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Study shows retention ponds can help reduce tyre particle pollution

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London, April 12 (IANS) Retention ponds and wetlands constructed as part of major road schemes can reduce pollution coming from tyre particles — a great cause of concern for human health and the environment –, finds a study on Friday.

The research, published in the Environmental Science and Pollution Research journal, showed that these ponds can help reduce the quantities of tyre particles entering the aquatic environment by an average of 75 per cent.

Data shows about six million tonnes of tyre wear particles are released each year globally, which contain a range of toxic chemicals including polyaromatic hydrocarbons, benzothiazoles, isoprene, and heavy metals like zinc and lead. These are not only harmful to human health but also to the environment.

Scientists from the universities of Plymouth and Newcastle in the UK analysed samples collected alongside some of the busiest routes in South West England and the Midlands, many used by more than 100,000 vehicles each day.

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Tyre particles were discovered in each of the 70 samples taken. However, the presence of wetlands and retention ponds led to an average reduction of almost 75 per cent in the mass of tyre wear particles being discharged into aquatic waters. This provided protection for rivers and the ocean beyond.

“Retention ponds and wetlands are constructed as part of highways projects primarily to attenuate flow and prevent downstream flooding, but also to remove pollutants,” said lead author Florence Parker-Jurd, Associate Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth.

Further, the new study showed that the tyre wear particles significantly outweighed other forms of microplastics, such as plastic fibres and fragments, in the samples collected but that they were also removed in far greater quantities.

The researchers noted that the study has international significance as to the most effective ways to mitigate against the potential impacts of tyre pollution on a global scale.

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–IANS

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South Korea, US hold virtual meeting on telemedicine industry

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Seoul, May 30 (IANS) South Korea held a virtual meeting with the US on Thursday to enhance mutual understanding of their respective telemedicine industries and explore areas of cooperation, officials said.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the session with some 30 companies from both countries followed up on the South Korea-US Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue (SCCD) held in March, Yonhap news agency reported.

The SCCD is a regular ministerial forum designed to discuss the promotion of resilient supply chains for key products, including semiconductors, batteries, and critical minerals.

The event came as the demand for mobile-based telemedicine services is anticipated to grow down the road amid the rapidly ageing population.

“South Korea has high potential in the digital health sector on the back of its vast amount of clinical data and advanced information technology,” an official from the industry ministry said.

“The ministry is seeking to support the commercialisation of related products and services while fostering experts to establish the industrial ecosystem for the digital health sector,” the official added.

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–IANS

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Co-WIN being transformed into UWIN for national immunisation programme: Health Secretary

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Co-WIN portal, which helped India fight the Covid-19 pandemic, is being transformed into UWIN for the National Immunisation Programme which will aid in linking and providing immunisation records of 30 million newborns and mothers every year, followed by Anganwadi and school health records, Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Plenary Session of the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, Chandra, Head of the Indian delegation, outlined India’s advancements in digital health.

India hosted a side event on digital health at the Plenary Session, which saw participation by the Quad countries (Australia, Japan and the US), to emphasise the potential of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for “addressing social determinants of health”.

The side event was attended by delegates from over 100 countries, highlighting collaborative efforts in advancing digital public infrastructure globally.

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The Union Health Secretary also highlighted India’s effort under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). With over 618 million Unique Health IDs (ABHA IDs) generated, 268,000 health facilities registered, and 350,000 healthcare professionals enlisted, ABDM exemplifies India’s commitment to digital healthcare, he said. As part of ABDM, the government is launching the National Health Claims Exchange (NHCX) to transform the insurance payments ecosystem leveraging the public-private partnership built on top of the digital public infrastructure.

“It will usher in the era of real-time settlements with auto adjudication of claims,” said Chandra.

Ambassador Arindam Bagchi, Permanent Representative of India at Geneva, highlighted the country’s commitment to leveraging digital technology to enhance healthcare accessibility and efficiency.

At the event, Ambassador Bathsheba N. Crocker, Permanent Representative of the US; Ambassador Atsuyuki Oike, Permanent Representative of Japan, and Blair Exell, Deputy Secretary, Health Strategy, First Nations and Sport, Department of Health, Australia also shared their experiences and contributions of their respective countries to digital health.

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Professor Alain Labrique, Director, Digital Health & Innovation, WHO, lauded the giant leap taken by India in implementing DPI and demonstrating its ability to facilitate healthcare delivery at scale.

–IANS

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ICMR, NIV to start phase-3 clinical trials of recombinant dengue vax: Centre

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) and other research institutes are set to launch phase-3 clinical trials of the recombinant dengue vaccine, said Apurva Chandra, Union Health Secretary on Wednesday.

He said this while addressing the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Health Ministers’ Meeting on the sidelines of the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.

The Health Secretary said that the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre was virtually launched during India’s presidency in March 2022.

“India has demonstrated active engagement in BRICS health track initiatives, promoting collaborative endeavours to advance joint health agendas aimed at fortifying health systems across BRICS nations, thereby addressing critical global health challenges,” Chandra said.

“ICMR along with NIV and a network of other partner Institutes is embarking on phase-3 clinical trials of recombinant dengue vaccine.”

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“In addition, ICMR and other partners will also work towards research and trials for locally endemic diseases such as Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), Nipah virus, Human Papillomavirus, MTBVAC (Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Vaccine), and influenza,” he added.

Further, Chandra noted that India’s national action plan on AMR, launched in 2017, is in line with the objectives outlined in the WHO’s Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

“India recognises AMR as a global concern and advocates fostering collaboration among BRICS nations to devise and execute protocols, projects, and platforms to tackle AMR,” the Union Health Secretary said.

He noted that “India acknowledges the importance of advancing collaboration within BRICS countries in nuclear medicine and radio-pharmaceutical science”.

The country also aims to strengthen “the radio-pharmaceutical supply chain and enhance isotopes production, alongside fostering the development and commercialisation of advanced digital solutions,” he added.

Chandra urged member states to enhance collaboration and work together to find solutions to various health challenges.

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–IANS

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Tele-MANAS mental health helpline gets 3,500 calls per day: Centre

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Tele-MANAS toll-free number, launched as part of the national tele-mental health programme in India, receives 3,500 calls per day on average, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday.

Launched in October 2022, the 51 Tele-MANAS cells across all States and Union territories have since then received over 10 lakh calls, the health ministry said.

The toll-free helpline numbers 14416 or 1-800-891-4416, aimed at enhancing mental health service delivery nationwide, offers multi-language support and has been pivotal in facilitating communication between callers and mental health professionals.

As per the ministry, from around 12,000 in December 2022 to over 90,000 in May 2024, the helpline has seen a steady increase in the number of callers. It also incorporates call-backs for follow-up.

“This increase in engagement also underscores the importance of continued investment and expansion of mental health initiatives to ensure that everyone has access to the support they need,” the ministry said.

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“By linking existing mental health resources and establishing a comprehensive digital network, Tele-MANAS has become an essential platform for addressing the nation’s mental health needs,” it added.

The ministry noted that providing teleservices to target vulnerable populations represents “a significant milestone in India’s ongoing efforts to combat the mental health crisis”.

The platform will also likely be integrated with initiatives like e-Sanjeevani to further enhance accessibility and effectiveness, the ministry said, noting that it will help address the rising mental health challenges in the country.

–IANS

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Doctors at Hyderabad hospital perform heart transplant on polio survivor

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Hyderabad, May 29 (IANS) Doctors at a hospital in Hyderabad have successfully performed what is claimed to be the first-ever heart transplant on a polio survivor.

Doctors of Kamineni Hospital, LB Nagar, performed the transplant on Bhaskar, a 45-year-old tailor from Khammam district of Telangana.

He had been suffering from severe heart disease which got aggravated in the past three years due to his partial polio condition.

The transplant team included, Vishal V. Khante, Head of the Heart Transplant Department and Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Rajesh Deshmukh, Consultant Heart Transplant and Cardiothoracic Surgeon, achieved this significant milestone.

According to doctors, Bhaskar’s condition led to irregular heartbeats and insufficient blood supply, causing a range of health complications.

The five-hour surgery involved the meticulous removal of Bhaskar’s old heart, implanting the new one donated by a brain-dead individual, and reconnecting all blood vessels and valves with utmost precision.

“Following the successful surgery, Bhaskar is on the path to recovery, and is gradually regaining his ability to engage in daily activities. Previously confined to bed due to extreme fatigue, he can now walk significant distances and looks forward to resuming his normal life. However, post-surgery, Bhaskar requires intensive monitoring and ongoing medication to prevent organ rejection, and our team is constantly monitoring his condition,” said Khante.

ALSO READ:  Elderly woman weighing 102 kgs undergoes bilateral knee replacement in Noida

–IANS

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