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By Pratishtha Singh

Tobacco use is a major preventable cause of mortality and morbidity, with close to 7 million people succumbing to tobacco-associated deaths globally every year. This entirely preventable, man-made epidemic kills more people than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria combined. Aside from morbidity, research shows that for every smoker that dies, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Another study by ICMR revealed that 50% of all male cancers and 25% of all female cancers in India can be attributed directly to tobacco consumption.

In order to protect and safeguard the health of its citizens, the…


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by Nilakshi Biswas

The use of technology in healthcare has expanded rapidly as smartphones and digital devices have become more accessible to the general public. Telemedicine in particular has enabled better healthcare service and capacity in primary healthcare, in a country where the healthcare workforce is inadequate and unevenly distributed, leading to disparities in health access and outcomes. As COVID-19 spread throughout the globe, while we saw communications technologies minimizing the barriers of restricted travel and social distancing, they also became critical for ensuring the wellbeing of large swathes of the population.

A primary healthcare system is the first line…


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by Nivedita Parashar and Catherine Cove

In 2014, India became the only country in the Southeast Asian Region to eradicate polio. The same year, the Government of India launched Mission Indradhanush (MI) with the goal of ensuring “full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women”, focusing on 201 districts across 28 states. Intensive Mission Indradhanush (IMI) was launched in 2017 to build off of MI and accelerate progress towards achieving immunization coverage. …


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How can community-specific challenges be addressed while eliminating TB?

by Catherine Cove

The National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination (2017–2025) identifies a range of groups among whom there is a higher prevalence of TB, as well as persistently poorer treatment outcomes - including migrants, industrial and mining workers, tribal communities and others. While the National TB Elimination Program has recognised the need for a more targeted approach to these groups, additional evidence is needed on the challenges faced by each group and how best to address these. The Breaking the Barriers project is working to fill this evidence gap and…


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by Blessina Kumar and Bhumika Nanda

COVID-19 and Tuberculosis (pulmonary) are similar on specific grounds yet strikingly different in response and awareness. Rather than comparing them, this blog looks to explore the best practices and learnings from the COVID-19 response that could be transferred to the Tuberculosis (TB) response and vice versa, in order to complement national and global responses. Cross-learning and timely interventions have the potential to save more lives by building up our defenses against prospective global health threats.

Tuberculosis is a communicable disease that has been around for centuries. It is mainly a respiratory disease, but can…


Photo credit: Rhea John/Swasti

by Catherine Cove

As COVID-19 spread across India and globally, health systems pivoted to respond to this crisis. While a comprehensive response remains essential, the diversion of resources from routine health services has created gaps in access to essential healthcare services. Experts predict that COVID-19 will have a ripple effect across the health system as provision of essential services, such as pregnancy care, immunization, and chronic condition management, becomes compromised.

There is historical precedent for this concern. The Ebola outbreak of 2014–2015 had devastating effects on health systems, health seeking behaviour and health outcomes in West Africa. Studies show that…


COVID-19 is affecting mental health across the world, but some key populations are hit hardest

by Catherine Cove

With over 24 lakh total cases of COVID-19 worldwide and over 30,000 in India, the spread of COVID-19 has had far reaching consequences on collective health and wellbeing. In order to curb the spread of the pandemic, many countries are instituting lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and other social distancing measures. In India, the government instituted a nation-wide lockdown on March 24th, which has been extended to stay in effect until early May. …


Urban economies are rapidly changing: 52% of the world is now urbanized (compared to 39% three decades ago), and India’s urban population is projected to reach additional 300 million more by 2050 (World Cities Report-2016). Urban India contributed 63% of India’s GDP in 2014 and is expected to contribute three-fourths of the GDP by 2020. At around the same time, the number of India’s urban poor is expected to hit 200 million (National Population Policy 2000).
All of these changes impact the health of urban residents in complex ways: migration, climate change, transitioning disease burden, unhealthy built environments and inadequate…


by Rhea John

Very often- sometimes in the course of a single day- you will hear these two almost contradictory statements: One about how many tech users there are in India (1.18 billion phones, 468 million of them smart), and the second to the tune of ‘Not everyone is as tech savvy as [you/me/us/them]’. The gap between the two statements isn’t often explored: it’s the territory of people who are still more tuned in to community radio and street theatre than Netflix, and the Netflix folks may not even know they exist. …

Learning4impact

The Learning4impact (L4i) knowledge collaborative is a forum for ideas and learning on public health in India. Follow us @learning4impact.

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