Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee                                                                               Dated:29 November,2019

Innovative WHO HIV testing recommendations aim to expand treatment coverage

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new recommendations to help countries reach the 8.1 million people living with HIV who are yet to be diagnosed, and who are therefore unable to obtain lifesaving treatment.

The WHO guidelines are released ahead of World AIDS Day (December 1), and the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA2019) which takes place in Kigali, Rwanda from December 2-7. The new “WHO consolidated guidelines on HIV testing services” recommend a range of innovative approaches to respond to contemporary needs… (WHO, November 27, 2019)

CSW and Female Privacy

Being a CSW is not illegal in India. However, most people including doctors consider it to be wrong. This has led to these workers being stigmatized and criminalized, which has severe effects on their physical and mental health. A recent study among 1000 CS workers in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Pune by three NGOs; SIAAP, Saheli Sangh, and Sangama showed:

Up to 75% of these workers did not seek treatment because of poor communication by healthcare providers, lack of respect, no/low privacy and confidentiality, long wait time, unavailability of doctors outside business hours.

Up to 40% of them reported being refused medical care.

Nearly 40% of doctors said they do not like to treat them in fear of losing clientele.

Some of the opinions expressed by the CSW suggesting their awkwardness with doctors counseling; ....read more

Why do we apply holy ash?

Bhasma is the holy ash produced from the Homa, the sacrificial fire, wherein special wood along with ghee and other herbs are offered as a part of pooja. By the time a bhasma is formed, no trace of original matter remains in the ash. Ash obtained from any burnt object is not bhasma.

The ritual involves worshipping the deity by pouring ash as abhishek and then distributing it as bhasma, which is then applied on the forehead (usually), upper arms, chest, or rubbed all over the body. Some consume a pinch of Bhasma when they receive it.

The word bhasma is derived from “bha” or "bhartsanam" ("to destroy") and "sma" or "smaranam" ("to remember"). It denotes "that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered". Bhasma is also called vibhuti, which means glory. Bhasma is associated with Lord Shiva who applies it all over His body. ....read more

Healthcare News Monitor

Pharmacist bodies to protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar today
The Hitavada

Various unions and organisations of Pharmacists across the country will stage agitation on November 29 at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the recent draft to amend schedule K of The Drugs and Cosmetics Act to empower community health workers to store and dispense drugs. There are as many as 28 different organisations of pharmacists on national-level as well as on state levels across the country and these organisations have an opinion that the proposed amendment would lead to the end of pharmacy profession. A recent gazette notification issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has proposed to amend Schedule K against serial number 23 for the entries under the column ‘Class of Drugs’ under Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945. The gazette recommended to substitute the column ‘Class of Drugs’ as “Drugs supplied by Health Functionaries including Community Health Officers, Nurses, Auxiliary Nurse, Midwives and Lady Health Visitors attached to Primary Health Centres/Sub Centres/Health and Wellness centres in rural and urban areas; Community Health Volunteers such as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) under the National Health Mission and Anganwadi Workers.” The office-bearers of organisations like Indian Pharmacists Association (IPA); Indian Registered Pharmacists Association (IRPA); Indian Pharmacy Graduates Association (IPGA) etc in city have stated that the proposed amendments would violate the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetic Act, Pharmacy act and also article 16 and article 47 of Indian Constitution.

Unable to buy Limcee Vitamin-C tablets from medical stores? Blame it on China
Moneycontrol - Viswanath Pilla, Himadri Buch

Viral Kothari, 48, was suffering from Vitamin-C deficiency, making him prone to fatigue and infections. His doctor prescribed him Limcee, the popular Vitamin-C brand of Abbott, which is affordable and comes as chewable form in an orange flavour. For months, Kothari was taking Limcee. A strip of 15 tablets of 500 mg dose used to cost him around Rs 15. In October this year, when Kothari went to buy the tablets, his chemist charged him Rs 70 for the strip of 15 tablets, leaving Kothari wondering about the steep rise in price. When Kothari prodded his chemist about the rise in price, he told him that there is shortage of Rs 15 - Limcee packs in the market, and what he is offering is the reformulated version of Limcee - Limcee Plus. Kothari went around to at least half-dozen pharmacy stores in his vicinity and also tried to buy from a big online pharmacy but there too the tablets were not available. Abbott, however, denied that Limcee was not available in the market. "Abbott continues to supply Limcee in India to meet the growing demand. Limcee is vitamin C for use by people with vitamin C deficiency, whereas Limcee Plus is a health supplement containing vitamin C plus amino acid. Amino acids help the body replenish cells, repair tissue and break down food," the company said. Limcee is a combination of Ascorbic Acid 100 mg + Sodium Ascorbate 450 mg. The Limcee Plus launched by Abbott in March this year is a retweaked cocktail of Ascorbic Acid 20mg, Ascorbic Palmitate 480mg and L-Arginine L-Aspartate 6mg.

Maharashtra FDA soon to make provision for issuance of e-licensing of cold storage delivery vehicles for drug distribution
Pharmabiz India - Shardul Nautiyal

The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally decided to make provisions for issuance of online licensing of cold storage delivery vehicles for drug distribution in the drug retail supply chain. Pharmacy trade has been contesting the issue that online licenses for vehicles having cold storage for delivery of medicines at retail drug stores have not been issued in the past five years as the online system neither has provision nor any format on the same. “We will be making necessary provisions for online licensing of cold storage delivery vehicles by next month,” informed Maharashtra FDA Commissioner Dr Pallavi Darade. The Maharashtra FDA in 2014 had introduced XLN online licensing system for online disposal of licenses. There is a provision for obtaining 20 BB and 21 BB licenses under Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act for bulk drug delivery through vehicle license. As per the provision, the state drug regulator can keep an oversight of the drug supply chain right from the wholesaler and C&F agents authorised by pharma companies to the retail drug store for patient safety. The online XLN system was introduced in 2014 across the state in order to accomplish timely disposal of renewal licenses, testing licences, licences for additional products, performance certificate and free sale licences among others but the online system has no format and provision for online application of cold storage licenses for delivery vehicles which is an indispensable part in drug supply chain system.

More female babies getting abandoned in govt hospital
The Times of India

Coimbatore: The Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) handed over a 36-day-old abandoned female baby to an orphanage in the city on Thursday. The baby, who was born with low birth weight issues, was the 12th child to be abandoned in the hospital this year. The worrying trend is that 10 of the 12 abandoned infants were females, posing the question whether girl children are again being refused by families. Hospital authorities said the baby girl was born on October 23 to an unwed woman, identified as Thenmozhi and that the infant was suffering from minor growth retardation as she was born between 34 and 36 weeks. The child weighed less than 1kg at birth. Dr A Soundaravel, resident medical officer of CMCH, said, “Though the mother was discharged on October 28, the baby was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She left the hospital on November 1. We knew she was aged less than 20 years and not married. We took care of the baby since that day and ensured her health condition improved. She now weighs slightly more than 2kg.” Soundaravel handed over the baby girl to Sharanalayam orphanage at Kinathukidavu on Thursday. Pointing out that CMCH had received 12 abandoned babies so far this year, he said, “Ten of them were females. While some of them were abandoned because of their health issues, in this case the mother was unmarried. However, in majority of the cases, the abandoned babies were not sick, and they had elder siblings.” Vanitha Rangaraj, founder of Sharanalayam, said female babies were in demand among the couple who come for adoption. “We receive more female babies and parents who register also prefer them.” The orphanage receives one to two babies a month.

Delhi's autonomous super speciality hospitals face 50% shortage of doctors
Business Standard – IANS

The two autonomous super speciality hospitals in the national capital -- Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital and Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital -- are facing over 50 per cent shortage of doctors, resulting in longer waiting time for patients. Both the autonomous hospitals offer world-class infrastructure, but suffer policy lacunae: the government has separate policies for the autonomous and government-run hospitals, according to the managements of the two hospitals. The Delhi government has three super speciality hospitals, with two of them being autonomous and G.B. Pant Hospital being run by the city government. According to Deputy Medical Superintendent Chhavi Gupta, the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) is a 180-bed high-end super tertiary care hospital in East Delhi dealing with cardiology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, GI surgery, urology, radiology and having CPVS, ICU, CCU, blood bank, pain clinic and a sleep lab. "We have two medical officers, one blood bank officer, and faculty doctors. About 50 to 60 per cent posts of doctors are vacant. The doctors are being recruited regularly." When IANS visited the hospital, the OPD was flooded with people, while the remaining blocks of the hospital, spread on a 13-acre plot, wore a deserted look. "With the existing strength, I think we are doing well. We are treating 1,500-2,000 patients in the OPD on a regular basis. The doctors here are happily working more and are putting in more efforts. Per day, the hospital takes at least 25 patients in the cath lab," Gupta said.