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Outswinger: Barriers that separate us from competing with the world in Sports

Through Outswinger, I deliver my opinion on a wide range of issues

Indian Women Hockey Team playing a match. Wikimedia Commons

The Good thing is: From Atlanta (USA) Olympics in 1996 onwards, India has been winning at least a medal in every Olympic game. In just concluded Rio de Janeiro Olympics of 2016, India won 2 medals- both by Indian daughters PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik.

PV Sindhu won Silver medal in Badminton at Rio2016. Credit:
PV Sindhu won Silver medal in Badminton at Rio2016. Credit:

Bad news: In a country with a huge mass of the population, we are miserably failing in the fields of sports.

The USA topped the medal tally at Rio2016: 46 Gold, 37 Silver, 38 Bronze =121 Medals

Now, let us not assume The US has not its quota of problems. When Simone Manuel became the First ever African American to win a Gold medal in an individual event in swimming at Rio2016, it brought a glaring fact to public discussion again: Why blacks in the USA do not excel in swimming? One reason which is often pointed out: Black kids do not have access to the classy swimming pools and similar resources.

Coming back to the question of India,

  1. India has an immense potential to excel in sports, but sports are ignored at the expense of one sport who we call Cricket.
  2. More funding and sponsorship is needed. Again, Cricket is clouding other sports here.
  3. More autonomy and less bureaucracy: Sports bodies are headed by corrupt, fat politicians. Chnage the law to debar politicians from there.
  4. Bolstering sports from youngs days; schools and colleges must become the centers to groom the talent.

Indulgence in sports is far better than youth spending energy on riots and political hoodlum. Think Kashmir!

Baloch and AHRC report

With Indian Prime Minister Modi devoting 72 seconds to Balochistan in his Independence Day speech (August 15), the issue of Balochistan has become a discussion point in Indian media.

Credit: Balochistan National Party
Credit: Balochistan National Party

And now ex-President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has also supported Modi’s statement. This is again a good development.

India has done well to rake up the issue of Balochistan. Not only, Balochistan’s demand for a separate country is just, the province is suffering from neglect and persecution at the hands of Pakistani authorities.

In a report released last week by Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a few glaring facts stand out:

  • Approximately 1,000 dead bodies (corpses) have been recovered in Balochistan in last 6 years. Many of them are bullet ridden, disfigured and mutilated.
  • More than 9,000 Balochis were arrested in the year 2015 in the name of suspected militants and criminals under National Action Plan by police, Frontier Corps ( a wing of Pakistani Military) and other agencies. The report says that “The Baloch nationalists have been targeted in all of the operations, while the extremists and religious zealots have been allowed to operate with impunity to divert attention from the Baloch freedom movement.
  • Balochistan province is rich in minerals, the land is fertile and it supplies the bulk of gas to Pakistan, yet the people are poor and the area under-developed. Balochi people say that Pakistan is only interested in developing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (C-PEC), while the people are being alienated. Quetta attack on lawyers is the latest example.

It is clear that Baloch separatists and nationalists are looking up to India as a big brother who will enact a Dhaka (1971) for them.

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Next Story

Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS