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Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee


Dated: 15th July, 2019

WHO updates its List of Essential Diagnostics

The WHO has updated its Essential Diagnostics List, in recognition of the critical, life-saving importance of finding out what is wrong with patients before it is too late. The updated List contains 46 general tests that can be used for routine patient care as well as for the detection and diagnosis of a wide array of disease conditions, and 69 tests for specific diseases. The List is divided into two sections depending on the user and setting: one for community settings, which includes self-testing; and a second one for clinical laboratories, which can be general and specialized facilities.

While the first list published in 2018 focused on a limited number of priority diseases, such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and hepatitis, this year, the list includes more non-communicable and communicable diseases.

WHO has added 12 tests to detect a wide range of solid tumors such as colorectal, liver, cervical, prostate, breast and germ cell cancers, as well as leukemia and lymphomas. To support appropriate cancer diagnosis, a new section covering anatomical pathology testing was added

The list focuses on additional infectious diseases prevalent in low- and middle-income countries such as cholera, and neglected diseases like leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, dengue, and zika. A new section for influenza testing has been added for community health settings where no laboratories are available

The list also includes additional general tests which address a range of different diseases and conditions, such as iron tests (for anemia) and tests to diagnose thyroid malfunction and sickle cell anemia, which is very widely present in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The list has a new section specific to tests intended for screening of blood donations to make blood transfusions safer.


Cabinet approves amendment in POCSO Act

In a historic decision to protect the children from Sexual offences, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. It will make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children including death penalty. The amendments also provide for levy of fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography. The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to Protect the Children from Offences of Sexual Assault, Sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as matter of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child. The act is gender neutral… (PIB, July 10, 2019).


Superbugs persist on surgical gowns and surfaces even after decontamination

The superbug Clostridium difficile persists on surgical gowns and surfaces, even after being treated with the recommended amount of disinfectant, suggests a study from the University of Plymouth, UK.

In the study published July 12, 2019 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, researchers examined single-use hospital surgical gowns (made of polypropylene), hospital-grade stainless steel and floor vinyl that had been infected with with 1 × 106 spores/ml of two types of C. difficile spore preparations: crude spores and purified spores of C. difficile. These infected gowns were then treated for 10 minutes with disinfectant containing 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine-releasing agent sodium dichloroisocyanurate......read more


Moderate calorie restriction improves cardiometabolic risk factors in young adults

(NIH, July 12, 2019): Moderately reducing caloric intake over a period of 2 years significantly improved cardiometabolic risk factors in young and middle-aged, non-obese adults, according to the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) trial published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

A significant improvement in the multiple cardiometabolic risk factors, including waist circumference, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose, and C-reactive protein was observed in the caloric restriction group vs control group. Calorie restriction was found to improve risk factors for the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and related deaths well below clinical risk thresholds......read more


Is it necessary to take a dip in Ganga to remove your sins?

Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, the sangam of the three rivers in Allahabad is believed to be the holiest place in the country where if one takes a dip, one washes away his or her past sins.

After death, ashes are also submerged in the Ganga with an assumption that the past sins will be removed.

In Vedic era, what was the intention of the rishis and munis while making this ritual?.....read more


Healthcare News Monitor

One in eight doctors across India is from Tamil Nadu

The Times of India

Nearly one in eight doctors in the country is from Tamil Nadu. The state, which has 12% of the total number of doctors in the country, is second only to Maharashtra, which has about 15% of the total number of doctors, according to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan in Parliament. Almost simultaneously, the issue was debated in the assembly on Friday. Responding to questions raised by Congress MP Mohammed Javed on the shortage of doctors in the country, Harsh Vardhan told Parliament that as per Medical Council of India (MCI), there were 11.59 lakh allopathic doctors registered with the state and MCI until March 31. “Assuming 80% availability, it is estimated that around 9.27 lakh doctors may be actually available for active service,” he said. This would mean a doctor-population ratio of 1:1456 as per the population estimate of 1.35 billion, lower than the WHO norm of 1:1000, he added. On its part, the Union ministry enhanced the maximum intake capacity at MBBS to 250 seats, relaxed norms for setting up medical colleges in terms of requirement of land, faculty, staff, bed strength and other infrastructure and strengthened existing state government colleges to increase medical seats, the Union minister said. Tamil Nadu has 1.3 lakh doctors, compared to 1.7 lakh doctors in Maharashtra. There are 1.2 lakh doctors in Karnataka and about a lakh in Andhra Pradesh. With 77,549 doctors Uttar Pradesh was among the top 5 states with maximum number of doctors.

Patient dies in hospital, family thrashes doctor in Uttar Pradesh

The Times of India

LUCKNOW: Less than a month after pan-India strike in the wake of violence against doctors in West Bengal, a doctor posted at Balrampur hospital was assaulted on duty by female attendants of a female patient who died on Friday morning. Accusing the doctor of negligence, the attendants assaulted the doctor with a cane, when he was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a 63-year-old woman. The hospital, in its official complaint to the police, sought action against the family members under medical protection act for assaulting an on-duty doctor and disrupting public service. Urmila Singh was admitted to emergency ward’s bed number 12 on Wednesday night with septic shock and multi-organ failure. Hospital’s chief medical superintendent (CMS) Dr Rishi Saxena said, “We had told the family several times that her condition is critical and she should be shifted to a higher medical facility. But they did not pay heed.” As per the family’s allegations, the doctor was scheduled to report at 8am on Friday morning, but he did not turn up till 10am. “Even after arriving, the doctor attended to another patient despite our patient’s condition deteriorating. This negligence led to her death,” said a relative.

Private hospitals show dengue hasn't spared Mumbai this monsoon

Daily News & Analysis

The sigh of relief over dengue numbers released by the BMC's health department for June – just 8 cases in Mumbai – seems short-lived as the data from private hospitals paints a different picture. According to figures gathered from two private healthcare facilities, nearly 30 cases of dengue were reported in the month. Last month, Grant Road-based Bhatia Hospital treated 17 people with dengue. Doctors said most cases were recorded in the last week. The number of such patients was 10 at Zen Hospital in Chembur. More than 850 dengue cases and two deaths have been reported in Maharashtra so far this year. Of these, some 200 were reported in June alone. Till the first week of June, around 28,913 citizens from across Maharashtra were diagnosed with dengue-like illnesses. Dengue symptoms include high fever, headache, rash and muscle and joint pain. In severe cases, there is serious bleeding and shock, which can be life-threatening. Dr Abhishek Subhash, consultant internal medicine, at Bhatia hospital, said, "Citizens should keep their house free from stagnant water. Buildings must clean their swimming pools and water tanks since mosquitoes spreading dengue and malaria breed in clean water." People with diabetes, kidney disease, HIV, must consult the doctor immediately if fever persists, he said.

Another day, another hospital fire

Health Issues India- KEREAN WATTS

The outbreak of a fire in a West Delhi hospital yesterday served as a reminder of one of the major issues putting patients’ lives at risk: fire safety lapses. The incident in question, which occurred at the Employees’ State Insurance Model Hospital in Basai Darapur, mercifully was not at the level of past tragedies involving hospital blazes in India. No casualties have been reported at the time of writing and six patients were evacuated. The fire broke out in an operating theatre on the hospital’s third floor and was contained within five minutes by responders from the Delhi Fire Services. At the time of writing, the cause has yet to be determined. Hospital stays in India carry no end of risks, from infections to shortages of vital equipment. Fires are one such hazard, endangering hospital workers and patients alike. As previously reported by Health Issues India, fire safety lapses have been highlighted in hospitals in both Karnataka and Odisha in recent months. Delhi is no exception to this worrying trend.