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

October 2009

India may fall short of goal in under-5 mortality reduction

New Delhi | Oct 06, 2009

With four lakh newborns dying annually within the first 24 hours in India and the nation being home to one in every three malnourished children in the world, it will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015. According to the latest report of the Save the Children —‘The Next Revolution: Giving Every Child the Chance to Survive’ — India must accelerate its annual rate of reduction to almost double the present rate in order to meet the MDG commitment.


NACO plans major HIV support programme for Tribals

New Delhi | Oct 08, 2009

India's largely poor and socially underprivileged tribal population will soon get help for combating HIV and AIDS, a disease they are highly vulnerable to because of growing migration and lack of awareness. Besides chalking out an ambitious tribal action plan for the section, the country's National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is also planning to conduct a survey to get a clear fix of the number of tribal population that needs to be covered under its plan. An estimated 2.3 million people have in India are reported to be suffering from HIV.


Health Bill welcomed

New Delhi | Oct 12, 2009

The Joint Forum of Medical Technologists of India, a group of representatives from the allied health services, have welcomed the proposed National Council for Human Resources in Health Bill, 2009, which is likely to be introduced in Parliament during the winter session. This Bill is proposed with a view to establish single statutory national council which will regulate doctors and all other health professionals and other allied health categories.


Abortions down, risk remains high: Only 2 Out Of 5 Procedures In India Are Safe

New Delhi | Oct 16, 2009

Only two in five of the estimated 6.4 million abortions that take place annually in India are safe. The number of women aborting an unwanted child have dipped globally. But the rate of unsafe terminations continues to be almost as bad. Around 41.6 million women underwent abortions in 2003 compared to 45.5 million in 1995—a drop to 29 per 1,000 women from 35. This, however, failed to reduce the number of unsafe abortions performed, which remained relatively flat from 19.9 million to 19.7 million between 1997 and 2003. Such unsafe procedures are also killing 70,000 women a year, mostly in developing countries, according to US-based Guttmacher Institute report called “Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress”.


More takers for voluntary HIV testing in Puducherry

Puducherry | Oct 21, 2009

Voluntary testing for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) has been finding more takers year after year across all four regions of the Union Territory. This trend, according to Pondicherry AIDS Control Society (PACS), will go a long way in de-stigmatising the test among the general population. More people are coming to the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC) for voluntary HIV testing. Initially, these centres motivated persons belonging to the high-risk groups to come for testing. But now, the general public are being motivated to take the test, project director of PACS Gilbert Fernandez said.


HIV-AIDS Bill draft to be discussed afresh

New Delhi Oct 22, 2009

India's Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily said he will discuss the latest draft of the HIV-AIDS Bill with the Health Ministry which, according to patients and civil society, has "key provisions" missing. "The Law Ministry proposed the third draft of the HIV-AIDS Bill after deleting 38 key provisions that the Positive People Networks had demanded. Therefore when we met the Minister we told him that these provisions must be reinstated in the Bill and then passed by the parliament," said Raman Chawla of the Lawyers' Collective.


J-K Health Department goes online: The website provides complete details of all government doctors—name, place of posting, sta

Srinagar | Oct 22, 2009

Now, information about doctors, specialist surgeons and various healthcare services available in the government hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir is easily available thanks to a website recently launched by the state government. The site, a first of its kind in the state was launched by the state Health Minister Sham Lal. The website aims to provide complete details of the government doctors including their name, place of posting, stay at particular station, retirement age and their specialties.


Social factors inhibit immunisation in India

Washington | Oct 22, 2009

A number of social factors like gender, religion, and social status like caste inhibit mothers in India from seeking immunisation of their kids. Even as a record 106 million infants were vaccinated last year against life-threatening diseases, nearly 24 million babies went without full protection with social factors inhibiting immunisation in India, according to a new global health assessment. To get the full round of first-year vaccinations to children in the poorest countries will take another US $1 billion a year, a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Unicef and the World Bank said.


TB, malaria studies get fund boost: City scientists bag grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

New Delhi | Oct 24, 2009

A hand-held electronic nose to accurately detect tuberculosis and a blood-stage malaria vaccine to block the parasite from invading the Red Blood Cells (RBCs) are two of the 76 innovative ideas which have been given the grant by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this year. And with an amount of $100,000, scientists at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) are all set to turn their provocative ideas into reality. Though the treatment for tuberculosis has been established, its diagnosis unfortunately still remains difficult.


Indians' indifference to health frustrates insurers, fitness chains

New Delhi |August 30, 2009

Wellness companies and life insurers have realised that Indian consumers don't always care enough about being fit or ensuring contingency funds for the future. Procrastination and apathy seem to add to the general unawareness about health issues. Little wonder, available statistics suggest that while life insurance penetration in India is about 4.4 percent, those who have insured their health is around 1.2 percent. This apart, the general insurance penetration in India is also rather low in India at 0.6 percent, against the world average of 2.14 percent.


Bill to check bias against HIV patients soon

New Delhi | Sept 22, 2009

Government of India's Law Ministry is soon expected to clear the draft of a bill that aims to prevent discrimination against HIV patients in a country that has one of the highest numbers of people afflicted with the disease. But activists and health officials say this has come after many delays and hiccups. By the end of this month the Law Ministry will send it to the cabinet for approval, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) Chief K Sujatha Rao said. NACO forms policy and implements programmes for the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS in the country.


A tie-up to improve maternal health through family planning

New Delhi | Oct 26, 2009

Population Services International (PSI), a non-profit organisation, and the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) have entered into a partnership to reduce maternal deaths through prevention of unintended pregnancy and to improve maternal health through long-term family planning and safe abortions. It is aimed at improving access for low and middle income people to affordable and high quality intra-uterine device (IUD) services, products and specialised counselling by obstetricians and gynaecologists.


Polio immunisation for migrant children

Madurai | Oct 26, 2009

A special polio immunisation campaign will be held across the State on November 15 to cover migrant children up to the age of five. The special immunisation drive would target children of workers coming from northern States such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and engaged in construction activities in Tamil Nadu, according to S. Elango, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. The special immunisation campaign is being done because polio cases are still being reported from the northern States and there is a possibility of import of polio virus through these sections of population.


Karnataka to set up homes for HIV hit children

Bangalore | Sept 22, 2009

Karnataka will soon provide special homes, to address issues and problems, of the AIDS-HIV infected orphaned children. Five such homes will be set up in north Karnataka." The homes are likely to come up in a couple of months. We'll soon decide on the places in north Karnataka where these homes will be established," Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) Consultant Suresh Shastri said. "Along with taking care of food and shelter, the homes will also provide education to the inmates," Shastri said.


Give free treatment to poor: HC tells Apollo

New Delhi | Sept 23, 2009

The Delhi High Court has directed Apollo Hospital to provide free of cost treatment to poor patients and imposed a fine of Rs 200,000 on it for not abiding by an earlier court order. Giving directions to the hospital, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan asked the hospital to reserve 33 per cent in-house beds and 40 per cent of the OPD for poor patients.


Over 3,500 Karnataka govt doctors resign

Bangalore | Sept 30, 2009

Over 3,500 Karnataka government doctors on Tuesday submitted their resignation protesting the "meagre" hike in salaries. The treatment of patients was, however, not affected as the doctors have given the government two weeks to either accept their demands or their resignations. The doctors went ahead with their letters, rejecting the appeal of the state's retiring Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao to wait till October 4.


Thailand announces AIDS vaccine 'breakthrough'

Bangkok | Sept 24, 2009

Thai health authorities on Thursday announced the first "effective" trial of an HIV-AIDS vaccine on some 16,000 volunteers, reports DPA. "It is found that the vaccine has 31.2 per cent efficacy in reducing the risk of HIV infection," Thai Health Minister Withaya Kaewparadai told a press conference.
"The outcome represents a breakthrough in HIV vaccine development because for the first time ever there is evidence that HIV vaccine has preventative efficacy," he added.


India ropes in SHGs to help women fight HIV

New Delhi | Sept 25, 2009

As HIV infections among India's rural women show an increasing trend, the government is reaching out to them to reduce their vulnerability to AIDS, targeting 40 districts identified across nine states in the country. The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in the country has also roped in women self help groups (SHGs), which will be given special training to disseminate information.


Helpline on health services launched

Cuttack | Oct 01, 2009

With an aim to provide all basic information about the health services like whom to consult, where to be operated and how much the treating expenses would be, a health helpline was inaugurated here on Wednesday. Christened as which is the brainchild of Odissi dance guru Ashis Kumar Das, the helpline was inaugurated by general secretary of Orissa Chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Srijoy Patnaik.


4mn HIV people were treated in 2008: WHO

New Delhi | Oct 01, 2009

Over four million HIV positive people in low-and middle income countries received antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2008, a 36 per cent jump over the previous year and a 10-fold increase over five years. According to a report jointly launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV-AIDS (UNAIDS), tremendous progress in the global HIV-AIDS response was noticed, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said.


India to set up first public health university

New Delhi | Oct 05, 2009

India would soon set up a public health university and an Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) to provide a trained health workforce in the country. The institute, a brainchild of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be set up by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a public-private partnership between the central government, the Delhi government and private players.


India to develop software for immunisation data

New Delhi | Oct 05, 2009

The Government of India Health Ministry is developing software which will keep a thorough record of all health campaigns including immunisation. "The outcome of immunisation drives is not satisfactory.” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said. This software will be provided to all blocks under the National Rural Health Mission as they already have computers and a person to man it. The data will be collected at that level.


No civic amenities, no polio drops: Uttar Pradesh villagers

Lucknow |Oct 06, 2009

Angry with the administration for the apathy towards their complaints on poor civic conditions, residents of two Uttar Pradesh villages decided to protest by boycotting the ongoing pulse polio drive to make themselves heard. Residents of Khalakpur and Mehandi villages in Jyotiba Phule Nagar district, about 300 km from Lucknow, boycotted the pulse polio vaccination drive on Oct 4. According to locals, they will continue to boycott this drive till the administration does not take adequate steps to improve conditions in the area.


UNAIDS top head to visit India, meet PM

New Delhi |Oct 06, 2009

On his first trip to India, the head of UNAIDS will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior ministers to emphasize India's continued support against HIV and AIDS. The visit is to recognize and support the achievements of Indias AIDS response. He will also discuss progress made towards achieving the goal of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support as well as the Millennium Development Goals in India, a statement issued here by UNAIDS said.