Wednesday August 15, 2018

India achieves five polio free years

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New Delhi: This last Wednesday India completed five years of being Polio free. Polio in the 90s was the biggest disease in India affecting as many as 50000 children a year.

The last reported case in India was Howrah District in West Bengal on January 13 five years ago. While, the last case in Delhi was in June 2009.

India has achieved a remarkable result as in 2009, the country had half of the share of polio cases existing in the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the country polio-free after it completed the mandatory period of three years without a single case being reported.

India’s neighbors like Pakistan, Afghanistan and other sub-continent countries are still fighting the battles against this disease which is why India cannot be complacent on the basis of this remarkable achievement.

The only case came close was last year when a two-year-old girl in Delhi was diagnosed with rare P2 stain virus. But doctors said there were one in million possibilities that this virus could turn into a complete polio case. Still India along with oral vaccine introduced injectable inactivated polio vaccine(IPV). The IPV vaccine makes it impossible to contract vaccine derived polio-like what happened with 2-year-old Delhi girl.

This is an example that with a set strategy and focus, any goal can be achieved. With the same intensity, India can get the favorable results in other public health sector.

India has a huge population and a breaking of any epidemic always has much bigger impact than what it can have in other nations. A large portion of this population does not even have the access to the basic medical facilities and living conditions. It means they are more likely to catch a disease and then they do not have the resources to counter that.

Take Dengue for example. Every season it affects thousands of people in the capital only and somehow there has been no way to stop this. It happens every year and then all our system does is the damage control.

If the approach followed in the eradication of polio, is used to counter other diseases as well, it will be a lot beneficial to the society.

Indian government deserves credit for the work done in making the country polio-free but more is expected in the public health sector.

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Amazon’s Alexa Can Now Learn Hindi And Other Indian Languages

Apart from Hindi, using "Cleo" customers can respond to Alexa's English statements in Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other Indian languages.

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Amazon,com. Flickr
Amazon,com. Flickr

Amazon on Tuesday launched a new category of Alexa skills that would enable customers in India help Alexa learn Hindi and other Indian languages.

Using the new “Cleo” skill, Amazon allows users to teach Alexa more about Indian languages and culture by interacting with the voice assistant.

“During each round, Alexa will ask you to say at least five things in your language. She may ask you to say something specific in the chosen language or to just say anything at all,” the company said in a statement.

Amazon Alexa. Flickr
Amazon Alexa. Flickr

The process of creating new languages for Alexa benefits data availability, computing power and machine learning, in which systems improve organically as they incorporate more data.

Cleo’s availability in India will help improve Alexa’s language model and help her to gradually speak in local languages, the company added.

Also Read: Amazon India, HackerEarth partner for Alexa Hackathon

These skills can be accessed on all Amazon Echo devices as well as the free Alexa app for smartphones.

Apart from Hindi, using “Cleo” customers can respond to Alexa’s English statements in Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other Indian languages. (IANS)