This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Prevention better than Cure? Or Not?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Mireille Rodrigues:

Ever so often, one reads in the newspapers about different medical drives to immunize people against a disease or affliction. It is expected that almost 4.2 million people around the world could benefit from these vaccinations and inoculations in the next few years and avoid diseases that affect and kill many of those in the same situation. But, besides having a sigh of relief for the now unaffected people, one rarely hears about the not-so-rosy side of the matter when these medications lead to illness or even death in some of their patients.

In India, many drives are targeted at the population of the very young or sometimes, just a select group of people. The idea here is to arrange for vaccines to protect those who are unable to afford or access the medication. Stepping up healthcare for the effected is comparatively more tedious and demanding, not to mention expensive. Therefore, prevention is a very effective way to proceed and mass immunizations are an ideal means of addressing a large population at one go. But, one has to keep several considerations in mind. One is that the cost of these vaccines is considerably scaled down from their normal price. This might lead to a sizable reduction in quality. Hence, reducing in effectiveness and even posing a threat to the public if minimum safety is not adhered to. Even these low rates have some NGOs struggling for finances to deal with as many people as possible. Next, one should keep in mind the medium of administering the doses. While there have not been any major complaints regarding the syringes used, for example, it could pose as a threat in future. Also, most drives and camps are targeted at those sections of society that have the least access to education and awareness about health issues. They might not be fully aware of appropriate procedures or health measures, much less technical details. So, it falls upon the authorities to ensure that standards are being followed. The trust of the people rests with them.

A non-Government Organization recently sponsored a vaccination drive for young girls in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh against cervical cancer. But, besides the doses being targeted at only two strains of the cancer among hundreds, more than 120 girls fell ill after being administered the doses. Their parents were assured of the practicality and the functionality of the doses in terms of side effects and long-term effects in addition to being warned of the costs at the private level. Therefore, it seemed more practical to get the doses from the foundation itself. There are now allegations of the drive being undertaken for clinical trial purposes as opposed to an immunization program. Many villagers enrolled because of the tag of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) accompanying the drive, but the results from this venture were clearly unexpected and uncalled for.

In another issue, when spurious AIDS detection kits were being used, the spread of AIDS might have gone up because people would think that they were safe when they weren’t. Even after the World Health Organization reported on the inadequacies of the kit, the findings were initially suppressed. It therefore took forever to deal with what had happened. AIDS is set to kill 31 million Indians by 2025. In these times, when this condition has reached pandemic proportions, more care should be taken, at least, from the authority side at the most basic detection level.

In the wake of the H1N1 virus all over the world last year, experts cautioned the public against self-medicating. Many people treated themselves either as an attempt to undermine the severity of the disease, or because they were ignorant. Dangers of self-medicating included developing resistance to heavy antibiotics that were used to treat the bug. Recommended preventative measures were related to basic personal and public hygiene like washing hands and covering ones mouth while sneezing. It was the much same case with the SARS flu years ago and the other epidemics that have hit the world.

The Indian Government actively joined the global fight against Polio over a decade ago. Polio drops are now administered to children under the age of 5 years and occurrence of the disease, in general, has drastically decreased. Although, the cases are few and far between, rare incidents have cropped up where the treated child has fallen severely ill and even died. Polio is still a threat in India, which is one of the very few countries where it still exists.

To conclude, one cannot doubt the merit of immunization schemes. However, interacting with large gatherings can provide immense scope for damage if one is not careful. It is up to those who are in charge and those who are educated enough to make certain that the people’s safety is ensured.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

You must be to comment.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By KASHVI CHANDOK

By Survivors Against TB

By Suny Tomar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below