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Health Ministry sets up web portal and mobile apps to provide healthcare related information

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New Delhi: With the Modi government’s thrust on a digital India, the Union Health Ministry is trying to devise interactive web portals and mobile apps for most of its flagship programmes like immunisation drives and mother and child care.

Officials in the Health Ministry said that Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda has asked for the digitisation of almost all services being provided by the government in the sector.

The ministry has set up a web portal in pursuance to the decisions of the National Knowledge Commission, to provide healthcare related information to the citizens of India.

The National Health Portal (www.nhp.gov.in) was launched by Nadda in Shimla last week.

“A special Centre for Health Informatics has been established by the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) for managing the activities of the portal”, Rakesh Kumar, joint secretary in the Health Ministry, told IANS.

“The portal aims to make this a single point access for authenticated health information for citizens, students, healthcare professionals and researchers,” Kumar said.

It will collect, verify and disseminate health and health care delivery services related information for all citizens of India.

Listing other such initiatives, Kumar said that nearly 50 percent of the 565 Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU) established across the country have been brought on an online platform.

“Our aim is to make 100 percent of these special units covered in the online system,” he said.

The ministry has also launched a mobile application for its mass immunisation drive which is called ‘Mission Indradhanush’.

“Under this, field workers would be required to fill up all details of vaccinations of children, who have been covered or are yet to be covered. Managers would then pass on the information to the state governments which will in turn pass on the information to the central government,” he said.

Apart from this, the government will soon begin a service which would inform citizens about due vaccinations and check-ups of newborns and pregnant women.

A simple mobile phone text message would tell a parent that their children are due for vaccinations or even remind an expecting mother that she has completed six months of her pregnancy and needs to go for a scheduled check-up.

All this would be a part of the health ministry’s new ‘Kilkari’ scheme on mother and childcare in August.

For pregnant women, messages would include reminders about routine check-ups, blood tests, tetanus vaccinations and a host of other things. The government also plans to expand the scheme to include adolescent girls in the future.

In the beginning, messages would be sent in six languages — four north Indian and two south Indian. Later, more languages can be added as the programme expands.

A total of 78 specific messages have been identified as of now and more will be added.

All stakeholders — like doctors, midwives, state health officials and service providers — are in the loop and technical issues are being worked out.

Kumar said the ministry was also planning to go online with the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).

The RBSK aims at early identification and intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover four ‘D’s — defects at birth, deficiencies, diseases, development delays, including disability.

“All information relating to this initiative will also be available online soon for better tracking,” the official added. (IANS)

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Infant Mortality Rate declined in 2016, shows Health Ministry data

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country's IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas

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Infant Mortality Rate in India
Infant Mortality Rate declines in India. Pixabay
  • The Infant Mortality Rate in India has declined from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016
  • The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR
  • According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival

New Delhi, October 2, 2017: The Infant Mortality Rate, IMR in India has declined by three points, from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family welfare’s data released on Friday.

This is indeed a progress looking at the two points decline last year. The 2019 target of IMR 28 per 1000 births, however, is still a long way to go.

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas. India has also recorded a remarkable drop in birth cohort, which has come down to below 25 million for the first time, according to the system.

I90000 fewer infant deaths were registered by India in 2016 as compared to 2015. The total estimated drop in the number of infant deaths have come down from 930000 (9.3 Lakhs) in 2015 to 840000 (8.4 lakhs) in 2016, mentions the Hans India report.

According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival. There has been reduction in the gender difference between female and male IMR.

“We are meeting our targets faster than the global targets, which means our efforts are showing results,” Union health minister JP Nadda had said during a post Cabinet briefing recently, according to the Hindustan Times report.

Also readSafe Rest Practices for Infants made Readily Available to New Parents through Emails and Texts!

“The results signify that the strategic approach of the ministry has started yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states is paying off,” stated a health ministry statement.

“The countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives, including strengthening of service delivery and drugs and diagnostics have worked well,” it further said.

All the states except Uttarakhand, among the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Assam have reported decline in IMR in comparison to 2015.

The report suggests this decline as of 4 points in Bihar, 3 in Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and decline of two points in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Ban on Electronic Cigarettes may lead to Illegal Trade of the Product: Tobacco Buddy

The Health Ministry of India is considering measures to ban e-cigarettes after an expert committee said that it has cancer causing properties.

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Electronic Cigarette
Electronic Cigarette. Pixabay
  • A ban on electronic cigarette may increase the smuggling of the products, says Tobacco Institute of India
  • The increase in smuggling of the product might affect the quality standards, therefore, risking the lives of people using it
  • After seeing the increasing unlawful practices many countries have reversed their decision

New Delhi, August 06, 2017: Prohibition of electronic cigarettes in India will lead to a rise in smuggling with no assurance of source and quality standard, said Tobacco Institute of India (TII) on Friday.

“In face of global growth trends and the increasing consumer acceptance of such products in India, a ban on legal business in electronic cigarettes in the country will pose a serious threat to illicit trade and large-scale smuggling of these products into the country with no assurance of source and quality standard,” said a statement by TII.

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E-cigarettes, also known as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), considered to be safer than tobacco cigarettes, are handheld electronic devices that try to create a feeling of smoking tobacco.

They work by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol, commonly called a “vapor”, that the user inhales.

According to the TII, 160 signatory countries under World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, including the US, the UK, and EU countries have not imposed a prohibition on electronic cigarettes.

ALSO READ: E-Cigarettes loaded with nicotine-based liquid may be as Harmful as Smoking

Canada and New Zealand which had earlier prohibited ENDS have reversed their decision and allowed these products to be made available to people in their countries.

The TII says that the prohibition of e-cigarettes, would benefit illegal trade operators and promote foreign products owned by overseas entities in the absence of any domestic competition to challenge the illegal trade in these products.

The Health Ministry is considering measures to ban e-cigarettes after an expert committee said that it has cancer causing properties. (IANS)

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Mexico Declares Public Health Emergency over Rapid Increase in Obesity and Diabetes

Mexico has declared a public health emergency over the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes

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India with 14.4 million had the second highest number of obese children in 2015. Pixabay

Mexico City, Nov 15, 2016: Mexico has declared a public health emergency over the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes.

According to health officials, the decision was made after the National Institute of Statistics and Geography confirmed that between 2014 and 2015 the number of people who died of diabetes rose by more than 4,000, Xinhua news agency reported.

In that period, diabetes-related deaths increased from 94,000 to 98,450, the Health Ministry announced.

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At a press conference on Monday, Deputy Minister of Health Pablo Kuri said the statistics led officials to take the unprecedented measure.

“It is the first time we have declared a health emergency over a disease that is not contagious, and we declared two, one for obesity and excess weight, and another for diabetes,” said Kuri.

In 1980, 14,626 people in Mexico died of diabetes, showing the ailment spiked in the past 35 years, with more than 7 million Mexicans, or about 9 percent of the population, now suffering from the affliction.

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Health Minister Jose Narro blamed a change in the Mexican diet and lack of exercise for the country’s obesity and diabetes epidemics.

“In 35 years, genetics did not change. What changed was the lifestyle of Mexicans,” Narro said

The health emergency calls for local, state and federal governments to work together to design and launch more effective prevention measures and awareness campaigns, among other steps. (IANS)