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Japanese encephalitis: Health ministry rushing expert team to Assam

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New Delhi: The union health ministry is rushing an expert team to Assam following an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the state, it was announced on Saturday.

Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda held a review meeting of ministry officials over the issue and directed the director general of health services to immediately rush a team of experts to Assam to assist and advise the state health authorities in clinical management of the cases, according to an official statement issued here.

“All the necessary assistance is being provided to the state of Assam to handle this outbreak effectively,” Nadda said.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and whatever additional help is required would be provided with immediate effect.”

According to Nadda, ministry officials were in regular touch with the state health authorities.

“Sufficient number of testing kits have already been provided to the state,” he said.

The additional director of the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme is camping in Assam since July 22.

According to the statement, the ministry has already sanctioned funds for establishment of three pediatric intensive care units (ICUs) in district hospitals in Sivasagar, Golaghat and Lakhimpur and the health minister has advised the state government to operationalise these ICUs immediately.

In all, 365 Japanese encephalitis positive cases and 66 deaths have been reported from Assam so far this year.

More deaths have been reported from the upper Assam districts of Sivasagar (9), Dibrugarh (7), Jorhat (7) and Golaghat (4).

During the review meeting, it was also learnt that the majority of the victims were adults.

Twelve districts of Assam, including Sivasagar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Golaghat have been covered under the adult vaccination campaign.

All the districts of the state have also been covered under the child (one to 15 years) vaccination campaign and routine immunization program.

(IANS)

 

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India’s Digital Health Resolution Adopted by WHO

The 71st World Health Assembly was held last week in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states.

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The 71st World Health Assembly was held last week in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states.
Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda . Wikimedia Commons

Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday said the resolution on digital health brought out by India was adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“I’m happy to share that the landmark resolution on #DigitalHealth – initiated by India – was unanimously adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva. India received widespread praise for its leadership on this forward looking agenda,” Nadda said in a tweet.

The 71st World Health Assembly was held last week in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states.

In his address at the Assembly, Nadda said: “Digital health technology have a huge potential for supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and improving accessibility, quality and affordability of health services. This is a resolution which should be owned by all of us so as to pave the path for a forward looking global health agenda.”

The resolution paves the path for WHO to establish a global strategy on digital health identifying priority areas including where WHO should focus its efforts and engages member states to optimize their health systems in sync with the global digital health agenda.

Introducing the resolution on digital health at the assembly on behalf of India and 20 cosponsors, Joint Secretary (International Health) Lav Agarwal last week said: “Digital health is important in the context of countries achieving health-related SDG targets as well WHO’s implementation of 13th General Program of Work. Digital health agenda is multisectoral and cross cutting in nature.

The 71st World Health Assembly was held last week in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states.
WHO Flag, Wikimedia commons

“This resolution is about digitally empowering member states, WHO, health providers and above all the patients … We all need to embark on a journey from a Digital Health Resolution towards a Digital Health Movement.”

The resolution is the first step towards mainstreaming digital interventions in health including big data and its analytics, use of deep machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things and other emerging disciplines like genomics.

Nadda had also indicated that India was planning to host a Global Digital Health Summit in near future with the support of WHO and hoped it would contribute to WHO’s efforts to come up with a comprehensive global health strategy on digital health.

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In February, at the Global Digital Health Partnership Summit at Canberra in Australia, Nadda had said India is committed to reforms in health services delivery using Information and Communication Technology and it will take advantage of the Digital India programme.

Nadda had stressed on the importance of building digital health ecosystem partnerships with private healthcare providers, academia, health IT practitioners, industry, patient groups and regulatory bodies. He had also said India was planning to create an integrated digital health platform and enable creation of electronic health records for the 1.3 billion people of India. (IANS)