The High Incidence of TB in India and Increase in Drug Resistant Strains

March 23, 2014–Australia Network News

“Medical humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says India must stop its doctors prescribing “irrational” treatments to cure tuberculosis (TB), warning the practice is increasing drug-resistant strains of the disease.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

India: Major Breakthrough for Pain Patients

February 21, 2014–Human Rights Watch

“Millions of Indians suffering chronic pain will get better access to pain medicines following changes in India’s drug law, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 21, 2014, the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, approved amendments to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (the Drug Act) that  the lower house had approved a day earlier.

The amendments eliminate archaic rules that obligated hospitals and pharmacies to obtain four or five licenses, each from a different government agency, every time they wanted to purchase strong pain medicines. As Human Rights Watch documented in a 2009 report, “Unbearable Pain: India’s Obligation to Ensure Palliative Care,” this resulted in the virtual disappearance of morphine, an essential medicine for strong pain, from Indian hospitals, including from most specialized cancer centers.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

Swasthya Slates to debut this week in J&K

February 17, 2014–Times of India

“Mumbai: A new era in electronic-aided healthcare will begin this week when Swasthya Slate — a health tablet that will measure everything from blood pressure to ECG to the presence of malarial parasites — will make its debut in Jammu & Kashmir.

The brainchild of Dr Kanav Kahol of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Swasthya Slate will help government health workers keep tabs on the overall health of the community.

Speaking at the Asian Heart Institute in Bandra Kurla Complex in central Mumbai on Saturday, PHFI founder Dr Srinath Reddy said that 4,000 Swasthya Slates would be used by ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) as part of J&K’s maternal health programme. These slates will be based on the Android software and can conduct 37 tests, including a fetal doppler to detect the heart function of foetuses,” he said on Saturday.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

New initiatives in India to reduce maternal/child deaths

Jay Satia
J.K. Satia

In February 2014, the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) released Innovations in Maternal Health – Case Studies from India. Dr. Jay K. Satia (Senior Vice President at PHFI), along with Madhavi Misra, Radhika Arora, and Sourav Neogi, compiled the studies. It presents reports on twenty-three innovations from the area of Maternal and Newborn Health. These innovations have been written in the case-study style for teaching, which will be beneficial for capacity building initiatives for health-care professionals. These descriptive cases cover innovative programmes, initiatives and technologies implemented in India. The innovations range from developing low cost incubators for low-birthweight babies to creating a dedicated transport service named Janani Express to ferry pregnant women to hospitals.

Professor Satia said the use of such programmes and technology in clinical and non-clinical settings is one way to accelerate initiatives to improve maternal health and reduce infant mortality.

Read more here.

India opening school of public health in Raipur

January 18, 2014–Times of India

AIIMS Raipur
AIIMS Raipur

“The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Raipur, received approval for setting up a School of Public Health (SPH) within the premises of the Institute to carry out Research Projects.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

Google Glass used in yet another surgery, this time in India

January 2014–Daily News and Analysis

Google Glass is a wearable device, eyeglasses that provide augmented reality features. The hardware includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities (can work with Android and iOS devices), cameras, voice-activation commands, and a heads-up display. A team of doctors led by US-based orthopaedic surgeon Selen G Parekh performed a foot surgery recently with the help of the Google Glass, using the technology on board to broadcast the surgery live on the internet and to share the information with other doctors, recently.

The surgery took place at an Indo-US conference in Jaipur headed by Dr. Ashish Sharma. The technology allowed Dr. Parekh in Jaipur to view X-Rays and MRI data while working on the patient simultaneously. Dr. Sharma, head of the American team of doctors present at the conference, also said Google Glass allows a doctor to communicate with a patient’s family or friends during the procedure.

hc-pictures-using-google-glass-in-the-hospital-008Dr. Sharma described the benefits, saying: “The image which the doctor sees through Google Glass will be broadcasted on the Internet. It’s an amazing technology. Earlier, during surgeries, to show something to another doctor, we had to keep moving and the cameraman had to move as well to take different angles. During this, there are chances of infection. So, in this technology, the image seen by the doctor using Google glass will be seen by everyone throughout the world,” he said. 

Rural areas could also benefit, wherein a doctor could remotely examine a patient who is unwell. Google shipped 8000 of their Google Glasses as a part of their ongoing testing, ‘Explorer Program’ wherein they sent out the glasses specifically to testers across the globe.

India Nowhere Near Millennium Development Goals

January 2014–Down to Earth

Only three states in India have so far managed to reduce maternal mortality rate to less than 109 deaths per 100,000 live births—a millennium development goal (MDG) for 2015. So far, only three states–Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra have reached the goals.