Kathmandu, March 23, 2007

The visiting European Parliament delegation head, Neena Gill, today expressed disappointment over continued extortion, intimidation and threats and said that an interim government could only be formed when all political players take their responsibility seriously. “They (political parties) must realise that they have their responsibility towards peace and democracy.

There is an urgent need for all parties to keep with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to respect it. A prosperous Nepal, where all people reap the dividends of peace, is a Nepal where citizens and the business community witness no intimidation,” Gill told reporters at a press meet here today.

She added that elections to constituent assembly cannot be free and fair unless “key players” in the political spectrum create a conducive environment. Gill, however, cautioned that if elections fail to happen in time, this would send a “bad signal” both inside and outside the country. She suggested an urgent need to restore law and order situation to ensure free and fair polls. “We are ready to send a substantial number of election observers to Nepal,” she said, adding that they hope that polls would take place on time.

Gill assured support of the international community to Nepal if intimidation and extortion is stopped. She also expressed happiness over the coalition of the eight political parties in Nepal and said it was significant that eight political parties from a totally different spectrum were working together.

Nepal yet to achieve MDG on TB control

Kathmandu, March 23, 2007

Nepal is still lagging behind in achieving the millennium development goal (MDG) on TB control. The MDG states that TB should not remain a public health problem. Dr Pushpa Malla, director, National Tuberculosis Centre (NTC), told this daily that the country has achieved the global target of TB control of 70 per cent case finding and 85 per cent cure of the total cases. This year, the government is celebrating World TB Day with the message ‘TB anywhere is TB everywhere’. It is estimated that 45 per cent of the total population is infected with TB.

Sixty per cent of the infected are adults. According to the NTC, there are 80,000 TB patients and each year 40,000 people will be infected. There is a rapid increase in the number of cases with both HIV and TB, which is a deadly combination, and HIV among TB patients too is posing a huge threat, as TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV. The sentinel site survey conducted in 2001 by the NTC showed that 2.3 per cent of the TB patients are infected with HIV/AIDS. “The national TB programme has incorporated a policy to address both TB and HIV/AIDS. The policy must be endorsed at the earliest to save the lives of many,” said Dr Malla.