Microbicides advocacy in India has come a long way over the past decade and a new publication, the MSI Microbicide Monitor, is the latest fruit of this progress. Providing a weekly snapshot of major microbicides-related news from around the world, the Monitor includes news highlights from countries where clinical trials are taking place, links to major microbicides-related events and advocacy opportunities and documents India-specific developments on microbicides research and advocacy. Produced and distributed by the Microbicides Society of India (MSI), the publication goes out to about 1,000 Indian microbicides advocates using a listserv (http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/microbicide/) created in 2005 at a South Indian advocacy workshop convened by the Global Campaign for Microbicides (GCM) and Indian Network of NGOs on HIV/AIDS (INN).
Collaborations initiated years ago and well nurtured by determined advocates, and have grown into what is now the Microbicides Society of India. "GCM's history of working with advocates, policy-makers and researchers in India makes the formation of the Microbicides Society of India and publication of its Monitor especially momentous to us," said GCM Director Yasmin Halima. "We began working in India in 2000 and co-hosted the 2003 National Policy Meeting on Microbicides and HIV Prevention Options for Women in New Delhi. That led to the formation of a multi-sectoral Microbicides [National] Working Group, coordinated for several years by GCM and PATH India. The Campaign has worked closely over the years with MSI President Dr [Badri N] Saxena and several MSI officers and Executive Committee members including Drs Sanjay Mehendale, Suniti Solomon, Nomita Chandhiok, SK Gupta [among others]," she continued, "and we congratulate them on their decision to establish this initiative," she concluded.
She added that GCM looks forward to ongoing synergies, including information sharing between the Monitor and F-SPOT (Female STI/HIV Prevention Options Today), an e-forum moderated by GCM. Created in 2007, F-SPOT provides a forum for Indian advocates and researchers to exchange information, ideas, strategies, and lessons learned on female initiated prevention. GCM looks forward to promoting the MSI Microbicides Monitor to its participants and is confident that this new resource will further inform and stimulate discussion across advocacy, research and policy sectors.
The MSI Microbicides Monitor is available at http://microbicide.blogspot.com and to join F-SPOT, email the moderator, Bindiya Patel at [email protected] .
Bobby Ramakant, CNS
(The author is a World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General's WNTD Awardee (2008) and writes extensively on health and development. He is a Fellow of CitizenNews Service (CNS) Writers' Bureau. Website: www.citizen-news.org, email: [email protected])
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