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The world missed most of the 2020 mental health targets, and has failed to provide people with the mental health services they need, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is highlighting a growing need for mental health support, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report released on Friday.
The Mental Health Atlas report, released ahead of the World Mental Health Day on October 10, includes data from 171 countries. It showed that despite increase in attention given to mental health in recent years, it is yet to result in a scale-up of quality mental services that is aligned with needs.
In 2020, just 51 per cent of WHO's 194 member states reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments -- way short of the 80 per cent target. Only 52 per cent of countries met the target relating to mental health promotion and prevention programmes, yet well below the 80 per cent target. Reduction in the rate of suicide by 10 per cent, was the only target met, but even then, only 35 countries had a stand-alone prevention strategy, policy or plan, said the report released every three years.
"It is extremely concerning that, despite the evident and increasing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the Covid-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investment," WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement. "We must heed and act on this wake-up call and dramatically accelerate the scale-up of investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health," he added.
On the other hand, adoption of mental health policies, plans and laws saw a steady progress. However, the percentage of government health budgets spent on mental health was still around 2 per cent. And only 25 per cent of countries met all the criteria for integration of mental health into primary care. But, about 80 per cent countries in 2020 included several mental health conditions in national health insurance or reimbursement schemes -- up from 73 per cent in 2017.
Further, the global median number of mental health workers per 100,000 population increased slightly -- from nine workers in 2014 to 13 workers per 100,000 population in 2020. The number was more than 40 times higher in high-income countries than in low-income countries.
In 2013, WHO endorsed a comprehensive mental health action plan and targets for 2020, which has now been extended to 2030, the report said. It includes new targets for the inclusion of mental health and psychosocial support in emergency preparedness plans, the integration of mental health into primary health care, and research on mental health, the report said. IANS/JB
Keywords: Mental Health, WHO, Policy, Health, Fitness, COVID-19.
The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt all over the world. Aside from the tragic human cost, the financial state of many nations has been left in tatters. In this article, we'll take a detailed look at the effects on the Indian economy and reveal which sectors have been the winners and losers.
As one might expect given a global health crisis, the pharmaceuticals industry within the country has continued to boom. As the biggest exporter of generic medicines in the world, the sector was already on an upward growth curve prior to the pandemic. Believed to be worth around $55 billion in early 2020, a surge in demand for drugs like Hydroxychloroquine has only continued to grow this number.
However, for several reasons, it is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy that spike in demand. The government has opted to ban exports of certain drugs and equipment, in order to protect the country's own reserves. In addition, the pandemic has caused all kinds of problems with the supply chain, making it harder to import the necessary raw materials.
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When you then throw rising costs, workforce issues and taxation problems into the mix, the picture begins to look much gloomier. We can expect those positive numbers to take a hit in the coming year.
Farming is the platform upon which the Indian economy is built, so it is reasonable to expect minimal damage to this sector. However, leading up to the pandemic, the country's agricultural workers were already complaining about falling incomes and the rising cost of materials.
For the past year, Indian farmers have been protesting against reforms. Negotiations are continually breaking down and the sector looks to be in disarray. To make matters worse, moving goods around the country is proving problematic. Local governments are allowing the free transportation of essentials such as fruit, dairy produce and meat. But unclear and contradictory laws around the movement of vehicles are causing logistical issues.
Tourism and Travel
These are probably the hardest hit sectors of the industry, due to global travel restrictions. The closure of hotels, airlines and more is expected to lead to 70% of the total labour force being laid off. That's around 38 million people losing their jobs.
In the long-term, booking, boarding and various other elements of the travel process will be greatly improved. But that will be little consolation to those affected by the projected loss of approximately 85 billion rupees to the industry.Photo by Rupixen on Unsplash
Despite aviation and tourism having been brutally impacted by the pandemic, there is a minor silver lining. Improvements in technology have been sped along by the need for contactless transactions. In the long-term, booking, boarding and various other elements of the travel process will be greatly improved. But that will be little consolation to those affected by the projected loss of approximately 85 billion rupees to the industry.
Around the world, we saw a huge rise in people turning to handicrafts. Not only are such activities a fun way to pass time, they can save you money when times are hard. Not to mention the positive impacts on mental health. Despite this global trend in leisure crafts, India's professional craftsmen and women have been struggling during the pandemic.
The country is the second biggest exporter of textiles, with around 90% of the planet's hand-woven materials originating from India. As consumers lost jobs and were forced to tighten their belts, the demand for hand-crafted decorative and luxury items fell sharply. The government has failed to offer sufficient support for the small and medium sized businesses which underpin the sector, leaving many in peril.
With so many forced to remain at home for long periods, it's perhaps little surprise to discover that online and mobile gaming apps are booming. Titles like Call of Duty: Mobile, Coin Master and Clash of Clans are proving immensely popular as people find new ways to pass the time.
Although many of these better-known games are produced outside of the country, there has still been a positive impact for locally-based development companies. One example is Gametion Technologies from Mumbai. Their popular Ludo King app saw a huge spike in demand during the pandemic.
As people seek new revenue streams, gambling apps are also benefiting. People have more time than ever and many spend it scouring comparison sites to find welcome bonuses at licensed bookmakers. Such offers tend to include free bets, which can be used at Indian betting sites on a wide range of markets, particularly cricket matches. But other offers exist too, such as loyalty programs, cashback deals and risk-free bets. These comparison sites also offer other useful information to do with betting licenses, popular payment methods like Skrill and withdrawal times.
Oil and Fossil Fuels
After China and the USA, India is the next largest energy consumer. The country is responsible for a little over 5% of the world's demand for oil, the bulk of which comes from transportation fuel. Thanks to the total lockdown of the country, the requirement for oil and gas plummeted. The knock-on effect to the wider sector has understandably been huge.
An additional blow to the industry came when the government raised taxes to try and make up for the lost revenues. Even though the price of crude oil fell, the end consumer felt a price rise. This type of policy will do more harm than good.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains some commercial links)
YouTube will ban any video that claims vaccines are ineffective or dangerous, including those that question vaccines for measles and chickenpox, the company announced Wednesday.
"Specifically, content that falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines will be removed," the Google-owned company said in a blog post announcing the new enforcement measures.
The company said "vaccines in particular have been a source of fierce debate over the years, despite consistent guidance from health authorities about their effectiveness."
"Today, we're expanding our medical misinformation policies on YouTube with new guidelines on currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and the WHO."
The company said it "will continue to allow content about vaccine policies, new vaccine trials and historical vaccine successes or failures."
YouTube's COVID-19 vaccine policy has met with some backlash for being overly aggressive.
On Tuesday, the company removed Russian state-backed broadcaster RT's German-language channels, saying they violated the company's COVID-19 policy.
On Wednesday, Russia threatened to block YouTube, calling the channel removals "unprecedented information aggression."
YouTube said it has removed over 130,000 videos over the past year for violating its COVID-19 policies. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Covid-19, Vaccine, Youtube, Misinformation
On Oct. 2, India crossed a milestone of over 90 crore doses mark against SARS-CoV-2. India has administered over 900 crore Covid vaccine doses, said the Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday.
More than 65 crore of the total population has been employed with the first jab while over 24 crore have received their second doses as well.
In a press briefing on Covid status in the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan attested that around a quarter of the adult population in India has been fully immunised.
Vaccination against Covid being administered by a health workerUnsplash
The inoculation drive in India, began from Jan. 16 of this year. The initial phase of the vaccination unrolled with priority to the healthcare workers and later on Feb. 2, frontline workers were vaccinated.
The next phase of the vaccination rollout covered people over 60 years and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid health issues on March 1. The vaccination for the public aged 45 and above launched soon after on April 1.
Later, starting May 1, the government expanded the vaccination coverage to the entire population above 18.
In average, India is registering 60 lakh people for the inoculation in a day.
With 69% of the total adult population registered for the successful injection of the first dose till the end of September, a significant number of the Indian population is expected to be immunised by December-end.