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

December 2009

Rural stint will fetch docs extra PG marks

Bangalore | Dec 26, 2009

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is dangling a carrot for medical professionals with a view to improving healthcare in villages — do a one-year rural stint, get 10% marks in the national medical exam for post-graduate courses. A two-year stint will fetch 20%, three years 30%. The move to link marks with the village deputation, he hoped, would get more people to volunteer to work in rural areas, at a time when the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) is suffering because of the unwillingness of many doctors to serve in remote areas. ‘Doctor-patient ratio must be brought to 1:500’

Read more...

Low immunization levels in U.P. causing concern: Unicef

Lucknow | Dec 27, 2009

Low levels of immunization in Uttar Pradesh are resulting in the resurgence of diseases like diphtheria and whooping cough in children, a Unicef sponsered study says. This was disclosed during a Unicef presentation titled “Routine Immunisation - Bitter Facts” here on Saturday. While immunization levels were less then 20 per cent in 36 districts of the state, they were estimated at between 20-40 per cent in 39 districts, the study said.

Read more...

Sex workers crib about poor quality govt condoms

New Delhi | Dec 28, 2009

The government will look into the concerns raised by sex workers of the red-light area regarding the health problems resulting from “poor quality” of free condoms supplied to them. Sex workers in the national capital’s infamous Garstin Bastion (GB) Road have alleged that free condoms provided to them by different NGOs supplied by the Government are causing problems. These male contraceptives are distributed free of cost through non-government organisations and NACO to prevent sex-workers from being infected by sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.

Read more...

CAG questions NRHM funds’ flow management

New Delhi | Dec 29, 2009

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has expressed dissatisfaction over the funds flow management under the National Rural health Mission (NRHM) and recommended that it be rationalised with appropriate norms and criteria. The maintenance of accounts at the State, district and below levels was not proper and concurrent audit of accounts, initiated under the Mission, was only at the nascent stage, it said. During 2005-08, a budgetary provision of Rs. 27,079 crore was made for the NRHM and, against this, an expenditure of only Rs. 24,151 crore was incurred, it pointed out.

Read more...

Med degree in 3½ years for rural docs

New Delhi | Dec 30, 2009

A medical degree in three-and-a-half years? This could soon be a reality with the health ministry and Medical Council of India planning a shorter medical degree for rural students who would exclusively serve the rural populace. After incentives failed to lure doctors to remote areas, the health ministry is finalizing a novel scheme along with MCI to start three-and-a-half-year courses in medicine and surgery in institutes set up in rural areas.

Read more...

Poor rural network, yet ICICI got govt contract’

New Delhi | Dec 30, 2009

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), has raised objection to the manner in which the health ministry awarded the contract for electronic transfer of funds upto the district and panchayat level to ICICI Bank despite the fact that it had a thin network of branches in the hinterland. Out of a total of 35 states and Union territories (UTs), currently only 13 states and UTs were receiving funds through ICICI Bank, and in a majority of them the bank only had a branch at the state level, the audit has reported.

Read more...

Govt plans health cover for all

New Delhi | Dec 30, 2009

Delhi government is working on a scheme to ensure health insurance for all.
On the sidelines of the BPL insurance scheme — which is expected to get off the mark by end February — the state health department is talking to insurance companies about schemes for the middle class too under which premiums will be linked to the salary structures and would cover almost all common and expensive ailements/procedures including those of the heart, urological system, neurology etc.

Read more...

Many posts of doctors lying vacant


Cuttack | Dec 31, 2009

While an estimated 4,000 posts of government doctors are now lying vacant throughout the State, the Orissa Public Service Commission (OPSC) is finding it difficult to pick up at least 550 doctors for which an advertisement was published earlier this year. For lack of sufficient medical colleges in the State and more abysmally, insufficient seats in government teaching hospitals with many MBBS seats in private medical colleges lying vacant, the State is now facing a dearth of doctors to man its government hospitals, more particularly in rural pockets.

Read more...

Many determinants of health lie outside traditional health sector: Srinath Reddy

Chennai | Dec 31, 2009

The time has come for public health professionals to look at sustainable development and the interconnectedness of issues such as health, food security and climate change, K. Srinath Reddy, founder, Public Health Foundation of India, has said. “Medicine has evolved into broader public health, and now public health should evolve into the even broader arena of sustainable development, Dr. Reddy said delivering the 15th Dr. K.S. Sanjivi Endowment Lecture at the Voluntary Health Services here on ‘The Future of Public Health in India.’

Read more...

India plans e-Health cards for poor kids

New Delhi | Nov 26, 2009

The Union Health Ministry is planning to issue electronic health cards (EHC) to under-privileged children and making a national health portal that will display facilities available in different government hospitals, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Trivedi said. "The electronic health cards (EHC) will help them access free medical treatment at all state-owned hospitals and primary health centres," the Minister said.

Read more...

PDS in Bihar to offer free condoms

Patna | Dec 01, 2009

Bihar State AIDS Control Society (BSACS) has decided to use PDS shops to distribute free condoms in the state. "BSACS plans to distribute condoms through PDS shops to promote their use so that the spread of HIV-AIDS can be prevented," BSACS Director Ravi Parmar said. "We want to create awareness about the use of condoms by putting it on the shelves of PDS shops," Parmar added. Last year, BSACS launched a programme under which barbers were given condoms and asked to distribute them to their customers in order to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

Read more...

J&K creates 2,000 new posts in health sector

Jammu | Dec 02, 2009

The Government of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday announced the creation of 2,000 new posts in the health sector. Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma said the new posts would help extend the health care in Jammu and Kashmir to its rural and far flung areas. These posts would be both in medical and para-medical sections. Most of the hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir are understaffed. Sharma said that the posts would be filled soon, to help the people to have access to health care.

Read more...

India nods for human trials of H1N1 vaccine

New Delhi | Dec 08, 2009

An indigenous swine flu vaccine is far from ready but India has given the green signal to two foreign pharmaceutical giants to begin human trials of their vaccine in the country. "GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Baxter have received approval from the drug controller of India to carry out human trials in India. According to the Health Ministry, India has already placed orders for more than one million doses of swine flu vaccines from GSK and Novartis. But before that is administered, the government wants to ensure that the vaccines are absolutely safe.

Read more...

India gets $128.5 mn grant to fight TB, malaria

New Delhi| Dec 09, 2009

International aid agency Global Fund has announced a US $128.5 million grant for India to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Of the newly approved grants, US $69.4 million will be provided for expanding care and treatment services for tuberculosis (TB), particularly for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The Geneva headquartered organisation said US $38.1 million will go to malaria prevention and treatment efforts in the seven states in the northeast region —Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

Read more...

HC lambasts Health Ministry over untested vaccines

New Delhi | Dec 10, 2009

The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Union Health Ministry on introduction of vaccines without proper medical research. A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S Muralidhar said, "This is a serious issue. It shows that medical facilities provided by the government are just mockery." The court asked the Health Ministry to respond to the notice by January 13. The court was hearing a petition that alleged that vaccines are being introduced in the public health system by the government under the influence of vaccine manufacturers and international agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO), without proper epidemiological and medical studies.

Read more...

Infant mortality rate highest in MP

Bhopal | Dec 11, 2009

Madhya Pradesh continues to remain on top for the sixth time in a row as far as the infant mortality rate (IMR) in states is concerned. “It is the only state with IMR in the range of 70s," according to the Registrar General of India's latest Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin pertaining to the health status of children in 2008 issued recently. The IMR is considered to be one of the most important health indicators, highlighting the status of health of the overall population, mainly females, and the health facilities available to the people that could give them better opportunity for survival, experts say.

Read more...

Health units to go mobile

New Delhi | Dec 16, 2009

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is planning to engage a private trust for deployment of 136 mobile health units (MHU) in various parts of the capital, specially in areas having large number of slum-dwellers. A proposal in this regard will be tabled in MCD’ s standing committee meeting for approval on Wednesday. According to the proposal, the civic agency will enter into an agreement with the Keshav Dharmarth Trust, which will implement the project freeof-cost. The non-profit charitable trust has submitted an expression of interest for developing and deploying 136 state-of-the-art units, 24 mobile health ambulances, 105 mobile health clinics and seven mobile health hospitals for 272 constituencies under municipal areas of Delhi.

Read more...

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana smart cards a hit with masses'

New Delhi | Dec 16, 2009

Introduction of smart cards in the Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojna (RSBY) scheme has led to empowerment of citizens by effectively preventing denial of services to rightful recipients and a regular evaluation of this scheme was needed for its sustained growth, speakers at a summit here opined. The first ever summit on ‘Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana’ (RSBY) – a joint initiative of Smart Card Forum of India (SCAFI) and the Government of India was held on Wednesday here.

Read more...

Urban poor kids lack access to health facilities’

New Delhi | Dec 17, 2009

Despite boasting of development indicators far higher than the national average, children of Delhi’s urban poor continue to be a blind spot. An alternative report -“Situational analysis of the young child in Delhi” by NGO Mobile Creches reveals gaps in official estimates when it comes to immunization, access to nutrition and health facilities. It also exposes lack of desegregated data for children under 6 and little reliable data on specific sections like street children, disabled children and children of migrant workers. While Delhi’s own report card reflects 100% compliance of birth registration, NFHS reports lower coverage at nearly half and the Mobile Creches report found only 1 in 5 birth registrations from slum communities.

Read more...