Monday January 22, 2018

Government to launch a scheme that will offer free diagnostic tests

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Central government has come up with a scheme that will offer free diagnostic tests to people visiting public health centers.

A bench of experts has prepared a list of diagnostic tests which are regarded as essential for all categories of health facilities. The Health Ministry has also contacted some of the biggest names in the diagnostic sector like Dr. Lal PathLabs, Quest Diagnostics, Mahajan Imaging and Star Imaging.

The scheme would improve the diagnostic infrastructure in government hospitals. Under the scheme, private health service providers will be engaged for the collection of blood samples, analysis and reporting at places where the government infrastructure is lacking. CT scan services will also be developed at district level under public-private partnership.

This action taken by the Centre would not only reduce the health expenditure of the masses but according to a newspaper report, it would also promote the diagnostics and reagents sectors, whose share currently amounts to only 20% in the medical technology market.

However, the initiative has also drawn flak from a lot of people. Sakthivel Selvaraj, a health economist told the Times of India, “With a slashed health budget and no allocation in the budget for the scheme, where will they find additional resources for this? Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are already providing diagnostic facilities more efficiently without outsourcing. Why not follow that model? Why follow a model of outsourcing that has failed in several states like Bihar and Chhattisgarh? Outsourcing only adds to the cost.”

According to the report, some public health technology experts felt that selective outsourcing has been shown to work in certain other technology intensive areas such as ambulance care. The development of these technologies would not have been possible without the assistance of private sector.

“Experience suggests that measured formula-based centralized outsourcing is recommended only for ancillary services that are technology intensive,” told one such expert to TOI.

Many people have questioned whether the outsourcing would lead to private sectors extorting extravagant charges for their services. A doctor working in a railway hospital told NewsGram, “To prevent private sectors from exploiting people, the government should fix price rates for the diagnostic services. This scheme proposed by the government should follow the same model of Central Government Health Scehme (CGHS) which engages with only those private hospitals which agree to follow the price rate set by it. ”

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12 things you must know about cold drinks in India

If you're addicted to cold drinks, chances are that you are not the only one.

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By Ruchika Verma

  • Cold drinks are one of the lesser known addictions in India
  • Sodas or cold drinks be it cola or non-cola can have harmful effects on us
  • The key is to consume cold drinks in moderation and not excessively

If you’re addicted to cold drinks, chances are that you are not the only one. Everyone loves the sugary, carbonated taste of cold drinks, especially during summers.

Cold drinks tastes good, but they have some harmful effects on us too. VOA
Cold drinks taste good, but they have some harmful effects on us too. VOA

Even in winters, we don’t really hesitate in consuming our favourite cold drinks. However, it is important to know their effect on our health and environment. Here is the list of 12 things you must know about cold drinks:

Obesity

Increase consumption of soda or cold drinks is said to one of the major reasons for high obesity rates and other health problems associated with it, as per some health experts. One can of soda contains about 150 calories, which if consumed regularly, can increase your weight by 6 kgs per year.

Sodas and cold drinks can cause obesity and diabetes. VOA
Sodas and cold drinks can cause diseases like obesity and diabetes. VOA

Causes Diabetes

High consumption of cold drinks can cause diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. Use of artificial sweetener leads to diabetes and thus children and sugar patients should refrain from consuming soft drinks in excessive amount.

Tooth decay

Cold drinks can cause tooth decay and no, not even your toothpaste and toothbrush can save you from this. The acid in cold drinks can damage your teeth more than sugar. The acid present in soft drinks weakens tooth enamel, which leads to cavities and tooth decay.

Also Read: 5 Drinks Which Will Help You Lose Weight

Cold drinks can cause a lots of harm to our body and its immunity. Wikimedia Commons
Cold drinks can cause lots of harm to our body and its immunity. Wikimedia Commons

Caffeine dependency

Many carbonated drinks, be it cola and non-cola, contain caffeine. Caffeine is addictive and can cause insomnia, irritability and other related symptoms in some people. If one is already having problems with caffeine, they should avoid cold drinks as much as they can.

Nutrition deficiency

It may sound quite weird, but it all boils down to the fact that sodas and cold drinks are simply not healthy. Many people have a habit of choosing soda over other beverages like water, milk, juice, etc. If you are one of those people too, chances are, you’re not getting the required amount of nutrients into your body.

One should go for healthier alternatives of cold drinks. Wikimedia Commons
One should go for healthier alternatives of soft drinks. Wikimedia Commons

Weak bones

Not getting required nutrients will obviously have an effect on your health. However, cold drinks can affect your bones as well. Studies suggest that excess consumption of soft drinks which contains acid can reduce the calcium quotient of our bones by preventing the nutrient from getting absorbed.

Artificial sweeteners

This should not really come as a surprise. All cold drinks have artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are not necessarily unhealthy. However, recent studies show that long-term consumption can damage our sugar taste receptors, leading us to crave more sugar oriented food.

Also Read: Sugary drinks responsible for 1 in 200 deaths

Cold drinks can cause tooth decay, obesity, etc. Wikimedia Commons
Cold drinks can cause tooth decay, obesity, etc. Wikimedia Commons

Slows Metabolism

When tired, try not to consume cold drinks and instead go for fresh juice or water. A soft drink can decrease your metabolism rate by 2 times. It also destroys fat burning enzymes leading to obesity.
Affects Reproduction Capabilities
Few studies have suggested that the use of artificial sweeteners in cold drinks, like saccharin and sucralose, can affect reproduction capabilities in humans. It can decrease the chances of pregnancy in women. The presence of caffeine in cold drinks can also decrease the sperm count in men, it may affect the quality of the sperm too.
There are many brands which are famous in India and are regularly consumed. Wikimedia Commons
There are many brands which are famous in India and are regularly consumed. Wikimedia Commons
Top Selling Brands of cold drinks in India
In India, a cold drink is consumed every minute by someone. The most popular brands of cold drinks in India are Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Thumbs Up. Other drinks include Limca, Mountain Dew and Sprite, which have the lemon essence in them. There are other brands like Fanta and Miranda too which are orange flavoured and less preferred drinks.
Controversies
Controversies and cold drinks are almost synonymous. There have been many controversies which revolve around cold drinks and its effects on our health. Concerns over usage of water, accusations over pesticides and sweeteners, and also, the general concerns about how these drinks are unhealthy, keep on plaguing these drinks.
Coca Cola is known to spend a huge amount of money on its advertisement campaigns. Wikimedia Common
Coca-Cola is known to spend a huge amount of money on its advertisement campaigns. Wikimedia Common
Advertising Expenses 
Cold drink brands hire the most famous celebrities to be their brand ambassadors. Their campaigns are often huge and present ideas which are larger than life. A lot of money is being spent on the advertising of these soft drinks. Coca-Cola normally spends up to $3.499 billion in a year on its advertising campaigns.