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Orissa's IMR Mission

By Elisa Patnaik

Orissa has the highest infant mortality rate in the country at 97 per 1,000 live births. Approximately 86,000 infants die in the state each year. Poor healthcare facilities for mother and child, malnutrition, malaria and lack of awareness are major contributing factors. Can the state reduce IMR to the targeted 60/1,000 by 2005?


HIV: The numbers controversy

By Sandhya Srinivasan

Do we have 2 million or 20 million HIV-positive in India? Or is there a plateuing of the epidemic? Speculative and alarmist figures about the number of Indians affected by HIV/AIDS have added to public confusion and affected the programme's credibility. This is the first in a series of articles on the issues and controversies surrounding HIV in India


DEBATE: Is Electroconvulsive therapy still relevant in psychiatric treatment?

By Chittaranjan Andrade

Presenting two sides of an ongoing public health debate


Fractured minds, fragmented lives

Exploring the lives of the mentally ill in India


Food security, not vitamin supplements, is vital for public health

By Sena Desai

A year ago, Unicef's vitamin A campaign in Assam caused the death of 30 children and sent over 1,000 to hospital with vitamin A toxicity. The larger question is whether such mass campaigns to combat malnutrition-related deficiencies in India are still required. Or do we need a more sustainable approach?


The Handwashing Initiative: selling soap or saving lives?

The World Bank's Handwashing Initiative is based on the conviction that the simple practice of washing hands with soap could reduce deaths from diarrhoea by half. But its intentions are being questioned in Kerala, where people say they need safe drinking water, not multinational soap


Friends of Melghat

By Huned Contractor

An estimated 5,000 tribal children died of malnutrition in Melghat, Maharashtra, between 1992-97. Since 1997, a group of volunteers has been working with the Korkus in this remote forest region, helping educate them about nutrition, sanitation and preventive health care


The barber's wife: Sex advisor to child brides

By Pamela Bhagat

In the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh, where no family planning campaign has ever penetrated, it is the Naun or barber's wife who accompanies child brides to their husbands' homes at puberty and advises them on family planning and family welfare. This traditional practice does not seem likely to change in the foreseeable future


Building a new world at Parinche

By Jaya Jose

In 1995, the Foundation for Research in Community Health began training semi-literate village women to diagnose and treat common health disorders. Today, Parinche's tais are not just barefoot healthworkers. They're also scripting an ecological, cultural and educational revolution in their villages


The economics of TB

By Sandhya Srinivasan

Tuberculosis in developing countries is not just a disease requiring effective medical treatment. It is a disease complicated by complex socio-economic problems such as unemployment, poverty and malnourishment. The story of tuberculosis in India is the story of people with no right to food, employment, shelter or healthcare. No wonder the figures for TB haven't changed all that much in the last few years


Inequality and poverty cause mental illness

By Keya Acharya

Health experts warn that mental health problems are increasing sharply worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, depression is set to become the main cause of disability and the second leading health problem by the year 2020. In developing countries, inequality, poverty and gender are significant factors contributing to mental illness


Women in white: India's widows

Following the recent announcement that the National Human Rights Commission will now coordinate governmental and non-governmental measures to help the widows of Vrindavan and the rest of the country, this article discusses the situation and problems of widows in India, past and present