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Arun Jithendra on reducing tobacco production in India

27 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

India is the third largest tobacco producer and exporter of tobacco globally. Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco, which is used in the manufacturing of cigarettes, is one of the main varieties of tobacco grown in the country. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are the largest FCV tobacco growing regions. Fifty percent of FCV that is grown is utilized domestically with the rest exported to various countries across the world. FCV that is grown is promoted, marketed, and regulated by the Tobacco Board which was set up under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) who also organize the sale of FCV tobacco through an auction platform in these states. more…

Meena P: A lack of resources for community health nursing in India

25 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

meena_pWith a shortage of doctors, it is the nurses and other allied health professionals who run the show in many of the primary healthcare settings in India. Nurses make up a major proportion of the health workforce. In this context we need more and more nurses who are capable of addressing the diverse healthcare needs of society. There is a shift from hospital based curative care to community based preventive and rehabilitative care, and a greater focus on giving people control over their health. Therefore, we need nurses who are equipped with specialized knowledge and skills in public health to work in community healthcare settings. more…

Bheemaray Manganavar: Managing hypertension and diabetes in resource poor settings

5 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Bheemaray Manganavar_2015According to the Diabetes Atlas 2006, the number of people with diabetes in India is currently around 40.9 million and is expected to rise to 69.9 million by 2025. Similarly, 118 million people were estimated to have high blood pressure in the year 2000, which is expected to go up to 213 million in 2025.

To address this situation, the Indian government launched the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke (NPCDCS). The programme was piloted in 100 districts (of the 646 districts in India) during 2010-12. more…

Arun Jithendra: Pan masala—a way for the tobacco industry to bypass the gutkha ban?

29 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

Gutkha, a chewing tobacco product responsible for oral cancer and several other negative health effects, has been banned in 26 states and six union territories in India since 2011.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations in 2011 (2.3.4). This prohibits the sale of food products that contain nicotine and tobacco as ingredients as they are injurious to health. This led to a ban of the sale, manufacture, distribution, and storage of gutkha and all its variants. more…

Mosaraf Hossain on improving health outcomes in Goalpokher-I

23 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

The Islampur sub-division of the Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal (a state in India) is the most underperforming area of the state in terms of health and other human development indicators. This sub-division has five blocks, and among these five blocks, Goalpokher-I is the least developed. Goalpokher-I lies between Bangladesh to the east and the Kisanganj district of Bihar to the west. Bihar is another one of the underprivileged states in India.

The block has gained some notoriety in public health spheres in the past due to frequent measles outbreaks and very low rates of routine immunization coverage. Indicators of reproductive and child health related activities are also poor. One of the reasons for this poor health service availability, amongst others, is that many health worker posts lie vacant and Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) are frequently transferred away from the area. more…

Ajith J: How school based health services can improve child health in India

23 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

ajithSchool children constitute over 25% of India’s population of 1.21 billion people. School health in India is limited to sporadic screening in public schools. Private schools, where 30 million urban children (66%) go, are ignored. There are 197,541 schools in urban India, mostly catering to low and middle income groups. School aged children in urban India face a variety of health challenges—40% are undernourished and 15% are overweight or obese, reflecting the dual burden of nutrition. 20% of children have refractory errors, half of which go uncorrected. 1 in 8 children have psycho-social issues, almost all of which go unaddressed. 50% of children have dental caries—a much ignored chronic disease of childhood. Compounding the problem is the episodic care-seeking behaviour fuelled by out-of pocket expenditure for services delivered by fragmented private providers. The average school-aged child spends 28% of the day and 14% of his or her total annual hours in school. more…

Jocalyn Clark: World Association of Medical Editors’ first conference—an international affair

6 Oct, 15 | by BMJ


For its first ever conference, the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) chose New Delhi, India as the inaugural location—a reflection of the global nature of medical science and publishing, and to emphasise the organisation’s growing commitment to global health.

Over three days this past week, 220 delegates from 17 countries learned about professionalism and ethical issues (including addressing research misconduct); practical issues in medical journal editing (including setting up an editorial office and harnessing digital technology); and the role of the medical editor in global health. There were a series of workshops providing training in editorial processes and best practices. more…

Shreelata Rao Seshadri: From MDGs to SDGs—do global goals contribute to health equity?

30 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

The era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) came to an end on 8 September 2015, and a new era in global milestones have been launched with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In India, most of the MDG targets were not achieved; and this raises the question: what role do such goals play in achieving better health for all? more…

What can we learn from the success of the polio eradication initiative in India?

25 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

jeevanPopular opinion from many failed previous health programme implementations is that vertical programmes are resource consuming and might not be very helpful to strengthen health systems. [1] The same was said for polio eradication programmes a few years ago. But I tend to disagree due to my experience of working on this programme for many years. In fact, the Indian health programme has benefited a lot from the polio eradication initiative (PEI). It has built strong foundations for many other health programmes that are being implemented, scaled up, or are yet to be started in the country. While a few smaller and less populated countries are still battling with polio, India is basking in its polio free glory that it achieved in 2014. It was not an easy task at all. India took the right steps from the inception of the PEI to the end, and whenever at the crossroads it chose the sensible path based on existing global evidence, local situations, and current data. The initiative started as small campaigns and then scaled up to the whole country. more…

Oommen C. Kurian: Dengue in Delhi—fighting an outbreak with the wrong numbers and an unwilling private sector

24 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

oommen_kurianThe current dengue outbreak in Delhi came to international prominence following the unfortunate incident of a young couple who committed suicide after their son was rejected treatment by many prominent private sector hospitals in Delhi. Treatment was denied despite the government saying on 28 August that patients should not be denied admission to hospital on account of a lack of beds. Responding to such cases, the Government of Delhi has issued show-cause notices to five private hospitals asking them to explain why they refused to admit the boy and why their registration should not be cancelled. more…

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