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India demonstrated tremendous progress in maternal and child health: JP Nadda

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India demonstrated tremendous progress in maternal and child health:
 JP Nadda

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) India has demonstrated tremendous progress in maternal and child health, said Union Health Minister JP Nadda on World Population Day on Thursday, calling for achieving the family planning goals.

Highlighting the success of India’s family planning programme, the Union Health Minister in a blog post, said, “Millennial women in India are opting for smaller families, averaging just two children each” — a shift in trend from the past decade. He said that 57 per cent in their reproductive age (15 to 49 years) have actively used modern contraception”.

“India has demonstrated tremendous progress on the ground through improved family planning services and dramatically improving health outcomes, especially maternal health and child health,” he said.

Nadda said that family planning empowers women, girls, and youth by providing them with rights and choices.

While “India has already achieved replacement level of fertility at National level (TFR 2.0) and 31 States/UTs have already achieved this milestone as per NFHS-5 (2019-21) constituting a success story in its journey”… the aim is to “maintain and achieve this both nationally and sub-nationally”.

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He stressed the need for “healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy for the health and well-being of mother and child.”

Nadda pointed out that the National Planning programme currently offers a variety of reversible modern contraceptives encompassing condoms, intrauterine contraceptive devices, oral pills, injectable contraceptives, etc.

“The government is committed to overcoming barriers related to access, misconceptions about contraceptive methods, and lack of awareness among clients, geographical and economic challenges, and restrictive social and cultural norms,” he noted.

Further, substantial investments are being made to improve family planning service delivery. The programme is also being extended to the last mile through Ayushman Arogya Mandirs.

Nadda called to strive “for a future where every citizen has access to quality healthcare, and where the health and well-being of our people are the foundation of our nation’s progress and prosperity”.

–IANS

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Maha govt urges citizens not to panic amid Zika virus cases in state

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Maha govt urges citizens not to panic amid Zika virus cases in state

Maha govt urges citizens not to panic amid Zika virus cases in state

Mumbai, July 17 (IANS) Amid 25 Zika virus cases reported in the state from January to July, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday appealed to the citizens not to panic but, at the same time, not to take any fever lightly and visit the nearest state-run hospital, where the best diagnosis and treatment is available free of cost.

Of the total of 25 Zika virus cases reported, 21 patients have been found in Pune city alone.

The government has asked private medical professionals, who examine the Zika patients, to get the blood samples of the patients tested from the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

The government’s appeal came days after Dr Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, issued an advisory to states in the wake of Zika cases in Maharashtra highlighting the need for maintaining a state of constant vigil.

He has asked Maharashtra and other states to strengthen entomological surveillance and intensify vector control activities in residential areas, workplaces, schools, construction sites, institutions and health facilities.

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The state Health Department has swung into action by putting its entire machinery on high alert to prevent the spread of the Zika virus with the implementation of measures to prevent Aedes mosquito breeding through integrated pest management.

“Among the preventive measures, blood samples are collected by conducting a survey within a 3 to 5 km area of the patients under a rapid fever survey campaign. These measures also include examination of blood samples of pregnant women, treatment of all patients based on symptoms and guidance to pregnant women and fertile couples,” a Public Health Department official said.

–IANS

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Woman bitten by snake in state-run Kerala hospital

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Woman bitten by snake in state-run Kerala hospital

Woman bitten by snake in state-run Kerala hospital

Thiruvananthapuram, July 17 (IANS) A 27-year-old woman was bitten by a snake at a state-run hospital in Chittoor taluk of Kerala’s Palakkad district on Wednesday as she brought her daughter for treatment.

According to a relative of the victim, identified as Gayathari, the incident occurred around 11 a.m.

“She had come to the hospital with her young daughter who had high fever since Tuesday night. Gayathari was asked to take the urine of her daughter for a test. After the sample was collected, she took a broom to clean the floor, and a snake came out and bit her,” the relative said.

The snake was caught and kept in a bottle. Gayathari was quickly given first aid and moved to the nearby district hospital at Palakkad.

“We are told that she is better and will have to be in observation till tomorrow noon. Meanwhile, her blood samples are being sent for tests at regular intervals,” the relative said.

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Of late, the health sector in Kerala has figured in the news for numerous goof-ups and the most recent one was the case of an old man trapped in a lift for almost two days at the prestigious Medical College hospital in the state capital.

–IANS

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Centre convenes high-level meeting to manage, raise surveillance on bird flu

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Centre convenes high-level meeting to manage, raise surveillance on bird flu

Centre convenes high-level meeting to manage, raise surveillance on bird flu

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) Amid the growing threat of Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu, and the looming risk of spillover to humans, the Union government convened a high-level session to step up a coordinated and comprehensive approach.

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, convened the brainstorming session at Krishi Bhawan on Wednesday.

The recent Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in dairy cattle in the US, with spillover to other mammals, underscores its pandemic potential.

Addressing this threat requires the One Health approach, integrating human, animal, and environmental health with enhanced coordination and comprehensive strategies, noted the meeting chaired by Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

India’s poultry sector adds to the country’s food security, not only providing a reliable source of high-quality protein but also supporting livelihoods, particularly in rural areas.

The recurrent HPAI outbreaks are hindering the potential and also impacting exports of the sector, which in the last 10 years grew steadily at a rate of 7-10 per cent.

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The session saw experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), CSIR-Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology (CCMB), ICAR-NIHSAD Bhopal, ICAR-NIVEDI Bangalore, the Ministries of Environment and Health, among others, deliberate on Avian Influenza, focusing on surveillance and vaccination under the One Health approach.

The session featured comprehensive presentations from the Human Health, Animal Husbandry, and Wildlife sectors, highlighting current surveillance protocols and response mechanisms for Avian Influenza outbreaks.

The need for enhanced environmental surveillance and updating existing protocols was emphasised.

Experts concurred on the necessity of proactive One Health Coordination to prepare for exotic and emergent zoonotic diseases like Avian Influenza.

The session also saw experts contend on vaccines against bird flu.

Currently available HPAI vaccines typically neither provide sterile immunity nor are 100 per cent effective against all strains.

–IANS

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Swiss researchers develop a hydrogel implant to treat endometriosis

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Swiss researchers develop a hydrogel implant to treat endometriosis

Swiss researchers develop a hydrogel implant to treat endometriosis

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) In a first, Swiss researchers developed a hydrogel implant that will help in contraception and in preventing or halting the spread of endometriosis.

Approximately 10 per cent of women suffer from endometriosis, a condition whose exact cause remains unclear. Women with the condition have tissue similar to the lining of the uterus growing outside the uterus. It is believed that during menstruation, blood flows back through the fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity, carrying uterine cells that can lead to inflammation and scar tissue.

The team from ETH Zurich and Empa in Switzerland initially focused on developing a hydrogel as a new contraceptive. Later they found that implanting the hydrogel could occlude the fallopian tubes and help prevent endometriosis.

Hydrogels, made of a water-binding plastic, have previously been used in contact lenses, and drug delivery.

The new soft gel, similar to a jelly baby, swells from about two millimetres to over double its size upon implantation, creating a barrier against sperm and blood. It has to be a soft gel so as to “not impact native tissue and is not treated and rejected as a foreign body”, said lead author Alexandre Anthis from ETH Zurich.

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“We wanted to ensure that the implant was compatible as well as stable,” Anthis said. The gel can be easily removed using UV light or a special solution, avoiding invasive surgery.

Further research is needed to assess the long-term behaviour of the hydrogel implant during physical activities, the team said.

–IANS

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Health Minister Nadda for robust drug regulation to maintain ‘pharmacy of world’ tag

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Health Minister Nadda for robust drug regulation to maintain ‘pharmacy of world’ tag

Health Minister Nadda for robust drug regulation to maintain ‘pharmacy of world’ tag

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) India must have a robust drug regulation framework to maintain the title ‘pharmacy of the world’, said Union Health Minister, JP Nadda on Wednesday.

The Union Health Minister said this at a high-level review meeting on regulation of drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices, in the national Capital on Wednesday.

“For India to become the global leader in drug regulation to match our global reputation of ‘Pharmacy of the World’, we need to have a world-class regulatory framework matching our scale of operations and international expectations,” Nadda said.

This comes as contaminations were detected in several India-made drugs recently by the US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency, among others.

Highlighting the global position of India as the leading producer and exporter of drugs, Nadda urged the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to draw a road map with timelines for achieving global standards in its mandated activities.

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The minister stated that the upscaling “needs to be systems-based focussing on highest standards of uniformity, technical upgradation, and futuristic approach”.

For the export of drugs and pharmaceuticals, the system should be designed for proper intervention to maintain the quality of drugs being exported, he emphasised.

He also underscored the importance of transparency in the working of CDSCO.

“In order to achieve global standards, our focus needs to be on transparency of procedures at CDSCO and within the drugs and medical devices industry,” Nadda said.

“Our focus should be on developing mechanisms that ensure ease of doing business for the drugs industry within the regulatory requirements. For this, CDSCO needs to be a user-friendly organisation with state-of-the-art facilities matching global standards,” he stated.

–IANS

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