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A medical worker gets ready to collect a sample from a man at a school turned into a center to conduct tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), amidst its spread in New Delhi, India, June 22, 2020. VOA
By Henry Ridgwell

The probability of death from COVID-19 increases dramatically with increasing poverty because of underlying inequalities in society in many poorer countries, according to researchers from Imperial College London.

The warning comes as the coronavirus pandemic expands rapidly in many countries classed as lower-income or lower-middle-income, such as India and Nigeria. India has recorded over 13,500 deaths from COVID-19 and close to 250,000 cases, with infection rates climbing rapidly in recent days, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.


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Imperial College researchers say unfair or avoidable differences in health among different groups in society — known as “health inequities” — mean that some groups are at far greater risk.

“From just three factors alone, that is, the availability of hand-washing facilities, an ability to work from home and hospital access, we estimated on average a 32% increase in the probability of death from COVID-19 when comparing individuals from the poorest households to those in the wealthiest households, with the key driver really being lack of access to hospital and ICU beds,” Peter Winskill of Imperial College London, told VOA in a Skype interview earlier this month.

Poorer families also tend to live in larger, multigenerational households which hampers efforts to protect elderly family members through social distancing. Other indirect effects of the pandemic also have a disproportionate impact.


A security guard pours hand sanitising gel into a shopper’s hands at the Yaba market, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Lagos, Nigeria, March 23, 2020. VOA

“There is an overlap in the potential timing of lockdowns in these areas with key planting and harvesting seasons for staple crops,” Winskill said. “And we also know from the data that individuals in poorer households in these areas also depend more on food grown themselves, so there are serious food security issues.”

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Health services for other diseases are being severely impacted by COVID-19. “HIV-, TB- and malaria-related deaths over the next five years in high burden settings may be increased by up to 10, 20 and 36 respectively,” Winskill said.

The report’s authors say existing patterns of inequality mean the poorest are less able to protect themselves from infection. They urge governments to focus on improving access to hand-washing and strengthening community health services. (VOA)


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Photo by GOI.

New Education Policy 2020

On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020.

Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.

According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.

Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector.

In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.

According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting.

On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.

Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: BJP, RSS, New Education Policy, Education, India


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