Health News update is a weekly news collation of health news which is shared on the Repro health list serve and archived on this website.

Health News

March 2009

Students roped in for TB drug hunt

New Delhi | Mar 19, 2009

In a first of its kind real-time drug discovery project, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is engaging young science graduates across the world to find a tuberculosis drug. It is called Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD). In India, three TB patients die every two minutes and 1.8 million new cases are reported every year. TB is one of the leading causes of death in India. Ever since TB therapy (known as DOTS) was developed in the 1960s, there has been no significant advancement in this field. There is a need for a more effective and affordable drug with shorter treatment duration.


Read more...

New diagnostic aid to detect drug-resistant TB

New Delhi | Mar 28, 2009

Around 1.1 lakh Indians suffering from tuberculosis are developing drug resistance every year. What’s worse, at present, it takes over three months to confirm a single drug resistant case. This has now made the health ministry join hands with Geneva-based Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics to test new age diagnostic tools that will detect multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in just two days.

Read more...

Seven-fold decrease in TB cases in India

New Delhi | Mar 27, 2009

Death from TB has dropped from 29 per cent to 4 per cent - an over 7-fold decrease - and cure rates have risen from 25 per cent to 86 per cent over the past decade, says India's tuberculosis report 2009. Over 1.9 million of the world's 9.1 million people with TB live in India, but Multidrug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) is not increasing, said the report named the Revised National TB Control Programme Annual Report 2009.

Read more...

Include mental health issues in election manifestos”

New Delhi | Mar 27, 2009
A group of citizens, professionals and organisations committed to the cause of mental health have written to all major political parties in the country to include mental health issues in their election manifestos by emphasising the need to allocate funds, plan infrastructure and implement a preventive as well as interventional approach-based policy for mental health care.


Read more...

Bid to involve political will in drive against TB

New Delhi | Mar 26, 2009
Building on this year’s international theme of World TB Day, the Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS, representing the most vulnerable population, is asking through a nationwide campaign to mark accountability of the political leadership in controlling tuberculosis. The campaign coincides with the election process in the country and was simultaneously rolled out from different State capitals on Tuesday. Rallies of tuberculosis patients and grassroots workers were organised to mark the launch of the campaign.


Read more...

India's healthcare system needs revamp

New Delhi | Mar 26, 2009

India's healthcare system needs to be decentralised and revamped to cater to people in both urban and rural areas, experts said. Public Health Foundation India Chairman Srinath Reddy said that there is a need to decentralise our health system. Local bodies and panchayats, rather than the central government, should have control over government hospitals and primary healthcare centres. They should have the right to hire or fire a medical practitioner based on his performance.

Read more...

Demand to enact a ‘national health act’

New Delhi | Mar 25, 2009


Seeking to draw the attention of political parties to issues of health that often get drowned in the cacophony of slogans, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan on Monday released a People’s Health Manifesto in order to bring health onto the national agenda. The Abhiyan, which is a national platform working for people’s health, demanded the enactment of a National Health Act to guarantee the right to comprehensive, quality healthcare at public expense in health institutions to all people.

Read more...

Spread awareness of polio vaccination’

Chennai | Mar 25, 2009


In the latest push towards the eradication of polio in the face of a new round of incidence in parts of the world including in certain States of India, community leaders have been urged to convince their followers of the safety and importance of polio vaccination. Statistics released by the World Health Organisation show that 14 cases of polio have been noted in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi so far this year, and India ranks second among the four remaining countries in which polio exists: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria. (Some 40 cases have been identified in Sudan as well in the latest round, according to media reports.)

Read more...

World Tuberculosis Day observed

Puducherry | Mar 24, 2009


An awareness meeting for patients, public, doctors and staff was held as part of the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day at the Urban Health Centre of Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences at Muthialpet on Sunday. According to a release, the departments of Community Medicine and Chest Medicine of the institute organised the meeting to bring the patients, their families and general public on a common platform to discuss TB control.

Read more...

Medical interns urged to develop sociogram of TB patients

Puducherry | Mar 23, 2009

Head of preventive and social medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) M.B. Soudarssanane urged medical interns to develop a sociogram of tuberculosis (TB) patients to find out their close contacts as it would help in the detection of new cases. Observing the World Tuberculosis Day at JIPMER’s Urban Health Centre on Saturday, he spoke on the need to strengthen anti-tuberculosis services.

Read more...

Study: HIV cases on rise in the State

Bhubaneshwar | Mar 22, 2009


HIV prevalence among adults in the State has increased by three folds between 2002 and 2006, said a multi-centre study. This piece of information assumed significance as HIV prevalence among adults in the country came down from 0.45 per cent to 0.36 per cent of the population in the same period. According to a report appeared in Indian Journal of Medicine, in 2002, the adult HIV prevalence in 2002 Orissa was estimated at 0.06 per cent while it climbed to 0.22 per cent in 2006.

Read more...

Women still have long way to go

New Delhi | Mar 11, 2009

India’s growth is now a global case study But women are still far from being equal participants in that change, a new government study has revealed. The study shows a four percent improvement in Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) in a decade. GEM measures the ability of men's and women to participate in economic and political life of a country.

Read more...

80 yrs since ban, 45% of girls still married off before 18

New Delhi | Mar 11, 2009

Laws banning child marriages were introduced in the country in 1929 but 80 years down the line, the social ill continues to be as grave as ever. Nearly half the women in India are married off before they reach the legal age of 18, a joint Indo-American study announced in the medical journal ‘Lancet’ on Tuesday. It says that economic and educational reforms in India have failed to lower the prevalence of child marriages, fuelling risks of multiple unwanted pregnancies, their termination and sterilisations.

Read more...

Antibiotics combo may be cure for drug-resistant TB

New Delhi | Mar 11, 2009

The world’s most dangerous tuberculosis strain — the extremely drug resistant (XDR) TB — has finally been slain, but only in the lab. American scientists have found that a combination of two FDA-approved drugs Clavulanate and Meropenem, completely blocked the growth of 13 strains of XDR TB, isolated in the lab. Phase II clinical trials on humans are now being planned simultaneously in South Korea and South Africa. Scientists have reported their breakthrough in the latest issue of the ‘Science’ journal.

Read more...

Action plan needed for preventing child marriages

Jaipur | Mar 11, 2009

Social activists, experts and academicians here on Tuesday discussed the scope for evolving an action plan for prevention of child marriages in Rajasthan with emphasis on generating awareness among the rural populace and providing better education, health care and social security to the girl child in villages. The dialogue was organised by the Rajasthan Government’s Women and Child Development Department in association with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW).

Read more...

Gender empowerment: A hard task for poor states

New Delhi | Mar 10, 2009

Gender development and empowerment indices have not improved in India particularly in low-income states, a report by the Women and Child Development Ministry said. The report also says that that there was an urgent need for these states to work towards reducing poverty and multi-dimensional deprivation and that in most of the low-income states there is massive gap between gender empowerment and the high Human Development Index (HDI) and Gender Development Index (GDI).

Read more...

Paying the price of killing daughters - Foeticide exists although nobody talks about it openly.

Satwai, Meerut | Mar 10, 2009

Rampant foeticide has ensured that there are more men than women in the village with a skewed sex ratio of 860 girls to 1000 boys in the 0-6 age group. Facing a shortage of nubile girls, villagers forced to purchase brides for their sons. Even in the neighbouring villages of Mallarpur, Dhedhra, Madhi and Bhola Jhar people buy brides. District Magistrate Kamini Chauhan Rattan even constituted a Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) committee last year to check the incidents of foeticide in the district.


Read more...

HLL Lifecare to set up 100 hospitals in India

Thiruvananthapuram | Mar 09, 2009

HLL Lifecare has announced that it has tied up with US based Acumen Fund to set up a chain of 100 hospitals across India by 2013. The joint venture is aimed at providing high quality service at affordable rates in the country. The joint venture company is a 50:50 equity partnership between his firm and Acumen Fund, a non-profit philanthropy venture fund.

Read more...

Anti-retroviral therapy centre opened at Koraput

Koraput | Mar 12, 2009

The fourth Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centre of the State was inaugurated by Gadadhar Parida, district Collector, in he district headquarter hospital here on Wednesday. This ART centre will provide drugs as well as CD 4 and other testing facilities to HIV-positive patients. The ART centre will function on ‘out-patient’ basis and the patients requiring hospitalization will be referred to the district hospital.

Read more...

Public medicine store a success

Jaipur | Mar 13, 2009

The first “Jan Aushadhi Store” (public medicine store) of Rajasthan, opened at Kanvatia Government Satellite Hospital here recently, has started supplying generic medicines to patients at prices several times lower than those of branded medicines, bringing relief to the common people. Medical and Health Minister Aimaduddin Ahmed Khan, has announced that similar centres would be opened in government hospitals at all district headquarters across the State within the next three months.

Read more...

COURT UPDATE - ‘Set up rehab centres for mentally ill women’

New Delhi | Mar 13, 2009

The Delhi High Court on Thursday passed a slew of directions to the Delhi government aimed at improving the treatment and rehabilitation of women in need of psychiatric care. This includes setting up of mental health treatment centres. The directions came on a PIL that brought to the court’s attention the plight of model Geetanjali Nagpal who was rescued by Delhi Commission of Women volunteers.

Read more...

Imminent closure of AIDS centre shocks patients

Munbai | Mar 14, 2009

The days of good affordable medical care are over for thousands of HIV/AIDS patients in the State. By the end of next month, the AIDS Research and Control Centre (ARCON) here will close its doors to 10,000 patients as the project timeline ends on April 30. Global Fund, an international network of organisations, which aided the project, will not be renewing its grant to ARCON — an autonomous organisation of the government of Maharashtra, set up since 1994.

Read more...

ESIC to take employee healthcare online

New Delhi | Mar 13, 2009

The Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) in India has decided to automate and web-enable its services to ensure better healthcare facilities to the beneficiaries. The Rs 1,182 crore project Panchdeep will not only enable the organisation connect it's headquarter with all its offices and centres, it would also enable ESIC to provide employers and beneficiaries online facility for registration, payment of premium and disbursement of cash benefits.

Read more...

All ongoing clinical trials of medicines to be made public

Ahmedabad |Mar 13, 2009

The office of the Drug Controller General of India is preparing a list of all the clinical trials currently being carried out by contract research organisations (CROs) across the country and plans to make them available online, an official said here.


Read more...

Mental health facilities in city are inadequate

New Delhi | Mar 15, 2009


The mental health services in Delhi are not adequate to cater to the growing demands and as a result nearly 70% patients never make it to a mental health facility. Only nine government hospitals run a psychiatric OPD and just five of these have an in-patient facility for psychiatry patients. Various Indian studies have shown that nearly 10-15% of the populace suffers from some form of mental health disorder and 1-3% suffer from serious mental health disorders.

Read more...

HLL Lifecare opens first contraceptive outlet

Thiruvananthapuram |Mar 16 2009

HLL Lifecare Ltd, premier manufacturer of contraceptives and various healthcare products, Monday here opened its first retail outlet in the country. The company currently has 20,000 vending machines across the country. These machines mostly sell HLL's social marketing contraceptives, whereas the outlet, christened as 'Moods Planet', would sell almost all products of the company.

Read more...

No lessons learnt from outbreak - Focus on private hospitals in Gujarat, but govt hospitals are no better

Ahmedabad | Mar 02, 2009

The State government does not seem to have learnt any lesson from the outbreak of Hepatitis B in Modasa that has claimed 56 lives. A visit to the state-administered civil hospital in the capital shows how vulnerable patients and their relatives remain to infections from medical waste. The waste disposal charter says there should be four differently coloured bags to dispose of different kinds of wastes. But every bag inspected contained a mixture of all kinds of waste ranging from dressing cotton to surgical blades.

Read more...

AIDS awareness campaign gains momentum in India

New Delhi | Mar 03, 2009

Vice President Hamid Ansari released a book on AIDS here last evening. The book titled "Hopes Alive: Surviving AIDS and Despair" is published by FXB India Suraksha. Addressing a gathering, Ansari said that the significance of the public health challenge posed by HIV/AIDS was widely accepted and undeniable, adding that vulnerable groups without any roof over their heads required special attention.

Read more...

Himachal plans tele-medicine network

Shimla | Mar 04, 2009
Faced with huge challenge of providing healthcare facilities to people in remote areas, the Government of Himachal Pradesh in conjunction with the state’s Department of Information Technology has started an ambitious telemedicine project to connect patient with doctors.The initiative envisages connecting 19 health centres at district, block and tehsil headquarters with Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) Shimla and PGI Chandigarh through ISDN link to facilitate experts' advice.


Read more...

Reproductive healthcare in South Asia abysmal: WB

New Delhi | Mar 06, 2009
South Asian women face hundred times greater risk of dying during childbirth than women in the industrialised countries, a World Bank report said. The report, titled 'Sparing Lives: Better Reproductive Health for Poor Women in South Asia', analysed the current state of reproductive health in five South Asian countries namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In India while there are positive strides in the areas of fertility and infant mortality, maternal mortality ratio, immunisation coverage and malnutrition remain a cause for concern.


Read more...

NGO to ask MPs their role in tuberculosis control

New Delhi | Mar 06, 2009
A non governmental organisation (NGO), working for tuberculosis patients, has initiated a study to know steps taken by parliamentarians to control the disease in their constituencies. The NGO will send a questionnaire to all members of 14th Lok Sabha seeking information regarding steps taken by them to spread awareness about tuberculosis. The data will then be collated and a report will be prepared that will be handed to the government to ensure parliamentarians are involved in tuberculosis awareness programme.


Read more...

Five polio cases detected in Bihar

Patna | Mar 02, 2009

Five new cases of polio have been detected in Bihar in the first two months of this year despite immunisation drive, an official in the state health department said. This is three less than in Uttar Pradesh, which has had the highest incidence of the infection during 2008. According to the Unicef official, of the five polio cases, two are P1 and three are P3 strain cases. He said eight new cases of polio have been detected in Uttar Pradesh and one in Delhi till February 27. Of the eight cases in Uttar Pradesh, four are of P1 and P3 each.

Read more...

MCI opposes rural posting for PG medical students

New Delhi | Mar 02, 2009

Raising concern over the central government's decision to make one year rural posting mandatory for doctors seeking post-graduation, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has said it was "not feasible" and would only delay their specialisation schedule. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had said that the government has decided to make one-year combined rural posting mandatory for doctors seeking post-graduation from the next academic session. The decision on rural posting was endorsed by the states in the meeting of the Central Council for Health and Family Welfare last month.

Read more...

3,000 AIDS patients to get free second-line drugs

New Delhi | Mar 02, 2009

With the number of HIV positive and AIDS patients developing resistance to the first set of medicines on the rise, India is planning to provide second line treatment to over 3,000 patients. Informing this at the launch of the World Bank report on HIV and AIDS in South Asia, NACO head K Sujatha Rao said that the country has already provided treatment to 46 patients who needed second line treatment. According to Rao, presently NACO is providing the treatment only from two centres in Mumbai and Chennai, but plans to open eight more centres in the country.

Read more...

'Prisoners share shaving blades, face HIV risk'

New Delhi | Feb 27, 2009

A parliamentary standing committee on the implementation of prison reforms in its report on Thursday said that the prisoners risk HIV and other diseases as they share shaving blades. The sub-committee visited various jails across the country and presented a report before both houses of parliament on Thursday. The sub-committee found economically poor undertrials do not get sufficient financial help to defend themselves in court

Read more...

India launches pan-African e-network project

New Delhi | Feb 27, 2009

India's ambitious e-network project, linking leading universities and hospitals in this country with their counterparts in 11 African nations via satellite, was inaugurated on Thursday evening by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who termed it a "shining example of South-South cooperation". Online medical consultation will be also provided for one hour every day to each participating African country for a period of five years in various medical disciplines.

Read more...

Status report on the Capital’s children

New Delhi | Mar 02, 2009

The preliminary findings of the “Alternate Report on the Status of the Young Child in India” brought out by Plan India and Forum for Crèche and Childcare Services states that children under-six have been treated as a concern of women and belonging solely to the domain of the family. Hence they have to constantly strive against inadequacy of policies, programmes, implementation and lack of political ill resulting in their poor health, low nutrition status, high mortality, poor readiness for school and retention within the educational system. This situation is linked closely to the low health, social and economic status of women in India and therefore requires urgent investigation,” notes the report.

Read more...

Official expresses concern over maternal mortality

Koraput | Mar 02, 2009

A district-level workshop on maternal and pre-natal mortality inquiries and response was organised by the Koraput chapter of White Ribbon Alliance in the conference hall of the CDMO office at Koraput. Sanjit Patnaik, convener of the WRA Koraput chapter, expressed concern over the high incidence of maternal mortality in the region. He said that the aim of the study, which was carried out in Kalahandi, Koraput, Bolangir, Rayagada, Nuapada, Malkangiri, Sonepur and Nowrangpur districts over the last three years, was identification of social and biological causes of preventable maternity deaths at community level.

Read more...

Over 60% teen girls anaemic

New Delhi | Mar 09, 2009

More than 60% teenage Indian girls are anaemic with a haemoglobin count of less than 12g/decilitre, the world standard, says a top gynaecologist quoting recent studies. That’s little to cheer even as India celebrated the International Women’s Day on Sunday. In fact, the National Family Health Survey 3 (2006) had reported 56% adolescent girls in India as anaemic. But what is worrying, say gynaecologists, is the increasing incidence of iron-deficiency among city-bred teens.

Read more...