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The fight for a TB free country

There you are in bed, the clock ticking steadily towards early dawn while you yap away nonchalantly into your cell phone. Only it's a bit hard what with all the coughing. This cough's been haunting you for you don't know how long. Well, ever thought that maybe you've got TB (tuberculosis)?

300000 new cases of TB and 70000 TB caused deaths occur in Bangladesh every year. Striking isn't it? TB is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. There are two types, Pulmonary (attacks lungs) and Extra Pulmonary (can attack any part of the body). The key symptom is a cough lasting for 3 or more weeks. The other symptoms include fever, lethargy, weight loss and loss of appetite. The bacteria spread into to the air after being ejected from an infected person through coughing, spitting and sneezing.

Those who suffer form malnutrition, diabetes, live in extreme poverty etc are most at risk of acquiring tuberculosis. TB is also the largest single cause for death among women. The mostly likely areas where TB spreads are in work areas or where a large congregation of people is gathering every day (e.g. garments industries). These places are still challenged in terms of prevention and awareness.

BRAC, in 2004 signed an agreement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) to being one of the principle organizations in Bangladesh in charge of controlling TB. BRAC was also sponsored by the Ministry of Health and WHO. The main objective is to spread awareness among the people all over the country especially rural districts. BRAC is being helped by quite a number of young volunteers to fight TB in the country. These volunteers mostly include the youth.

The system BRAC uses in raising awareness of TB and controlling it is simple. BRAC with it's vast network spread all over Bangladesh sends trained personnel to different villages. These personnel inform the people there of TB, BRAC's cause in fighting the disease and the free cures being provided. After that volunteers are chosen who are responsible for further raising awareness by visiting 20 houses in the local area and spreading the word on TB there. They are supplied with pamphlets and other merchandise for there purposes.

The internationally recommended treatment for TB is Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS). The strategy in inexpensive and has the potential to millions of TB cases. It's advantages include 95% cure rates and the cost per patient is around 10 dollars. Back in 1993, the government adopted the DOTS way in retaliation against TB. Since then detection and successful cure rates have steadily risen.

In connection with this BRAC has arranged an event on 24th March at the BRAC Centre where a lot of issues concerning TB and other health problems will be discussed.

By Tareq

A newly found realization

Standing at attention under the green netted shade, with my head held high up, singing away the lines written by Rabindranath Tagore does not give me the pride I should be feeling when one hums ones national anthem. There is nothing to be surprised about this because if you were in my position I am sure you would have been going through the same trauma I was going through.

Everyday in the morning I had to start my day with not only this but also making meaningless promises that I would serve for the country which was not even mine! I was left with no other option other than having to study in an Indian school for I lived in India.

Ever since I can remember I have been studying in this school and it has given me everything that a budding child would expect. However at the same time as time passed by and I was growing older I did not realise what I was losing from one hand when I was gaining from the other. Little did I know that learning everything about the country I did not belong to was only an advantage, but the fact that I forgot that I too belonged somewhere and had a home called Bangladesh.

Once we reached the native soils I felt deprived of many things that even a child living on the streets did not. What a shame for a person who did not only know when the national anthem of her own country but also did not really know anything about some of the most memorable moments for every proud Bangladeshi. I really cannot blame my parents who tried their very best to tutor me with some of the basic things. I am very thankful to them that they have at least taught me my mother tongue. Though I face some problems speaking fluently but the little that I know is quite enough for me to spend my days here. Even then there are still many things that I am unaware of about my motherland. Trust me this is certainly not something I am saying out of pride
as many people think so. It is just very unfortunate for me.

People here very well know what lies ahead of them once the month of march turns in, and even I know too. Sadly other people and I don't know the same thing. For them it is the month of liberty, independence, a month that is cherished and remembered by every Bangladeshi.

Though we are independent today to come to think of it in literal terms are we really independent? I am sure most of you would agree with me that independence means free will, but don't get me wrong when I say free will. The freedom of making our own decision, a decision that is not only right for us but also for our family and at large for our country; the freedom of standing up and speaking against anything that is wrong or illegal, is what I mean by free will. If you look at it from my point of view you would definitely see that even today we are not really living by our free will. Take for example when I asked one of ma colleagues as to why the polling process was taking so long to be started and that's when she told me that because earlier people were pressurised to vote for a certain party and thus refrained from voting the person or party they wanted. This is how we fall short of our independence!

I bet you even today there are many families who think that females or rather young girls are bound to stay within the four walls of a house and do not hold the right to receive education.

There are many issues of this sort and if I sit down and pinpoint each and everyone of them its going to take a quite a while and even I don't have that much of patience, leave alone the fact that you will actually sit and read the whole thing.

To wrap it off I would like to say is that it is true that I wasn't born in ma country and there are things I don't know about her which I should, and I am working on it, but there are many people in our country who know everything and still act as if they know nothing. They would never stand against any wrongdoing, sometimes out of circumstances and most of the times because they are indifferent. Then how good are or how better are they from me! All I can say is instead of digging old graves and crying over spilt milk, let us join hands together and vow to do something that we believe is right for s and out country, let us unite to be free.

By Jaynab Begum Yusuf

MIT to offer all its courses online for free

Interesting news for many aspiring students planning to study abroad, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is going to offer all of its roughly two thousand courses online, for free, by the end of this year.

Online students won't be able to earn a degree from the U.S. university, but will be able to study for and sample the courses the university has got to offer.

"We started this project because MIT believes that one of the best ways to advance education around the world is through the Internet," said Anne Margulies, head of the online curriculum of MIT to Reuters.

MIT has been already offering hundreds of its courses since 2003 though its "OpenCourseWare" program. Several other universities, including Stanford University, are following suit. Millions of user accesses the MIT course site, the majority is from outside the United States. The free online are even popular with existing MIT students, as it offers them a chance to sample courses they could take or prepare for upcoming exams.

For more information, log on to http://ocw.mit.edu/

By Ahmed Ashiful Haque Niloy

Speak Up

I should not go out on my own; they say it's risky for a girl. I must always observe silence; or else they say I may be silenced for life. I must never dare; they assure me I'd be the first in line to be caged. I must never defy the norms of this snitch society; they say I may lose myself in the process. I must never try living my present with lessons from my past; they say I'd end up nowhere. But then they say I am an independent citizen of an even more independent Bangladesh.

It isn't every day that a country turns a sovereign 36, but it certainly is every day that a Bangladeshi is reminded of how he/she is anything but independent.

Where is my freedom when every time I step out I must remind myself that some bomb attack may not let me return home alive? Where is my independence if I have to think a 100 times before risking my life at the hands of something as basic as 'food'? To what extent am I demeaning my sovereignty every time I have to bribe people to get my rightful work done? How mortified is my liberty, if my vote runs the risk of not being counted or worse, forged? How debased is my sense of freedom, if I am to quietly let go of an academic year at the face of political turmoil? How free-spirited am I, if I am still expected to pay my way to marriage through dowry? How liberated am I, if my well-being depends on how calmly I accept eve-teasing? How suppressed am I, if every time I protest, a police-beat-up muffles my voice on the neutral arenas of streets? Is not having the right to knowing true history, your idea of freedom? Is mutedly watching your tax money being exploited all that independence is about? Witnessing your country being rampaged on with a not-a-care-in-the-world stare---would you term that as independence?

Is this what 1971 had blessed us with? A series of constraints masked as independence! Hell no!!!

True, we Bangladeshis have witnessed so much of adversity and mayhem as a nation that we are forever in search of a reason to celebrate. And 26th March is just another occasion for us to rejoice.

But hello!! We're merely celebrating 26th March as a centennial. And not the pursuit for independence that it signifies. It's supposed to be the eventual day of freedom for us. It should be the day we try bringing back our long lost freedom. The 26th March of 1971 was the starting point of our race for liberation from the Pakistani rule. And 26th March, this year may well be your beginning towards freedom from all negativities that have gathered in your nation since 1971. Bangladesh has yet to fight a battle against a handful of manmade fallacies; it has yet to triumph over corruption; it has yet to get liberated, in the true sense.

Instead of celebrating the day predictably, why not go out of your way to check on your rights as an independent Bangladeshi.

Attempt at protesting the next time you see caged birds being sold openly on the streets. Present that goon in your neighborhood with a well-deserved slap next time you spot him eve-teasing. Take a stand against bribing. Don't let any supremacy overshadow your voice. Speak up for your rights every time you feel an injustice has been done to you. Please, please, please don't watch your history and country being fingered with, silently.

Protest, speak out your mind and attempt at correcting wrongdoings. And that'd one more Bangladeshi retrieving his footsteps away from corruption's way and heading towards liberty.

By Reesana Sifat Siraj

Youtube Watch

I knew that some day people were going to see some talk show host kick out one of his talk show guests out of the show because the guest would not behave. But never with all my brain cells did I imagine that I would be seeing it on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Apparently Jimmy Kimmel invited comedian Andy Dick and Ivanka Trump, the daughter of billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump to his show for a chit chat. But rather than chit chat what Andy dick was interested in, was touching Ivanka without her permission. Everyone was having a good laugh about this, BUT Andy apparently could not figure out when to stop. Kimmel decided that it had gone way out of line when Andy persistently kept on doing what he does best, 'making a fool out of himself'. He had to act fast and sadly for Andy he came up with something that made it obvious that he is not a very good fast thinker! He just called in security on Andy and forcefully removed his bottom out of the show.
Watch the Video for yourself on www.youtube.com

By Hitoishi


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