After the furore over the direct nature of India's Adolescence Education Programme last year, NACO has come up with a sexuality education module that dare not mention 'intercourse' or 'safe sex' or even 'condoms'. Over 30 groups working with sexuality have rejected the material
India passed the Leprosy Act in 1898 to ensure that leprosy patients did not face discrimination. A hundred years on, Indian laws and regulations do just that. Legislation in several states prevents leprosy patients from obtaining a driving licence, travelling in trains, and contesting panchayat elections. And many marriage laws make "contracting leprosy" grounds for divorce
Over 4,000 people live in the Delhi leprosy complex. Though leprosy has been eliminated -- not eradicated -- in India, the stigma and discrimination that leprosy patients and their children face is far from eliminated, and it is only in colonies like this one that they can find companionship and a home
Recent data from NFHS-III reveals that an overwhelming majority of Indians feel their children should be taught about sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS in school. Nevertheless, Uttar Pradesh, with the country's highest infant mortality rate and high maternal mortality and fertility rates, has chosen to ban its very successful Adolescent Education Programme in schools across the state
Two reasons are attributed to the return of many epidemics to Kerala, a state that had achieved developed-country status in all the major human development indices: erosion of the grassroots-level public healthcare system that once thrived on government support, and dysfunctional municipal systems that do not deal effectively with waste-disposal
Why is AIDS awareness so limited, despite 20 years of national and international efforts? Is it time to devise more creative and innovative measures, such as having one health worker in each primary health centre dedicated to spreading awareness on HIV/AIDS?
In the first such major experiment of its kind in the country, the Manas project trains local people in Goa to deal with common mental health disorders, including depression, within the primary health setting
Hafeeza Begum of Sipajhar is one of thousands of patients in Assam who are desperate to find a cure for tuberculosis but for whom the divide between availability of services and access to them is impossible to bridge
South Asia has 900 million people without sanitation. The problem, as the success of recent total-sanitation community projects have demonstrated, is not a lack of funds but a lack of conviction amongst people that they need sanitation, and that they can meet those needs themselves
It is not by accident that the most violent clashes in Kerala in recent times have been the Muthanga adivasi struggle in Wayanad and the communal flare-ups in coastal Maradu. Kerala's famed model of development left the tribal-dominated hills and the coastal fisher communities socially, politically and economically marginalised, leaving the coast clear for communal forces to enter
At the Rowmari state health dispensary in Bodoland, which caters to villages within an 8 km radius, there is no electricity, no anti-malarial drugs, no paper and pens even for birth and death certificates. The health facilities here are indicative of the state of all Bodo areas, which show shockingly high maternal and infant mortality rates
Three years after a community health insurance scheme was implemented by the government of Karnataka and Karuna Trust, around 200,000 poor people have benefited, paying annual premiums of just Rs 30 per year for insurance cover of Rs 50 per day of hospitalisation
The stem cell therapy industry is booming in India, without regulation of any kind. Unorganised, unscientific 'research' is being passed off as therapy. Some of those offering stem cell therapy in India today may be preying on the desperation of seriously ill patients likely to agree to unknown risks
Dr Vasantha Muthuswamy, who helped draw up the guidelines for biomedical research in India, discusses the difficulties of ensuring that the trials being conducted in the country do not risk the lives of Indians
In the '70s and '80s, over 1,000 women with precancerous lesions of the cervix were left untreated, without their knowledge, to see how many developed cancer. In 1999, 25 patients of oral cancer were given an experimental drug without their knowledge or consent. How ethical are clinical trials in India?
Contract research organisations are aggressively marketing India's potential for cheap clinical trials to meet foreign drug regulatory needs. The government is actively promoting India as a site for clinical trials. This new fortnightly series points out why we should be concerned about this