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

November 2009

'Condom van' spreads awareness about HIV/AIDS in Chandigarh

Chandigarh |Nov 10, 2009
To spread awareness about HIV/AIDS and the usage of condoms mainly among the most vulnerable section - truck drivers and their attendants, a van christened 'Ustad Condom Van' was introduced in the city. The van which will move across the city for the next 27 days is part of a condom promotion awareness programme, initiated by the union territory's State AIDS Control Society (SACS) in association with the HLL Lifecare limited here. The programme was started with a special awareness camp organised at 'transport area' here in Sector 26 that is frequented by hundreds of truck drivers from various states.

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GRIM FUTURE? : ‘1 million newborns die every yr in India’

New Delhi | Nov 21, 2009

“Each year, 1 million newborns die during the first month of life; another million die before they reach 5 years. Almost 55 million children under 5 years are underweight. Many challenges remain,” Karin Hulshof, UNICEF India representative said while releasing a special edition of the State of the World’s Children report on Friday. “Indicators are growing in the right direction. We are moving ahead but not fast enough. Our implementation is poor and we could even miss the millennium development goals,” Sayeeda Hameed, Planning Commission member, said.

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CII launches toll free helpline on HIV/AIDS

New Delhi |Nov 20, 2009

In a bid to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS, the Confederation of Indian Industriy (CII) announced the launch of a toll free helpline in four languages (Hindi, English, Urdu and Punjabi). Making the announcement at a discussion organised by the International Labour organisation (ILO), Delhi State Aids Control Society (DSACS) and the CII here, Meenakshi Dhanda of the CII said "This initiative's aim is to spread awareness among as many people as we possibly can. One can dial 1800-180-2008 or 0172-266217 to speak to the counsellors and seek information regarding HIV/AIDS,"

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Nearly 50 percent of Indian women marry before 18: Unicef

New Delhi |Nov 20, 2009

India has a legislation prohibiting child marriage, but latest household surveys indicate that 47 percent of women, who are now aged 20-24 years, were married before the legal age of 18, a Unicef report released Friday said. The survey also found that nearly 16 percent of men, who are now aged 20-49, were also married as minors. The special edition of the Unicef State of the World Children Report was launched here Friday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the UN General Assembly. India ratified the convention in 1992.

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Rs.9.2 bn to promote Indian systems of medicine

New Delhi |Nov 20, 2009
The health ministry will spend Rs.9.2 billion this financial year for promoting Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) - the Indian systems of medicine - in the country, Minister of State for Health S. Gandhiselvan told parliament on Friday. "Steps have been taken for standardisation of drugs, production and quality control of raw material (medicinal plants), production of quality assurance of drugs, raising the standards of research and education and spreading awareness," The minister said the government has also taken the initiative to increase India's share in the global market for herbal medicines.

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Woman walks 110 km in 15 days for medical help in Chhattisgarh

Raigarh (Chhattisgarh) |Nov 20, 2009
Such is the state of medical care in Chhattisgarh that a woman had to walk 110 km for 15 days to reach a government-run hospital to get her burnt hands treated. In September, Phoolwati, 25, and her husband Roop Singh were burnt when the kerosene stove burst in their hut in Bakalo village within the jurisdiction of the Kapu police station in Raigarh district. Sans any medical treatment, Roop Singh battled his burn injuries for a week and then died. Phoolwati then found insects crawling inside her burnt hands and realised she had no option but to go to the district headquarters here and seek medical treatment. There was no government-run health facility nearby that could tackle her problem.

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Hooda announces health scheme for kids

Chandigarh | Nov 20, 2009

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced launch of an “Indira Bal Swasthya Yojana” for children and doubling of the grant under the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshni Vivah Shagun Yojana. The Indira Bal Swasthya Yojana would be implemented from January 26, 2010. It would provide comprehensive healthcare to more than 40 lakh children up to 18 years. The scheme aims at providing free health check-up and treatment to all pre-school and school-going children and even drop-outs, he added. The thrust would be to combat the problem of anaemia and ensure de-worming, proper nutrition and timely detection of disabilities.

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Haryana to install CCTV cameras in government hospitals

Chandigarh |Nov 16, 2009
The government-run hospitals in Haryana will soon have closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to monitor interaction between doctors and patients. These cameras would also record the behaviour of doctors with the patients in the out-patients departments (OPDs), chief parliamentary secretary for health Ram Krishan Fouji said. He said the installation of the CCTV cameras would be carried out soon. Among other steps proposed for the benefit of the public is a move to provide round-the-clock services in all primary health centres across Haryana, Fouji said.

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Toll free answers to pregnancy or puberty queries

New Delhi |Nov 16, 2009
Got questions about pregnancy, puberty or plain simple facts about the birds and bees? If you have such queries on your mind just dial a government-run toll free helpline. The helpline (1800-11-6555 or 011-6666-5555), run by the Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) or the National Population Stabilisation Fund of the health ministry, receives over 300 calls per day. "We receive calls on this helpline number from both men and women. We get over 300 calls a day on issues of safe contraception and even unwanted pregnancy," said Shalini Shukla, communication officer for the campaign. The helpline is primarily aimed at Hindi-speaking areas. The numbers are available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week in both Hindi and English.

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'India's health schemes aimed at weaker sections'

Chennai | Nov 13, 2009

The Central government's investments in health sector are made with an aim to provide health care to people living in backward areas or in areas that are not easily accessible, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad said. "It is necessary to ensure equitable distribution of resources so that poor and marginalised people are provided greater attention in the matter of accessing health services," he said. He was addressing a meeting convened here to review the progress of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in the four southern states and the Union Territories of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

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Delhi aims to halve infant mortality rate

New Delhi | Nov 12, 2009

Delhi government's health department aims to bring down the infant mortality rate by half from almost 50 percent now, by 2012. J.P. Singh, principal secretary health, Delhi government, said: "On the pattern of Mamta scheme, we plan to empanel private hospitals that have experts to provide care for - newborns. We'll issue reimbursement vouchers to people under BPL. There was also a plan, under public private partnership (PPP), where government hospitals would provide space to expert health agencies to develop neonatal facilities, he added.

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Doctors ' strike claims a dozen lives in Bihar

Patna |Nov 11, 2009
Nearly a dozen patients who were admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) here died because of a strike by junior doctors which entered its second day Wednesday, officials said. More than 500 junior doctors went on an indefinite strike late Monday night, demanding payment of the increased stipend they were promised after a round of agitations this August. The strike has badly hit the emergency services and dozens of surgeries have been postponed. Hospital authorities have sought the help of the health department to cope with the situation and have asked for 100 doctors from various parts of the state.

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Sex selection just a mouse click away ; Illegal ads for clinics offering gender determination of foetus flood yahoo, google.

New Delhi | Nov 21, 2009

"Select your baby's gender at will in 3 simple steps with 94% accuracy": that's not a furtive sign at a shady clinic but what you get when you type `gender selection clinics' on the Yahoo search engine. Popular Internet portals Google and Yahoo are breaking Indian laws by carrying ads of sex selection clinics. India's Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act, 2002 bans the use of technology (ultrasounds and sonograms) for and the advertising of sex selection that lead to foeticide (sex-selective abortion).

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Shortage of human resources hitting NRHM: PM

Chandigarh | Nov 03, 2009

Shortage of human resources was proving a hurdle in strengthening the public health delivery system through the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted. Addressing the 44th convocation of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here, the Prime Minister said that even though critical indicators of health had shown consistent improvement over the years, India did not compare favourably with other countries.

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Manmohan wants big boost to health delivery system

Chandigarh | Nov 04, 2009

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that though the country had made substantial progress in health determinants over the past decades and the critical indicators of health had shown consistent improvement, the progress was “much less than what we would have liked to achieve and are capable of achieving.” The progress also did not compare well with what a number of countries, particularly those in southeast Asia, had achieved.

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CII, USIBC join hands for a 'Healthy India'

New Delhi | Nov 06, 2009

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the US-India Business Council (USIBC) announced a joint partnership in the field of healthcare under the banner "Coalition for Healthy India". Announcing the partnership here, CII Director Chandrajit Banerjee said, "CII and the US-India Business Council have long collaborated to support healthcare improvements in India. Today, we're proud to announce an exclusive partnership in the form of a joint CII-USIBC Healthcare Task Force."

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Cloud over polio drive in Bihar

Patna | Nov 06, 2009

Of the 98 cases of poliomyelitis detected in Bihar till October 30 this year, 93 children had been given seven doses of the oral polio vaccine (OPV), according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data made available to the Hindustan Times. The data, collected under the WHO's National Polio Surveillance Programme, has cast a shadow on the efficacy of the anti-polio drive in the state. One of the children had been given three doses. The vaccination status of the other four is not known. The WHO provides technical support to the polio elimination programme. A WHO representative said in New Delhi that the proportion of children affected was minuscule.

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Health mission for city soon

New Delhi | Nov 6, 2009

Delhi will soon have its own urban health mission after the model of the National Rural Health Mission. The mission — the formal notification, according to health minister Kiran Walia will be out in a day or two — will principally focus on revamping the 215 primary health centres in the city to take the load off government hospitals. The target is to set up more health centres so that there is one centre each for a population of 50,000 people. Assuming that Delhi’s population is about 1.7 crore, the city needs some 125 centres more.

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“India not delivering on post-partum care”

New Delhi | Nov 07, 2009

India is falling behind other countries in meeting international commitments to improve obstetric care because it does not adequately monitor deaths and injuries in the critical period following childbirth and fix gaps in its health system and programmes, says the Human Rights Watch. Public health experts say the key to progress in maternal health is ensuring that women with pregnancy-related complications get appropriate care during childbirth. However, this is not happening in India, even though it has started health care programmes that guarantee free obstetric care to rural women, says the international non-governmental organisation.

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New scheme to cut infant, maternal mortality rate

New Delhi | Nov 08, 2009

Aimed at reducing the infant and maternal mortality rate, a new programme, Navjat Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram, has been launched to train health care providers at health centres across the country. They are imparted training in resuscitation, prevention of infections and hypothermia, and in early initiation of women to breastfeeding the new born, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry. Another priority area would be strengthening the government’s resolve towards population stabilisation.

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Portal to provide health information in rural India

New Delhi |Nov 09, 2009

To provide better health services to people in rural areas, the health ministry said it was launching a web portal to provide health related information. The National Health Information Network will come into operation within the next 90 days. Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda will head a committee formed to look after the network. "The committee comprises of 30 members including health experts, major hospitals and NGOs. The portal will carry details of health facilities both public and private in villages and district," said Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi.

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Morning-after pill ads face govt curbs

New Delhi | Nov 10, 2009

Emergency contraceptive (EC) pills like Cipla’s I-pill and Mankind Pharma’s Unwanted-72 will continue to be sold over the counter at pharmacy stores, but there will be certain restrictions on their advertising to prevent misuse. Drug technical advisory body also decided that if the morning-after contraceptive pills are made prescription drugs, ‘‘the purpose of making them available to users at the shortest possible time, will be defeated’’.

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Gender equality index: India ranks a poor 113

New Delhi | Nov 10, 2009

India may be weighed down by the daily spectacle of honour killings and female feticide, but something positive seems to be emerging on the front of political empowerment of women. According to the latest Global Gender Gap Report (GGGR) prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF), India ranks 25th on a list of 160 countries, leaving behind developed countries like the US and Australia in this category. However, India’s overall ranking is a dismal 113 in the Global Gender Gap Index of 2008. Even India’s ranking among the 36 lower middle-income group of countries is 31.

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AIDS toll, new positive cases down in Chandigarh

Chandigarh |October 27, 2009

The two-pronged strategy -- one-to-one interaction and contact programmes -- of the administration with the help of the State AIDS Control Society (SACS) has helped bring down the incidence of the deadly disease, health officials said. According to the officials, not only have the number of deaths due to AIDS in Chandigarh declined in the last three years, the percentage of HIV positive cases has also come down. According to official records, in 2006, out of 8,924 persons screened, 1,066 (12 per cent) were found HIV positive. In 2007, 13,630 persons were screened out of which 1,144 (eight per cent) were found positive.

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Government system failure killing mothers in Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal |October 28, 2009

A complaint by a patient that a doctor in a government-run hospital left her unattended in the operation theatre has turned the spotlight on the role played -- or not played -- by these hospitals in reducing deaths at childbirth in Madhya Pradesh, a state with one of the highest maternal mortality rates (MMR) in India. Vidhya, wife of Anil Magarde, was admitted to the Betul district hospital Oct 3. She has said in her complaint: "Dr. Renuka told me on Oct 5 that an operation will have to be conducted and demanded Rs.2,500 for the same.

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22 lakh poor families to come under health insurance cover

Thiruvananthapuram | October 29, 2009

Kerala plans to bring 22 lakh families at the bottom level of society under the modified version of the Centre’s Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), an ambitious health insurance scheme for the poor, now being implemented in the State, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said. Addressing a national conference on the insurance scheme here, he said 11.79 lakh families in the State, coming under the BPL (below the poverty line) norms of the Planning Commission, had already been covered by the modified RSBY, called the Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.

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Health, education for rural poor as important as reform: PM

New Delhi | October 30, 2009

Reforming the insurance sector and labour market is all very well but the government’s economic priority is to increase investment in rural infrastructure, education and healthcare, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday. Asked to elaborate on his ideas on healthcare for the masses, Dr. Singh said the government’s immediate concern was to strengthen primary healthcare in rural areas. He also said he hoped “health insurance becomes a viable instrument for providing healthcare” for all, including the poor.

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Policy to address stigma against AIDS unveiled

New Delhi | October 10, 2009

The Government of India came out with a national policy on HIV and AIDS at the workplace to address the stigma and discrimination faced by people afflicted with the disease and provide them support and care. The policy aims at preventing transmission of HIV infection among workers and their families, protect the rights of those who are infected and provide access to available care and support and treatment facilities. It also deals with issues relating to stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS by assuring the infected equality and dignity at the workplace and ensuring safe migration and mobility with access to information services on the disease.

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6 New AIIMS to be ready in 2 years

New Delhi | November 02, 2009

The Governemnt of India has started the process of setting up six new hospital and research institutes in the lines of All India Institute of Medical Sciences which are expected to be completed in next two years. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday invited bids in this regard involving an estimated cost of Rs 1908 crore.

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Must bring effective healthcare to common man: Tharoor

Kolkata |October 29, 2009

Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said the government should work towards bringing the effective healthcare system to the 'aam aadmi' (common man) as a vast majority of population lacks access to affordable medical services. "We've to bring effective healthcare service to the aam aadmi. The vast majority of Indian men and women are still far away from the affordable healthcare facilities," Tharoor told an interactive session organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).

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