Wednesday September 18, 2019
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Despite progress, India to miss MDG targets

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New Delhi: India has achieved considerable progress in reducing infant and under-five mortality rates but is way behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, said a new report released by the union health ministry.

The Millennium Development Goals, which include eight goals, were framed to address the world’s major development challenges with health and its related areas as the prime focus.

According to the National Health Profile 2015, released by Health Minister J.P. Nadda here, the Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) has declined from an estimated level of 125 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 52 in 2012.

The report said given the rate of reduction of U5MR, India tends to reach the rate of 49 by 2015 as per the historical trend, missing the MDG target by seven percentage points.

“However, considering the continuance of the sharper annual rate of decline witnessed in the recent years, India is likely to achieve the target,” it added.

As far as the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is concerned, it reduced by nearly 50 percent during 1990-2012 and the present level stands at 42.

Going by this trend, the IMR is likely to reach 40 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015, missing the MDG target of 27 by 13 points.

India is required to reduce the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from an estimated level of 437 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 109 per 100,000 live births by 2015.

But, at the historical pace of decrease, it would be able to reach an MMR of 140 per 100,000 live births by end 2015, falling short by 31.

The National Health Profile covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with comprehensive information on health infrastructure and human resources in health.

The Central Bureau of Health Investigation (CBHI) has been publishing National Health Profile every year since 2005. This is the 11th edition.

The health minister also released an e-book of the report and said it was part of the many digital initiatives being taken by the government.

Nadda said that data was an important source of navigation.

“It helps in understanding the goals, our strengths and weaknesses and it is also an important means to strategize. Good compiled data enables the policymakers to make evidence-based policies and aids effective implementation of various schemes,” he added.

The minister said that the country now needs to work towards converting documented data into “real-time” data. “While digital data helps us to be more efficient, real time data helps to monitor our schemes and efforts in real time.”

He congratulated and appreciated CBHI for their recent initiatives regarding uses of geo-mapping of four different districts of different parts of the country such as the north-eastern region, south region, desert area and Jharkhand. He hoped that this exercise will extend to other parts of the country also.

Health Secretary B.K. Sharma said: “Data lets you plan. We need to collect data and that too at regular intervals.”

(IANS)

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US Health Secretary Applauds Uganda’s Efforts to Control Spread of Ebola in East and Central Africa

Since June, Uganda has identified and isolated four Ebola victims who entered the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo

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FILE - Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks with reporters after a meeting about vaping with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Sept. 11, 2019. VOA

U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Alex Azar has applauded Uganda’s efforts to control the spread of Ebola in east and central Africa; however, while the U.S. remains the primary funder of Uganda’s health care sector, the secretary did not shy away from asking the East African country to find funds to independently sustain its health care budget. US.

Since June, Uganda has identified and isolated four Ebola victims who entered the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The monitoring has prevented the Ebola epidemic which has killed nearly 2,000 people in eastern Congo from crossing the border.

Secretary Azar is leading a U.S. delegation to Rwanda, the DRC and now Uganda regarding Ebola.

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Relatives of the 5-year-old boy who became Ebola’s first cross-border victim, and others, listen as village leaders and health workers educate them about Ebola, in Kirembo, Uganda, June 15, 2019. VOA

“There’s immense work that has had to be done in bolstering preparedness and response capacities. Screening those crossing the borders and responding to the discovery of cases. Uganda, particularly the Ministry of Health and Minister Aceng have risen to the occasion providing a model for the region,” said Azar.

The U.S. is a major financier of Uganda’s health sector, helping to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola and improve maternal and child health care.

In fiscal year 2018, the U.S. provided more than $511 million in health care funding.

Secretary Azar encouraged Uganda to be more self-sustaining.

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“And we have seen tremendous achievement in Uganda in terms of the building up of the public health system and health care infrastructure as a result of that partnership,” Azar said. “Now of course, overtime that needs to be more self-sustained. And that does require that Uganda invest its own resources also in the health care system.”

Ambassador Deborah Malac expressed confidence Uganda is capable of meeting its own health care needs.

“But one cannot expect that the U.S. government will be the donor of choice in this area, you know, in an open-ended future,” said Malac. “So, it really is about building its capacity and ultimately putting ourselves out of the assistance business.”

On Sunday, there were reports from Tanzania that a doctor who was studying in Uganda had died of a viral infection akin to Ebola. The Tanzanian ministry quickly came out and denied the allegations, calling them rumors.

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U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Alex Azar has applauded Uganda’s efforts to control the spread of Ebola in east and central Africa. Pixabay

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organization representative in Uganda, expressed concern about the situation.

“This mysterious disease has to be investigated and samples have to be tested. We couldn’t rule out any of the viral hemorrhagic fevers and the investigations will continue,” Yonas said. “And we look forward of the Tanzanian government collaborating as per the International health regulations to address this issue.”

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Countries near Congo continue to be on high alert for any new cases of Ebola, with strict adherence to control guidelines set by the WHO. (VOA)