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 2011

Rotavirus infection: India among 5 nations with high deaths

New Delhi: 26th October 2011

Close to one lakh children below the age of five years died of diarrhoea attributable to rotavirus infection in India in 2008, accounting for 22 per cent of the total deaths reported globally that year, the latest edition of the Lancet Infectious Diseases magazine has reported.

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States fudging infant, maternal data: Azad

New Delhi: 31st October 2011

States fudging figures of how many pregnant women and newborn children have received health services they are entitled to — like immunization — are in trouble.
The Union health ministry’s unique Mother and Child Tracking (MCTS) system is calling and checking with the women — pregnant and those who just gave birth — on the “truth behind the claims of high service delivery rates by the states.”

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Punjab bans advertisements by doctors

Chandigarh: 31st October 2011

The Punjab government on Sunday announced a ban on advertisements by doctors — from allopathic, ayurvedic and homoeopathic streams — offering treatment of various diseases, including sexual ailments.

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Death of babies a matter of concern: WB Governor

New Delhi: 31st October 2011

West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan today expressed concern over the death of several babies in the state and said steps are being taken to stop any more tragedy from happening.

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348 essential drugs to soon come under price-control regime

Mumbai:30th October 2011

In a heartening turn for consumers, the Centre, after years of dilly-dallying, has proposed to bring all the 348 drugs on the national list of essential medicines (NLEM) under a price-control regime.
This list, revised recently by the government, covers 27 therapeutic areas and includes cancer, HIV, cardiovascular, anti-platelet, antiulcer, anti-infective and antipsychotic drugs, among others. Significantly, of the 348 essential medicines, only 37 are currently under the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO, 1995).

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Apollo launches robot tech. for stroke treatment

Hyderabad: 30th October 2011

Apollo Hospitals Hyderabad, on Saturday launched “RP-7i Remote Presence Robot” for treatment of stroke patients by expert doctors away in other locations with the help of the robot.

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Expert advocates corrective surgery of spine before puberty for achieving best results

Chennai: 30th October 2011

Surgical intervention to correct deformities of the spine, especially if the curvature is aggressive, must be before the beginning of puberty to achieve best results for the patient, Pierre Roussouly, head, Department of Spinal Surgery, CMCR Les Massues, Lyon, France, says.

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New virus causing high fever identified

Hyderabad: 29th October 2011

A new virus which causes high fever and shortness of breath and other symptoms akin to dengue fever was detected in Hyderabad after specialists examined a patient at Yashoda Hospitals in Somajiguda, doctors claimed on Friday.

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Four more crib deaths in Kolkata hospital, 12 in Bardhaman hospital

Kolkata: 29th October 2011

Even as four more babies died in the B.C. Roy Post-Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences here, raising the number of crib deaths there to 17, another 12 died in the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital in Bardhaman.In neither of the hospitals was there any report of medical negligence resulting in the deaths, the authorities claimed.

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Another dengue death, toll now 5

New Delhi: 29th October 2011

The death toll due to dengue has gone up to five. A 28-year-old woman suffering from the mosquitoborne disease was reported dead on Friday. She was admitted at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials said the woman was a resident of west Sagarpur area and died on October 14. Twenty-five new dengue cases were also reported on Friday taking the total number of cases this season to 692.

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Infant deaths: Bengal govt gives clean chit to hospital, 13 more dead

Bangalore: 27th October 2011

A global initiative to develop new tuberculosis vaccines to supplement the now 90-year-old Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), commonly administered to infants as part of vaccination protocols, will feature India as one of the sites for trials.

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A mega study and a global trial, to fight killer diseases better

Pune: 28th October 2011

The largest ever study to investigate causes of common cancers in India is being carried out through a collaboration between Oxford University in the UK and 12 leading cancer centres in India.

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‘Mystery’ disease hits children in Andhra

Hyderabad: 28th October 2011

An outbreak of diseases, one of these being described as a mystery illness, has taken a heavy toll on children in Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema region. At least 500 children, aged between two and five, have been admitted to the Kurnool Government General Hospital with symptoms of dengue, chikungunya and “strange viral fevers”, doctors say.

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Twelve more babies die in Bengal

Burdwan (WB): 28th October 2011

Close on the heels of the death of 13 babies in a government hospital in Kolkata, 12 newborns have died in the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital here.

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Aspirin reduces risk of colon cancer: Study

New Delhi: 28th October 2011

Aspirin, the drug used by millions of people to protect their heart, has been found to drastically reduce colorectal cancer rates among those who have an increased hereditary risk.
The first randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess aspirin’s effect on cancer prevention has shown a reduction in colorectal cancer incidence of over 60% in patients at genetically increased risk who use aspirin for long. The findings of the study, involving 43 centres in 16 countries that followed nearly 1,000 patients in some cases for over 10 years, have been published in “The Lancet” on Friday.

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Off-the-mark health policies make killer diseases a ritual

New Delhi: 28th October 2011

The encephalitis dance of death in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar’s bordering districts looks set to cross all previous records this year. With 2-3 weeks still left in the ‘season’, the country-wide death toll is nearing the 1,000-mark, of which UP itself has a staggering toll of nearly 500. More than 80% of those killed are children below 10 years belonging to poor families from the rural hinterland.

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Misleading drug ads to come under scanner

New Delhi: 28th October 2011

Tall claims made by drug advertisements in India are under scrutiny. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has called all state drug controllers and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to address this “serious menace of misleading medical ads” in the next Drug Consultative Committee (DCC) meeting to be held on November 14.

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Cure on the way? Genes that up risk of dengue infection found

London | October 19, 2011

Scientists have identified two genes which they claim increase a person’s risk of getting dengue, with nearly 100 million infections occurring annually worldwide.
An international team has found changes in the DNA code located in two genes — MICB on chromosome 6 and PLCE1 on chromosome 10 — which increases a person’s susceptibility to dengue shock syndrome, ofering vital clues to how the body responds to the infection.

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Big cities have worst sex ratios in country

New Delhi | October 20, 2011

India’s towns are worse than its villages when it comes to the child sex ratio (CSR), but its biggest cities are even worse. Against an overall ratio of 914 girls for 1,000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years, the urban ratio is 902 but the combined figure for cities with a population of a million or more is just 898.

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‘Radiotherapy reduces breast cancer mortality’ After Conservation Surgery, It Cuts Recurrence: Study

A new study says after breast-conserving surgery, radiotherapy to the conserved breast halves the rate at which the disease recurs in the next 10 years and reduces breast cancer death rate by about a sixth in the next 15 years.

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Maharashtra first to have standard ambulance design

Maharashtra's emergency medical system, envisaged after the serial blasts in 2006, and marked with incessant delays since then, is finally on track. The state government has now roped in experts at AIIMS to provide technical support in the planning and design of the 937 ambulances it plans to roll out under the NHRM.

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Lack of facilities in MCD hospitals to cure dengue: Jai Kishan

With mosquito- borne diseases , including dengue, on rise in the Capital, Opposition Congress at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today alleged less spending on medicines and other facilities for the patients. Maximum amount of budget allocated to health department is spent over salaries of doctors and staff, MCD Leader of the Opposition Jai Kishan Sharma told the Standing Committee meeting here.

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22% rotavirus deaths in India : 99K Diarrhoea Deaths In 2008

India recorded 98,621 rotavirus-inducted diarrhoea deaths in 2008, which is about 22% of global toll from the infection.
Nigeria — the second worst-hit country — recorded about 41,000 deaths, or less than 50% of fatalities as compared to India.
An estimated 453,000 children under five years die every year due to rotavirus-related infection globally. Of this, around 93% (420,000 deaths) were clustered in the poor countries of Asia and Africa, including those in India.

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MC intensifies anti-malaria drive; death toll touches 16

The burgeoning population of mosquitoes in the city has kept the municipal authorities on tenterhooks. Despite several measures and claims made by officers of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the deadly sting continues to take its toll. The number of malaria deaths has now risen to 16 this month.

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Spl cadre for health services mooted

India must put in place a new army of health workers — the public health service cadre — to fight the public health threats. The Planning Commission’s high-level expert group on universal health coverage says, a national and state-level public health service cadre and a specialized statelevel health systems management cadre needs to be put in place.

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Plan panel group: Drop service fee from healthcare

The Planning Commission’s high-level expert group on universal health coverage has suggested abolition of user fees for healthcare services.
The expert group has recommended in its final report — submitted to the government on Saturday — that “user fees of all forms be dropped as a source of government revenue for health”.

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30 hospitals reject PPN

Nearly 30 hospitals, which were part of the Preferred Provider Network (PPN) programme started by insurance companies, have stopped offering cashless services to patients citing harassment by the third party administration (TPA) firms.

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Health Impetus to provide insurance coverage to cancer patients

Health Impetus, a disease management partner to global pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, today announced that it will provide insurance coverage to the patients suffering from chronic diseases. This would be the first-of-its-kind in the country, where even a cancer patient will get an insurance coverage, Health Impetus CEO Pankaj Sindhu said.

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Season’s highest: 24 test positive for dengue

The highest number of dengue cases was recorded on a single day after 24 patients tested positive on Thursday. This has taken the number of persons diagnosed with the mosquitoborne disease to 503. Eight new cases of chikungunya were also reported.

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WB eyes pvt firms for labourers’ health insurance

The West Bengal government has initiated dialogue process with private health insurance companies to implement the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna. The benefit of health insurance will be extended to labourers of unorganised sector under the Rashtriya Swastya Bima Yojna (RSBY) with a view to helping the BPL families to get rid of health shocks that involve hospitalization.

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MCD downplaying dengue spread?

New Delhi | October 19, 2011

An effective vaccine against malaria — the first for any parasitic disease, is a step closer to reality. The first ever widescale trial of the candidate vaccine RTS,S prevented clinical malaria in 56% of five- to 17-month-old children it was tried on over a period of one year. A sample group of 6,000 children were vaccinated. It also prevented severe malaria in 47% of cases after three doses of RTS,S.

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First malaria vaccine works in major trial

An experimental vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline halved the risk of African children getting malaria in a major clinical trial, making it likely to become the world’s first shot against the disease.

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PATIENT LOAD GROWING: AIIMS docs overworked, no research Over 30% Shortfall In Staff

New Delhi | October 21, 2011

Hamstrung by an acute staff shortage and increasing overload of patients, at least one-third of the faculty members at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are compelled to work even on Sundays and other holidays

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Hospital deliveries on the rise, maternal deaths dip

Institutional deliveries, where children are delivered at health centres or hospitals, have picked up in India over the last five-odd years. Around 60 lakh more infants were born in safe confines of healthcare centres in 2010-11 as compared to 2005-06

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Expert panel finally bans ‘fertility’ drug

India has banned manufacture, sale and distribution of the controversial drug Letrozole. Globally, the drug is used to treat breast cancer, but in India, it was being administered to young infertile women to help them conceive. A 16-member panel under special director general of health services Dr D C Jain decided to ban the drug.

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Ladies, kick the butt or risk early menopause: Premature Onset Raises Death Risk, Says Study

Women who smoke may hit menopause about a year earlier than those who don’t light up, according to a study that also notes an earlier menopause may influence the risk of getting bone and heart diseases.
The study, which was carried in the journal Menopause, pooled data from several previous studies that included about 6,000 women in the US, Poland, Turkey and Iran.

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Ultrasound tests in Punjab to be e- Monitored: The government has planned to rollout a unique ultrasound tracking technology to

Facing the problem of skewed sex ratio, Punjab government is all set to adopt a unique ultrasound tracking technology to prevent sex selection in the state hospitals. Punjab government has invited tenders for the procurement of 1300 such machines for 1200 sonography centres. Punjab will be the first state in the country to use this tracking technology.

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Malaria mortality on decline in Orissa

Strategies of Malaria Control programmes implemented at the community level has led to consistent decline in the number of deaths due to malaria in Orissa. The districts which once reported higher number of deaths in 2010 have been showing a decline in number of deaths in 2011 following up scaled strategies, raised level of monitoring and supervision at all levels,official sources here today claimed.

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Orissa to set up 1028 New Born Corners for better infant care

The Orissa Government will set up 1028 New Born Corners (NBC) in various Community Health Centers and Sub-divisional hospitals of the state during 2012 to provide better health care to the infants and reduce infant mortality rate.

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‘1 in 5 kids has mental illness’: Only 1 In 50 Gets Treatment In India While Ratio Is 1:3 In West: Study

One in 5 children in developing countries like India has a mental health problem. Globally, mental health problems affect 10–20% of children and adolescents. However, while 1 in 3 people with a mental health problem in wealthy nations receive treatment, in developing countries, it is as few as 1 in 50.

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‘20% children face abuse in India’ : 67% Are Victims Of Physical Abuse, 44% Suffer Verbal Abuse, Finds Study

The future of children in India appears bleak, riddled by verbal and physical abuse and controlled by gender stereotypes. A recent study by child rights organization Plan India has found that one-fifth of the children are reported facing abuse, only 20% women had bank accounts and only 16% owned an asset like land or vehicle.

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Breast cancer in urban India nearly doubles in 24 years

Breast cancer cases are spiralling world over, and urban India is no exception. A recent landmark analysis of cancer cases among women in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore from 1982 to 2005, conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) shows that the incidence of breast cancer has nearly doubled in metropolitan cities (See box for rise in incidence). On the other hand, cases of cervical cancer, which is the most common form of cancer among Indian women, is dipping—in some cities by almost 50%

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