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

August 2009

Immunisation coverage reaches 62.3 per cent

Koraput | August 31, 2009

Immunisation performance was on a constant rise in the State over the years. While the coverage of measles vaccination was 81.4 per cent, the rate of full immunization coverage had reached to the extent of 62.3 per cent in the State which was much higher than the average national average. It was for the second time in the last two years that the Department of Health and Family Welfare was carrying out assessment of vaccine states in collaboration with Unicef to strengthen and further improve the immunization system all across the State.

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Junior doctors' strike claims 32 lives in Bihar

Patna |August 30, 2009

Thirty two patients admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) have died amid a strike by junior doctors that entered its fourth day Sunday. Lack of doctors in the emergency ward led to most deaths. But the government is yet to confirm a single death due to the ongoing strike. More than 400 junior doctors went on an indefinite strike Wednesday evening, demanding a hike in stipend and payment of salary instead of stipend.

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No MTP without consent even if woman is retarded: Supreme Court

New Delhi | August 30, 2009

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) cannot be done without the consent of the woman even if she is mentally retarded and not in a position to understand the consequences, the Supreme Court held on Friday. The Bench said: “There is no doubt that a woman’s right to make reproductive choices is also a dimension of ‘personal liberty’ as understood under Article 21. The crucial consideration is that a woman’s right to privacy, dignity and bodily integrity should be respected. Taken to their logical conclusion, reproductive rights include a woman’s entitlement to carry a pregnancy to its full term to give birth and to subsequently raise children.”

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“Media is not giving polio the attention it deserves”

Puducherry | August 30, 2009

The A(H1N1) flu is a market-driven pandemic which the media has sensationalised, said S. Elango, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Government of Tamilnadu. Dr. Elango opined that while the media was hankering after news on the A(H1N1) flu, a disease such as polio, that crippled children, was not receiving due attention.Talking of polio eradication efforts in Tamil Nadu, he said that even though the last case of poliomyelitis in the State was detected in February 2004, there was a need for sustained efforts to fight the disease, especially with migrant workers from high-risk States such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh coming in every day.

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Online monitoring of institutional deliveries

Jaipur | Aug 26, 2009

The Rajasthan Government has launched an online system for monitoring institutional deliveries at the health sub-centres and strengthened the registration system for pregnant women in the rural areas. “Dais” (midwives) in the villages have been authorised to help in the institutional deliveries. State Principal Medical and Health Secretary R.K. Meena said at a review meeting in Jodhpur that all facilities under the Janani Suraksha Yojana would be available at the health sub-centres, while special arrangements have been made for carrying pregnant women to these centres.

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Bihar woman gets compensation for failed sterilisation

Patna | Aug 26, 2009

A consumer forum in Bihar has ordered a government doctor to pay compensation of Rs.1.5 lakh to a woman who became pregnant after being sterilised by him. Ranjan Bala, in her late 30s, underwent a sterilisation operation at Maharajganj Health Centre sterilisation camp in Siwan in 2001. After nearly five years, when she went to New Delhi for a medical check up, she was surprised to know that she was four months pregnant.

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Sex ratio shows positive change

New Delhi | Aug 26, 2009

The Annual Report on Registration of Births and Deaths in Delhi 2008 that was released on Tuesday reinforced the city government’s claims of a dramatic improvement in the capital’s sex ratio at birth from 848 females per 1,000 males in 2007 to 1,004 in 2008. While the ravings on Laadli continued, the scheme, if the report is to be believed, seems to be working with a distinct religious bias.

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Chhattisgarh stares at massive health threat

Raipur | Aug 26, 2009

Nearly three million people in Chhattisgarh are said to be suffering from sickle cell anaemia, a genetic disorder that can be life threatening. The state is now screening its entire population in the 3-15 age groups to detect the disease early and step up awareness. The Centre for Genetic Diseases and Molecular Biology, set up by the state government to control the disease, has launched the Chhattisgarh Sickle Cell Screening Project to take blood samples.

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49 new polio cases detected in Bihar

Patna | Aug 24, 2009
As many as 49 new cases of polio have been detected in Bihar in the past seven months despite immunisation drives. The new figures were revealed by a new polio status report released by the Indian National Polio Plus Committee Rotary International here. This spells bad news for the ongoing battle against polio in Bihar, which has been recording the second highest incidence of the disease in India for the last few years after neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
A Unicef official said that of the 49 polio cases, 16 are of the highly infectious polio strain virus P1 and the remaining are P3 strain cases.

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“Create public awareness on health care”

Chandigarh | Aug 23, 2009

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has written a letter to about 70,000 Panches and Sarpanches and elected representatives of urban bodies in the State urging them to create public awareness on health care schemes and the free services being provided by the Health Department.

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Orissa pays Rs. 5 lakh to woman for medical negligence

New Delhi | Aug 28, 2009

The Orissa government has complied with a National Human Rights Commission order, paying Rs. 5 lakh to Binapani Khatua of Cuttack district for negligence on the part of two doctors who left surgical scissors in her belly while operating on her for delivering her first child in 2003. Binapani had to bear with severe abdomen pain for four years before the scissors was detected in an X-ray examination in another hospital. Later she was operated upon to remove the instrument. In the process, her uterus was impaired and she could no longer bear a child.

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HIV centre gay forum to fight stigma

New Delhi | Aug 28, 2009

Located in Ganesh Nagar, the Delhi State AIDS Control Society-sponsored centre, Shape India has emerged as a platform for discussing concerns of the gay community in the capital. There are 500 people in the target group the NGO has reached out to in east Delhi itself. A number of those who come for counselling and health check-ups at the Monday clinic hail from the lower and middle income groups. According to Shape India volunteers, there are about a dozen such centres across the city.

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H1N1 vaccine ready, India yet to book doses

New Delhi | Aug 29, 2009

The first batches of swine flu vaccine rolled out from Baxter Inc labs on Friday but there’s little to cheer for India. While the first supplies from Baxter went to the British health network, subsequent batches from Baxter and other companies have been booked by countries such as US and UK which are stockpiling the vaccine to ward off a harsher bout of swine flu.

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First of its kind: A clinic just for transgenders

Puducherry | Aug 29, 2009

Transgenders, often distanced by society, will soon have a clinic functioning exclusively for them in this former French enclave. The Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute showcased a clinic, which, they claimed was the first such medical facility for transgenders in south India. The clinic boasting of providing complete health care services for transgenders will offer consultation and treatment free of cost in the disciplines of gynaecology, urology, dermatology, psychiatry and paediatrics.

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MCI to be scrapped, single council to regulate medical education

Bangalore | Aug 28, 2009

A task force of the Union health ministry has decided to scrap all regulatory bodies, including the Medical Council of India, Dental Council of India, Pharmacy Council and the Nursing Council. There will instead be a single regulatory body — National Council for Human Resources in Health — which will oversee seven departments related to medicine, nursing, dentistry, rehabilitation and physiotherapy, pharmacy, public health/hospital management and allied health sciences.

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Nalco holds mobile health camps

Bhubaneshwar | Aug 29, 3009

As part of the corporate social responsibility, Nalco organised a series of mobile health camps on Friday in the periphery villages of Damanjodi, covering Jhalaguda village of Laxmipur block and Tala Rangapani, Majhi Rangapani and Upper Rangapani Gunjiguda villages of Narayanpatna block in Koraput district. A team of doctors from Nalco visited the villages and treated more than 250 patients. Free medicines were also distributed among them.

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Mystery virus kills 137 in UP, experts clueless

New Delhi | August 21, 2009

It’s a virus that has already claimed over 100 lives but Indian and American scientists seem to have no clue about what it is. While the entire country is busy dealing with H1N1 influenza, a mystery virus is causing havoc in Uttar Pradesh. Since January, the state has recorded 665 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) — a severe neurological condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Around 137 people have already succumbed to the viral infection.

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People with HIV, TB, malaria should not rely on homeopathy, says WHO

London | August 21, 2009

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned people with HIV, TB and malaria to stay away from the use of homeopathic medicines. The WHO's statement came following concerns of young researchers who fear that encouraging the use of homeopathy in developing countries could risk people's lives. Medics from the UK and Africa had written to the WHO in June asking the body to discourage the use of homeopathic treatment.

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West Bengal not ready to tackle swine flu: Minister

New Delhi |August 21, 2009

Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Trivedi said West Bengal is not ready to tackle the spread of swine flu and remarked that the state's hospitals have "more ratsand dogs than doctors". The state is not ready to tackle the spread of swine flu virus, Trivedi, a Trinamool Congress MP, told IANS on the sidelines of a meeting on National Rural Health Mission in the capital.

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States must shed lethargy on healthcare, H1N1 fronts: Azad

New Delhi |August 21, 2009

State governments had "chickened out" of their responsibilities and were to be blamed for not doing enough to control the spread of the H1N1 virus or improve health infrastructure, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said. Currently, India spends 1.41 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health but more efforts are required on the parts of central and state government to mobilise resources. "It is unfortunate that state governments have failed to spend money (that the central government has provided), which they should have done," Azad said.

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Himachal Pradesh Govt. sets up toll free number for swine flu information

New Delhi | August 21, 2009

The Himachal Pradesh Government has started a toll free number to provide information on swine flu to the general public. The state's Health Minister, Dr.Rajeev Bindal, told a health ministers conference that a state team comprising of epidemiologist, physician and microbiologists has been trained at national level and sensitization workshops have been conducted at state and district level to raise the awarness about swine flu among health practioners and general masses. He also said that teams have been formed to treat suspected swine flu patients in the state.

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States asked to buy testing kits and protective equipment

New Delhi | August 22, 2009

The Centre on Friday asked the State governments to buy testing kits and protective equipment for health workers from the funds allocated under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). This was conveyed to the State Health Ministers, who were here to attend a review meeting of the NRHM, chaired by the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. Under the present arrangement, testing kits and protective equipment, along with medicines, were being supplied free of cost to the States by the Centre to fight swine flu.

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Junior doctors' strike claims 6 lives in Bihar

Patna |Aug 28, 2009

Six patients admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) here died amid a strike by junior doctors which entered its second day Friday crippling medical services. More than 400 junior doctors went on an indefinite strike demanding hike in stipends. The strike has badly hit the emergency services and dozens of surgeries have been postponed. Meanwhile, the hospital authorities have sought the help of the health department to cope with the situation. More than 50 doctors have been requisitioned from nearby hospitals.

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Intermediate Reference Lab for TB awaits accreditation

Puducherry | Aug 28, 2009

The Central Tuberculosis Division of the Directorate General of Health Services is in the process of accrediting the Intermediate Reference Laboratory (IRL) for TB at the Government Hospital for Chest Diseases at Gorimedu. Director of Health Dilip Kumar Baliga said the lab had all facilities and capabilities to carry out drug susceptibility testing and drug resistance testing. It was maintaining high quality standards.

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‘Free’ treatment pegged at Rs. 2,000

Bangalore| Aug 29, 2009

After announcing free treatment for Influenza A(H1N1) patients in private hospitals, the State Government on Friday issued an order pegging the ceiling for testing, screening and treatment costs at Rs. 2,000. If the bill amount is less than Rs. 2,000, the actual cost will be borne, the order stated.

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Call for maternal health legislation

New Delhi | August 02, 2009

The Centre for Reproductive Rights has called upon the legal fraternity to seek accountability for human rights violation arising from maternal mortality. Collaborate with activists and public health experts to develop PIL claiming that the right to survive pregnancy and childbirth is a constitutionally protected right, a report “Maternal Mortality in India: Using International and Constitutional law to Promote Accountability and Change” has recommended.

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Total polio eradication in India by 2012

New Delhi | August 20, 2009

After missing the deadline by over two years, India, one of the few polio infected countries in the world, will spend Rs 32.04 billion to wipe out the disease from the country in next three years. According to Chidambaram, the annual strategy for polio eradication over the next three years had been decided on the recommendations of the India Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) comprising national and international experts.

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Modi Govt. invokes Epidemic Act, as 9 fresh cases of H1N1 reported

Ahmedabad | August 19, 2009

Expressing concern over the consistent rise in swine flu cases in different parts of the State, the Gujarat government on Wednesday opted to invoke the Epidemic Act. Gujarat recorded nine fresh H1N1 infections on Wednesday. With Wednesday's invocation of the Epidemic Act, Gujarat joined Maharashtra, Haryana and Delhi who have already invoked the Act.

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Court notice on plea alleging 'blood trading racket'

New Delhi |August 19, 2009

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued a notice to the Delhi government seeking information about the medical guidelines followed by all state-run hospitals for blood donation as a petitioner alleged "a racket in the trading of blood". The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by an NGO, Society for Voice of Human Rights and Justice, which alleged that the government hospitals are refusing to admit patients in times of crisis if they failed to donate blood.

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“Tuberculosis Control Programme schemes need greater flexibility”

Kolkata | August 08, 2009

The need for greater flexibility in the schemes of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, depending on the geographical terrain and population density, was underscored at the two-day Regional Consultative Meeting of Partners of the Partnership for Tuberculosis Care and Control in India, which ended here on Friday. A number of regional and national issues in the fight against tuberculosis emerged during the discussion.

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Legalize surrogacy to ward off infertility stigma: Law panel

New Delhi | August 07, 2009

Keeping in mind the controversy whipped up by surrogate Japanese baby Manji, the Law Commission has strongly pitched for legalising surrogacy in India and recommended several steps to protect the interests of the surrogate mother and also the baby she carries in her womb on contract. Submitting the 228th report of the commission to law minister Veerappa Moily, chairman Justice A R Lakshmanan said infertility as a medical condition was a huge impediment in the overall well-being of couples and could not be overlooked, especially in a patriarchal society like India.

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Call for coordination between AIDS and TB control programmes

Kolkata | August 07, 2009

West Bengalis one of the five States which have managed to control tuberculosis well. But in the past five years, the programme has stagnated. This trend can be changed with the participation of civil society, according to Aniruddha Kar, Director of Health Services. He highlighted three important issues in the government programme — tackling the growing incidence of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB), better coordination between the National AIDS Control Programme, the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) and creating awareness among various communities of the disease.

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Judgment may encourage wife-beaters

New Delhi | August 06, 2009

The Supreme Court’s judgment that “kicking of a daughter-in-law” or “threatening her with divorce” does not amount to “cruelty” has been criticised by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, who has asked the Union government to file a review petition in the apex court. Terming the judgment “retrograde,” Ms. Karat, in a letter addressed to Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, said the verdict would only “further deepen the miseries of women and undo the effect of various legislation passed for the emancipation of women.”

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Drop-in centre to help sex workers

Chandigarh | August 06, 2009
A local NGO’s drop-in centre is used to educate them about sexually transmitted diseases, personal hygiene and contraceptives and also to provide counselling about their personal and professional life. According to the State AIDS Control Society, there are 3,500 female commercial sex workers in Chandigarh which has a population of less than 20 lakh. The centre feels like “the only real home” to many of its members. The centre meets the needs of over 900 sex workers living in adjoining slums and villages, said a volunteer, who is also a sex worker.

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Centre urged to help produce affordable drugs

New Delhi | August 03, 2009

The Small and Medium Scale Pharma Industries Confederation has asked the Union Government to ensure that drugs be made and remain affordable for the common man. It has also urged the Government to look for ways to cut down the prices of medicines by using alternative methods. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Confederation has noted that India is among the biggest bulk and generic drugs manufactures where the out-of-pocket expense on medicine remains very high.

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Generic drug stores to be run at government hospitals

Bhubaneshwar | August 02, 2009

In a bid to provide medicines to people at cheaper price, the Orissa Government is all set to open generic drug stores at government hospitals from at least five places by the end of the month. The Health and Family Welfare department took a policy decision to deliver generic drugs extensively across the State on later stage. “The worth of medicine trade in Orissa has been estimated at Rs. 800 crores annually. The State Government purchases medicines worth Rs. 20 crores and supplies those to government hospitals.

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Puducherry will get Rs.20 crore under NRHM: Union Minister

Puducherry | August 02, 2009

Puducherry will get Rs.20 crore under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) this year according to Union Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture V. Narayanasamy. The Union government has recommended an increase in the number of seats in super-specialty courses in government medical colleges so that more specialists are created. Following the successful implementation of the NRHM, the Central government has allocated funds for the National Urban Health Mission, he pointed out.

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French team takes healthcare to villages

Puducherry | August 02, 2009

A team of doctors and non-medical personnel from France, along with their counterparts in Puducherry, have trained a group of women in Nadukuppam, a fishing hamlet, in aspects of health, childcare, hygiene, nutrition and prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).The French group, Partage Dans Le Monde, started its Puducherry chapter nearly 15 years ago. It had set up dispensaries at Selliamedu, Nadukuppam in Puducherry and Mevalur in Tamil Nadu.

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Madhya Pradesh clueless as children die of malnutrition

Bhopal | August 01, 2009

The State government’s efforts appear half-hearted, as severe malnutrition has claimed the lives of over 450 children under six, in at least four districts of Madhya Pradesh since May 2008, as per figures provided by various NGOs. According to NFHS-III, malnutrition in MP has increased from 54% to 60%, making its children the most undernourished in India. The state also tops the list of States in IMR, with 72 deaths per 1,000 live births, as per Sample Registration Survey 2007-08. The Women and Child Development Department, however, has no clue about these deaths as it does not record or maintain data about malnutrition deaths.

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100 deliveries in a single month at Tirupparankundram PHC

Madurai | August 01, 2009

The primary health centre (PHC) at Tirupparankundram near here crossed an important milestone in maternal care on Friday by performing 100 deliveries in July. Immediately after the PHC achieved a “century in deliveries” for July, medical officers and paramedical staff celebrated the feat after reporting details to Health Department officials. According to officials, there is an urgent need for the PHC to get additional buildings to be able to meet the “increasing load, month after month.”

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‘Become active partners in development schemes’

Neemrana (Rajasthan) | August 09, 2009

Planning Commission Member Syeda Hameed on Saturday called upon the States to become “active partners” in implementation of Centrally-sponsored development schemes and held out an assurance that the mid-term appraisal of the 11th Five Year Plan to be conducted shortly would take into account the financial needs of cash-strapped States. Dr. Hameed said the Planning Commission had been recommending a significant outlay for sectors such as education and health care and added that certain flagship schemes were likely to meet the targets by the end of the 11th Plan, much before 2015 when the MDGs are to be achieved.

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Now poor health of Satna brings shame to Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal | August 09, 2009
The health condition of infants and women in Madhya Pradesh has reached abysmal levels. After shocking data about malnutrition deaths in the State coming to light, recent reports from Satna district reveal sub-standard health condition of infants and women. According to local media reports, 117 babies under the age of one month have died in Satna in the past four months. What is more worrisome is that these deaths, out of 337 live births, took place during institutionalised deliveries in the district hospital which boasts of a special Sick New-born Care (SNC) unit.

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Haryana to accept donations for public healthcare

Chandigarh |August 19, 2009

In a first of its kind of move to involve individuals, corporates and other organisations, the Haryana government has formulated a policy regarding acceptance and management of donations from the public to further strengthen the healthcare systemin the state. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said all donations would be accepted by the district health and family welfare societies headed by the deputy commissioners. Donations in this regard would mean a contribution, grant, property, equipment from a donor without making any commitment of resources or services with a commercial value in return, other than naming opportunities.

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Freedom from shots, kids can sniff measles vaccine

New Delhi | August 18, 2009

A single deep breath could soon vaccinate a child against measles. Next year, India will start human trials of a measles vaccine that will not require a syringe. Instead, a single long breath will deliver the vaccine straight into the child’s lungs. This breakthrough — dry powder inhalable measles vaccine, if found to be as effective as the present day injectible vaccine — will do away with risks of dirty needle infections like HIV and hepatitis and will greatly benefit countries like India which seriously lack proper cold chain facilities and clean water.

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NRHM, tea estates take healthcare to plantation workers

Dibrugarh (Assam) | August 18, 2009

With the media flashing stories about A (H1N1) influenza pandemic round-the-clock, the need for evolving a healthcare system to deal with the situation is being felt in the tea estates of Assam also. The 30-bed hospital in Khowang Tea Estate here, has five isolation beds, but they are mostly reserved for tuberculosis patients. Functioning in partnership with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the hospital caters to the basic healthcare needs of over 3,500 people, primarily plantation workers and their families.

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“Finding qualified health workers a challenge”

New Delhi | August 17, 2009

The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) has said efforts to address inadequacies such as retention of human resource in rural areas should not focus only on physicians, though the challenge to increase the number of doctors is much greater than having enough number of nurses. Recruiting and retaining physicians to serve in lower-level health facilities is difficult, given both the physical conditions in rural areas and the expectations and attitudes of medical graduates. Incentives to prospective health workers would be more effective in the form of packages, the PHFI has said in its policy note series “India Health Beat.”

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Few specialists for infectious disease in India

New Delhi | August 17, 2009

Infectious diseases (ID) kill more people in India than cancer, accidents and natural calamities put together. Yet there are very few doctors in the country who specialise in treating them. The US has over 6,000 specialists in this discipline, even though only six per cent of Americans die of IDs. In contrast, 48 per cent of deaths in India -- around 5 million a year -- are caused by diseases like tuberculosis, typhoid, right down to the recent swine flu, all of which fall in this category. Since there are no specialists -- except a handful who have qualified from abroad -- different doctors take charge depending on the organ the disease has affected. Experts claim this often leads to the wrong antibiotic being prescribed.

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Boat clinic ferries health to Brahmaputra islanders

Dibrugarh (Assam) | August 16, 2009

The arrival of Akha, a mobile boat clinic, brings hope to thousands living in the secluded islands on majestic Brahmaputra in Assam. The concept received a boost after the NGO Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES), entered into a public-private partnership with the State government under the NRHM providing health care facilities to geographically and socially excluded people living on these tiny islands. The infrastructure is provided by the C-NES, while support is given by the government.

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Health insurance cover to be extended to Karaikal

Puducherry | August 16, 2009

The territorial administration will extend health insurance coverage scheme meant for the below poverty line families to the Karaikal region. Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam said the government had spent a total of Rs. 58.16 lakh for providing health insurance coverage to BPL families in Mahe and Yanam regions. The scheme would be extended to Karaikal region also. Listing out government schemes targeted to improve socio-economic condition of Adi- Dravidar people, he said the government had allocated Rs 254.38 crore for implementing various programmes.

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Free medicines for all OPD patients

Chandigarh | August 16, 2009

Inaugurating the State’s first mental health institute in Rohtak, 70 km from Delhi, Mr. Hooda said that all patients coming for treatment at its Out Patient Departments (OPDs) would get medicines free of cost from this coming November 1 which coincides with Haryana Day. At present free medicines were being given to the OPD patients at all other health institutes in the State including district hospitals, community health centres and primary health centres since January 2009. Free medicines were also being given to all patients coming to the Emergency units and for all antenatal services.

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City sex ratio perks up: More girls born in ’08

New Delhi | August 15, 2009

The capital has, for the first time ever, recorded a positive sex ratio. More girls than boys were born in Delhi in 2008, taking the ratio to 1,004 girls for every 1,000 boys. Senior officials were quick to credit the numbers to the Delhi government’s Ladli scheme — which provides parents incentives throughout the girl’s education. In 2007, Delhi’s sex ratio at birth stood at 848 girls per 1,000 boys against a national average of 933 (which in turn is way below WHO’s prescribed ratio of 952). In 2008, 1.67 lakh girls were born in Delhi, against 1.48 lakh in 2007 — a rise of 19,000.

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In Satara, couples defer babies for cash carrots

Satara | August 15, 2009

In 2007, Satara’s officials introduced the voluntary scheme with a corpus of Rs 6 crore from the National Rural Health Mission to curb the rising birth rate in the area. If couples who had tied the knot after April 2007 registered themselves with the zilla parishad and deferred having children for two years, they were promised an incentive of Rs 5,000. Couples who opted to wait a third year would earn Rs 7,500. Although this may appear to be a modest amount, it is tempting in Satara considering the wealthiest residents earn around Rs 15,000 per month and those below the poverty line make roughly Rs 2,000 a month (the average daily wage is Rs 70).

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Nearly five million HIV infected in Asia-Pacific

Jakarta | August 11, 2009

About 4.9 million people are HIV positive in the Asia-Pacific region including in India and China, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. The HIV cases included people who face a high risk of infection such as drug addicts, prostitutes and clients of prostitutes. Most infected have no access to anti-retroviral therapy, the report said

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Huge difference in wholesale and retail prices of medicines

Berhampur | August 01, 2009

Wide difference between wholesale price and retail price of essential drugs and medical equipment continues to remain without any government intervention. Thanks to lack of intervention of the government, poor patients and their relatives are being squeezed of their hard earned income during ailments and hospitalization. At times the quoted retail price of commonly used medical equipment is six to seven times that of the wholesale price.

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