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

February 2012

AIIMS ties up with cops to promote organ donation

New Delhi: 27th February 2012
More than two lakh Indians require organ transplantation annually. However, less than 10% are able to get this timely help. Cadaver donation, which is the biggest source of organs for transplantation, remains as low as 0.1%, say experts.

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Assam to have special burn care units

Guwahati: 29th February 2012
Three new improvised burn care units are being opened in Assam in Nagaon, Dhubri and Kamrup district in order to improve the state’s preparedness to tackle and prevent burn incidents. The burn care units are being opened as part of a pilot project of Union Ministry of Health taken up in Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

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Stagnant water causes malaria scare at GMSH 16

Chandigarh: 29th February 2012
Stagnant water in the premises of the Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 is posing a serious threat to patients admitted to the hospital. While the UT Health department is quick to launch a drive to pull up residents who allow stagnant water as it leads to mosquito breeding, it has failed to notice still water on its premises between the nursing institute and the gynaecology OPD.

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MCD uses tech to keep tab on TB patients

New Delhi: 29th February 2012
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has provided each of its tuberculosis treatment centres computers to maintain data of patients undergoing DOT therapy. The data will be connected to a main server, allowing the civic agency to monitor those who default on the routine treatment.

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‘Our fight against polio finally paying off ’

New Delhi: 29th February 2012
“Today, India stands on the brink of eradicating polio — arguably the greatest public health achievement in its history. When the polio eradication campaign started in 1988, India was reporting around 500 polio cases per day. Since then, more than 4 million children have been saved from paralysis or death. All our hard work is paying off. But the simple truth is that as long as polio exists anywhere in the world, the threat will persist.

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Maternity leave for contractual teachers

New Delhi: 28th February 2012

Women teachers appointed on contract by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi will now be able to avail of maternity leave for three months, said MCD Education Committee chairman Mahinder Nagpal on Monday. Maternity leave was earlier allowed only for permanent female employees. The facility is likely to benefit as many as 2,500 women teachers who are appointed on contract basis by the MCD, said Mr. Nagpal.

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Soon, Hib vaccination for all kids

New Delhi: 25th February 2012
Delhi is soon going to include haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine as a part of the routine immunization programme for infants. It will secure babies against Hib infections — a leading cause of childhood bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, and other serious infections such as septicemia. While the state government’s free immunization programme has been for long giving DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) and hepatitis B vaccines, there has been no provision for Hib infections, which are almost entirely preventable with vaccine.

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12-digit I-cards for health services in Ballabhgarh

New Delhi: 27th February 2012
In a first, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has given 12-digit Identification Number (ID) to 89,000 inhabitants of Ballabhgarh in Haryana to keep track of health care services being delivered to them. The unique ID keeps a record of immunization, births and deaths among the select populace in the region where the community medicine departmentof the premier medical institute runs its rural health services.

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Bengal plans ICU-on-wheel for critical infants

Kolkata: 27th February 2012

Spurred by the string of deaths of babies, the West Bengal Government has decided to launch mobile intensive care unit (ICU) to ferry new-born babies in critical conditions. The transit ambulance or ICU-on-wheels would carry the sick babies from home to government hospitals with sick new born care units (SNCUs) for treatment.

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MP sterilization drive killed pregnant woman

Bhopal: 26th February 2012
A 35-year-old pregnant women bled to death in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district earlier this month while doctors were trying to sterilize her as part of the state government’s vasectomy-sterilization drive. This comes days after CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was forced to call an urgent video conference last week warning district collectors to “implement family planning only through counselling” amid widespread complaints of forced sterilization.

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WHO takes India off its polio nations list

New Delhi: 26th February 2012
India’s name has been struck off a shame list that the country hopes will not include it in the future. The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken India, which in 2009 had more polio cases than any other nation in the world, off its polio endemic list after not a single case of the crippling disease was reported for over a year.

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India to double outlay on health in 12th Plan

New Delhi: 29th February 2012
In a major boost to the healthcare sector, total government expenditure on health would be increased to 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2017, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said. The decision was taken in a meeting held in the PMO on the government's priorities in health sector, particularly over the next five years, reports IANS.

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MP CM pulls up admn for forced sterilization

Bhopal: 20th February 2012

Stung by complaints of forced sterilization from across Madhya Pradesh, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan called a video conference with district collectors and gave a dressing down to administration officers for setting vasectomy target figures.

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PM for hassle-free outpatient care in public hospitals

New Delhi: 25th February 2012

Noting that insurance schemes tended to focus on inpatient care, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India needs to work towards hassle-free and cashless outpatient care in its public hospitals. He also said that education and health will be the key priorities of the 12th Five Year Plan and stressed that more efforts were required to reach the goals of increasing public expenditure on health to 2.5 per cent of GDP.

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Baby girl left to die in MP govt hospital

Indore: 17th February 2012

A newborn girl died at Barwani’s Civil Hospital in MP due hospital staff’s negligence. Mangla Kushwaha had delivered twin girls at midnight on Monday. But, doctors said both were stillborn and asked Mangla’s brother, Rajesh Rana, to take away the bodies for burial.

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Target-crazy babus sterilize MP tribals

Bhopal: 18th February 2012

After Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared 2012 as the year of family planning, some district collectors seem to have tossed the rule book to the winds to meet their targets. Such has been the zeal among the officials to bring more and more people under the scalpel that they are luring and misguiding protected tribals with dwindling population into sterilization.

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Bengal doctors told to prescribe generic drug

Kolkata: 15th February 2012
As a part to streamline the health delivery system in the state, which of late has come in for severe criticism for the spate of deaths, the West Bengal government has asked the doctors working in government run hospitals and health centres to prescribe generic drugs.

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Karnataka to set up yoga and naturopathy council

Bangalore: 13th February 2012
The Karnataka government will soon set up a yoga and naturopathy council and allot 10 per cent of the health budget in the ensuing fiscal (2012-13) to promote Indian systems of medicine comprising Ayurvedic, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (Ayush). "Yoga and naturopathy are two native therapies that can prevent and cure several physical and psychosomatic ailments, especially diabetes and HIV+ cases, which have been increasing in the country of late.

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‘Medicines for all’ plan gets PMO thumbs up

New Delhi: 13th February 2012

Free medicines to all patients visiting any government health facility across the country could soon be a reality with the health ministry ready to roll out a nearly Rs 30,000-crore ‘free medicines for all’ scheme with strong backing from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

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Alwar hospital holds camp for anaemic women in cattle sheds

Jaipur/Alwar: 13th February 2012

A private hospital flouted hygiene guidelines and organized a ‘health camp’ for anaemic women in buffalo sheds at Newali in Rajasthan’s Alwar district last week. The women were asked to sit in a line and given intravenous iron infusion therapy from intravenous iron bottles tightened to a rope. The camp drew a large number of anaemic patients, over 200, as the organizers, Sania Hospital, had widely publicized the event on Wednesday.

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Mentally challenged man sterilized in MP

Bhopal: 12th February 2012

A 35-year-old mentally retarded and childless man was allegedly taken away and vasectomised in the district hospital in Rewa, under the government’s sterilisation drive. Ramavtar Gupta, a resident of Mahsaw village, underwent vasectomy in the district hospital on Thursday.

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Drugs may get costlier, HIV+ patients protest

New Delhi: 11th February 2012

Hundreds of HIVpositive people staged a march in the city on Friday to protest against the free trade agreement between the European Union andIndia.They weredemanding a white paper on the pact and wide consultation with stakeholders before implementation. The rally with protesters carrying giant inflated medicine pills was held from Mandi House to Parliament Street around10 am.

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Govt orders 6 hospitals to treat poor for free

New Delhi: 10th February 2012

The ministry of urban development has said in a recent order that charitable societies and trusts which got land at concessional rates to set up hospitals will have to provide free treatment to poor patients. The six hospitals named in the order include Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, St Stephen’s Hospital, VIMHANS, Moolchand Hospital, Primus Ortho Hospital and Jessa Ram Hospital.

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Miserly hike in outlay to hit health plans

New Delhi: 13th February 2012

The annual health budget for 2012-13 has taken a beating, leaving the health ministry disappointed. Against promises from even the Prime Minister that India’s health budget will go up from an abysmally low 1.1% of GDP to 2.5% of GDP in the 12th Plan starting 2012, the Planning Commission on Friday informed the ministry that the annual health plan allocation for 2012-13 will go up by just 10-15%.

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City to get 70 ambulances to meet shortage

New Delhi: 9th February 2012

The shortage of ambulances in the city is likely to end soon as the government has approved the purchase of 70 new vehicles. The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by health minister AK Walia on Wednesday. The minister told TOI that the new ambulances are being purchased from funds released by the Central government under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

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Apex court issues notice to Centre on ‘illegal drug trials'

New Delhi: 7th February 2012

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a writ petition alleging that illegal clinical trials of untested drugs were being conducted by pharmaceutical companies on adults, children and even mentally ill persons in various States. The Indore-based Swasthya Adhikar Manch was the petitioner. NGO's counsel Sanjay Parikh told the Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and H.L. Gokhale that in a large number of cases, multinational corporations were using contract research organisations for carrying out clinical trials of unapproved drugs.

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Hold study on drug-resistant TB: WHO

New Delhi: 6th February 2012

Multi drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is spreading far and wide across the globe. The latest World Health Organisation (WHO) analysis published on Saturday said cases of MDR-TB had now been reported from 80 countries, in some instances in almost 30% of all newly diagnosed cases.

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Drug trials should follow procedures: Azad

Bangalore: 6th February 2012

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Monday drug trials should be as per laid down procedures. "Clinical trials have to be there, but going for a clinical trial for testing any medicine on human being, there is a laid down procedure," Azad said, reacting to the apex court's notice to the central government on a plea seeking investigation into illegal and unethical clinical trials.

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'India's AIDS control mission a successful model'

New Delhi: 6th February 2012

In existence for nearly two decades, India's HIV-AIDS control mission has been the most successful global model to deal with the disease, the head of the country's AIDS control panel said Monday. "NACO is a global success model. The way India has brought down HIV infections from nearly 50 percent, it has been appreciated all across the world," National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) director general Sayan Chatterjee said at the South Asian Forum for Health Research (SAFHeR) here.

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Among metros, city most prone to cancer

New Delhi: 5th February 2012

Cancer of the lung is the commonest cancer among men in Delhi, while that of the breast is way ahead of all other forms of cancer among women in the national Capital. Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) latest data on the 10 leading sites of cancer in Delhi shows that prevalence of breast cancer among women in Delhi stands at almost 27%, followed by cervix, whose recurrence is almost half of breast cancer cases at 14.6%. Among men, lung cancer is the most common at 10%, while 7% of all cancers are of the prostate.

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India to raise malaria toll figure 40-fold

New Delhi:4th February 2012
India may, in a few weeks, officially acknowledge that malaria kills 40 times the current estimate of 1,023 people a year. A 16-member committee set up by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme to gauge India’s actual malaria death burden has arrived at 40,297 as the average deaths per year due to the disease carried by mosquitoes.

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Goa, Kerala best states in which to be born in India

New Delhi: 2nd Feruary 2012
Goa and Kerala seem to be the best places in which to be born, while Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa are the worst. According to the latest Union health ministry data, Goa recorded the lowest infant mortality rate — 10 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, followed by Kerala at 13. MP recorded the highest IMR at 62, followed by UP (61) and Orissa (61). MP, which has the highest IMR, also recorded the largest dip along with Himachal Pradesh, by five points between 2009 and 2010. According to the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) data, the figures augur well for the entire country.

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Now, 2-hr test to detect drug-resistant TB

New Delhi: 1st February 2012

Now, diagnosing multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB) patients will take less than two hours. India has cleared the proposal to roll out a new diagnostic test GeneXpert across 18 sites that will test and confirm MDR TB within 120 minutes. About 99,000 Indians suffering from TB are becoming drugresistant every year. However, the diagnostic tools available take two days to about four months to confirm a single drug-resistant case during which time the air-borne disease spreads to others. The new test aims to increase diagnosis of the disease by at least seven-fold.

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Haryana villages to have ' digital health walls'

Chandigarh: 7th February 2012

Revamping the healthcare system in the state, Haryana government has decided to install ‘health wall’ in every village of the state. This health wall will display the sex ratio, number of expecting mothers, immunization status and the healthcare facilities available in that village. This nearly 75-lakh project will be started from Gurgaon district and gradually all other 20 districts will be covered.

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Better fire safety in govt hospitals by March 31

New Delhi: 3rd Feruary 2012


It will take government hospitals and departments another two months to upgrade fire safety mechanism on their premises, before they can get the mandatory No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from Delhi Fire Services, state health minister A K Walia has said. After the Kolkata fire tragedy in December 2011 in which over 80 lives were lost at AMRI Hospital, the Delhi government had ordered that all city government hospitals should get NOC from the fire department within a month. But at a review meeting on Thursday, Walia said the safety mechanisms will be in place only by March 31.

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Free ambulance facility set to expand in HP

Shimla: 4th February 2012
The all-day free ambulance service in the state, the Atal Swasthya Sewa, is set to receive a major expansion in the next few months with the state government seeking to induct at least 64 more ambulances for the benefit of critically-ill patients, who are referred to district and other higher hospitals from local health centres.

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‘Breast cancer drug causes bone loss’

New Delhi: 7th February 2012


A commonly used drug, Exemestane, taken by early breast cancer patients in India — as frequently as once a day for five years — has been found to cause significant bone loss, even when they are given adequate calcium and vitamin D intake. The drug has been found to worsen age-related decrease in bone mineral density by about three times, increasing risks of fractures manifold. In a study published in the “Lancet”, researchers from Canada said the drug causes loss of cortical bone that comprises 80% of the skeleton.

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