Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee                                                                                    Dated: 30th July,2019

WHO urges countries to invest in eliminating hepatitis
WHO has called on countries to take advantage of recent reductions in the costs of diagnosing and treating viral hepatitis and scale up investments in disease elimination.

A new study by WHO, published in Lancet Global Health, has found that investing US$6bn per year in eliminating hepatitis in 67 low- and middle-income countries would avert 4.5 million premature deaths by 2030, and more than 26 million deaths beyond that target date. A total of US$58.7 billion is needed to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat in these 67 countries by 2030. This means reducing new hepatitis infections by 90% and deaths by 65%.

“Today 80% of people living with hepatitis can’t get the services they need to prevent, test for and treat the disease,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “On World Hepatitis Day, we’re calling for bold political leadership, with investments to match. We call on all countries to integrate services for hepatitis into benefit packages as part of their journey towards universal health coverage.”

By investing in diagnostic tests and medicines for treating hepatitis B and C now, countries can save lives and reduce costs related to long-term care of cirrhosis and liver cancer that result from untreated hepatitis. Some countries are already taking action. The Government of India, for example, has announced that it will offer free testing and treatment for both hepatitis B and C, as part of its universal health coverage plan. This has been facilitated through the reduction in prices of medicines. In India, a hepatitis C cure costs less than US$40 and a year of hepatitis B treatment costs less than US$30. At these prices, hepatitis C cure will result in healthcare cost savings within 3 years.

Can we detect congenital heart disease at birth?
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common congenital disorder in newborns. Critical CHD, defined as requiring surgery or catheter-based intervention in the first year of life occurs in approximately 25 percent of those with CHD.

The goal of critical CHD screening in newborns is to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with delayed diagnosis by identifying infants with critical CHD in a timely manner.

There is evidence that universal screening with pulse oximetry improves the identification of patients with critical CHD compared with physical examination alone and may lead to decreased infant mortality from critical CHD.

Critical CHD screening should be done using pulse oximetry be performed in all newborns after 24 hours of life or as late as possible if early discharge is planned.

Oxygen saturation (SpO2) should be measured in the right hand (preductal) and either foot (postductal).

Positive screening test

  SpO2 measurement < 90 percent

  SpO2 measurement < 95 percent in both upper and lower extremities on three measurements, each separated by one hour

  SpO2 difference >3 percent between the upper and lower extremities on three measurements, each separated by one hour

Use of smartphones for more than 5 hours daily increases risk of obesity
Use of smartphones for 5 or more hours daily increases the risk of obesity, suggests a new study presented at the recently concluded ACC Latin America Conference 2019 in Cartagena, Colombia.

Students who used their smartphones for 5 or more hours daily had a 43% increased risk of obesity and were more likely to have other lifestyle habits that increase the risk of heart disease.

Researchers analyzed 1060 students (700 women and 360 men with an average age of 19 years and 20 years respectively) of the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University during June to December 2018.....read more

The Spiritual Meaning of Lord Shiva
Most of us worship Lord Shiva without understanding the deeper meaning behind him. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is one of the three forms of God (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh).

The Parmatama or spirit or GOD can be equated to a mixture of three forces representing Generator, (Creator or Brahma); Organizer; (Maintainer or Vishnu); Destroyer (Winding up or Mahesh or Shiva). The same three forces are also present inside our body to perform any work, which can be linked to create or generate an idea, maintain or organize the contents of the idea, and then destroy or wind up so that new work can be undertaken through Ganesha – the Lord of new happenings.....read more

Healthcare News Monitor

Data Protection Bill Still in Limbo After 1 Yr; Govt Refuses Info
The Quint - Sushovan Sircar

July 27 marks one year since an expert Committee headed by Retd. Justice BN Srikrishna handed over a report and the draft Personal Data Protection Bill to Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. India is among a handful of democracies around the world without a data protection and privacy law. However, a year since the draft bill was submitted it is yet to be tabled in Parliament. The draft data protection bill has incurred sharp criticism not only for provisions like data localisation but also for the lack of transparency from the Ministry on it. Very little is known about the Committee’s workings and the submissions by the public to Committee and the ministry on the draft bill. The workings of the 10-member Srikrishna Committee, tasked with preparing a draft legislation of India’s data protection bill, has been shrouded in secrecy since its formation on 31 July, 2017. Dozens of RTIs seeking infor mation on its formation, meetings and public consultations have been consistently denied.

Health ministry issues draft national guidelines for gene therapy product development
Pharmabiz India- Shardul Nautiyal

To streamline the regulatory processes for future clinical trials using gene therapeutic products (GTPs), the Union health ministry has placed draft national guidelines for gene therapy product development and clinical trials in public domain for suggestions from concerned stakeholders like scientists, academicians and professionals in the field before August 1, 2019. The draft national guidelines is a welcome change as gene therapy products need systematic evaluation for its safety and efficacy in view of the ethical and scientific concerns. Gene therapy is one of the exciting avenues in the field of biological therapeutics. Globally, very few gene therapy products have been approved. The scientists and industry involved in the field seek advice and directions regarding regulatory requirements for pre-clinical studies and clinical translation. Taking cognisance of this gap, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) proactively initiated the process of drafting the national guidelines for gene therapy product development and clinical trials in consultation with the experts in the field and government agencies including department of biotechnolgy (DBT) and Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). As per the New Drugs and Clinical trial Rules (2019), the GTPs falls under ‘new drug’ and shall always be deemed to be ‘new drug’. Thus, as per these rules ‘academic trials’ are not applicable to clinical trials using GTPs.

Safdarjung Hospital: Sunday OPD care a breeze for the elderly
ET Healthworld- Shardha Chettri

NEW DELHI: It was a pleasant surprise for 72-year-old Manju Mishra when she walked into Safdarjung Hospital resting on a cane supported by her husband, SP Mishra (82), on Sunday morning. In stark contrast to her earlier visits to the OPD, she was greeted and guided by guards who took her to the registration desk without queuing up. The usual crowd due to which Manju often returned without consulting a doctor was also missing and she happily attended the OPD service opened specifically for the elderly for the first time ever. Most of the elderly patients, who had come to the hospital either on their own or accompanied by family members, were all praise for the new system put in place at the hospital. “On weekdays, there is hardly any place for patients to stand. It feels like being in the kumbh mela. I have returned from the gate several times,” said Manju, a retired government servant who resides in Siddhar th Extension. After their check-ups, the couple was recommended some tests and asked to return the next week. “They told me that next Sunday we will be checked by the ENT department,” SP Mishra said.

Health Minister inspects emergency facilities at Safdarjung hospital
ET Healthworld- ANI

New Delhi: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday inspected new Emergency block and pharmacy at Safdarjung Hospital. The hospital will start providing special geriatric OPD services for senior citizens from Sunday which will be inaugurated by the Health Minister. The healthcare services will be provided in five major departments- medicine, general surgery, ENT, ophthalmology and orthopaedics. The services will be provided at designated timings every Sunday at the hospital.

Pharm D association writes to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan
Telangana Today

The Doctor of Pharmacy Association (DPA) has urged Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan to incorporate Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D) professionals in the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill-2019 as community health providers. The association in a memorandum to Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that under the NMC Bill there was a provision to provide limited license to certain mid-level practitioners connected with the modern medical profession to practice medicine. The NMC Bill says that the mid-level practitioners may prescribe specified medicines in primary and preventive healthcare. In other cases, these practitioners may only prescribe medicines under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner. “There are large number of Pharm. D professionals with good clinical knowledge and they can be appointed as community health providers. It is a safe and convenient solution to address the healthcare needs of the country,” president, Doctor of Pharmacy Association (DPA), Dr. Sai Kumar Katam, said. The Pharm. D syllabus includes almost all the topics of modern system of medicine except diagnosis and surgery and even the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) also supports the demand to recognise Pharm. D graduates as community healthcare providers, he said. Doctor of Pharmacy course is a 6-year professional clinical pharmacy practice oriented program after intermediate, which includes 5 years of academic study and 1 year internship.

Flood-hit areas to get health squads: Maharashtra's Health Minister Eknath Shinde
Daily News & Analysis

Maharashtra's Health Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday directed his department to deploy round-the-clock health squads along with flood-control teams in the flood-hit areas of Navi Mumbai, Thane, Konkan, Nashik, and Western Maharashtra. This has been done to avoid the spread of rain-related diseases. He has directed authorities to conduct household-level surveys with health workers being ordered to find cases of waterborne diseases in waterlogged and adjoining areas. The health camps also aim to prevent diseases such as swine flu, dengue, leptospirosis and ensure that fumigation activities are undertaken wherever needed. Shinde also advised the citizens to be vigilant. Shinde, who held a marathon meeting with department officials, insisted that preventative measures must be taken in case of an outbreak of heavy rain and the absence of sterile drinking water, which can lead to waterborne diseases. And as such, the medical squads have been told to maintain 24-hour presence in flood-hit villages. They have also been directed to extensively use bleaching powder, chlorine tablets, and chlorine fluids to supply sterile water to the villagers. The minister instructed medical teams to regularly treat flood-hit citizens who are currently camping in schools, marriage halls, temples, and other places.

Violence against doctors may soon attract 10-year jail term
ET Healthworld- Sushmi Dey

NEW DELHI: Violence against on-duty doctors may be treated as a cognizable and non-bailable offence, attracting jail term of up to 10 years along with a hefty penalty of at least twice the value of damaged property. The draft of the proposed legislation, framed by an inter-ministerial committee, is currently under consideration of the health ministry, a source said. "We have proposed a central law which is uniform across the country and linked to the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The draft bill proposes a gradation system to determine the punishment depending on the type of assault and injuries caused from it," said the source involved with drafting of the bill. According to the provisions of the draft bill, punishment will depend on whether the injury is "simple" or "grievous". Apart from doctors, the proposed law will cover hospitals and once convicted, those accused of such violence may have to pay compensation of at least twice the value of damaged property, the source said. Though similar laws are in place in around 21 states, experts said they were not effective as they lacked uniformity and impacted enforcement across the country. According to doctors, not a single conviction has been made so far in any of these states despite rising number of incidents of violence against doctors and in hospitals.