Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee

Dated: 14th July, 2019

Delhi High Court to examine if disability laws apply on people suffering from mental illness

New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has agreed to examine a legal question as to whether the laws on disabilities and mental healthcare are applicable on persons suffering from mental illness.

Justice VK Rao sought response from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on applicability of three Acts -- Mental Healthcare Act, 2017; the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and National Trust for Welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 -- on people suffering from mental illness.

It also asked the authorities to inform as to whether the appointment of a guardian for mentally ill persons is covered under the provisions of these three Acts.

The issue cropped up before the court when a man filed a petition for appointing him guardian of his 48-year-old sister, who is suffering from Schizophrenia, so that family pension and other consequential benefits could be granted to her. The plea claimed that the government and other authorities have failed to consider that guardianship certificate as required by them for processing the request for providing family pension and other benefits to the woman, in view of person permanent mental condition, in the name of her siblings is not contemplated by any law.

The plea was referring to the Guardians and Wards Act, Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, Mental Healthcare Act, the Persons with Disability (equal opportunity, protection of rights and full participation) Act and National Trust for Welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act.

Advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, who was appointed amicus curiae to examine this aspect, told the court there is no manner of doubt that schizophrenia falls with the scope of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. Under the said Act, the woman may nominate the petitioner no.1 (her brother) on paper under her signature or thumb impression, as her representative. She said the three Acts are applicable on persons suffering from mental illness and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and National Trust for Welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act cover the aspect of appointment of guardian.

"There is also no doubt that schizophrenia falls in the ambit of The Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016 and Delhi Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2018. As a result thereof, an appropriate application may be made to the district court for appointment of a Limited Guardian under the Act.
"The Limited Guardian will have a tenure of three years that may be extended by way of an application in the same manner and has all the powers of a Guardian, with the caveat that the woman will be taken into confidence and consulted on all matters," she said in her submissions... (PTI)

CDC urges US doctors to rapidly recognize and report AFM cases

As the late summer/early fall “season” for acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) nears, CDC is calling on medical professionals to quickly recognize AFM symptoms and report all suspected cases to their health department. Early recognition and reporting are critical for providing patients with appropriate care and rehabilitation, and better understanding AFM, according to a new Vital Signs report. The majority of AFM patients are previously healthy children who had respiratory symptoms or fever consistent with a viral infection less than a week before they experienced limb weakness. Since AFM can progress quickly from limb weakness to respiratory failure requiring urgent medical intervention, rapidly identifying symptoms and hospitalizing patients are important.

CDC began tracking AFM in 2014, when the first outbreak of 120 cases occurred. Another outbreak occurred in 2016 with 149 cases, and again with 233 patients in 41 states in 2018– the largest outbreak so far. AFM cases have so far followed a seasonal and biennial pattern, spiking between August and October every other year… (CDC)

Sri Lanka is measles-free: Will India achieve its target of eliminating measles by 2020?

Last week, Sri Lanka was declared free of measles by the World Health Organization (WHO). The country reported its last case of measles caused by an indigenous virus in May 2016. Sporadic cases, reported in the last three years have all been importations that were quickly detected, investigated and rapidly responded to, said the WHO.

Measles is a notifiable disease in Sri Lanka, which has a strong surveillance system in place and all vaccine-preventable diseases are an integral part of the communicable disease surveillance system......read more

A new treatment for refractory multiple myeloma

Selinexor (Xpovio) tablet in combination with dexamethasone has received FDA approval as treatment option for the adult patients with multiple myeloma with no available therapy.

Indication: Treatment of adult patients with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least four prior therapies and whose disease is resistant to several other forms of treatment, including at least two proteasome inhibitors, at least two immunomodulatory agents, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody

Side effects: Leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, fever, decreased appetite and weight, constipation, upper respiratory tract infections and hyponatremia.....read more

How to Finish your Pending Work?

1. This involves principles of time management including some Vedic principles.

2. The first thing to do is to make a checklist of all the pending work by writing it down and re- categorizing them depending upon the urgency and importance......read more

Healthcare News Monitor

Govt doing best possible for cancer research, says Harsh Vardhan

ET Healthworld-PTI

New Delhi: The government is doing the best possible for research on cancer and the Department of Biotechnology's funding for such activities has resulted in vastly improved understanding of the disease, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said Friday. Observing that cancer is a serious disease, the Science and Technology Minister told the Lok Sabha that best possible is being done for research on cancer. All future health programmes would focus on preventive and promotive healthcare, Vardhan, who also helms the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said during the Question Hour. Speaker Om Birla suggested that there can be a discussion in the House on cancer and Vardhan said that he would be happy to respond to queries.
The minister said the CSIR-National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies has not undertaken any research work to check damage to normal cells of the body during cancer treatment. Apart from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of AYUSH and Department of Atomic Energy are also working in the area of cancer.

To cut doc shortage, govt adds over 10,500 MBBS seats this year

ET Healthworld- Sushmi Dey

New Delhi: In an attempt to address shortage of doctors in the country, the government has ramped up MBBS seats by more than 26% over last two years, taking the total number of MBBS seats to around 75000. Besides, nearly 8900 seats have been added to PG medical seats during the period to bolster the number of specialists. In 2017-18 and 2018-19, a total of 5250 MBBS seats were added, whereas 10,565 — more than double of what was added in last two years — have been added in 2019-20 so far, health minister Harsh Vardhan said in Lok Sabha on Friday. Of this, around 4,800 MBBS seats have been reserved for students from economically weaker sections in the current year. Currently, there are nearly 11.60 lakh registered Allopathy doctors in the country as on March, resulting in a doctor-population ratio of 1:1456 as per current population estimate of 1.35 billion, which is lower than the WHO norm of one doctor per 1000 persons.

Centre clears Occupational Safety & Health Code for Contract Labour to support industries including pharma

Pharmabiz- Nandita Vijay

The Union Cabinet has approved the Occupational Safety & Health Code for Contract Labour Regulation Act to support Indian pharma industry among other sectors. It was the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), the apex body of flexi staffing industry which worked closely with the government to mandate the National Licensing under CLRA (Contract Labour Regulation Act) modelled around the ILO 181 Convention. The objective is to combine adequate protection of contract workers and the role that contract staffing companies play in a well-functioning labour market for job creation and business competitiveness enhancement. The regulation now provides a legal framework to counter illegal practices. The operational requirements for the flexi staffing agencies and the user-company will now need to be strictly complied with. It will ensure free movement of workers and allow for a sound mobility of the workforce at the national level. According to Kaushik Desai, pharma consultant, this initiation is in right direction to streamline the licensing of contract staffing organizations. Most of the pharma companies employ contract labour for variety of services covering housekeeping, warehousing operations, security, maintenance, and helpers in packaging etc. It is more prevalent in companies manufacturing on contract. The contract staffing organizations will have to ensure that the contract labourers are medically fit and given wages as per minimum wages act. They have also to give them formal appointment letters. Although, the Act is more applicable and beneficial to major infrastructure projects, pharma sector also will have to comply. There are not many licensed contractors and this move will force them to register and take relevant permits. Overall, such initiatives will ease out doing business smoothly and transparently.

Code prohibits doctors from taking gifts from Pharma Cos

Daily Excelsior

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Friday said the code of conduct for medical practitioners prohibits doctors from taking gifts, travel facilities, hospitality or cash from pharmaceutical and allied health sector industry. Vardhan also said in Lok Sabha that the government has received some complaints of unethical marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies and the CEOs of such companies will be held responsible for such malpractices. The minister said the code of conduct for doctors in their relationship with pharmaceutical and allied sector industry of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulation, 2002 prohibits doctors from taking gifts, travel facilities, hospitality and cash or monetary grants from pharmaceutical and allied health sector industry. The said regulation empowers the Medical Council of India and respective State Medical Councils to award punishment to a doctor against any act in violation of code of Ethics for doctors, he said during Question Hour. Vardhan said such complaints are referred by MCI to the State Medical Councils concerned where doctors and medical practitioners are registered. The MCI is an Appellate Authority.