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Unhealthy policy

Issue Date: Sep 30, 2001
after a gap of 18 years the Union government has formulated a draft national health policy 2001, which fails to address the key issues of the national healthcare scenario. While the policy mentions several problems and inadequacies of the healthcare system, it hardly suggests any solutions. "Identifying problems is fine, but what is required is how to tackle them," says Rama Baru, associate professor of public health at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. For example,

Spreading message

Author(s): Anil Agarwal
Issue Date: Jun 30, 2001
The message of community based water harvesting is spreading -- not just in India but also globally. The Food and Agriculture Organisation ( fao ) now sees "increasing water harvesting and water conservation" as a key challenge for ensuring food security.

What a mess

Issue Date: Apr 15, 2001
A nation like South Africa is the most dramatic example of a situation where drugs are available that would make a big difference to a sizeable part of its population that has been infected by the hiv virus but the people cannot afford to buy them. The country has more people infected with hiv than any other country. Twenty per cent of adults carry the virus and sometimes the victims are children too.


Issue Date: Feb 15, 2001
About 830 million people around the world have not got sufficient food to eat because of natural disasters, armed conflicts and poverty, says the United Nations World Food Programme. "From generation to generation, people do not have enough food to eat," said Catherine Bertini, the agency's executive director. The worst-hit regions include large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where tens of millions of people, most of them women and children, do not have sufficient food.

Fixing the drought

Issue Date: Jan 31, 2001
For a large part of the year anybody who was anybody in India talked about match fixing in cricket. When Parliament was in session there was a hue and cry over the Ayodhya issue but hardly a whisper in the corridors of power over drought. Ayodhya and match fixing became issues for nationwide debate. But not the drought. Therefore the prime minister's Christmas gift of Rs 2,600 crore worth of foodgrain to the poorest of the poor in the country comes as a welcome surprise. But is this measure sufficient to tackle the drought?

Today's Plague

Issue Date: Nov 15, 2000
T he six cancer registries in India fail to give the true picture of cancer incidence as several cases go unreported. Vinod Raina, additional professor of medical oncology at aiims , recently stated in a television programme that only about 30 per cent of the patients diagnosed with cancer undergo treatment because of the cost and many drop out halfway, having run out of money.

Battered Lungs

Issue Date: Nov 15, 2000
W hile lung cancer's link with smoking has been publicised, its link with air pollution is considerably underplayed. "Data do suggest that urban smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer than rural smokers, even after accounting for smoking behaviour (how heavily a person smokes, what kind of cigarettes are smoked and so on).

Environmental injustice

Issue Date: Nov 15, 2000

Killer with a BIAS

Issue Date: Nov 15, 2000
cancer is not an 'equal opportunity killer'. Samuel Broder, director of the us National Cancer Institute, says, "Poverty is a carcinogen." That the living conditions of the industrial poor put them at a greater risk of several diseases has been known since the days of Charles Dickens' novels.

Cry the beloved country

Issue Date: Aug 15, 2000
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