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The importance of social medicine

By George Thomas

Binayak Sen, who was arrested in Chhattisgarh in May, is one of very few medical practitioners in India who see their role as not just saving individual lives but examining and highlighting the social context of disease. Is it just to arrest a doctor who is acting according to his conscience?

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The bogey of sex education

By Neha Madhiwalla

As the tussle between proponents of sex education in schools and conservatives who wish to ban it continues, Neha Madhiwalla writes that the evidence of the benefits of sex education is not very convincing

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Killing ourselves slowly

By Darryl D'Monte

With growing calls for the reintroduction of DDT to fight the resurgence of malaria worldwide, we must not forget the reasons why many countries have banned this toxic substance and other dangerous chemicals that cause cancers and other persistent diseases that impair health and possibly prove fatal

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4 lakh AIDS deaths in India: 'It is pure mathematics'

By Rashme Sehgal

Denis Broun, country representative of UNAIDS, defends a recently-published report by his organisation that states that over 4 lakh AIDS-related deaths occurred in India in 2005 -- the highest in the world

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'We cannot blindly accept international diktats without understanding ground realities'

By Rashme Sehgal

Public health specialist Dr Ritu Priya critiques government policy on bird flu, as well as HIV/AIDS, polio and tuberculosis

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India on alert: Implications of the avian influenza outbreak

By Sandhya Srinivasan

The outbreak of bird flu in Nandurbar district, Maharashtra, is particularly worrisome for a country like India, which has a weak public health system and an annual per capita public health expenditure of just Rs 200

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Letting doctors get away with negligence

By Rakesh Shukla

The medical profession has consistently resisted the jurisdiction of the courts. A recent Supreme Court judgment puts medical professionals in India above the criminal law of the land. But surely it is hazardous to start carving out exceptions to the uniform applicability of criminal law, asks Supreme Court advocate Rakesh Shukla

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Profiteering in the pharmaceutical sector

By Anant Phadke

The Crocin you buy from your local drugstore at 80-90 paise per tablet costs just 15 paise to make. Dr Anant Phadke delves into the various forms of profiteering in the pharmaceutical sector and suggests ways to oppose it

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How to measure a country's HIV burden

By M Prasanna Kumar

The figure for HIV prevalence in India for 2004 looks encouraging -- an increase of only 28,000. But how has this figure been arrived at? And how accurate is it?

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HIV/AIDS: The response to the epidemic

By Sandhya Srinivasan

There are 5 million HIV-positive people in India today. But there is a slight drop in the rate of growth of HIV infection, and the overall prevalence remains below 1%. An overview of HIV/AIDS in India

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Three by Five sparks 'paradigm shift' in India...Or does it?

By T K Rajalakshmi

In December 2003, the Indian government declared a strong policy-cum-programme commitment to provide free ARV treatment to 100,000 AIDS patients. But important issues related to the creation of a conducive atmosphere for AIDS patients, confidentiality and the creation of a health infrastructure within the public health system have still to be addressed

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Doctors must act against violence

By Sandhya Srinivasan

What is the role of the health professional in a world torn apart by war and strife? This theme dominated discussions at the International Health Forum which preceded the World Social Forum in Mumbai

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HIV, sexuality and identity in India

By Maya Indira Ganesh

There has been a legitimate emergence of sexual minorities in India over the last decade. But even as transsexuals or sex workers exult in the opportunity to be heard and seen in mainstream society, we must realise that this is just one small evolutionary step towards raising the self-esteem of marginalised groups

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How international finance is linked to malaria resurgence

By Dr Mira Shiva And Dr Vandana Shiva

Rajasthan is a good case study of the links between international finance, ecological imbalance and health problems. The resurgence of malaria in this previously non-endemic area is the ecological and socio-economic consequence of the policies advocated by the Bretton Woods institutions

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HIV and the health professions: universal precautions are required

By Sandhya Srinivasan

Protection of health personnel and patients from HIV transmission is difficult in a healthcare setting in which nurses may be permitted only two pairs of gloves a day and needles are reused after a perfunctory wash. The answer is not special precautions for HIV-positive patients, but universal precautions for all health workers who come into contact with blood and body fluids

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Yes, you're positive, but there's nothing we can do for you

By Sandhya Srinivasan

What can the National AIDS Control Programme achieve in the absence of integration of HIV-related services into the health system as a whole? The second in a series assessing the HIV/AIDS situation in India

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HIV/AIDS in Manipur: The need to focus on women

By Chitra Ahanthem

In a state with the highest concentration of HIV/AIDS in India, interventions have focused on injecting drug users, neglecting their spouses, sexual partners and children

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Waves of change in rural health

By Usha Rai

A communications initiative that has spread awareness of healthcare needs and entitlements in hundreds of villages across Gujarat and Rajasthan has had a huge impact

ALERT (Active for Literacy and Environmental Renovation Task)

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Mobile friends for healthy mothers

By Anindita Sengupta

By providing antenatal care information to rural women through voice messages on their mobile phones, mMitra wants to change their beliefs and practices during pregnancy and post-partum

maternal mortality

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Social inequities in cancer ward

Text by Freny Manecksha
Photographs by Chirodeep Chaudhuri

Many poor cancer patients have no recourse but to make their way to the ‘open air ward’ outside Tata Memorial Hospital. An important new study suggests that delay in diagnosis and treatment may be responsible for the rate of cancer deaths in rural India matching urban India, and being twice as high in the least versus most educated segments

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