To the suicidal kid and pellet gun victim from Kashmir

Trigger Warning: Torture, Terrorism, Police Violence, Suicide I honestly don't know how to name this blog post. For the past few days, I've been reading bits and pieces of a report by the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons, a loose organization based in Indian-occupied Kashmir. This particular report is about pellet guns used … Continue reading To the suicidal kid and pellet gun victim from Kashmir

Nachhaltiges Norderstedt – Klimaneutral bis 2025 statt 2040?

Das Ziel der norddeutschen Stadt Norderstedt ist es, bis 2040 klimaneutral zu sein. Das liegt unter dem Bundesdurchschnitt (2050), und Norderstedt ist sehr stolz auf dieses pro-Klima Image und gewinnt gerne viele Preise. 2040 reicht natürlich bei Weitem nicht, und die Organisation Extinction Rebellion spricht sich für ein 2025 Ziel aus. Nur mit einem strikten … Continue reading Nachhaltiges Norderstedt – Klimaneutral bis 2025 statt 2040?

343 Days of Internet Shutdown in Kashmir – How Proportionate is it?

Today, I was browsing through Wikipedia. I do that a lot these days – given all the negative news around, I want to find stories about positive developments, recent discoveries, or the de-escalation of conflicts, and Wikipedia’s snowballing through the hyperlinks gets a reader to interesting corners of the internet. What I’m sharing now is … Continue reading 343 Days of Internet Shutdown in Kashmir – How Proportionate is it?

Voice Messages from Friends: Bhaavya on the Disappearance of Indigenous Knowledge in Cotton Farming

In the series 'Voice Messages from Friends', I type down and edit for clarity (with permission) the voice messages friends have sent me explaining to me topics they are passionate about. Bhaavya is the founder of IROIRO, a zero-waste fashion brand with a circular economy model. IROIRO up-cycles discarded cotton shreds from textile companies. Bhaavya … Continue reading Voice Messages from Friends: Bhaavya on the Disappearance of Indigenous Knowledge in Cotton Farming

Voice Messages from Friends: Kaninik on Unlimited GDP Growth

In the series ‘Voice Messages from Friends’, I type down and edit for clarity (with permission) the voice messages friends have sent me explaining topics they are passionate about. Kaninik works as a teacher at IIT Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Because of his background in Construction Technology and Urban Systems, he has worked to implement government … Continue reading Voice Messages from Friends: Kaninik on Unlimited GDP Growth

Your Country’s Cancer Screening Policy is Not Devised by Science, but by Ethics

After moving from Germany to the not-so-distant Netherlands, I went to the gynaecologist looking to schedule a routine check-up, only to be told that at age 21, I wasn’t entitled to such unless I had health complaints. I was struck – I had been so sure that I needed to get checked annually! The crux of a routine check-up is the ‘pap smear’. A quick, cheap and non-intrusive procedure, it can reveal the presence of abnormal cells indicative of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is therefore easily preventable if its precursors are detected early. In the Netherlands, screening starts at age 30 and is ideally done every five years; in Germany, screening involves women age 20 onwards, and is done annually. The World Health Organization urges to begin routine gynaecological check-ups at age 30 – the Netherlands thus abides by the medically necessary standards. Rather than asking why the Netherlands ‘start so late’, I must ask: Why does Germany start so early?

Testing the COVID-19 vaccine in Africa is a terrible idea – but could it still happen?

My professor at Leiden University College recently asked us as a class about the recent suggestion of French doctors to test a possible COVID-19 vaccine on vulnerable populations in the African continent (read more here). Apart from the fact that this case is absolutely appalling, especially to us as a class studying public health ethics, we were asked to write about whether pharmaceutical companies are bound to respect the ethical guidelines - that is: Even though we agree that it's an absolutely stupid idea, could it still be done? Is there anything stopping pharma companies from doing it? And if there isn't anything stopping them, would they do it?

This was my answer. 

Ending Open Defecation in Eritrea: An Analysis of the Extent of Community Participation

This paper argues that the contemporary community development approach to eradicating open defecation must involve not only those who represent the community traditionally or on a political level, but must be truly inclusive of all community members. To come to this conclusion, the paper first reviews Community Led Total Sanitation as an approach and assesses it suitability to end open defecation through the lens of collective action theory and Asset Based Community Development. Second, the paper considers the case study of Eritrea, where the government launched the above-mentioned approach in 2008 in collaboration with UNICEF. Finally, the case study of Eritrea is used to understand how gender and power issues ought to be better integrated into eradicating open defecation.