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

April 2011

Rs 417 Cr package for malaria control in northeast

New Delhi | April 28, 2011

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved an intensified malaria control project at an estimated cost of Rs 417.22 crore for seven northeast states in the country. The CCEA cleared the Health Ministry proposal for Intensified Malaria Control Project-II (IMCP-II) for seven northeast states (except Sikkim) under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) with support from Global Fund for AIDS, TB and malaria.


Centre seeks to make health sector more transparent

New Delhi | April 21, 2011

Dissatisfied with the quality of data in the health sector and its non-availability for knowledge generation, the Centre proposes to develop a database of research resources in this field. The Department of Health Research is drafting a knowledge Management Policy for Health Service, which proposes to disseminate data relating to the manpower and equipment available with different laboratories, medical and dental colleges and universities across the country. The final draft document of the Policy also focuses on enhancing the role of public-private partnership and preparing a national information system of research funding.


From Bad To Worse? : J&K sees biggest decline in child sex ratio in country

New Delhi | April 22, 2011
India’s paradise on earth, Jammu & Kashmir, isn’t all that heavenly a place for a girl child. The state, which is also home to Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, has seen the single largest decline in sex ratio in the country, according to provisional Census 2011 as compared to Census 2001. While in 2001, the number of girls per 1,000 boys (aged between 0-6) stood at 941, the latest Census found that it has plummeted to 859. At present, there are 82 fewer girls in the state per 1,000 boys.


Focus Education, health, rural development to get boost

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the Planning Commission to prepare an approach paper for the 12th plan period in consultation with the state governments aimed at more focus on health, education, rural development, power and watershed management. Plan panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said: “We have not decided the sectors where the resources will be less but we are firm that key social sectors such as health and education will get more“. The commission said expenditure on health would increase from present 1.3 % of the GDP to at least 2 % and perhaps 2.5 % of the GDP by end of 12th plan.


Doctors not giving patients enough time, says WHO : ‘50% Don’t Receive Advice On Medicines

New Delhi | April 23, 2011

On an average, doctors in developing countries spend less than 60 seconds in prescribing medicines and explaining the regimen to their patients, according to World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Medicines Situation 2011. As a result, only half the patients receive any advice on how to take their medicines and about one third of them don’t know how to take their medicines immediately on leaving the facility. Though around 80% of all prescribed medicines are dispensed — usually, they are done by untrained personnel — and as many as 20-50% of medicines dispensed are not labelled.


Health Department to strengthen rapid response team

Bhubaneswar | April 23, 2011

The State Health and Family Welfare Department here claimed that use of technology in disease surveillance made a difference in responding to outbreak of different communicable and non-communicable diseases. At present the State surveillance unit and 30 district surveillance units are functioning with trained IT personnel deployed at various positions, department said in a statement.


Planning holiday: 21 caesarians in 2 days, Kerala orders probe

Thiruvananthapuram | April 23, 2011
Doctors at a government hospital in Cherthala, Kerala, conducted 21 caesarian surgeries in two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, to be able to celebrate Easter holidays unhindered. This, when the taluk hospital in Alapuzha district barely has facilities to conduct six such surgeries a day, and does not even have proper post-natal facilities. The state on Friday constituted an expert committee to probe the issue.


India has no funds for iron rich salt programme

New Delhi | April 26, 2011

Even as the plans for promoting iron rich salt is on government's anvil, the programme may not be implemented soon for lack of funds, a Health Ministry official said. A meeting at the Prime Minister's Office last week decided that iron-fortified iodised salt will be promoted to deal with malnutrition and the problem of anaemia in the country. The meeting chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister was attended by the officials from the Health Ministry, Women and Child Development Ministry, and representatives from the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.


Malaria claimed 15,000 lives in India in 2009, says WHO report

New Delhi | April 23, 2011

India’s malaria figures till now seem to have been highly underestimated. Under the country’s National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), malaria was believed to have infected 1.53 million and killed just over 1,100 in 2009. However, World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated over 15,000 deaths. Fresh estimates worked out by experts from WHO, Union health ministry and NVBDCP — based on a new methodology — says the number of deaths is more than double of what WHO had earlier estimated.


Only 6% of docs held for sex tests convicted

New Delhi | April 20, 2011

Only around 6% of cases filed against doctors involved in sex-selection practices in the 17 states which have the most skewed sex ratio have ended up in convictions till date. According to Union health ministry’s latest data — prepared for a crucial meeting of health secretaries of the 17 states on Wednesday — a total of 805 cases have been filed in court against doctors till March 31, ever since the revised Preconception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act came into force. Only 55 convictions have been recorded since then.


Haryana finds remedy for doctors' shortage

Chandigarh | April 20, 2011

Faced with an acute shortage of specialists in government hospitals, Haryana's health department has decided to sponsor post-graduate studies of doctors on the condition that they work with the state for a certain number of years. That is not all. The health department is even willing to allow these doctors to go in for higher studies -- for super specialty in their respective fields of expertise. "Doctors would be sponsored for higher studies with full pay in the specialties where there is shortage of specialists. Their study period would also be treated as service period for all intent and purposes," Haryana Health Minister Rao Narender Singh said.


Southern States achieve replacement fertility level: Census analysis

New Delhi | April 17, 2011

The provisional Census 2011 figures suggest that two contrasting demographic “nations” are emerging in the country with all four south Indian States — Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — already having achieved the replacement level fertility of 2.1 children per women required to initiate the process of population stabilisation, while the four large north Indian States — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — have still a long way to go before they achieve the required level.


Recognise, enumerate stillbirths

New Delhi | April 16, 2011

Stillbirths are largely invisible as a social and public health problem. Millions of families experience stillbirth, yet these deaths remain un-enumerated, unsupported, and the solutions undercooked. Calling upon the international community and individual countries for action, British medical journal The Lancet has said better counting of stillbirths alongside maternal and neonatal deaths and strategic programmatic action would bring stillbirths under account.


Activists demand free access to health care, reversal of decision to hike user fees

Mumbai | April 13, 2011

Protesting the Maharashtra Government's decision to increase user fees for medical college hospitals, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), a network of organisations, academics and activists working in the field of health care, has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanding a “reversal” of the decision. Earlier this year, the State had decided to charge higher rates for medical services. Terming the move as “cruel” and “unjustified”, the JSA letter states: “Evidence from various States shows that imposing user fees forms a barrier obstructing the poor from accessing basic health services.


Focus on Census 2011 and skewed sex ratio

New Delhi | April 11, 2011

“The 2011 Census is an eye-opener and should be the starting point for converting the population stabilisation programme into a mass movement,” Rajya Sabha member Dr. Karan Singh has said. He was speaking at a discussion on “Implications of Emerging Population Scenario” organised by Management Institute of Population and Development (MIPD) this past week. The discussion was organised to discuss the implications of the provisional results of Census of India 2011. Highlighting the continuing decline in the growth of girl child as per Census 2011, he stressed the need for reforms on national policy for women.


IN ACTION MODE : New board to arrest skewed sex ratio

New Delhi | April 10, 2011
Finally, the Union health ministry has woken up to the plummeting sex ratio. Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has reconstituted an all-new central supervisory board (CSB) to ensure a stringent implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT Act) that bans female feticide. Though the Board is supposed to meet every six months, the earlier CSB hadn’t met even once since 2007. The new board — under the chairmanship of Azad and minister of state for women and child welfare Krishna Tirath — is slated to meet in the last week of May.


Bihar launches new health scheme

Patna | Apr 08, 2011

The Bihar Government has launched a new generation health guarantee scheme aiming to make available health cards to 3.40 crore children in the State. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar chaired a meeting of the State Health Mission and emphasised the need for stepping up the pace of providing the health cards to the children. Under Stage-I, emphasis was laid on making available doctors and para-medical staff at all the PHCs round-the-clock, construction of buildings and providing a select brand of medicines free of cost, besides improving other infrastructural facilities. The meeting decided to launch Health Stage-II now under which thrust would be laid on medical education and improving medical colleges and hospitals.


Census 2011 puts India's population at 1.21 billion

New Delhi | Apr 01, 2011

India's population has jumped to 1.21 billion, an increase of more than 181 million during 2001-11, according to provisional data of Census 2011 released. Of the total provisional population of 1,210.2 million, the number of males stood at 623.7 million and females at 586.5 million. The percentage growth in 2001-11 was 17.64 — males 17.19 and females 18.12. India's population accounts for 17.5 per cent of the world's.


Least literate M.P. district has the highest child sex ratio

Bhopal | Apr 07, 2011

Does higher literacy translate into better human development indicators? Not necessarily; certainly not when it comes to gender equality among children. The provisional Census figures available so far for Madhya Pradesh show that the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in the State is the highest in Alirajpur, the district with the lowest level of literacy. Alirajpur drew a lot of flak from the media for being an embarrassment to the State on account of its abysmal literacy level of 37.22% -- among the worst in the country.


Sex ratio in Arunachal improves

Itanagar | Apr 06, 2011

The sex ratio in Arunachal Pradesh has improved to 920 females per 1000 males, up from 893 a decade ago, as per the provisional census report of 2011. The lowest sex ratio is in Tawang where the number of females was only 701 against 1,000 males though for the 0—6 years age group the number is 1,005. The provisional report put the total population of the State at 13,82,611 marking an increase of 2,84,643 as compared to the 2001 census.


Doctor deregistered over gender selection tests

Bhopal | Apr 06, 2011

In a first of its kind action, the Madhya Pradesh Medical Council has deregistered a doctor for five years for doing gender selection tests on childless couples. Sources in the Council said that its Director, Dr. C.M. Tripathi had issued an order removing Dr. Nirmala Jaiswal's name for a period of five years from the register under provisions of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act. She is the first doctor in Madhya Pradesh against whom action has been taken under the Act which seeks to prohibit sex selection and female foeticide.


Bihar, Gujarat showed skewed sex ratio trend

New Delhi | Apr 06, 2011

If you thought Punjab and Haryana were the only concern areas in terms of low sex ratio, many other states too are showing long-term ominous trends. Bihar -the only major state apart from Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat that saw sex ratio decline from 2001 to 2011 -has silently slipped from a leading position on the key gender indicator to a worrisome situation. If Bihar sticks to its trend and Punjab to its present performance, the two could be competing in 2021. Haryana-another historical culprit -maintained abysmal sex ratios in the mid-800s till 2011, when it has made a small improvement of 16 points to a still abysmal 877.


Rajasthan reports dismal gender ratio

Jaipur | Apr 06, 2011
Rajasthan has failed its girl children on two counts. Not only has it failed to protect them, it has also been unsuccessful in educating them, according to the Census figures released recently. The child sex ratio (number of females for every 1,000 male children in 0-6 age group) has dropped sharply to 883 from 909 in 2001 and the state reports the lowest female literacy rate at 52.66%. Expressing concern over the dismal figures, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “The data will guide us to improve our policies and decisions on the fronts on which we are weak, such as infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, literacy rate, sex ratio and health, during the 12th plan.” Dungarpur, Jaipur, Sikar, Rajsamand and Tonk have registered the sharpest decline in the child sex ratio.


Backward Mewat tops in girl child numbers

Chandigarh | Apr 06, 2011
Haryanas most backward district,Mewat,has the highest sex ratio in the state,while the state itself ranked lowest in the country on that count. According to Census 2011,Mewats sex ratio,906 females for every 1,000 males,is much above Haryanas 877:1,000.Mewat though has the lowest literacy rate at 56.14% compared to the state average of 76.64%.Census figures show districts with higher literacy rate in Haryana have poor sex ratio.Districts in the national capital area Gurgaon,Sonipat,and Panipat have the lowest sex ratio in the state despite being more developed.


New AIDS cases in India drop by 50%

New Delhi | Apr 04, 2011

India, home to the world's third largest AIDS population, has registered a 50 per cent dip in the number of new cases registered annually, according to the latest United Nations report. According to a report on AIDS released on Friday, the number of new infections has come down from 24,000 per year in the beginning of the decade to 12,000 per year at present. "The world has started to reverse the spread of HIV, the investments are paying off," UNAIDS India Coordinator Charles Gilks said releasing the report.


Strong legislation but poor implementation continues to kill off girls

Apr 04, 2011

A law to curb the misuse of technology to determine the sex of the foetus, and thereby curb sex selective abortion, has now been in force for 14 years. So, why has India got the worst child sex ratio since Independence? Provisional census data revealing that the female-to-male child sex ratio is the worse since Independence, at 914 females under 6 years of age to 1,000 boys, has elicited calls for better implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDTA), 1994 that regulates misuse of pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex selection (the sex ratio at birth is still to be published).


Bad news from the North

Chandigarh | Apr 02, 2011

Ten years after Census 2001 shook the country’s two top agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana by showing their abominable sex ratio, there is more chilling news from Census 2011. In Punjab, if the overall sex ratio has climbed from 876 in 2001 to 893 in 2011, the sex ratio in the 0-6 group stands at 846. In neighbouring Haryana, the sex ratio in the same age group is 830, as compared to the state average of 877 females per 1,000 males. It is not just the Census data that is painting a grim picture. Figures available with TOI are startling and go to show why Punjab and Haryana are reeling under this menace. Haryana has registered just 54 cases under the Pre-Natal Determination Tests (PNDT) Act ever since it was enacted in 2001.


Govt calls emergency meet to discuss anti-feticide law

New Delhi | Apr 02, 2011

The Union health ministry registered only 107 cases of female feticide under Section 315 and 316 of IPC in 2010. This is an abysmally low figure in a country which scientists believe has seen over 10 million female lives lost to abortion and sex selection in the past two decades. The Union health ministry is now calling an emergency meeting of states to see how the (PC & PNDT Act) can be better implemented. Union health secretary K Chandramouli told TOI that states need to implement the Act better. He said, “States haven’t done enough to impose this Act. We will soon meet senior health officials of states with low sexratio to see how the numbers can be brought up.”


Drop in child sex ratio brings sex determination into focus

Puducherry | Apr 02, 2011

The drop in Child Sex Ratio of the Union Territory, revealed by the Provisional Population Totals 2011, has brought into focus the question of sex determination and prevalence of selective abortion in the region. According to the provisional figures, the Child Sex Ratio (CSR), calculated as the total number of girls to 1000 boys between the age group of 0 to 6 years, had dropped from 967 in 2001 to 965 in 2011. This was even as the territory saw an increase in the Adult Sex Ratio, which was placed at 1038 females to every 1000 males. Health Department statistics revealed that the Child Sex Ratio at Birth here was between 940 and 943 in the last few months, a figure that had raised concerns among policy makers.


8,200 HIV patients in Chhattisgarh

Raipur | Apr 02, 2011

Chhattisgarh has over 8,200 HIV positive patients and the situation is particularly alarming in state capital Raipur, says a health department report. The report says out of the total 8,271 HIV cases, Raipur accounts for 4,028 cases, followed by Durg district with 1,022 cases and Bilaspur with 944. The least affected district was the insurgency-hit tribal dominated Narayanpur district with only one patient, followed by Bijapur district with two patients. The total number of HIV positive patients in the state were only 4,082 in early 2009. At that time, Raipur had 1,840 patients.


Plans to revise criteria for abortion

New Delhi | Apr 01, 2011

More than 20,000 women in the city went for medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) between April and December 2010. In the year before that, between March 2009 and April 2010, a total of 39,443 MTPs were carried out. With the census data showing a decline in the girl child sex-ratio, the state health ministry is now thinking of revising the criteria for abortions which can be a result of sex-determination. Health Minister A K Walia said that all medical abortions conducted after 12 weeks of pregnancy will be strictly monitored and action will be taken against erring medical practitioners.


AIDS welfare cost may effect growth: Report

New Delhi | Apr 01, 2011
The report "Asian Economies in Rapid Transition: HIV Now and Through 2021", which makes a comparative study of five Asian nations, India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, highlights that the welfare cost is high on the economies. "Despite low prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the six countries of rapid transition, the welfare cost of the epidemic in terms of lost years of life of adults and the knock-on effects on loss of parenting for orphans, add up to substantial burden," the report released said.


At 914, child sex ratio is the lowest since Independence

New Delhi | Apr 01, 2011

The lowest-ever child sex ratio of 914 overshadowed an increase in the overall sex ratio, which is now 940 — the highest nationwide since Census 1971 and a shade lower than 1961 — as it reflects a continued preference for a male child. As per the provisional data of Census 2011 released , while the overall sex ratio had gone up by seven points to touch 940, against 933 in Census 2001, the child sex ratio plummeted to 914 from 927.