Most stillborn cases witnessed in India

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Nagapura(Karnataka): India has the world’s most stillborn babies. A large number of mothers suffer this unfortunate fate. All the love, hopes and dreams they create in the nine months span are shattered when their baby is born dead.

Her pale, yellow eyes stood out against her dusky skin, and the grief was visible on the face of the young woman from a tribe of traditional honey gatherers living on the edge of south Karnataka’s Nagarhole National Park.

Shanta (she uses only one name) recounted how her baby, a boy, was born dead. When she felt labour pains, she travelled by autorickshaw 20 km to the nearest district hospital at Hunsur, where they told her the baby had died in her womb, two days ago. Shanta –in her mid-20s – was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition that endangers the baby if the mother is not diagnosed and treated.

Such deaths are common in Nagapura, whose women report more than 50 deaths over a decade, although there are no records. A bony woman called Ambika, also in her mid-20s, saw her baby born dead – a stillbirth in medical parlance – as a midwife and her mother-in-law attended to her.

When Bhavna Niranjankumar, a doctor with Mysore’s Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII), an NGO, asked Ambika why she didn’t go to the hospital for the delivery, she replied, “It happened very quickly.”

Ambika and Shanta are Jenu Korubas (literally, honey shepherds). Like Ambika, most women of the tribe give birth at home. Their dead-at-birth babies are part of the 592,000 stillborns in India, the largest of any country in 2015, according to research published last month by the Lancet a global medical journal.

A stillbirth is a “baby born with no signs of life at or after 28 weeks’ gestation”, according to the World Health Organisation.

Worldwide, the rate of stillbirths decreased to 18.4 per 1,000 births in 2015 from 24.7 in 2000. In India, the stillbirth rate fell from 33.3 to 23 over the same period, the same as Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique, all poorer countries.

The global average annual rate of reduction of stillbirths at two percent is slower than either maternal (three percent) or post-neonatal mortality of children younger than five years (4.5 percent). In India too, the annual rate of reduction for maternal (5.7 percent) and neo-natal mortality (4.6 percent) was better than that of stillbirths (2.4 percent)

Among the risk factors. lack of timely and quality antenatal monitoring and care; non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes; nutritional factors, such as maternal anemia; biomedical factors, such as congenital abnormalities, infections, and lifestyle; environmental factors, such as drinking and smoking; and social determinants, including poverty, transportation and general living conditions.

Disadvantaged women are twice at risk of having stillbirths, the Lancet study said, a factor evident in Nagapura and across India.

Among the reasons that make Jenu Koruba women shy away from organised healthcare is – they complained – the discrimination they feel at health clinics, both government and NGO. They are made to wait for hours, and physicians often refuse to touch them, they said.

“When I went to the district hospital for the 20-week scan, no one attended to me,” Shanta told IndiaSpend. “I waited for more than two hours, no one called me and so I came back without getting a scan.”

For a people without public transportation, travelling to a hospital 20 km away is not easy, and to make the journey, they rely on husbands, who are often away at work in the neighbouring hill district of Kodagu, where they work as daily wage labourers on coffee plantations.

Most people in Nagapura are illiterate, unaware of health needs – yet, Shanta made the journey to Hunsur – and many of them, having earlier lived inside forests, rely on traditional medicine.

Over the last few years, NGOS, such as PHRII, and government workers have run health camps for pregnant and post-natal women and infants, handing out information on maternal and child health and have encouraged tribal women to be regularly checked at primary health centres. They don’t come, though, and when they do, the discrimination does not help.

The women are also highly anaemic, said Niranjankumar, but they do not take the iron supplements given to them. Asked why the women smiled sheepishly. Doctors speculate they are not used to taking tablets.

Stillbirths are reducing across India, but there are still too many.

States that pay attention to maternal health reduce chances of stillbirths

The “Every Newborn Action Plan”, explained in the Lancet study, aims to bring the global stillbirth rate to 12 or lower per 1,000 births by 2030 (India in 2014 adopted the India Newborn Action Plan with the aim to reach a single-digit stillbirth target). That will require empowered women, better healthcare and progress checks.

The dividends are obvious.

Indian states that focused on maternal healthcare also had healthier children, IndiaSpend recently reported. Programmes such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), launched in 2005 to ensure safe motherhood, successfully offer cash incentives to encourage institutional deliveries, the rate of which–to all deliveries–increased from 56.7 percent in 2006-07 to 78.5 percent in 2010-11, according to government data.

Karnataka had 94 percent institutional deliveries according to data released recently by the National Family Health Survey. Uttarakhand and Meghalaya were the worst, with 61 percent and 58.4 percent respectively. The rest were home deliveries, most without trained-health-worker supervision and possibly in unhygienic conditions. The reported reasons for home delivery were a convenience, fear of stitches, unavailability of transportation and the inability to afford hospitals.

JSY beneficiaries, since it launched a decade ago, increased from 0.74 million to 10.4 million in 2014-15. But this government review revealed that only 15 percent of JSY institutions were equipped to deal with institutional delivered.(IANS)(image-robynanne.wordpress.com)

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Recovery Rate Rises and Case Fatality Goes Down in India

Recovery rate is rising, case fatality is going down, says Health Ministry of India

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The case fatality rate is 2.83 per cent which has decreased from 3.30 per cent as on April 15. Pixabay

The Union Health Ministry on Monday said that two specific trends were noticed in the Covid-19 situation – while the recovery rate is increasing on one hand, case fatality is going down on the other.

The ministry said at least 4,835 Covid-19 patients had been cured in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured patients to 91,818.

“The recovery rate in the country is progressively increasing and has reached 48.19 per cent amongst Covid-19 patients. On May 18, it was 38.29 per cent, on May 3, it was 26.59 per cent and on April 15, it was 11.42 per cent,” it said.

The Health Ministry also said that presently there are 93,322 active cases in the country, which are under active medical supervision.

The case fatality rate is 2.83 per cent. On May 18, it was 3.15 per cent, on May 3, it was 3.25 per cent and on April 15, it was 3.30 per cent.

“A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country. The relatively low death rate is attributed to the continued focus on surveillance, timely case identification and clinical management of the cases,” the ministry said.

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“A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country.”, the Ministry was qouted saying. Pixabay

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It also said that the testing capacity increased in the country through a total of 676 laboratories including 472 government and 204 private laboratories.

“Cumulatively, 38,37,207 samples have been tested so far for Covid-19, whereas, 1,00,180 samples were tested on Sunday,” the Health Ministry stated.

According to the data the ministry cited in its press statement, the case fatality rate in the world is 6.19 per cent. It is highest in France, at 19.35 per cent, followed Belgium with 16.25 per cent, Italy with 14.33 per cent and the UK with 14.07 per cent. (IANS)

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Xiaomi to Unveil Mi Notebook on June 11 in India

The launch event is all set to kick off at 12 noon IST

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Xiaomi is all set to launch exclusive Mi Notebook in India on June 11 via an online event. Wikimedia Commons

Xiaomi on Monday said it is going to unveil an India exclusive Mi Notebook on June 11 via an online event.

The launch event will kick off at 12 noon IST and will be streamed across Xiaomi’s social media platforms and Mi.com as well.

In a tweet, Manu Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, confirmed that upcoming Mi Notebook model is exclusively made for the Indian consumers.

Xiaomi’s Mi last week announced that it will enter the Indian laptop market in June.

“We are ready to introduce the next big category in India with the Mi Notebook series. We will broadly have two series under Mi Notebook that we are going to launch. It will be a minimalistic design, a power-packed device with latest technology to fulfill the requirements of our Indian users,” Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer, Xiaomi India, told IANS in an interaction.

He also said the company also intends to introduce more products under the Mi brand, like Internet of Things (IoT) products and Smart TVs.

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Xiaomi RedmiBook 13 features a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution anti-glare display. (Representational Image). Pixabay

According to a recent report, Mi’s first Notebook will be a rebranded version of RedmiBook 13 which launched in China in December last year.

Xiaomi RedmiBook 13 features a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution anti-glare display with narrow 4.65mm bezels on three sides.

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The display offers 178-degree wide-viewing angle with 250 nits maximum brightness. It is 16.3 mm thin and weighs around 1.23 kilogrammes.

The laptop comes in two sets of configuration options– with 10th gen Intel Core i5-10510U processor and 10th gen Intel Core i7-10510U chipset

The RedmiBook 13 comes fitted with a chiclet keyboard with a 1.3 mm keystroke travel along with Microsoft PTP supported trackpad. (IANS)

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Here’s Why China is Predictable and Not Inscrutable

India could’ve easily predicted the Chinese coming on 5 August 2019

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The Chinese actions are far away from being Inscrutable. Pixabay

As the tensions rise between India and China along the borders in Ladakh, Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print invokes an American political satirist P.J. O’Rourke.

Talking about his works Shekhar points out that in his ‘A Brief History of Man’, P.J. O’Rourke writes a small sentence “Meanwhile, in China, there were the Chinese.”. This sentence is relevant to us today.

Shekhar Gupta believes that the sentence conveys us a sense of resignation about the “inscrutable” Chinese. This thought happens to be familiar thought in the West.

“But we don’t live in the West. We’ve lived next door to China for as long as first civilisations grew.”, writes Shekhar Gupta

Let’s look at the history of Indian interactions with China since independance. What is inscrutable about it? Talking about the military assault across two fronts in 1962, it may have been a surprise to our leaders back then, but that is only because they were delusional.

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Chinese actions in respect to India are predictable now. Pixabay

From Chinese ultimatum to India to “return their stolen yaks and sheep” in 1965, to their appearance along the Ladakh frontier this year, China happens to be completely predictable and far from inscrutable. Especially keeping in mind Chinese actions in respect to India.

The push at Nathu La (Sikkim) in 1967 was probably to check out the resolve from India. Which they saw at its weakest — having fought two recent wars (1962 and 1965), famines, ship-to-mouth existence, political instability and a diminished Indira Gandhi. . The Indian response was a lesson they quickly learnt. What did the Chinese do after that? They have kept the peace for 53 years. Will you call that response evidence of Chinese inscrutability? They probed us, got a rude push-back, and decided to wait and stir the pot in different ways, at different times, says Shekhar Gupta in his artcile for The Print.

The Chinese kept the hold of what they wanted in 1962. According to Shekhar the truth is, they had it in their possession almost fully, barring small, tactically important slivers in Ladakh. They asserted their ownership and let their larger claim, Arunachal Pradesh, fully in Indian control, go militarily uncontested.

The Chinese never gave up claim on it. In 1986-87, they again checked us out at Wangdung-Sumdorong Chu (Arunachal), when they saw Rajiv Gandhi take India’s defence budget to a 4 per cent-plus of GDP. And once more, the response was firm and the Chinese backed off. The lesson we learnt according to Shekhar Gupta is that the Chinese won’t open fire randomly for the sake of it, Or when they are absolutely sure of an easy victory so they could be seen like ‘teaching an upstart a lesson’ as they did in 1962. Predictable.

Each and every action and response of China fits a pattern- Deliver a message, add leverage, and return, according to Shekhar Gupta.

India, China and Pakistan shared this unusual ‘triangulation’ in which China was using Pakistan to keep India preoccupied, said Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his tenure.

His idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. He thought, that a country as big and powerful as China, would see less of an incentive for peace with India than Pakistan.

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Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. Wikimedia Commons

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Shekhar Gupta believes that today, that option is not so available, as hostility with Pakistan is central to the Modi-BJP politics. They’d rather make peace with China than Pakistan. That is why the lavish welcomes and frequent meetings with the Chinese leaders. The objective, still, is escaping that triangle.

Another instance of Vajpayee explaining the Chinese negotiating style. “Dekhiye, aap aur hum baithe hain aur vaarta kar rahe hain (see, you and I are sitting and negotiating),” he said. If two people require something and the first person asks to let go of something, the other will say no. Then the first person again asks for something little less, then again the other person might say no. But ultimately the second person will relent and let go of some. The Chinese would never do that.

Both these leaders underlined that the Chinese are consistent, and predictable. And that is why we should not be shoched or surprised by what they have unveiled across Ladakh. We should have anticipated it on 5 August last year when we made the big changes in Jammu & Kashmir. This Chinese move, like all others in 60 years, was fully predictable. Even the timing, says Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print.