and greenwash its dirty image (as it has blood on its hands of over 8 million deaths every year attributed to tobacco use). More alarmingly, tobacco is a major risk factor for several health conditions that increase the risk of serious outcomes if one gets infected with corona virus, including death. And let us not forget that even before the Covid-19 pandemic, tobacco-caused diseases were of epidemic proportions and causing completely avoidable human suffering and untimely deaths.

Eliminating illicit tobacco trade is a step towards #EndTobacco and SDGs

[हिंदी] Ending tobacco use globally is not just a compelling public health imperative but is also key for social justice and corporate accountability. Let us not forget that each of the diseases caused by tobacco could have been prevented, and every tobacco-related death averted. Add to this that every health condition that increases the risk of serious outcomes of Covid-19, also has a common major risk factor - tobacco. With over 8 million deaths worldwide caused by tobacco every year, the writing on the wall is clear: if we are to deliver on sustainable development goals, then one of the essential milestones undoubtedly is to #endtobacco.

Experts demand compulsory licensing for generic production of a drug against Covid-19

Should not a medicine that has shown lifesaving effect in certain cases of Covid-19 be made available to all those who need it without delay? Even if Big Pharma has a patent, there are provisions in the global trade treaties that allow governments to issue compulsory licenses to such a lifesaving drug, and keep people over profit. This is why medical experts are demanding governments to use compulsory licensing for generic production of such a drug to help save lives. 

Unless we end inequities, we will fail to achieve Health For All

“Everyone is trying to apply the human rights lens. But unfortunately on key matters of equity, a lot many communities right now are in the rear-view mirror and not being observed through the lens of equity and human rights. This pandemic is uneven around the world and uneven in its impact. It has peeled away the bandages from old wounds of our society and it has also revealed and driven new equities. We are not doing a good job in ensuring that the basic human rights approaches are being upheld- right to access to health, right to personal dignity. In some cases Covid-19 has been used as a means of denying people their rights. Yes, we have seen great examples of community resilience and people and CSOs coming together in solidarity to fight this epidemic. But, if we are to give grades on how we are doing in leaving no one behind right now we get an F” said Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme, who also leads the team responsible for international containment and treatment of Covid-19.

[video] Food justice from seed to plate is vital for development: Odisha's farmer

Land to the tillers for genuine food system change

The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC)'s observance of 29 March as "Land of the Landless: Land to the Tillers", reminds us of the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "In reality, the toilers is the owner of what he produces. If the toilers intelligently combine, they will become an irresistible power."

[video] Day Of The Landless 2021: Land to the tillers

Will advances in TB treatment outweigh the Covid-19 pushback?

Shobha Shukla - CNS 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TB diagnosis and mortality in 2020 has been frightening, to say the least. Recently released WHO data shows that 1.4 million fewer people got TB care in 2020 as compared to 2019- a 21% decrease. Also over 0.5 million people died from TB in 2020 due to lack of diagnosis. Latest data by Stop TB Partnership shows that in 9 countries (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Ukraine) which together account for 60% of the global TB burden, TB diagnosis and treatment enrolment in 2020 declined by 1 million - a drastic reduction of 23%. Globally, in 2020 there was an estimated drop of at least 1 million in TB treatment enrolment, pushing the TB response to 2008 levels in terms of people diagnosed and treated.

[The Dose Podcast] Treatment shortening & TBTC study 31

[video] Is there a link b/w patriarchy, religious fundamentalism and corporate power?

Corporate capture of the United Nations, the negotiations on the proposed treaty on business and human rights

[video] #PeoplesForum​ Workshop: The Power of the 99% to stop #CorporateCapture​

[video] Dr Sandeep Pandey calls for de-militarisation, communal harmony and stopping corporate abuse

[video] Indian farmers' movement is resisting corporate capture of agriculture and figthing anti-farmer laws

[video] Goldman Environment Prize Awardee Prafulla Samantara shares insights on people's struggle against corporate capture

[video] #BreastCancer​ prevention cannot take a backseat while we improve health services

Workshop: No excuse for inaction on health security if we are to deliver on development justice in Asia Pacific

Join us on Sunday, 21st March 2021 (3pm Bangkok/Jakarta/Laos/Vietnam time, find your local time here) in a two-hours workshop on "No excuse for inaction on health security if we are to deliver on development justice in Asia Pacific." Co-hosted by CNS and partners, as part of Asia Pacific People's Forum for Sustainable Development, this workshop will elaborate on why inequalities and injustices that were existing before the pandemic too has failed us to prevent non-communicable diseases and communicable diseases. Failure to prevent every new case of infectious diseases like TB and Covid-19 is defeating us on SDGs. This workshop will also aim to connect the dots between corporate capture and right to health, as well as broader sustainable development.

[video] Women in farmers movement and struggle to achieve food sovereignty

Workshop: The Power of the 99% to Stop Corporate Capture

watch the recording (YouTube, Facebook)

Join us on Friday, 19th March 2021 (3pm Bangkok/Jakarta/Laos/Vietnam time, find your local time here) in a two-hours workshop on The Power of the 99% to Stop Corporate Capture. Co-hosted by ESCR Net, ALTSEAN Burma and CNS as part of Asia Pacific People's Forum for Sustainable Development, this workshop will elaborate on different manifestations of Corporate Capture and experiences of people's movements in Asia Pacific to combat corporate capture in order to advance development justice. This workshop will also focus on the link between corporate capture, religious fundamentalism, militarisation and patriarchy.

Embarrassment of riches: Are we doing enough to avert tobacco deaths in Indonesia?

Tobacco kills over 8 million people every year worldwide, with over 235,000 deaths occuring in Indonesia alone. Each of these untimely deaths could have been averted because we have evidence-backed measures to not only control tobacco use, but also to accelerate progress towards ending the tobacco-caused multiple epidemics of several preventable diseases. Tobacco use is a major common risk factor for not only the biggest cause of death worldwide- cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases and stroke)- but also for a range of other non-communicable diseases (such as, cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, among others) as well as for communicable diseases (such as tuberculosis and Covid-19).

Instead of reducing maximum speed limit, Thailand increases it to 120 kph

Thailand was among the countries globally that promised last year to reduce the maximum speed limit to 30 kilometre per hour (30 kph) to reduce road traffic crashes, and thus, save lives. More importantly, the government of Thailand played a major role last year as part of the International Advisory Committee to 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in Stockholm during 19-20 February 2020.

[video] Are those supporting farmers' movement facing threat of fabricated charges?

Sri Lankan groups express solidarity with people of Burma and call for federal democracy in Myanmar

join us on Zoom
Zoom meeting ID: 896 8418 8083, passcode: 872963

As part of the South Asian Solidarity Forum for Federal Democracy in Myanmar, this week on Friday, 26th February 2021, the third session will focus on the theme: "Sri Lankan groups express solidarity with people of Burma and call for federal democracy in Myanmar."

[video] Farmers' protests have reinforced democracy: says Pankaj Pushkar, former MLA

Are we failing children in the HIV response?

The promise was that by 2020, no child will be born with HIV or newly infected with HIV during breastfeeding across the world. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge to health systems, the progress towards the HIV-related 2020 goalpost, despite some commendable gains, was not very encouraging. 

[video] United against the Burma Army: Ethnic nationalities call for federalism

'Have a seat but shut up please': Whither equality?

Shobha Shukla - CNS

 'Dumb dolls' may soon be adorning board meetings of Japan's ruling party. As per a news report, in response to criticisms that its board is dominated by men, Japan's ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has condescended to allow 5 female lawmakers to join its board meetings provided they keep their mouths shut and do not talk during the meetings. Their status will be that of observers to see how decisions were being made. They would not be able to speak during the meetings, but could submit their opinions later to the secretariat office. According to the party's 82-year-old secretary general, this move would allow more female LDP members to see how decisions were being made.

United Against the Burma Army: Ethnic Nationalities Call for Federalism


As part of the South Asian Solidarity Forum for Federal Democracy in Myanmar, this week on Friday, 19th February 2021, the session will focus on the theme: "United Against the Burma Army: Ethnic Nationalities Call for Federalism."

Is pandemic policing different than policing for maintaining law and order?

Among the first responders in times of emergencies or crises is often expected to be the police. This was no different when Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a grinding halt. The public health emergency arising due to the pandemic, as well as cascading humanitarian crises in several countries and communities, only made the job of the police even more challenging.

Maximum travel speed of 30 km/hour: Are we walking-the-talk on road safety?


[हिंदी] Not just motorised vehicle riders but every person has a human right for safe commuting. But over 50 million people get injured and 1.35 million die every year due to road traffic crashes worldwide. More alarming is the fact that 90 per cent of these injuries and deaths occur in developing countries. Road traffic crashes are also the leading cause of death around the world for children and young people between 15 and 29 years of age. Over-speeding is identified as a major cause of almost 70% of these road traffic crashes in countries like India.

Growing call for federal democracy in Myanmar

Constanze Ruprecht and Bobby Ramakant

[हिंदी, watch the recording, endorse the joint statement condemning the Coup d'état in Burma] Growing number of civil society networks for peace, health and human rights from around the world are unifying their call for federal democracy in Myanmar. In a joint statement condemning the Coup d'état in Burma (after an online South Asia Solidarity Forum for federal democracy in Myanmar), over a hundred of these individuals, groups and networks from South Asia and other parts of the world united in solidarity with the people of Burma to strongly denounce the military coup d'état on 1 February 2021.

South Asia solidarity forum for federal democracy in Myanmar

watch recording on YouTube, Facebook

South Asia solidarity forum for federal democracy in Myanmar will be organized on 10th February, 2021, Wednesday (6pm India/ Sri Lanka, 5:30pm Pakistan, 6:15pm Nepal, 6:30pm Bangladesh, 7pm Myanmar, 7:30pm Thailand).

[video] Sri Lankan groups express solidarity to Indian farmers' movement

[video] Growing strength of farmers' movement gives hope for stronger democracy

HIV science has advanced but policies-programmes have been slow to #endAIDS

Shobha Shukla - CNS

[watch the interview with Mitchell Warren] HIV science has advanced but policies and programmes have been slow to respond towards ending AIDS, said Mitchell Warren, co-chair of the global conference on HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) and Executive Director of AVAC (Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention).

Market solutions will make roads unsafe for everyone

[हिंदी] India along with 193 countries had promised to halve deaths and serious injuries on the roads by 2020 (as part of UN Sustainable Development Goals). But we have failed to keep this promise as the year 2020 passed by. In 2015, number of road traffic accident deaths in India were 146,133. In 2019, instead of declining (by half), the number of people who died in road traffic accidents had increased to 154,000 in India. Moreover, a lot more people were injured or left with disabilities. More shockingly, most of these accidents were due to over-speeding (almost 60%). It is high time we recognize the writing on the wall: every single injury or death due to road traffic accident is preventable and untimely, and could have been averted. 

Expanding range of options to prevent HIV is key as no one size fits all

Shobha Shukla - CNS

While the currently available HIV prevention and treatment tools have helped reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths by 23% and 39% respectively since 2010, we still have a long way to go before ending this epidemic. With 1.7 million new HIV infections and 690,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2019, one cannot but over emphasise the urgent need to have more HIV prevention options, including long-acting HIV prevention strategies that might prove to be more acceptable and user friendly to people from diverse communities.

[podcast] HIV science has advanced but politics, policies & human rights have been slow to adapt to #endAIDS

This podcast features Mitchell Warren, who is among the most respected voices on human rights-based responses to #endAIDS. He is in conversation with CNS founder and Executive Director Shobha Shukla. He shares insights on range of issues spanning over two decades on HIV prevention research, ethics and human rights as scientific studies go forward, learnings from COVID-19 vaccine research, dire need to engage all stakeholders (political will and leadership, funders/ donors, regulators, manufacturers, communities among others) and a lot more! He is also the co-chair of ongoing 4th HIV Research For Prevention global conference, and Executive Director of AVAC.

Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, aCast, Podtail, BluBrry, Himalaya, ListenNotes, American Podcasts, CastBox FM, Ivy FM, PodAlong, and other podcast streaming platforms.

[video] HIV science has advanced but politics, policies and human rights have been far too slow to adapt to #endAIDS

The ring has finally arrived!

Shobha Shukla - CNS

You guessed it right. I am talking about the dapivirine vaginal ring (DPV-VR), which is one of the top advances happening in the field of microbicides. It is the first long acting prevention product whose Phase-3 randomised controlled studies have shown that using the dapivirine vaginal ring reduced the risk of HIV infection in women and long-term use was well-tolerated. 

Get the vaccine shot but do not throw away the mask to fight COVID-19

Shobha Shukla - CNS

The message from all scientists is very loud and clear that vaccines alone will not be able to stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even after getting vaccinated, we will have to continue to wear masks, maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently and avoid congregated settings, to break the chain of transmission of the virus. 

[video] Voices from Punjab and Haryana in support of Farmers' Protest and Tractor Rally

[video] Tractor rally, farmers' protest and democracy: Listen to people's voices

[video] Dissent & protests in democracy; Readiness of Tractor rally on 26th January

Asia Pacific Solidarity Forum in support of farmers' movement in India

[register on Zoom] Join us on Friday, 8th January 2021 from 7pm to 8:30pm India time (click here for your local time), in Asia Pacific Solidarity Forum in support of farmers' movement in India (as part of ongoing 'Satyagraha' series of daily online discussions on farmers' struggles).

Government needs to hold big polluters liable for air pollution, preventable diseases, and untimely deaths

published in The Indian Express, 1 January 2020
 
16.7 lakh people died in India in 2019 because of air pollution accounting for 17·8% of the total deaths in the country (source: The Lancet Planetary Health). Air pollution was the 4th leading risk factor for premature death globally, accounting for nearly 12% of all deaths, with more than 6.67 million in 2019 alone, shows the State of Global Air Report 2020. Each of these deaths could have been averted – and every disease caused by air pollution could have been prevented.