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Vidya Balan campaigns for sanitation in UP, Bihar

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Lucknow: Bollywood actress Vidya Balan, who is the national sanitation brand ambassador, along with with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav flagged off an initiative titled “Changing Behavior” Creating Sanitation Change Leaders” here on Tuesday. The project, which aims to make 100 villages in the country’s most populous state open defecation free, is backed by RB (formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser) India as part of its nationwide ‘Dettol Banega Swachh India’ national initiative, Pehel, a division of Shri Puranchandra Gupta Smarak Trust that has been actively involved in awareness generation and the state government.

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“For the past two years, i have dedicated myself towards raising awareness around importance of hygiene and to stop open defecation. I am really proud to be a part of this campaign which is taking a different route of engaging with stakeholders and creating change leaders at community level to bring about this behavior change,” Vidya said in a statement. Through the initiative, the program will reach out and work closely with Panchayati Raj Institutions members, natural and faith-based leaders, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), Aanganwadi Workers (AWWs) and mothers to drive a positive behaviour towards sanitation practices. It will include various activities like training of Panchayati Raj Institutions members using toolkits, exposure tours, sanitation chaupal, capacity building of frontline health workers through game shows and folk shows for sensitizing mothers. The progress will be monitored at each step to track the progress and achievements of change leaders will be recognised across these 100 villages in the state’s Varanasi, Kannauj and Etawah districts. The campaign was launched with the involvement of dignitaries like veteran actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha and Jack Sim, founder, World Toilet Organization among many others.

“We have a dedicated initiative targeting school children, we believe it is equally important to educate and encourage communities to adopt healthier hygiene and sanitation practices to create a positive impact on the society they live in. By the end of this campaign, we aim to help these 100 villages in Uttar Pradesh become Open Defecation Free,” said RB’s regional director, South Asia, Nitish Kapoor. According to National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and World Health Organisation (WHO), over 600 million Indians have no access to toilets. The proportion is worse in rural India – where 68 percent of rural households don’t have their own toilets.

(IANS)

 

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WHO launches a new global effort to end TB by 2030

The announcement was made in the Global Ministerial Conference in Moscow.

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WHO will start working towards ending Tuberculosis
Dr. Simon Angelo (L) examines Iman Steven suffering from tuberculosis, held by her mother (R) at the hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), June 15, 2016, at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. VOA

Delegates from 114 countries have agreed to take urgent action to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, the WHO said.

The announcement on Friday came as the delegates gathered in Moscow for the first WHO global ministerial conference on ending tuberculosis, Xinhua news agency reported.

The delegates promised to achieve strengthen health systems and improve access to the people regarding TB prevention and care so that no one is left behind.

They also agreed to mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.

Resources are expected to advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent TB, and to build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB.

“Today marks a critical landmark in the fight to end TB,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“It signals a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.”

Though global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 per cent, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention, according to the WHO.

As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease. Due to its antimicrobial resistance, TB is also the leading killer of people with HIV.

Representatives at the meeting, which was attended by over 1,000 participants, also promised to minimize the risk and spread of drug resistance and do more to engage people and communities affected by or at risk of TB. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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sale of cigarettes
The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)

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Legendary Singer Asha Bhosle regrets for not singing English Songs

Asha Bhosle shares the reason behind why she didn't sing any English song.

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Singer Asha Bhosle
Singer Asha Bhosle. wikimedia commons
  • Legendary singer Asha Bhosle regrets not getting a proper education and says she would have touched greater heights if she had studied further and crooned songs in English too.

Bhosle talked about her regrets at the Leadership Lecture Series at the Dubai campus of the Global Indian International School (GIIS) on Tuesday, read a statement.

Asked about her message for the young generation, she said: “A person is responsible for his own success. The one who works hard day and night and keeps doing his work, he will always be successful. And for your school, the message that I have is, I haven’t studied much and today when I go abroad, when I go to America or London, I really regret after listening to their songs, I feel bad that I can’t get that accent.”

The legendary singer Asha Bhosle added: “I really wish that I had studied more but back in those times, in my generation, 80 years back, there was no use of educating women, they said women are supposed to do simple household chores, deliver babies, why make her study.

“So, the education never happened. And now I really regret that if we were made to study or given our education, then we would have been at different heights in our life and I would have gone way ahead in English songs because our style and English words would have taken me to greater heights.”

Asha Bhosle is one of the most versatile singers to have been associated with Bollywood. From cabaret to ghazals — she has sung songs like “Jhumka gira re”, “Dum maro dum”, “Chura liya”, “Mehbooba mehbooba”, “Mera kuch saaman”, “Dil cheez kya hai” to “Prem mein tohre”.

From Zeenat Aman to Urmila Matondkar and Rekha to Vidya Balan — Bhosle has lent her voice for actresses of different generations over six decades and has managed to stay relevant by adapting to new styles and singing techniques.(IANS)