F e b r u a r y  2 0 1 8


New Model Of Tracking TB Patients Holds Promise For India


India’s national tuberculosis programme registers only 8.4% of all cases diagnosed in the private sector, leaving millions of patients unmonitored and drug regimens uncompleted. A government-run pilot programme in Mehsana district of Gujarat, part-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has increased the number of private-sector patient registrations with the government by more than five times over two years. Read our analysis of how the programme can be replicated nationally.

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D A T A   F I X 

India’s Millets Makeover: Set To Reach Poor, Enter School Meals


73% Indians Trust Government, 30% Americans Do 


I N   T H E   N E W S

Krishnaveni’s Story And The Era Of Women Panchayat Presidents


She was assaulted and left for dead for challenging caste and gender hierarchies in her village. But P. Krishnaveni, the Dalit sarpanch of Thalaiyuthu panchayat in Tamil Nadu, eventually won the support of other castes and communities by focussing on development needs such as water. Krishnaveni is one of 40 past and current women panchayat leaders IndiaSpend surveyed across six Tamil Nadu districts to analyse the impact of a quarter-century of reservations for women in local bodies. We found that a majority of these women now work independently of the men in their lives. Despite hurdles such as male-dominated political networks that deny them access to finances and curb their exercise of power, they have surpassed male peers in building roads, improving drinking water supply and enabling access to toilets.

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Citizens Could Save India’s Biodiversity, If Existing Law Is Used Well


What gets measured gets managed. By this yardstick, attempts to implement the Biological Diversity Act of 2002 have been a non-starter: 97.8% of local government bodies do not even document their biodiversity, data from the National Biodiversity Authority show. One government estimate says India has 7-8% of the world’s known plant and animal species, living together with 18% of the world’s human population. Not only is biodiversity important to sustain life, millions of Indians are engaged in ecosystem-based occupations such as farming and fishing. If implemented well, the Biological Diversity Act--designed for participation by local populations--could preserve traditional knowledge, generate revenue at the local level and conserve ecosystem-dependent occupations.

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In India’s Malaria Hotbed, A Remote Tribal Village Fights Back


Odisha accounted for 41% of India’s 1 million malaria cases in 2016, 86% of these having been Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest kind. A new programme launched in 2016 aims to reduce deaths due to malaria by 100% and malaria incidence by 40% by 2021. It uses a three-step strategy--education for prevention, twice-yearly testing, and rapid treatment with a pre-established protocol--all through a local volunteer. Its toolkit includes indoor residual spraying and use of insecticidal nets, and early outcomes are promising

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C A S E   S T U D Y

More than half of young women in rural India use home-based and unhygienic methods of menstrual protection, according to national health data. Of the 166,064 rural women aged 15-24 years surveyed for the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4), 51.8% relied on home-based and unsanitary materials such as old fabric, rags, sand, ash and hay to manage menstruation. As Padman, a film about a man who revolutionised the manufacture of sanitary napkins, brings this issue to public attention, IndiaSpend examines the situation in rural India. 

T H E   I N T E R V I E W

India spends 1.4% of its GDP on public health, as against the World Health Organization's recommendation of 5%. Nearly 52.5 million Indians regress into poverty every year due to health reasons. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a public-private collaboration, says India must stop using quick fixes and learn to design and implement long-term solutions. He adds that the government’s action in cutting PHFI’s access to foreign funds, allegedly at the behest of the tobacco industry, is detrimental to the national interest.
Have a good governance story that deserves to be featured?
Tell us about it at: samar@indiaspend.org

Samar Halarnkar


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