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

July 2010

West Bengal Assembly passes Bill to ensure patients' right to treatment

Kolkata | July 30, 2010

A Bill was passed in the West Bengal Assembly on Thursday to prevent unethical practices in clinical establishments and ensure a patient's right to treatment.Replying to a debate on the West Bengal Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2010, the State's Health Minister Surya Kanta Mishra said that private hospitals and nursing homes will, according to the new legislation, have to admit a patient without waiting for the patient's party to pay.


Bihar set to win battle against polio

Patna |July 29, 2010
Bihar is set to win the battle against polio as state recorded a steady decline in cases this year. A World Health Organisation official said that in 2010 so far, Bihar has recorded six polio cases, all type P3, and the state has not reported any of the dangerous P1 cases since October 2009. A Unicef official said it was good news that the state has remained free of the polio P1 for over nine months, the longest period so far. The WHO and UNICEF officials said that for the first time, both Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are concurrently free of P1 polio since November 2009, providing an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate the strain from India.


Measures to check infant mortality announced

Chandigarh | July 27, 2010

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced that New Born Corners (NBC) and Sick New Born Care Units (SNCUs) will be set up in all government hospitals in the State to check infant mortality rate. Besides, a special campaign would be launched to treat the anaemic children. These and some other decisions to improve the health facilities were taken at the general body meeting of State Health Mission presided over by Mr. Hooda.


BRIDES FOR SALE? Skewed sex ratio forcing men to buy brides in Haryana

Delhi | July 26, 2010

Haryana’s skewed sex ratio, which has increasingly prompted boys to marry girls from outside the state, has now led to trafficking of women from as far as Sikkim. Police rescued a girl from Sikkim, ‘‘sold’’ for Rs 50,000 in Jhajjar. The arrested woman herself had been sold for Rs 1 lakh to a Haryana boy, and then she allegedly became part of the trafficking ring. Girls are lured away on the promise of finding jobs in Haryana, where they found a growing army of bachelors desperate to get brides due to a skewed sex ratio. The girls are introduced as brides in the villages. Understanding the difficulties in finding brides for boys, villagers don’t object to such alliances, police said.


Centre finalising urban health mission

New Delhi | July 25, 2010

The Centre is in the process of finalising the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) to provide better healthcare facilities to urban slum dwellers. The ambitious Rs.33,000-crore scheme is expected to bring within its purview domestic helps, vegetable vendors, vulnerable populations such as migrants, rag-pickers and street children. The Mission, aimed to “correct structural imbalances” in the public health system in urban areas, including that of infrastructure and human resource., will cover all cities with a population of more than one lakh.


Expired vaccine in health min’s shortlist? Department Planned To Buy 274 Lakh Shots From Lab Which Was Warned By Authorities

Delhi | July 24, 2010

The Union health ministry came close to putting the lives of lakhs of children in danger by considering procurement of 274 lakh doses of BCG vaccine which were well past their expiry date. A note from the vaccine procurement cell of the ministry, a copy of which is with TOI, shows that the ministry was either ignorant of its own previous decisions or dangerously careless while dealing with children’s vaccination. Sixty million children are given BCG vaccine every year across the country to prevent tuberculosis.


Lack of kits halts HIV tests in State

Bangalore | July 24, 2010

Patients across the State are unable to get themselves tested for HIV/AIDS in government hospitals. Reason: unavailability of testing kits. Testing has come to a halt in the past 10 days in all government-run Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC), including Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bangalore. A few centres that still have the kits are testing only emergency cases. This when the State testing centres need at least 4,000 kits a month.


Vitamin A deficiency is no longer a public health problem in India and massive doses can actually be toxic

Bangalore | July 22, 2010

Top Indian nutritionists have urged the Indian government to scrap the ongoing programme of "massive-dose" Vitamin A administration to children. "Vitamin A deficiency is no longer a public health problem in India and massive doses can actually be toxic," former Chief of the Indian Council of Medical Research and a leading nutritionist C Gopalan warns. "It is distressing that in India, this approach has been permitted as a 'universalised' public health policy," he adds.


Assam to set up health helpline

Guwahati | July 20, 2010

Medical advice in Assam will soon be a mobile phone call away with the state government set to open a 24-hours health helpline in the state. The state Health Department on Tuesday signed an agreement with Hyderabad-based Health Management Research Institute (HMRI) for the health helpline which will start functioning from October. People facing any medical and health problem will get counselling and medical advice after dialling 104. Health Department officials said as per the understanding 50 doctors would be ready round-the-clock to reply to the queries related to health related problems.


Health sector reforms must cover us too: paramedical staff

New Delhi| July 19, 2010

Even as a serious move is on to bring about reforms in the health sector, particularly in medical education, a huge cadre of paramedical staff feels left out in this entire exercise. The paramedical and allied health professionals, including the medical laboratory staff working in various scientific and clinical laboratories at various levels of health facilities, have been demanding a comprehensive legislation or a regulatory body to bring about uniformity in educational, employment and hierarchy, and quality of medical laboratory services in the country.


Task force to design curriculum for rural heath care cadre

New Delhi | July 19, 2010

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has set up a task force to frame the curriculum for the Bachelor of Rural Health Care course, which is expected to be rolled out in a few months. A new cadre of health care workers for rural India is expected to help in overcoming the huge shortage of human resource in the sector. The government is also seriously contemplating encouraging the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and the Multi Purpose Male Workers (MPW) to get enrolled for this course.


Assam to set up 126 model hospitals

Guwahati | July 19, 2010

Assam government is set to launch one of its biggest health initiatives and set up model hospitals in every 126 assembly constituencies to improve overall healthcare system across the state. For this the government has proposed an outlay of Rs 300 crore for the ambitious project expected to be completed by 2013. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed the State Assembly that the 50-bedded model hospitals to be set up in each assembly constituencies would be equipped with latest medical treatment facilities. The model hospitals would involve 2,000 doctors and 2,000 paramedics.


Now a free mobile hospital service for Punjab

Malkon (Mansa) | July 18, 2010

The Punjab Government on Saturday launched a free mobile hospital service in the State flagging off four mobile vans equipped with free medical facilities for the benefit of the rural populace. Launched in collaboration with pharmaceutical major Ranbaxy Laboratories under its community health care programme, the service will be available in the first phase in Mansa, Bathinda and Muktsar districts. In the first phase of the programme, nearly 166 villages, 40 health centres and a population of 3.5 lakh would be able to avail of the free medical facilities.


‘Northern States showing little interest in population control'

Jaipur| July 18, 2010

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad appealed to political parties and intellectuals on Saturday to play an active role in population control. Except for the States in South India, the others, especially the States in North India and Central India, were showing very little interest in family welfare programmes, he lamented. “We have less land and more population. Now land is shrinking and population is increasing. One can easily visualise what would be the ill-effects of such a population growth in the future,” he observed.


Transsexuals demand basic rights

Puducherry | July 17, 2010

Social stigma and lack of proof of identity are forcing transgenders to lead a life in seclusion. Despite several pleas and protests, social acceptance eludes the community. This is forcing most of them to take up sex work and begging to earn a living. According to an NGO working on Transgender rights in Puducherry, there are 1, 234 transsexuals registered in the region. Most of them have been deserted and driven out by their families as alternate sexuality is seen as taboo.


NAC for food security in one-fourth of districts, for now

New Delhi | July 15, 2010

The National Advisory Council (NAC) met the Food Ministry when it recommended extension of universal food entitlements to one-fourth of either the poorest districts or the poorest blocks in the country. This decision emerged after some NAC members pointed out that universalisation of food security would not be possible, given the current state of agricultural productivity and the level of grain procurement. The NAC, sources said, would like these decisions implemented in a time-bound manner and implemented within a year of the Food Security Bill being passed.


Project to sensitise panchayats on gender issues

Jaipur | July 15, 2010

A UNFPA supported programme on “Strengthening gender response of panchayats in Rajasthan” was launched with a call to panchayat bodies to optimally utilise their mandates and institutional resources to address the issues of maternal health and sex selection. Gender experts, academicians, demographers and development practitioners attending the inaugural function at the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare here said the socio-cultural and economic barriers “undervaluing women” should be removed to prevent female foeticide and check the declining sex ratio in population.


Azad rules out coercion to stabilise population

New Delhi | July 12, 2010

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad ruled out any coercive policies to stabilise population and said awareness among the people of the benefits of small families was the most effective way to achieve the goal. He reiterated that the Central government would try to stabilise the population by making the people aware of the benefits of small families. “Strict implementation of the laws governing the age of marriage and delayed first child with proper spacing may help in dealing with the population problem.”


Health scheme for Uttarakhand school kids ready

Dehradun | July 12, 2010

The Uttarkhand government has given its approval to launch the ‘Chirayu School Health Scheme’ across the state schools next month. The programme to be run under the National Rural health mission, in the higher primary government schools, focuses on health check up of school children and provides them corrective treatment. Teams of doctors, paramedical staff and community mobilizers would be set up in each district, which would also include personnel from the Health Department. A coordinator would be appointed on contract basis at the divisional level to coordinate with the officials.


Health Ministry plans to curtail powers of MCI

New Delhi| July 12, 2010

The revised draft of the proposed National Council of Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) Bill paves the way for substantially curtailing the powers of the Medical Council of India (MCI) leaving it to deal only with licensing, continuing education and ethics. The Bill provides for the setting up of subsidiary bodies each of which will independently perform the allocated task in governing medical education and all other functions which are being performed by the MCI at present.


Sex ratio map depicts disturbing picture

Bhubaneswar| July 12, 2010

The State government released a map of sex ratio prevailing in all 30 districts. The map depicts a disturbing picture that where there is education and development, sex-ratio remained low, but where there is poverty and illiteracy sex-ratio is maintained at a healthy level. As per the Health and Family Welfare department, in large parts of coastal districts the sex ratio has been found to be low while in southern districts such as Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Kalahandi the ratio is above 980. Western parts of Orissa maintained somewhat healthy average between 954 and 980 female against 1000 male.


WORLD POPULATION DAY : Docs from across country join hands to check population

Ahmedabad | July 11, 2010

Gujarat’s Chiranjeevi Yojana is now being recommended to be emulated in other states. This is being done to offer better health services to the poor and to help control population. “Population regulation is directly linked to lowering the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). States in which fertility rate is high have high IMR and MMR which reflects poor quality of healthcare. We need to explore innovative ways for deliveries and Chiranjeevi Scheme shows the way forward,” Dr Amarjit Singh of the cell said.


India could be showcased globally for HIV reforms

New Delhi | July 08, 2010

The Delhi High Court decision of striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to decriminalise same sex relations between consenting adults could be showcased at the newly created Global Commission on HIV and Law, a new body launched by the United Nations Development Programme. The Commission is aimed to increase understanding of the impact of the legal environment on national HIV responses. It will seek to focus on how laws and law enforcement can support, rather than block, effective HIV responses.


Now, online monitoring to control IMR, MMR

Ahmedabad | July 08, 2010

Alarmed by the continued lag in human development index (HDI), especially due to gaps in health services, Gujarat government has decided to start online monitoring of rural families in order to find out existing lacunae in controlling high levels of infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR). The state’s online monitoring system, part of its e-Mamta project, has been jointly developed by Gujarat’s health and family welfare department and Government of India’s National Rural Health Mission.


Report calls for community monitoring of rural mission

New Delhi | July 04, 2010

The Advisory Group on Community Action of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has recommended community monitoring for effective implementation of the programme and asked the government to allocate “realistic” funds and assess the human resource requirement for the purpose. A report presented to the Union Health and Family Ministry on the completion of the First Phase of Community Monitoring under NRHM taken up in nine States on a pilot basis suggests that the government should support community action including community monitoring to ensure that it is initiated in the other States also.