Health Care in India : News & Updates

RISING SUN

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Life expectancy in India improves marginally

Long live, India

India has seen an improvement in overall life expectancy at birth to 69 years, with women expected to live for 70.4 years and men for 67.8 years, according to the latest Sample Registration Survey (SRS) for 2013-17.

The overall life expectancy grew from 68.7 years in 2012-16, when life expectancy for women was 70.2 years and that for men was 67.4 years. Life expectancy for women was 73.70 years in urban centres and 69 in rural areas while the comparative figures for men were 71.20 years and 66.40 years, respectively, as per the SRS report released by the Registrar General of India.

"There is a difference of about 2.6 years in female-male life expectancy at birth at the national level, with the highest difference been recorded at about 6.2 years for Uttarakhand," says the SRS report for 2013-17.

Main reasons

Officials said the increase in life expectancy was driven mainly by improvements in sanitation, housing and education which led to a steady decline in mortality. This may also explain the marginal improvement in the difference in life expectancy between urban and rural India, which decreased to 4.7 years in 2013-17 from 4.8 years in 2010-14, as per the report.

Women continued to enjoy a higher life expectancy than men because they stand to benefit more from the advances in healthcare and living conditions, besides making fewer lifestyle choices that are bad for health, said officials.

India’s life expectancy in 2013-17 was, however, lower than the global life expectancy of 72.6 years this year, according to the United Nations’ ‘World Population Prospects’ report published in June.

Wide variation in different states

The global life expectancy is expected to increase to 77.1 years by 2050, as per the UN report.

India also continues to grapple with a wide variation in life expectancy in different states, pointing to the huge gulf in basic amenities available to the residents. Delhiborn males and Kerala-born females stood the best chance of living the longest in the country, with life expectancy of 73.3 years and 77.8 years respectively at birth. In contrast, men born in Chhattisgarh and women born in Uttar Pradesh appeared to have the worst odds, with life expectancy of 63.8 years and 65.60 years respectively at birth.

States with high life expectancy

At age 70, however, the overall life expectancy among men and women was the highest in Punjab, at 14.2 years, and the lowest in Chhattisgarh, at nine years, according to the survey. Further, among those aged 80 and more than 85 years, Uttarakhand recorded the highest life expectancy.

The SRS data showed that women at the retirement age of 60 years were more likely to survive than their male counterparts in all states and union territories (UTs), barring Bihar and Jharkhand, with the highest life expectancy in Jammu & Kashmir (24.3 years), followed by Himachal Pradesh (22.3 years) and Kerala (21.9 years).

J&K top female life expectancy

Significantly, militancy-ridden J&K, which was recently converted to a UT, figured among the top two states in terms of female life expectancy at birth, infancy, childhood as well as retiring age, according to the SRS data for 2013-17.

Among those aged 70 years, there was a difference of 1.1 years in life expectancy between men and women at the national level, with J&K registering the highest difference of 3.1 years. While women in J&K had the highest life expectancy of 16.8 years at age 70, those in Bihar had the least life expectancy of 9.5 years. The comparative figures for men were the highest in Punjab, at 13.9 years, and the lowest in Chhattisgarh at 8.1 years, as per the report.
Life expectancy in India improves marginally - Long live, India
 

RISING SUN

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India All Set to Create World’s First Male Contraceptive Injection, Approval Awaited
For years, sterilization is considered as the only male contraceptive process in India. However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is all set to introduce another contraception method for males. The Indian Research Institute has, recently, completed the successful clinical trials of the world’s first injectable male contraceptive. This can be a breakthrough discovery in male contraception methods.

As reported by Hindustan Times, the contraceptive will stay effective for 13 years before losing its potency. However, it is better and practical alternate for surgical vasectomy, the only male sterilisation method known to the world. For now, the injectable male contraceptive has been sent to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for receive the approval.

Dr RS Sharma, senior scientist with ICMR, told the daily, “The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending with the Drugs Controller. The trials are over, including extended, phase 3 clinical trials for which 303 candidates were recruited with 97.3% success rate and no reported side-effects. The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive.”

India is not the only country working on devising such a method. The researchers in the US have been working on a similar contraceptive. However, the project is still under development.

As per the data received from the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16), 53.5% of couples in India use some method of contraception or spacing methods. However, permanent methods like sterilization have been more common, as compared to others.

Sharma explained about the new method, “The polymer (contraceptive) was developed by Prof SK Guha from the Indian Institute of Technology in the 1970s. ICMR has been researching on it to turn it into a product for mass use since 1984, and the final product is ready after exhaustive trials.”

The product is known as reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG). It is made of a compound called Styrene Maleic Anhydride and is effective for 13 years once injected.

On the other hand, VG Somani, the drug controller general of India, told the daily, “It’s the first in the world from India so we have to be extra careful about approval. We are looking at all aspects, especially the good manufacturing practice (GMP) certification that won’t raise any questions about its quality.”
India All Set to Create World’s First Male Contraceptive Injection, Approval Awaited
 

RISING SUN

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India’s health budget 4th lowest in world; among worst nations to tackle inequality in pandemic​

Even as the government has been regularly reporting an increasing level of Covid-19 recoveries, the country doesn’t seem to have fared well in terms of fighting inequality among its people going into the pandemic. That’s because of low spending on public healthcare, poor access health services and labour rights etc, according to Oxfam – an international confederation of charitable organisations. India, which is ranked 129 out of 158 countries in the Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index by Oxfam, spent just 4 per cent of its budget on health going into the pandemic — fourth lowest in the world, the index said. In fact, just 26 of the 158 countries surveyed for this year’s index were spending the recommended 15 per cent of their budgets on health to fight Covid.

“Nigeria, Bahrain and India, which is currently experiencing the world’s fastest-growing outbreak of COVID-19, were among the world’s worst-performing countries in tackling inequality going into the pandemic,” the index report said. It also claimed that despite an already disastrous track record on workers’ rights, several state governments in India have used Covid-19 as a pretext to increase daily working hours from 8 to 12 hours a day and suspend minimum pay legislation, devastating the livelihoods of millions of poor workers now battling hunger.

The index added that only half of India’s population have access to even the most essential health services while over 70 per cent of health spending is being met by people themselves. Also, most workers earn less than half of the minimum wage, 71 per cent don’t have any written job contract while 54 per cent do not get paid leave. Further, it noted that only around 10 per cent of the workforce in India is formal, with safe working conditions and social security.

The index, which was published earlier this week, ranked countries measuring their policies and actions in three areas that it said are proven to be directly related to reducing inequality — Public services including health, education and social protection, taxation, and workers’ rights. “The poorest people are least able to isolate, to protect themselves. They are more likely to have pre-existing poor health, making them more likely to die. Economically, it is ordinary people who are losing their jobs in their tens of millions, facing huge levels of hunger and hardship,” it said.

The CRI index also ranked India eight from the bottom of top 10 lowest scorers with respect to measures for trade unions, legal protection for women workers and minimum wages. India was also ranked fifth last among bottom 10 spenders on public services including education, health and social protection. “Towards the bottom of the overall health spending ranking is India, which has also made cuts to its health budget (albeit small) and has fallen to third-last position of this ranking,” it added.

The government on Sunday had said that India’s total Covid recoveries have crossed the “landmark milestone of 60 lakh.” It said that due to the enhanced countrywide medical infrastructure, implementation of the Centre’s Standard Treatment Protocol by the States/UTs, and total dedication & commitment of doctors, paramedics and frontline workers have led to a consistent slide in the number of daily fatalities. The total active cases in India stand at 8,67,496, ,” Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.
 

Gautam

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To tackle anaemia, Modi govt plans to make fortification of rice mandatory in next 3 years

The central government plans to fortify rice, the staple food of more than 70 per cent of the Indian population, with iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12.


By HIMANI CHANDNA
23 October, 2020; 7:50 pm IST
1603633747372.png

Representational image | Pixabay

New Delhi: To battle the prevalence of anaemia in India, the Narendra Modi government has started the process of making fortification of rice mandatory in the country.

Fortification refers to a process of increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, such as vitamins or minerals, in a food item to improve its nutritional value and provide public health benefits at minimal cost.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — the country’s apex food regulator under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare — is working on a proposal to make fortification mandatory for rice in the next three years. This will cost the exchequer an estimated Rs 2,500 crore every fiscal year.

According to the authority’s estimates, rice is the staple food of more than 70 per cent of the Indian population. Therefore, in an effort to increase the nutritional value of the food consumed and reduce the incidence of anaemia in the country, the central government is planning to fortify rice with iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12.

Anaemia is a condition in which a person has low levels of red blood cells or concentration haemoglobin, which reduces the capacity of their blood to carry oxygen. The most common causes of anaemia are nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron deficiency.

“We have started working on the plan and inter-ministerial discussions are going on. We have estimated that the cost of fortified rice will go up by 60-70 paise per kg. In total, the cost incurred by the government will be Rs 2,500 crore per fiscal year for distributing fortified rice through the mid-day meal schemes and through the Public Distribution System (PDS), as per internal estimates,” a senior official from the FSSAI told ThePrint.

He added: “The fortification process is a viable proposition as it is likely to reduce the incidence of anaemia in India by almost 35 per cent in a few years of launching the scheme.”

“Anaemia leads to the economic loss to the nation due to lesser productivity of the population. Furthermore, it will reduce the problem of low birth rate and compromised mental development,” the official said.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, 58.6 per cent of children aged between 6-59 months and 53.1 per cent of all women surveyed aged between 15-49 years were anaemic.

Furthermore, half of the pregnant women surveyed in the NFHS aged between the ages of 15 and 49 were also found to be anaemic, along with 23 per cent of men aged 15 to 49 years.

Modi endorses fortification of grains


The central government’s plans to make fortification of rice mandatory aligns with Prime Minister Modi’s endorsement of fortified food to address micronutrient deficiency, during his address on World Food Day Thursday.

In his address, Modi had noted that “common varieties of some crops lack key micronutrients that are essential for good health, and thus biofortified varieties were developed to overcome these shortcomings.”

In 2019, Modi government had also approved the Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on ‘Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under Public Distribution System’ which was approved for a period of three years beginning 2019-20 and focuses on 15 districts.

The World Health Organization also recommends fortification of rice with iron, vitamins and folic acid as a public health strategy to improve the iron levels of populations, in settings where rice is a staple food.

FSSAI has been pushing for fortification since 2018 when they launched a new ‘+F’ label for fortified foods and had set standards for fortification in five categories of staples including wheat flour, rice, milk and edible oil and double fortified salt. However, the norms are not mandatory to follow.

How will fortification be done ?


According to the government’s plan, rice will be extruded and then shaped into structures that resemble rice grains. The process of extrusion involves reforming rice flour into a precooked product that can be shaped to resemble a rice grain.

These kernels will then be fortified with micronutrients such as iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12 as planned and mixed with natural polished rice.

The process is carried out by rice millers, who will need to upgrade their manufacturing sites by installing machines to produce fortified kernels.

“We are discussing the plan with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. The final plan will be discussed with industry stakeholders in the later stages,” said the official quoted above.

 

Sathya

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Dec 2, 2017
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India

To tackle anaemia, Modi govt plans to make fortification of rice mandatory in next 3 years

The central government plans to fortify rice, the staple food of more than 70 per cent of the Indian population, with iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12.


By HIMANI CHANDNA
23 October, 2020; 7:50 pm IST
View attachment 18420
Representational image | Pixabay

New Delhi: To battle the prevalence of anaemia in India, the Narendra Modi government has started the process of making fortification of rice mandatory in the country.

Fortification refers to a process of increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, such as vitamins or minerals, in a food item to improve its nutritional value and provide public health benefits at minimal cost.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — the country’s apex food regulator under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare — is working on a proposal to make fortification mandatory for rice in the next three years. This will cost the exchequer an estimated Rs 2,500 crore every fiscal year.

According to the authority’s estimates, rice is the staple food of more than 70 per cent of the Indian population. Therefore, in an effort to increase the nutritional value of the food consumed and reduce the incidence of anaemia in the country, the central government is planning to fortify rice with iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12.

Anaemia is a condition in which a person has low levels of red blood cells or concentration haemoglobin, which reduces the capacity of their blood to carry oxygen. The most common causes of anaemia are nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron deficiency.

“We have started working on the plan and inter-ministerial discussions are going on. We have estimated that the cost of fortified rice will go up by 60-70 paise per kg. In total, the cost incurred by the government will be Rs 2,500 crore per fiscal year for distributing fortified rice through the mid-day meal schemes and through the Public Distribution System (PDS), as per internal estimates,” a senior official from the FSSAI told ThePrint.

He added: “The fortification process is a viable proposition as it is likely to reduce the incidence of anaemia in India by almost 35 per cent in a few years of launching the scheme.”

“Anaemia leads to the economic loss to the nation due to lesser productivity of the population. Furthermore, it will reduce the problem of low birth rate and compromised mental development,” the official said.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, 58.6 per cent of children aged between 6-59 months and 53.1 per cent of all women surveyed aged between 15-49 years were anaemic.

Furthermore, half of the pregnant women surveyed in the NFHS aged between the ages of 15 and 49 were also found to be anaemic, along with 23 per cent of men aged 15 to 49 years.

Modi endorses fortification of grains


The central government’s plans to make fortification of rice mandatory aligns with Prime Minister Modi’s endorsement of fortified food to address micronutrient deficiency, during his address on World Food Day Thursday.

In his address, Modi had noted that “common varieties of some crops lack key micronutrients that are essential for good health, and thus biofortified varieties were developed to overcome these shortcomings.”

In 2019, Modi government had also approved the Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on ‘Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under Public Distribution System’ which was approved for a period of three years beginning 2019-20 and focuses on 15 districts.

The World Health Organization also recommends fortification of rice with iron, vitamins and folic acid as a public health strategy to improve the iron levels of populations, in settings where rice is a staple food.

FSSAI has been pushing for fortification since 2018 when they launched a new ‘+F’ label for fortified foods and had set standards for fortification in five categories of staples including wheat flour, rice, milk and edible oil and double fortified salt. However, the norms are not mandatory to follow.

How will fortification be done ?


According to the government’s plan, rice will be extruded and then shaped into structures that resemble rice grains. The process of extrusion involves reforming rice flour into a precooked product that can be shaped to resemble a rice grain.

These kernels will then be fortified with micronutrients such as iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12 as planned and mixed with natural polished rice.

The process is carried out by rice millers, who will need to upgrade their manufacturing sites by installing machines to produce fortified kernels.

“We are discussing the plan with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. The final plan will be discussed with industry stakeholders in the later stages,” said the official quoted above.


I think Malayali s will be laughing at it.

Remove the Husk in Mill & shine it removing the vitamins and then fortify again with vitamins..
 

RISING SUN

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Dec 3, 2017
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WHO to set up centre for traditional medicine in India, PM says matter of pride​

The World Health Organisation on Friday announced that it will set up a global centre for traditional medicine in India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing confidence that just like the country has emerged as the ‘pharmacy of the world’, the WHO institution will become a centre for global wellness.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the announcement in a video message at an event in which Modi dedicated two future-ready Ayurveda institutions in Jaipur and Jamnagar to the nation via video conferencing on the occasion of the 5th Ayurveda Day.

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA), Jamnagar (Gujarat) and the National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur (Rajasthan) are both premier institutions of Ayurveda in the country.

The Jamnagar institute has been conferred the status of an Institution of National Importance by an act of Parliament and the one at Jaipur has been designated an Institution Deemed to be University (De novo category) by the University Grants Commission (UGC), according to the AYUSH ministry.

In his video message, Ghebreyesus said, “I am pleased to announce that we have agreed to open a WHO Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in India to strengthen the evidence, research, training and awareness of traditional and complementary medicine.”

“This new centre will support WHO’s efforts to implement the WHO traditional medicine strategy 2014-2023 which aims to support countries in developing policies and action plans to strengthen the role of traditional medicine as part of their journey to universal health coverage and a healthier, fairer and safer world,” he said.

Traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda can play an important role in integrated people-centric health services and healthcare, but they have not received enough attention, he said.

Ghebreyesus also lauded Modi for his commitment to the universal coverage under Ayushman Bharat and evidence-based promotion of traditional medicines to achieve health related objectives.

Modi said Ayurveda is India’s heritage whose expansion entails the welfare of humanity and all Indians will be happy to see that the country’s traditional knowledge is enriching other countries.

“It is a matter of pride for all Indians that the WHO has chosen India for establishing its Global Centre for Traditional Medicine. Now work will be done in this direction from India,” he said.

“I would like to thank the WHO and particularly its Director General Tedros for giving this responsibility to India. I am confident that just like India has emerged as the pharmacy of the world, in the same manner this centre for traditional medicine will become the centre for global wellness,” he said.

Stressing on bringing ayurveda knowledge out of books, scriptures and home remedies and developing this ancient knowledge as per modern needs, Modi said new research is being done in the country by combining information received from modern science of the 21st century with India’s ancient medical knowledge.

Noting that three years ago, the All India Ayurvedic Institute was established here, he said Ayurveda is not just an alternative today but one of the key basis of the country’s health policy.

Modi informed that work is on to develop the National Sowa-Rigpa Institute for research and other studies related to Sowa-Rigpa in Leh. The two institutions in Gujarat and Rajasthan which have been upgraded are also an extension of this development, he added.

Congratulating the two institutes for their upgrade, Modi pointed out that they have more responsibility now and hoped that they will prepare syllabus for Ayurveda which meets international standards.

He also called upon the Education Ministry and UGC to find new avenues in disciplines like Ayurveda Physics and Ayurveda Chemistry.

Modi also urged startups and the private sector to study global trends and demands and ensure their participation in the sector.

He appealed to people to be vocal about Ayurveda world over.

Pointing out that during the coronavirus period the demand for Ayurvedic products increased rapidly all over the world, he said exports of Ayurvedic products increased by about 45 per cent in September compared to the previous year.

He said the significant increase in export of spices like turmeric, ginger, considered as immunity boosters, shows the sudden boost in confidence in Ayurvedic solutions and Indian spices in the world.

In many countries, drinks related to turmeric are also increasing and the world’s prestigious medical journals are also seeing new hope in Ayurveda, he noted.

Modi said that during the coronavirus period, the focus was not only limited to the use of Ayurveda alone but also on research related to AYUSH in the country and the world.

“On one hand, India is testing vaccines, on the other, it is also increasing international cooperation on Ayurvedic research to fight COVID,” he said.

Modi pointed out that research is going on in more than a hundred places including at the All India Institute of Ayurveda in Delhi which has conducted research related to immunity on 80,000 Delhi Police personnel.

It may be the world’s largest group study and there are encouraging results, he said.

A few more international trials are to be started, he added.

He also highlighted that prices of Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha, Giloy, Tulsi have increased amid the pandemic.

The price of Ashwagandha has more than doubled compared to last year and its direct benefit is reaching farmers, he said.