India pitches for declaring 2019 as ‘International Year of Millets’

The central and Karnataka governments want the declaration of an international year of millets to help spread the message on the richness of the foodgrains’ nutrients and health benefits across the world. A proposal in this regard has been submitted to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an agency of the United Nations, Karnataka agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda said on Tuesday. Gowda, who participated in the FAO annual meeting earlier this month in Rome, said he along with the Union food secretary made a pitch in this regard. “We have made a collective pitch along with the Government of India that there should be an international year of millets so that the message of millets spreads to the entire world.

Efforts by government to promote millets:

In order to promote ‘millets’, India had on its part notified these climate resilient crops as “Nutri-Cereals” and allowed its inclusion in the Public Distribution System (PDS) for improving nutritional support in April.

Recognising millets’ anti-diabetic properties, the notification called it a “powerhouse of nutrients” and identified several varieties of millets for promotion. The millets in the category of “Nutri-Cereals” include Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi), Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun) and Buckwheat (Kuttu) among others.

Besides, the government had in July substantially hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of millets so that more and more farmers may opt for the cultivation of these less water consuming crops.

Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals or dryland-cereals and includes sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, Kodo millet and other millets.

An important staple cereal crop for millions of smallholder dryland farmers across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, millets offer nutrition, resilience, income, and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times.

They have multiple untapped uses such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels, and brewing. Therefore, millets are Smart Food as they are Good for You, Good for the Farmer and Good for the Planet.

Nutritionally superior to wheat & rice owing to their higher levels of protein with a more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber & minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous, millets can provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.

The anemia (iron deficiency), B-complex vitamin deficiency, pellagra (niacin deficiency) can be effectively tackled with intake of less expensive but nutritionally rich food grains like millets.

Millets can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten-free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Adapted to low or no purchased inputs and to the harsh environment of the semi-arid tropics, they are the backbone for dryland agriculture.

Photo-insensitive & resilient to climate change, millets are hardy, resilient crops that have a low carbon and water footprint, can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs. In times of climate change, they are often the last crop standing and, thus, are a good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers

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IIT Delhi and AIIA to give ‘scientific validation’ to Ayurveda, MoU signed

An agreement was today signed between IIT Delhi and the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) under which projects would be launched that would aim to give “scientific validation” to the ancient medical science and integrate it with technology.

The projects would be funded by the Ayush Ministry.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the faculties of IIT Delhi and AIIA will work together in the projects to look at ways to integrate technology with Ayurveda.

The MoU is an attempt to give scientific validation to Ayurveda, said V R Rao, IIT Delhi Director, who signed the agreement along with Tanuja Nesari, AIIA Director.

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Kerala govt declares Kozhikode, Malappuram districts as Nipah virus free

Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, where 17 people died of Nipah in May, was today declared free of the virus by the Kerala government. “A decision to declare both districts as Nipah virus free was taken by the government as no fresh cases have been reported after June 1,” Health Minister K K Shylaja said.

According to WHO, the Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, that is, a disease transmitted from animals to humans. The virus belongs to a new genus termed Henipavirus (subfamily Paramyxovirinae).

The natural host of the virus is fruit bats belonging to the family Pteropodidae. In 2004, humans were affected after eating the date palm contaminated by infected fruit bats. Pigs can also act as intermediate hosts.

It was first identified in 1998 at Kampung Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia. The virus is named after this village.

The symptoms of Nipah are similar to that of influenza: fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems. Inflammation of the brain can also cause disorientation. Late onset of Encephalitis can also occur. Sometimes a person can have an asymptomatic infection, and be a carrier of Nipah and not show any symptoms.

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

According to WHO, ribavirin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease. Individuals infected need to be hospitalized and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.

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Government issues ban on Oxytocin from July 1

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has restricted the manufacture of Oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only.

Coupled with this, it has also banned the import of Oxytocin and its formulations.

Only Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KAPL), a public sector company, will manufacture this drug for domestic use. It will supply the drug to registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector directly.

The drug is misused in the dairy industry where livestock is injected with Oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers.

Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.

Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.

Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.

It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.

The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breastfeeding.

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India launches its first national healthcare facility registry

The Union ministry of health and family welfare on Tuesday launched the National Health Resource Repository (NHRR), the first-ever registry in the country registry of authentic, standardized and updated geospatial data of all public and private healthcare. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the project technology partner for providing data security.

The NHRR project aims to strengthen evidence-based decision making and develop a platform for citizens and provider-centric services by creating a robust, standardized and secure Information Technology (IT)-enabled repository of India’s healthcare resources.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the project technology partner for providing data security.

NHRR shall be the registry of authentic, standardized and updated geospatial data of all public and private healthcare.

This resource repository shall enable advanced research towards ongoing and forthcoming healthcare challenges arising from other determinants of health such as disease and the environment.

It shall also enhance the coordination between central and state government for optimization of health resources, making ‘live’ and realistic state project implementation plans (PIPs) and improving the accessibility of data at all levels, including state heads of departments, and thus decentralize the decision making at district and state level.

Some key benefits of the NHRR project are to create a reliable, unified registry of country’s healthcare resources showing the distribution pattern of health facilities and services between cities and rural areas.

Additionally, it shall generate real-world intelligence to identify gaps in health and service ratios and ensure judicious health resource allocation and management.

It shall also identify key areas of improvement by upgrading existing health facilities or establishing new health facilities keeping in view the population density, geographic nature, health condition, distance.

 

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WHO releases new International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11)

The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide and contains around 55 000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death. It provides a common language that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe.

The ICD is the global health information standard for mortality and morbidity statistics.

ICD is increasingly used in clinical care and research to define diseases and study disease patterns, as well as manage health care, monitor outcomes and allocate resources. ICD has been translated into 43 languages.

More than 100 countries use the system to report mortality data, a primary indicator of health status. This system helps to monitor death and disease rates worldwide and measure progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

About 70% of the world’s health expenditures (USD $ 3.5 billion) are allocated using ICD for reimbursement and resource allocation.

Highlights of ICD- 11:

ICD-11 identifies health trends and statistics worldwide and contains around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death.

ICD-11, which has been over a decade in the making, provides significant improvements on previous versions.

Also for the first time, it is completely electronic and has a much more user-friendly format. And there has been unprecedented involvement of health care workers who have joined collaborative meetings and submitted proposals.

The new ICD-11 also reflects progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding. For example, the codes relating to antimicrobial resistance are more closely in line with the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS).

ICD-11 is also able to better capture data regarding safety in health care, which means that unnecessary events that may harm health – such as unsafe workflows in hospitals can be identified and reduced.

The new ICD also includes new chapters- one on traditional medicine and another new chapter on sexual health.

Gaming disorder has been added to the section on addictive disorders.

ICD purpose and uses:

The ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally. It is the international standard for defining and reporting diseases and health conditions. It allows the world to compare and share health information using a common language.

The ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions. These entities are listed in a comprehensive way so that everything is covered. It organizes information into standard groupings of diseases, which allows for:

Easy storage, retrieval and analysis of health information for evidence-based decision-making;

Sharing and comparing health information between hospitals, regions, settings and countries; and

Data comparisons in the same location across different time periods.

Background:

The first international classification edition, known as the International List of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893. WHO was entrusted with the ICD at its creation in 1948. The ICD is revised periodically and is currently in its 10th revision.

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Nipah Virus

Kerala health department is on high alert in the wake of deaths due to the ‘Nipah’ virus (NiV). The government has set up a task force to monitor the cases and contain the spread of this fast-spreading virus which has a reported mortality rate of 70 percent. Here’s how NiV spreads, the symptoms and treatment.

According to WHO, the Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, that is, a disease transmitted from animals to humans. The virus belongs to a new genus termed Henipavirus (subfamily Paramyxovirinae).

The natural host of the virus is fruit bats belonging to the family Pteropodidae. In 2004, humans were affected after eating the date palm contaminated by infected fruit bats. Pigs can also act as intermediate hosts.

It was first identified in 1998 at Kampung Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia. The virus is named after this village.

The symptoms of Nipah are similar to that of influenza: fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems. Inflammation of the brain can also cause disorientation. Late onset of Encephalitis can also occur. Sometimes a person can have an asymptomatic infection, and be a carrier of Nipah and not show any symptoms.

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

According to WHO, ribavarin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease. Individuals infected need to be hospitalized and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.

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Cabinet approves setting up of NIMHR at Bhopal

The Union Cabinet approved setting up of a National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal as a society under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

The estimated cost of the project is Rs 179.54 crore in first three years. This includes the non-recurring expenditure of Rs 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs 51 crore, an official statement said.

The Cabinet approved setting up of NIMHR under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

About NIMHR:

NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation. It will serve as an institution of excellence to develop capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation and also help the Government to develop models for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness.

NIMHR has been established as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to the persons with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation.

The Institute will conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, postgraduate, M.Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation.

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Cabinet approves setting up of AIIMS in Jharkhand

The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of a branch of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Deoghar, Jharkhand.

The said AIIMS will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

The setting up of new AIIMS at Deoghar will serve the dual purpose of providing super specialty health care to the population while also helping to create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region to be available for primary and secondary-level institutions/facilities being created under the National Health Mission (NHM).

About PMSSY:

The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.

It is a central sector scheme.

The scheme has two components: Setting up of new AIIMS and upgradation of government medical colleges.

Setting up of new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training but also address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region. Construction of new AIIMS is fully funded by the Central Government. The Operations & Maintenance expenses on new AIIMS are also fully borne by the Central Government.

Employment Generation:

Setting up new AIIMS in various states will lead to employment generation for nearly 3000 people in various faculty & non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS. Further, indirect employment generation will take place due to facilities & services like the shopping centre, canteens, etc. coming in the vicinity of new AIIMS.

The upgradation programme is carried out in selected Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) by agencies appointed by the Government of India under the direct supervision of the Central Government. Post-Graduate seats and additional faculty posts as per norms will be created and filled up in these GMCs by the respective State/UT Governments.

The construction activity involved for the creation of the physical infrastructure for the various new AIIMS and Government Medical Colleges’ upgradation projects being undertaken under the scheme is also expected to generate substantial employment in the construction phase as well.

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Essential Diagnostics List

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its first ‘essential diagnostics list’, a catalogue of tests needed to diagnose the most common conditions as well as a number of global priority diseases.

The step was taken to address the problem of people’s inability to access diagnostic services, thus failing to receive the correct treatment.

An estimated 46 percent of adults with Type 2 diabetes worldwide were undiagnosed, risking serious health complications and higher health costs, said a statement by the world health body yesterday.

Late diagnosis of infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis increases the risk of their spread and makes them more difficult to treat, it said.

The essential diagnostics list concentrates on in-vitro tests like tests of blood and urine. Apart from this, 58 tests are listed for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions, thus providing an essential package that can form the basis for screening and management of patients.

The remaining 55 tests are designed for the detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of ‘priority’ diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis, the statement said.

Some of the tests are particularly suitable for primary health care facilities, where laboratory services are often poorly resourced and sometimes non-existent.

For each category of test, the Essential Diagnostics List specifies the type of test and intended use, format, and if appropriate for primary health care or for health facilities with laboratories.

The list also provides links to WHO guidelines or publications and to pre-qualified products.

Similar to the WHO essential medicines list, which has been in use for four decades, the essential diagnostics list is intended to serve as a reference for countries to update or develop their own list of essential diagnostics.

The WHO will update the essential diagnostics list on a regular basis. It is also expected to issue a call for applications to add categories to the next edition.

The list will expand significantly over the next few years, as it incorporates other important areas, including antimicrobial resistance, emerging pathogens, neglected tropical diseases and additional noncommunicable diseases, the statement added.

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