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Ahmedabad, August 22, 2017: Hansaben Rasid knows what it is like to live without a water tap or a toilet of her own, constantly fearful of being evicted by city officials keen on tearing down illegal settlements like hers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.
The fear and lack of amenities are but a memory today, after she became a community leader in the Jadibanagar slum and pushed residents to apply for a program that gave them facilities and a guarantee of no evictions for 10 years.
“We didn’t even have a water tap here — we had to fetch water from the colony near by, and so much time went in just doing that. People kept falling sick because there was just one toilet,” she said.
“Now that we have individual water taps and toilets, we can focus on work and the children’s education. Everyone’s health has improved, and we don’t need to be afraid of getting evicted any day,” she said, seated outside her home.
Jadibanagar, with 108 homes, is one of more than 50 slums in Ahmedabad that have been upgraded by Parivartan — meaning “change” — a program that involves city officials, slum dwellers, a developer and a nonprofit organization.
Every household pays 2,000 rupees ($31) and in return, each home gets a water tap, a toilet, a sewage line and a stormwater drain. The slum gets street lights, paved lanes and regular garbage collection.
Each home also pays 80 rupees as an annual maintenance fee, and the city commits to not evicting residents for 10 years.
A crucial part of the program is the involvement of a woman leader who brings residents on board, deals with city officials and oversees the upgrade.
Nonprofit Mahila Housing Trust has trained women residents to be community leaders in a dozen cities in the country, including more than 60 in Ahmedabad.
“Women are responsible for the basic needs of the family, and most also work at home while the husband works outside, so the lack of a water tap or a toilet affects them more,” said Bharati Bhonsale, program manager at Mahila Housing Trust.
“Yet they traditionally have had little influence over policy decisions and local governance. We train them in civic education, build their communication and negotiation skills, and teach them to be leaders of the community,” she said.
About 65 million people live in India’s slums, according to official data, which activists say is a low estimate.
That number is rising quickly as tens of thousands of migrants leave their villages to seek better prospects in urban areas. Many end up in overcrowded slums, lacking even basic facilities and with no claim on the land or their property. Yet slum dwellers have long opposed efforts to relocate them to distant suburbs, which limits their access to jobs. Instead, they favor upgrading of their slums or redevelopment.
Earlier this month, officials in the eastern state of Odisha said they would give land rights to slum dwellers in small towns and property rights to those in city settlements in a “historic” step that will benefit tens of thousands.
In Gujarat state, as Jadibanagar is on private land, it is not eligible for the city’s redevelopment plan.
“These homes are all illegal, but that doesn’t mean the people cannot live decently,” said Bhonsale.
“With redevelopment, there is demolition and a move, and that can take longer to convince people of, with the men usually making the decision. But with an upgrade, the women make the decision very quickly by themselves,” she said.
Elsewhere, in Delhi’s Savda Ghevra slum resettlement colony where about 30,000 people live, nonprofit Marg taught women residents to demand their legal right to water, sanitation and transport.
A group of women then filed Right to Information petitions, to improve their access to drinking water, buses and sanitation.
“The women bear the brunt of not having these amenities, and are therefore most motivated to do something about the situation,” said Anju Talukdar, director of Marg.
“The leaders are the ones who show up for meetings, are engaged and keen to learn how to use the law to improve their lives,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Contrary to perceptions that slums are run by petty criminals who resist efforts to redevelop or upgrade, women leaders in Jadibanagar and Savda Ghevra are actively engaged in bettering everyone’s lives.
Leaders often emerge from a bottom-up process, with reputations for getting things done — in particular, resisting evictions and securing basic services, according to research by Adam Auerbach at the American University and Tariq Thachil at Vanderbilt University.
“They are themselves ordinary residents, living with their families and facing the same vulnerabilities and risks as their neighbors; they, too, want paved roads, clean drinking water, proper sanitation and schools for their children,” they said.
Women leaders, while still a minority, are “rarely token figures” serving male heads of households, and are “just as active, assertive and locally authoritative as their male counterparts,” they said in an email.
Rasid in Jadibanagar, whose two sons and their families live in homes alongside hers, is certain her leadership helped residents improve their homes and their lives.
“Everyone wants security and nicer homes, and they are willing to pay. Someone just has to get it done,” she said.
“I am illiterate, I cannot read, but I know now how to talk to officials and the developer and tell them what we want, and make sure they deliver,” she said. (VOA)
By TS Kler
COVID-19 has led to complications and health risks manifold for patients with non-communicable diseases. Almost 75-80 percent of the COVID patients don't require hospitalisation and can recover at home with teleconsultation, but COVID-19 infections can leave the patient with long-term side effects. There are many instances where symptoms of COVID-19 have persisted for several months. Apart from damaging the lungs, the virus can also cause acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system.
According to research published in the European Heart Journal, Covid-19 patients who suffer cardiac arrest have a higher possibility of dying as compared to those who are not infected with it, and especially women are at an increased risk of death for the same reason. The virus may directly breach the ACE2 receptor cells, within the myocardium tissue and cause direct viral harm. COVID can result in inflammation of the heart muscles which is known as myocarditis and it can lead to heart failure over time, if not taken care of.
People with a pre-existing heart problem need to be extra cautious. A significant number of patients have suffered cardiac arrest during the recovery period, often resulting in death. Expert suggests that even though the COVID virus wanes, the immune response continues to be hyper-active and that often ends up attacking other organs. It has been observed that almost 80 per cent of these patients have had cardiac arrests 2-3 weeks after testing COVID positive.
Covid-19 patients who suffer cardiac arrest have a higher possibility of dying as compared to those who are not infected with it | Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash
We tend to ignore some of the warning signs and due to lack of awareness, sometimes, we fail to prevent certain cardiovascular issues during COVID or even after recovering from COVID. After someone has had COVID-19, if that patient is experiencing a rapid heartbeat or palpitations, it is recommended to contact the doctor immediately because even a temporary increase in heart rate can signal a lot of different things, including the aftermath of being very ill, prolonged inactivity and spending weeks convalescing in bed and even dehydration.
It is necessary to make sure that the patient is drinking enough fluids, especially if the fever persists. Sometimes, people who are recovering from COVID may show symptoms of a condition known as POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). However, the link between the development of POTS and COVID is yet to be established. Although, POTS is a neurologic problem, and it is not directly a cardiac issue. It affects the part of the nervous system and may hamper the heart rate and blood flow. The syndrome can also cause rapid heartbeats while standing up. Some of the symptoms of a rapid or irregular heart rhythm may include:
*Feeling of a rapid or irregular heartbeat in the chest (palpitations)
*Shortness of breath
*Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, especially upon standing
*Rapid ups and downs in the pulse rate
COVID-19 has led to complications and health risks manifold for patients with non-communicable diseases.| Wikimedia Commons
Several instances of cardiac arrests post COVID recovery has emphasized the importance of frequent monitoring of heart health. As per experts, cardiac tests like ECG, X-Ray Chest, and lipid profile should be repeated every six months in high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and hypertension in order to understand whether there is any damage to the heart. Apart from regular monitoring, post-COVID patients must stick to a healthy diet consisting of all the essential nutrients and spicy, oily, canned, artificial sweeteners and processed flavours, or junk food should be strictly avoided. Taking out time for physical exercise, cutting down on alcohol and smoking is necessary. Even the smallest of the symptoms should be taken into consideration and should be immediately addressed by an expert doctor. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: covid, pandemic, testing, health, testing, cardiac arrest, heart
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
Kanchan Rai, Mental and Emotional Well-being Coach, Founder, Let Us Talk, mentions ways to turn your loneliness into action this season:
Say yes to socializing: When we are experiencing loneliness, it can be easy to slip into the habit of saying no to social activities. Seclusion can make it challenging to feel driven and the mere thought of physically seeing people can lead to stress. Hence it is recommended to saying yes to mingling to help build your confidence. Something as simple as going for a walk with a friend or chatting with your loved ones over the phone can make a huge difference.
Make the most of technology: For those with distant loved ones, technology can prove to be an enabler in helping to keep family traditions alive. For instance, celebrate the festive cheer virtually or opening festive gifts on video calls amidst all family members. Taking a moment to network with someone, communicating about shared interests or fond memories, even if it's online, can play a major role in reminding us of the good times.
Keywords: Loneliness, action, socialise, technology, stress speak, share, friends
To create a group, hold the control button and choose the tabs you want to include, then select "Add tabs to new group" from the right-click menu, Engadget reported on Friday. Users can customise the label with a different colour for each group. When users hover over a tab, they will be able to see a preview of the web page as well.
Microsoft Edge is also getting some handy shopping features, the report said. The browser can give swift access to reviews and ratings for more than 5 million products. When users are on a product page, they can click the blue tag on the address bar and see expert reviews from reliable sources, as well as the average consumer star rating from various retailers.
When they do figure out what to buy, Microsoft aims to help them complete the transaction a bit faster. The new personalised news feed called Microsoft Start is integrated into the browser. Users will see headlines and articles relevant to their interests from a range of publishers when they open a new tab. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: microsoft, edge, update, tab groups, browser, shopping, address bar