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Sexuality education, minus the sex

By Rashme Sehgal

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


Discrimination is built into our legislation

By Alok Prakash Putul

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


The pain of Roshanara

By Benita Sen

Cancer patient Roshanara's morphine tablets keep her relatively pain-free. Morphine is part of palliative care, which allows terminally ill patients to live a life of dignity, free of pain. Why, then, is it so scarce in India?


Village of hope

By Aditi Rao

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


Storm over sexuality education in UP

By Sushmita Malaviya

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


Failure of Kerala's famed public healthcare system

By N P Chekkutty

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


20 years on, a reality check on HIV messaging

By Bharathi Ghanashyam

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?


Putting mental health within the primary health system

By Rupa Chinai

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


Healthy debate: Lessons from Brazil

By Andrea Cornwall

Brazil's innovative institutions offer inspiring lessons for engaging citizens in improving health for all


TB in Assam: Why vertical health programmes don't work

By Rupa Chinai

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