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Army of women health workers on India’s virus front line

first_imgUnprotected and poorly paid, an all-women army of health workers confront suspicion, anger and the threat of infection as they go door to door searching for coronavirus sufferers in India’s poor communities.About a million accredited social health activists, or ASHAs, are deployed in cities and villages to administer basic medical care such as vaccinations and delivering babies.But as the number of confirmed infections in India soars past 500,000, the women find themselves on the front line of the battle against the contagion, identifying potential cases and educating locals in the hope of slowing its spread.  Topics : If someone looks like a potential case, the ASHAs report them to authorities. Some ASHAS have been physically attacked by villagers who fear they are carrying the virus or are government spies. During a recent doorknock in a village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Alka and her two colleagues were spotted by eight men in a store who came out and surrounded them.The men shouted at the women about the shortage of basic food and protection against the virus.Standing her ground, Alka said she told the men: “Even we don’t get gear and grains. Where will we get it for you?”Such harassment is bearable, she told AFP. “Recently some locals tore the clothes on one woman while she was working.”Given the lack of contact tracing in India, the ASHAs were “critical elements” in India’s fight against COVID-19, said Anant Bhan, a leading public health expert.The women know their communities well, Bhan said. But their work is difficult and poorly paid despite a 1,000 rupee ($13) coronavirus bonus. ‘We are the heroes’ Alka supports her husband — who does not approve of her work and often calls her names — and three children with a monthly salary of 6,000 rupees.But she has to pay for her own transport to and from the communities she is helping.Sometimes she has to walk home because she has run out of money or there are virus restrictions affecting public transport.Alka and her team say they have formed a “sisterhood” that keeps them going.”Our supervisors give us orders over the phone from the comfort of their offices or homes. We sacrifice our family lives and take daily risks to educate and help people,” said Alka.”We are the heroes.” During a recent visit to the village of Bahadarpur, Alka used a homemade flour-based glue to stick up a poster outside a home explaining the need to wash hands and take other precautions against the virus.”The glue on the poster is not strong enough,” she said. “But if I have to use even a rupee from my salary for glue, it’s a huge dent in my budget.”The women’s pleas for people to wear face masks and self-isolate if they have symptoms are often not welcomed, especially in impoverished communities where many are day laborers. “I’ll stay home if you guarantee me that my kids won’t die of hunger,” a man told the ASHAs during a visit accompanied by AFP.Alka said it was not easy to get people to heed their advice. “People are struggling to feed their families,” she said. “What can we do?”   ASHA workers told AFP they had nothing except their headscarves to protect them from the virus and were often abused by people angry about the government’s handling of the outbreak, which is one of the worst in the world.”I have been an ASHA for 14 years now and never have I been as scared to knock on a door with my bare hands. We don’t have gloves, not even masks,” said Alka, who asked AFP not to use her surname.Alka and her colleagues visit households and ask the occupants to fill out a questionnaire on any virus symptoms they might have and their recent travel histories.Many of the residents are among the millions of migrant workers left jobless and destitute by the months-long virus lockdown imposed by the government in March.last_img read more

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UK public sector funds back climate change policies

first_imgA trio of Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) have pledged to align their investment portfolios with the goals of the Paris Climate agreement.The pension funds for Merseyside, Islington, and the Environment Agency – which run more than £13.5bn (€15.4bn) between them – were joined by the Brunel Pension Partnership, one of the LGPS asset pools. The funds said they would work to increase their allocations to low-carbon investments such as sustainable infrastructure, and reduce their exposure to carbon-intensive assets.Paul Doughty, chair of Merseyside Pension Fund, said his scheme would shift a third of its passive UK and US equity allocation to low-carbon benchmarks by the end of the year. “We also plan to continue to increase our significant investment in infrastructure, with an expected £250m investment in renewables by 2020,” he added. Some investors are reducing their exposure to industries that produce carbon as a byproduct LGPS funds are aiming to put more money into renewable energyIslington Pension Fund chairman David Poyser said his scheme had cut its passive portfolio’s carbon footprint by 45% and would seek to carry out similar reductions in other areas.The Environment Agency Pension Fund has been a leading global advocate of sustainable investing for more than a decade, and Brunel has embraced this effort since setting up last year. Several former Environment Agency staff now hold senior positions at the pool. The investors worked with campaign group ShareAction on the announcement, which was made during Green GB week.ShareAction said the moves were “all the more urgent” given the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which reported last week that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels “would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” over the next 12 years. Claire PerryClaire Perry, UK minister for energy and clean growth, said: “The UK has led the world in cutting emissions whilst growing our economy, with clean growth driving incredible innovation and creating hundreds of thousands of high quality jobs.“Ten years on from the Climate Change Act, the first ever Green GB week is a time to build on our successes and explain the huge opportunities for business and young people of a cleaner economy. “I’m delighted to see how many more businesses and organisations such as ShareAction are seizing this multi-billion pound opportunity to energise their communities to tackle the very serious threat of climate change.” Brunel has been set up to run £28.9bn of assets on behalf of 10 LGPS funds, including the Environment Agency.last_img read more

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D.E.A. Keeps Marijuana on List of Dangerous Drugs (US)

first_imgD.E.A. Keeps Marijuana on List of Dangerous Drugs, Frustrating AdvocatesNew York Times 11 August 2016Family First Comment: And for good reason. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision on Thursday to not remove marijuana from the list of the nation’s most dangerous drugs outraged scientists, public officials and advocates who have argued that the federal government should recognize that marijuana is medically useful.Reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug would have made it easier to get federal approval for studies of its uses and paved the way for doctors to eventually write prescriptions for marijuana-derived products that could be filled at pharmacies, like other Schedule 2 drugs such as Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.Eight Democratic legislators had urged the D.E.A. to reclassify marijuana to a Schedule 2 drug. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts voiced her disappointment with the decision on Twitter. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a statement, “It shouldn’t take an act of Congress for the D.E.A. to get past antiquated ideology and make this change.”Yet in a separate policy proposal also issued on Thursday, the agency handed researchers and advocates a victory in removing a significant roadblock to medical studies of marijuana. The D.E.A. said it will allow universities and even private companies to apply to grow marijuana for scientific research. For many years, the University of Mississippi has had a monopoly on that role as the sole D.E.A.-approved provider of marijuana, and researchers have long complained that the supply of the drug was grossly inadequate, stymying efforts to establish whether marijuana is an effective treatment for many diseases.Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the D.E.A., wrote in the decision that marijuana would remain a Schedule 1 drug because “it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” He said these criteria are set out in the Controlled Substances Act, which mandates scheduling decisions based on scientific data.READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/12/health/dea-keeps-marijuana-on-list-of-dangerous-drugs-frustrating-advocates.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=sectionfrontlast_img read more

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Title IX

first_imgAlthough most people believe Title IX was created to equalize women’s opportunity in sports, it was actually brought into law by the 92nd U.S. Congress on June 23, 1972, to give women in the work place equal opportunities. The law was introduced by Indiana’s Senator Birch Bayh. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, a U.S. Representative, did a lot of the preliminary work. She and many other women were concerned that women were being passed over in large numbers by the federal government when job opportunities occurred. The most publicity for Title IX has come in the area of sports. Since its inception, women’s participation in high school has increased 9 fold. Indiana first allowed women to participate like their male counterparts in 1976. Indiana actually had teams which were part of the IHSAA and not just the GAA (Girls Athletic Association). GAA was strictly intramural. Today Title IX not only means equal participation, but equal opportunity in every sense of the word. If you have a men’s team, you must have a women’s team–except for the obvious such as football. Today, in theory, women are to be paid the same as their male counterparts. I am not certain just how close this part of the law is being followed. There are still many cases that crop up, and many have nothing to do with participation. For example, sexual harassment has become part of Title IX cases as well as bullying. Many colleges are fighting some of these aspects saying that it is reducing men’s opportunity to participate now. What has occurred is when money is short the colleges reach Title IX equality by cutting out sports for both men & women. I think all will agree that for the most part Title IX has allowed women a much more level playing field.last_img read more

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Study offers troubling information about baby food products

first_imgDenver, Co. — A study by the Clean Label Project has revealed two-thirds of baby food in United States has tested positive for arsenic and other dangerous toxins. The same study determined 80 percent of baby formula contains the deadly poison as well.Experts say exposure to arsenic can affect motor skills, cognition, growth and organ development.The study examined at total 500 baby food products, some very popular.The Clean Label Project is a Denver, Colorado-based organization committed to looking beyond the label and marketing terms to give consumers information they need to select products that contain the fewest poisons and food additives. For more information about the Clean Label Project look here.last_img

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Mayor Bettice to host State of the City

first_imgBatesville, IN—Mayor Mike Bettice will present his State of the City Address on Tuesday, February 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Batesville Middle School Commons, 201 N. Mulberry Street, Batesville. This informative meeting will review the City’s 2019 Finances, the 2020 Budget and include a discussion on future projects and initiatives. This meeting is open to the public.  More information can be found on the city’s website,  or by contacting the Mayor’s office, 812-933-6100.last_img

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Youthful men’s tennis squad ready for latter stages of conference play

first_imgSitting at sixth place in the Big Ten standings, the Badgers are hoping to improve their position before conference tournament time.[/media-credit]The men’s tennis team is off to a strong start this spring, and with some Big Ten matches coming up at home, there’s plenty more to be optimistic about.That said, head coach Greg Van Emburgh is preparing for a challenge.“I think the conference has gotten a lot stronger, and I think every match we have to make sure we are really mentally focused and prepared for a really tough battle,” Van Emburgh said.Despite some early success, being ranked No. 6 in the Big Ten, the team is still embracing the one match at a time mentality. Van Emburgh feels every team in the conference is solid right now, and it’s important to not dismiss any opponent.“We are not overlooking anybody, and we really want to take one match at a time,” Van Emburgh said.The Badgers are preparing for a stretch of home matches starting this weekend against Purdue and Indiana. The players continue to play with confidence and passion, leaving a great impression on Van Emburgh.“We have to be ready to go on Friday and really play with a lot of belief and heart like we have been, and I feel good about this team in the long term,” Van Emburgh said.Getting the most out of practices and match play experiences has proven successful for this young tennis team so far, and Van Emburgh has seen his team progress.“We have been improving over the season, and I think we are still improving,” Van Emburgh said. “We are a young group and we are getting better with every match.”Although the wins have been something to celebrate, the team has done a great job of learning from the losses as well.Instead of dwelling on mistakes, the Badgers have been making the most of them in 2011.“We have tried to work on things in practice, we have tried to tweak little things that guys need tweaking with their game,” Van Emburgh said.Doubles play, Marek Michalika’s leadership proves beneficialThe Badgers have recently been emerging as a doubles team power as well, which can be a major element of finishing strong with a win.“Doubles is an important component of winning these matches,” Van Emburgh said. “Doubles is a big thing of communication and how well teams gel together, and I think we have a good formula right now.”Evaluating different combinations of duos was the first step in looking to learn what the best options for the team were for winning the doubles point. Settling on No. 78-ranked duo Michalicka and Billy Bertha wasn’t a tough decision. They have a great chemistry together, have shown some early success and look to continually better their play.“I think we have just been meshing well together, we get along well together and it’s translated into doubles play,” Bertha said.With an overall record of 12-3 (11-3 in the No. 1 doubles position) Michalicka and Bertha are focused on beating some of the top teams in the Big Ten, like No. 3 Ohio State, No. 27 Indiana and No. 64 Purdue in the spring season.They feel confident in their abilities to achieve victory and they’ve developed a knowledge for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.“[Michalicka] plays good, he plays a lot of smart shots, and I do a lot of the movement out there,” Bertha said.The Badgers are returning this season with some great veteran leadership in Bertha and Michalicka, as well as Ricardo Martin – all of whom played in last year’s NCAA championship round of 16. Reaching the NCAAs this year is just as important for them, and they hope to be able to share that experience with the younger players on the team.Michalicka has emerged this year as the team’s sole captain, after splitting those duties with fellow teammates last year. His extraordinary senior leadership on and off the court has proven a valuable asset for the success of this year’s team.“He is every coach’s dream, he is a great tennis player, he is a great competitor, he is a great student athlete, he is just an unbelievable ambassador to have as part of your program,” Van Emburgh said.last_img read more

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COLUMN: NHL, USA must find balance for Olympics

first_imgThe National Hockey League announced on Monday that it had not reached a settlement with the International Olympic Committee, meaning the league will not send its players to the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The NHL was seeking more concessions from the IOC after being forced to schedule an inconvenient multi-week break in the season to accommodate its Olympians every four years.But the two sides couldn’t compromise — neither ever really seemed to try — and the league followed through on its threat to skip the Games, declaring the matter “officially closed” in a press release. For the first time since the 1994, the best hockey players on the planet will not grace the Olympic ice, and their participation in Beijing 2022 appears to be in danger as well.This was an outcome many saw coming after months of utterly unproductive negotiations between the NHL and IOC, but that doesn’t make it any less baffling. Almost every player and coach asked about Olympic participation has strongly supported it, and some, such as Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin, said they would travel to Pyeongchang even without the league’s support. With so much passion surrounding the Olympics, how can you justify barring athletes from competing for one of the greatest honors in their sport?When the announcement was made, I had to be one of the most disappointed hockey fans on the planet. Ever since Pyeongchang won its bid for the Winter Games back in 2011, I had dreamed of watching NHL stars fly around the newly built Gangneung Hockey Centre a few hours east of my hometown of Seoul. I couldn’t wait to see some of my favorite Boston Bruins skate on Korean ice, and imagined that my brain would short-circuit if I ran into center Patrice Bergeron in the Olympic Village. Alas, it wasn’t to be, and now I would only think of Bergeron as selfish if he ditched the Bs to go play for Team Canada halfway through the 2017-2018 season.There’s a lot of confusion right now about what the next step is. Teams could call on players from other professional leagues around the world (as Russia regularly does, pulling from the domestic KHL), or they could ask NHL teams to release their minor leaguers, veterans and prospects alike. But I have a better solution — one that would be a silver lining to this disappointment: full-on amateur hockey’s return to the Olympics.I’m not sure if I would want it to stick around for good, but you can’t deny that it would be exciting to return to the format that led to the greatest sporting moment in American history, at least temporarily. I’ve watched the full replay of the Miracle on Ice on YouTube far too many times for someone who was 16 years from being born when it happened, but the magic bleeds through the screen every time.“Do you believe in miracles? YES!”Of course, it’s impossible to re-create either the circumstances or outcome of 1980 and that fateful day in Lake Placid, New York. That’s what made it a miracle. But a matchup between American and Russian amateurs would likely result in a rematch of the 2017 World Juniors semifinal in January, when the U.S. triumphed in a 4-3 nail-biter. Despite that tournament’s surprisingly sizable and passionate fanbase, however, the Olympics would take the rivalry to a new stage.And unlike in the 2014 Games, when NHL superstars such as T.J. Oshie and Pavel Datsyuk starred, the players would be relatively anonymous. For most viewers, it would simply be nation versus nation — with players without other priorities like earning a contract extension and staying healthy for the rest of the season.It’s an intriguing scenario, especially since U.S.-Russia tensions are probably at their highest now since 1980. President Donald Trump may be buddies with Russian president Vladimir Putin, but the allegations of election meddling have soured ties between the two countries. And they are guaranteed to meet in Pyeongchang, having been drawn in the same pool. If they both advance from Group B — which they are favorites to do — they could meet for a second time, possibly with a medal on the line.Sure, it would have been great to watch the cream of the crop, the likes of Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews, face off against Ovechkin. But there are also plenty of reasons to get excited to watch young Americans such as Charlie McAvoy and Troy Terry potentially spearhead Team U.S.A. Both wowed at the World Juniors, coming up huge in the gold medal game against Canada. McAvoy tallied 2 points — a goal and an assist — as the two teams went to a shootout, where Terry converted the States’ lone successful attempt to win the championship.Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee McAvoy or Terry would be allowed to go to Korea, either. McAvoy recently signed a tryout Amateur Try Out contract with the Bruins and could also miss the Olympics if he sticks at the NHL level. Terry remains on the University of Denver roster as the Pioneers play in the Frozen Four this weekend (McAvoy and Boston University were bounced in the quarterfinals), but the Anaheim Ducks own his rights after drafting him in 2015. If they opt to sign him early out of college, his availability for Pyeongchang would be in doubt. Considering he is just a sophomore, however, it seems like nothing would stop Terry from donning red, white and blue next February.And that goes for most of this year’s junior roster, most of whom are still competing at the collegiate level. With the teams’ already-established chemistry, amateur hockey at the 2018 Games would likely be a much more fluid and exciting affair than a tournament with random collections of minor-league veterans. And like the 1980 team, many of the American amateurs will go on to have fruitful professional careers. After that, who knows? Maybe we’ll see the team again as All-Stars when the NHL returns to the Games — hopefully in four years.Ollie Jung is a junior studying print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor for the Daily Trojan. His column, “Jung Money,” runs every Thursday.last_img read more

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Wakanow Set to Launch Beach Sports Series Today

first_imgSome of the participants billed to compete for the highly coveted prizes include Google Nigeria, Andela, Yudala, Mouka Foam, DHL, Snopec, Konga, Inlak Computers, Krones West Africa, Datagroup IT and Oya.com. Major games to be played during the competition are kayaking, beach soccer and beach volley. Commenting on the objective of the tournament themed “Sand, Sweat and Glory”,Group Deputy Managing Director of Wakanow, Mr. Ralph Tamuno, said that the company seeks to leverage on the imitative as a platform to connect people together through sports. “The Wakanow La Campagne Beach Sports Series is a specially packaged initiative that brings together corporate bodies and sport loving individuals in a relaxed and fun environment inspired by a sense of healthy competition. It also provides networking opportunities and experience sharing for professionals across various industries. “Over the years, sporting activities have become not just a tool for recreation and social cohesion but a vehicle to promote good health and tackle some of the life-threatening hazards associated with modern life,” he stated.  Following the fast-paced rise of the middle-class in Africa which has pushed the pressure curve all the way up, the challenges of shortened lifespan, health hazards and burn-out from the workplace are fast becoming emerging threats to human longevity and general wellbeing.  “Activities like the Wakanow La Campagne Beach Sports Series,” Mr. Ralph added, “provide a window of opportunity for busy professionals to unwind and stay healthy.”Speaking on the choice of La Campagne Tropicana as co-host of the tournament, Mr. Ralph noted that the 30-year-old resort provides the ideal ambiance, standards and spark required to create enduring experiences for participants. Chief Marketing Officer of Wakanow, Mrs. Victoria Onwubiko, said the beach sports initiative is another way the Wakanow brand immerses itself in the culture and lifestyle of its customers.“Travel is a lifestyle, and the Wakanow brand places a huge premium on the lifestyle of its esteemed customers, and particularly, delights in those magical experiences that come with winning together as a team. The Wakanow La campagne Beach Sports initiative allows the brand to plug into these rich consumer experiences, celebrate team effort, promote friendship and connect people together to achieve a common goal.” She reiterated the commitment of the brand to continue to deepen its relationship with consumers, leveraging heavily on multi-touch campaigns and superior brand experiences.Wakanow is one of Africa’s online travel portals, providing seamless travel deals, holiday packages and tour services to millions of travelers in Africa and beyond. Wakanow has grown from a humble background to becoming one of the fastest growing and largest travel sites in Africa. All is now set for the maiden edition of the annual Wakanow La Campagne Beach Sports Series to be hosted by Nigeria’s No1 travel booking portal Wakanow. The event, which has been tipped to become a major corporate soccer tournament in Nigeria, holds today, October 1 at the Africa-themed La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort. Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Health Promoters’ Network Joins Health Ministry in Spreading Ebola Message

first_imgAs the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare strides to  prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia, the Health Promoters’ Network of Liberia (HPNL), a local NGO focused on providing awareness on improved health, has committed itself to help the Health Ministry disseminates  those tips for prevention of contracting  the Ebola virus.The Government of Liberia, through the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare (MoSHW) and Information, Culture and Tourism, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Liberia, has confirmed that at least two of seven blood samples that it sent to Guinea and Lyon, France, came back positive with the deadly Ebola virus.Those two samples, according to Health Ministry’s authorities, were from sisters, one of which has since died from the virus, which has a case fatality rate of 90 percent.Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr. (MD) Walter T. Gwenigale, had disclosed on Monday, March 31st, that the other sister of the deceased, travelled from Foya, Lofa County down to Monrovia before heading for Harbel, Margibi County the next day. He clarified that when it came to the attention of the health authorities, they managed to find her and most of those she interacted with and quarantined them so as to prevent the spread of the virus. The health promoters’ organization has said it will partner with the Government through the Health Ministry, to provide educational messages that help prevent the spread of the Ebola virus, which has no cure to date but can be prevented when the population is adequately informed.HPNL is calling on international and local health partners to provide the needed support to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to prevent  the spread of the  virus.The Health Promoters’ Network, has also called on all civil society groups, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, including youth groups, community and traditional leaders to help provide awareness across Liberia.The network said in the wake of the outbreak of the virus, it stands ready to work with the reactivated National Task Force on Health, to carry out outreaches and sensitizations across the country.HPNL urged everyone within our borders to adhere to those preventive actions such as do not eat animals that are found dead in the bush, and avoid contacts with fruit bats, monkeys, chimpanzees, antelopes and porcupines. Limit as much as possible, direct contact with body fluids of infected persons or dead persons. Wash your hands with soap and water as frequently as possible. Treat your water with chlorine before drinking.The Health Promoters’ Network is  dedicated to promoting and advocating for various health issues on the prevention of communicable and other diseases as well as maternal and child mortality in Liberia.Meanwhile, the Health Ministry, in its April 2, update on the situation in the country, has reported seven new suspected cases of the virus, pending laboratory confirmation. “The figure includes two deaths and five are probable cases,” the Ministry’s update said.The Ministry further said as of March 24, 14 suspected Ebola cases have been reported and there are no new confirmed cases of the Ebola virus disease in Liberia and that the confirmed cases still remain at two. The Ministry’s hotline numbers including 0770198517, 0777549805, 0886530260 and 0886549805 are still active for people to call and report any suspected Ebola case(s).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more