Implement National Health Policy With SDG Push

Right to Education Act (RTE) implementation, which enabled a near-universal access to education, especially for the most vulnerable. Of the children enrolled in schools between 2007-2008 and 2012–13, 56% were girls, and 32% from disadvantaged groups of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The number of children out of school and dropout rates reduced substantially, though not evenly, across all social groups. Right to Health, similarly, could drastically improve the access of millions to a healthy life.

The draft National Health Policy formulated by the government in December 2014 aims to address the “urgent need to improve the performance of health system”, especially to address the high inequity in health outcomes and the healthcare costs that push over 63 million Indians to poverty. The policy proposes that the Centre enact a National Health Rights Act which will ensure health as a fundamental right, the denial of which will be justiciable. Now, the Centre needs to take seriously the Supreme Court’s directive to take a final call on the National Health Policy.


Outbreak of Yellow Fever in Africa has been Subdued

Climate change, deforestation etc are partly been suspected as the causes but it’s the lack of awareness among the people to whom sustenance means shelter, water and food. The non-immune adults are easy prey of virulent mosquitoes and therefore, fertile to fuel a new epidemic. Aedes aegypti is the transmitter for several severe afflictions like dengue and yellow fever. Sometimes it is referred as ‘yellow fever mosquito’. 

India Supreme Court orders closure of all sterilization camps within three years | Opinion | LifeSite

The Court further directed the India central government to take an active role to assure that the standards and guidelines concerning the proper protocol for sterilization procedures be strictly followed. In the past, state governments have been responsible for enforcing the policy standards with limited success.

The ruling also requires that all women undergoing sterilization must first have the possible risks, side effects, and consequences of the procedure read to them in their own language. This is an important proviso given that there are no fewer than 122 major languages spoken in India.

Now, the soft drink bottle is unsafe too

Heavy metals have been detected in the PET bottles of soft drinks. 

Lead and chromium are established toxins in humans. Government has to undertake initiatives to ensure safe and healthy packaging of foodstuffs. 

This could have wider ramifications. 

Curse of Venus

Venus, the Greek Goddess

Make love, not diseases.
There are more than 25 different organisms and nearly 50 disease conditions of the reproductive and urinary systems that can result from an unhealthy lovemaking. Let’s call it sex from here. 

Make safe sex to save yourself and your Valentine from infections

The passionate act, when sought through orifices that are not primarily meant for the whole purpose of procreation, can often turn disastrous as regards health of the partners. It opens the gateway to a whole range of pathogens from the humble louse to the mighty syphilis and the dreadful HIV.

Though classically called Venereal diseases, the World Health Organization called for a revamp in the terminology. ‘Venereal’ is derived from Venus, the Greek God of love. There was a huge stigma that this word could generate. Now, how many people can really take the fact head on that a beautiful act of divine pleasure seeking can often end up in painful lesions and discharges? Since the year 1999, according to the WHO mandate, these diseases are called sexually transmitted infections. 

There’s just one life, and safe sex is the best sex. 

Japanese encephalitis has to be mandatorily notified

This will be a stepping stone towards better control of the long term crippling infection of the brain. 

Notification, as a government measure, has always reaped benefits in disease control.

Measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria and others are notifiable diseases in India.

For a killer disease like JE, that not just kills, but leaves victims permanently disabled, this must help in tightening surveillance and improving monitoring.

Public health lessons from the life of Gandhi

PC: Google Images

He wasn’t just a freedom fighter. He lived his life as a message for the nation. People become revered when they sacrifice their pleasures for a noble cause. Gandhi sought pleasure in the dream of a free India, a clean India, a land of equality and nobility. While some of his dreams have already turned into reality, some others are on the process of realization. 

His principles were of self-reliance and independence. Today, we learn that the success of a health programme for the community lies in the extent to which the members of the community engage in the programme. The vision is to make a people’s programme.

Community is composed of the individuals who live in it, understood in totality of the ecology wrapping them up. People in a community should not always be perceived as mere beneficiaries of an intervention, though this is common in the initial phases of a government programme. As the intervention expands in terms of geography of coverage and political commitment, community has to acquire a wider role outside the beneficiary compartment. They should be involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages too.

Gandhiji set an example of self-reliance by wearing handwoven khadi. This reflects upon the immaculate treasure trove of resources that can be churned by an efficient health programme. The principle of appropriate technology underlining the concept of primary health care emphasizes upon how an efficient healthcare system utilizes grassroot level technology to improve health outcomes. 

Gandhian philosophy has several lessons for the health administrators. These lessons are of utmost relevance in our country where the basic tenet of economics – scarce resources and perpetual demand – applies perfectly, now more than ever. 

Time for public health focus on mental illnesses

Its a whole new perspective gained in reading chapters in public health. Its a macroscopic view of things at population level. There is a big difference in the events at tissue level and when it unfolds as a population phenomenon. 

Mental health has never received the attention it deserved from public health professionals in India. We have always been running after stamping sparks of tuberculosis and malaria. With diseases undergoing epidemiological transition and societies in demographic transition, it is high time doctors adopt a refined focus on new priorities. 

A national commitment translating in clear policies would lay the stepping stones for implementing strategies for improving mental health of the public. There is acute shortage of manpower to deliver mental health services. MCI norms for psychiatry departments are relevant in this regard. Regional centres should train and retrain sufficient number of professionals in handling mental health problems at all levels, village to apex. A strong referral system should work as the spine of mental health infrastructure in India. 

One out of ten people around us suffers from one or the other form of mental illness. The weaknesses in our health system to tackle the increasing burden of mental illnesses (thanks to urbanization and industrialization) are clear on the surface now. All we need is a multipronged strategy to bring down the burden of  psychiatric illnesses.