Urvashi Prasad is a public health professional who managed the health, water and sanitation portfolio of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in India for five years. She writes regularly about politics, gender and animal welfare related issues. Urvashi is on the Board of Directors of Operation ASHA, one of India's largest tuberculosis treatment NGOs. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community.
It is that time of the year again when Delhiites are reeling under an outbreak of vector-borne diseases. Hospitals in the city are flooded with patients suffering from dengue and chikungunya. While th...
Several bizarre stories pertaining to women have been making the headlines lately. The Haji Ali Dargah Trust while presenting its case in the Bombay High Court to retain the ban on women entering the sanctum sanctorum justified their stance by stating that "women wearing blouses with wide necks bend on the mazaar thus showing their breasts.” In another story, India's Culture Minister reportedly advised foreign women to not wear short skirts or go out alone at night.
Earlier this month, the World Economic Forum invited 350 Global Shaper representatives to Geneva to share their perspectives on a range of global and local issues with senior representatives of international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. I was one of 20 Global Shaper representatives from India who attended the meeting.
I am writing to express my shock and anguish at your judgement in the Pallavi Purkayastha murder case. I recently read an article by Pallavi's father in which he noted that while you thought that her being stabbed 16 times was cruel, it was not cruel enough to award the death penalty. Your judgement also said, "when the accused saw Pallavi in scanty clothes, he was sexually excited... therefore aggravating fact of pre-planning is not there.” Thus, you’re suggesting that the clothes Pallavi was wearing somehow provoked her murderer.
The notion that I will be given away by my father to my would-be husband is frankly cringe-worthy. My father has, without doubt, been one of the most important influences in my life, but that does not give him or anyone else the right to give me away. For me, a ritual like this is downright misogynistic and I decided to share my concerns with the people around me.
The World Health Organization has recently recommended a new treatment protocol which is commonly referred to as the Bangladesh Regimen. It can be completed within 12 months, which not only reduces costs but also has the potential to improve treatment outcomes.
India accounts for one-third of the cervical cancer deaths globally. In absolute terms it means that there are over 130,000 new cases of cervical cancer every year and nearly 74,000 deaths. Fortunately, several interventions can help to reduce India's cervical cancer burden.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that affects approximately 30 million people in India. The prevalence of asthma in Indian children has continued to increase over the last decade. Despite this significant burden, asthma is frequently not taken seriously because it is considered to not be fatal. This, however, is a misconception. According to estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), of the 300 million people who suffered from asthma in the year 2005, nearly 25,000 lost their lives due to the condition.
Cancer in children constitutes 5.5% of total cancer cases in India according to the Indian Council for Medical Research. This percentage has more than doubled from 2.5% ten years ago. A disturbing reality, however, is that only around one in 10 of the childhood cancer cases receives complete therapy. As a consequence, while cure rates for common childhood cancers like lymphoma and leukaemia are over 80% in the developed world, in India, they have remained abysmally low at around 30%.
As a society, we need to appreciate that women can and do make all kinds of choices, just like men. Instead of digging for dirt we need to respect the choices they make without attaching moral judgements. We also need to realise that it is our deeply engrained regressive mindset that results in discrimination and atrocities against women.
Currently, India does not have a national policy on preventing and controlling genetic disorders like haemophilia, a chronic condition because of which even a relatively minor injury can result in death because blood fails to clot. It is estimated that 1 in 10,000 Indians suffers from it, indicating a relatively large burden of patients. Moreover, there are several social and economic costs associated with the disorder.
Following the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan last year, sanitation has come into the limelight and is being prioritized by a range of stakeholders. As part of the Mission, the Prime Minister announced a target of 120 million toilets to be constructed in rural India by 2019. However, in order to achieve and sustain the open defecation free status, it is crucial that the following steps are taken to strengthen implementation of India's sanitation policies.
Anxiety is typically described as a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Most of us experience anxiety at some stage in our lives. For some of us, however, anxiety can...
I recently saw the movie Talvar, which is based on the headlines-grabbing double murder of a young girl, Aarushi, and the family's domestic helper, Hemraj, in 2008. Although the film evokes sympathy for Aarushi's parents, who are currently serving a life sentence for the murder of their daughter and Hemraj, it is left up to the audience to decide which version of events they believe. Regardless of whether the Talwars are guilty or not, I think we as a society owe them an apology.
India has the largest TB burden of any country in the world with over 2 million cases and 500,000 deaths annually. In addition to health system-related challenges, there are a number of myths about TB which prevent patients from seeking treatment or stigmatise affected populations. Here are five of the most persistent misconceptions about TB.
One of the major reasons for India's TB burden is stigma. This causes patients to often deny their condition. They also fail to seek treatment because they fear losing social standing. Failure to receive the appropriate treatment on time is one of the contributing causes for the spread of TB as well as the emergence of drug-resistant forms of TB which take considerably more time and resources to treat.
There is so much to be disheartened about in the animal activism space. Every day we see pictures of animal cruelty and it pains many of us so very deeply. In fact, in the lead up to Gadhimai last year, I spent many sleepless nights thinking about the torture that was awaiting the animals. Days like today are rare and definitely must be celebrated. More importantly they signal to us that nothing is impossible if all stakeholders come together and make a concerted effort.
Currently, a majority of women lack information about menstruation including access to menstrual products, private places to wash and bathe and sanitary mechanisms for disposing menstrual waste. For instance, a study conducted in 2011 indicated that only 12 percent of women of reproductive age in India used sanitary napkins.
I also feel that by calling the documentary 'India's Daughter', the film-maker has in a way reinforced exactly those stereotypes that we so desperately need to do away with. India undoubtedly is a difficult place for women but so is the rest of the world.