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Community Health Centres deprived of specialists

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: An IndiaSpend analysis revealed that the Indian public health systems are in dire need of attention and investment, especially in the rural areas. With a shortage of 83 percent of medical specialists, stated by the Rural Health Statistics, 2015 and released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Community Health Centres if ignored would leave a lot of people helpless. Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu are some of the states that have no surgeons in their CHCs. Then there is a 76-percent shortage of obstetricians and gynaecologists in CHCs nationwide.

AIIMS_slumAn ideal CHC is a 30-bedded hospital which is meant to provide specialist care in medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, surgery, paediatrics, dental and Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH) according to the Indian Public Health Standards prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2012. The CHCs constitute the secondary level of health care serving roughly 80,000 people in tribal, hill or desert areas and 120,000 on the plains.

In rural India, 58 percent of hospitalised treatment was carried out in private hospitals, while in urban India the figure was 68 percent, according to the Key Indicators of Social Consumption on Health 2014 survey, carried out by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). While infant mortality rate declined from 83 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 44 per 1,000 live births in 2011, and maternal mortality ratio reduced from 570 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 212 in 2007-2009, both indicators remain high compared to other BRICS countries like Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, said the WHO.

Such statistics mean that specialised healthcare treatment in rural India is difficult, which has driven rising numbers of people to costlier private healthcare.

(With inputs from IANS)

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NASA to Send Organ-on-Chips To Test Human Tissue Health in Space

Called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties

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NASA, tissue
NASA to send tissue chips to space to test human health, genetic changes. Flcikr

NASA is planning to send small devices containing human cells in a 3D matrix — known as tissue chips or organs-on-chips — to the International Space Station (ISS) to test how they respond to stress, drugs and genetic changes.

Made of flexible plastic, tissue chips have ports and channels to provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells inside them.

The “Tissue Chips in Space” initiative seeks to better understand the role of microgravity on human health and disease and to translate that understanding to improved human health on Earth, NASA said.

“Spaceflight causes many significant changes in the human body,” said Liz Warren, Associate Program Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) in the US.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
This illustration made available by NASA shows the Kepler Space Telescope. As of October 2018, the planet-hunting spacecraft has been in space for nearly a decade. VOA

“We expect tissue chips in space to behave much like an astronaut’s body, experiencing the same kind of rapid change,” Warren said.

The US space agency is planning the investigations in collaboration with CASIS and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Many of the changes in the human body caused by microgravity resemble the onset and progression of diseases associated with ageing on Earth, such as bone and muscle loss. But the space-related changes occur much faster.

That means scientists may be able to use tissue chips in space to model changes that might take months or years to happen on Earth.

Parkinson's Disease, Kepler, NASA, tissue
A researcher takes a tissue sample from a human brain at the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s UK Tissue Bank, VOA

This first phase of Tissue Chips in Space includes five investigations. An investigation of immune system ageing is planned for launch on the SpaceX CRS-16 flight, scheduled for this year.

The other four, scheduled to launch on SpaceX CRS-17 or subsequent flights, include lung host defense, the blood-brain barrier, musculoskeletal disease and kidney function.

In addition, four more projects are scheduled for launch in summer 2020, including two on engineered heart tissue to understand cardiovascular health, one on muscle wasting and another on gut inflammation.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
“Detecting life in an agnostic fashion means not using characteristics particular to Earth life,” said Heather Graham at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Pixabay

Also called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties, according to Lucie Low, scientific programme manager at National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences in the US.

Also Read: NASA’s Ralph Will Explore Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids in 2021

“It has to be 3D, because humans are 3D,” she explained.

“It must have multiple, different types of cells, because an organ is made up of all kinds of tissue types. And it must have microfluidic channels, because every single tissue in your body has vasculature to bring in blood and nutrients and to take away detritus,” she added. (IANS)