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World Population Day: Is it time to control population explosion in India?

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By Dr Rajat Arora

To gauge the mammoth rise of the Indian population, the most ideal places to visit are Metro stations, airports, malls, railway stations and bus stands. As we prepare to observe the World Population Day, a road-map to expand healthcare access across the nation has become a critical priority for the policymakers.

As per the Indian census carried out in 2011, the population figure was 1,210,193,422 – well above the one-billion mark. India, the second most populous country in the world, is projected to surpass China by 2025.

The poignant fact is that the figures are rising by the day despite the population-control policies, family planning and welfare programs undertaken by the government.

The mortality rate is on a decline thanks to the advancement in the field of medicine, but there has been no significant success in terms of bringing down the birth rate.

Image from blog.oureducation.in
Image from blog.oureducation.in

Much of population increase is among the poorest socio-economic strata. Relatively, socio-economically advanced Indian states displayed a fertility rate of less than 2.1 in 2009, which is less than the level needed to maintain a stable population following the infant mortality standards in developed nations.

Though the one-child policy in China was criticised as against human dignity and rights, it has helped China to control its population by a possible 400 million people.

There is a distinct possibility of irreversible and unsustainable population growth and big question marks remain over how India will provide nearly 1.7 billion people with their basic minimum needs.

As of 2013 statistics, the number of private hospitals and private doctors had shown a multiple-fold increase at 7,500+ and 300,000, respectively. Similarly, the private sector has enabled an increased availability of medicines by setting up pharmacies/chemist shops. There are more than 105,000 chemists who are providing medicines in 120 cities in the country.

Nevertheless, a disproportionate increase in the population has raised fears of an alarming shortfall in terms of the doctor-patient ratio and the corresponding accessibility to quality healthcare.

Increasing the welfare and status of women and girls; imparting education; enhancing awareness for the use of contraceptives and family planning methods; sex education; encouraging male sterilisation and spacing births can be some of the ways to curtail the escalating population.

It would be ideal for a country like India to be more progressive in outlook and shed inhibitions when it comes to free distribution of contraceptives and condoms among the poor.

As the government seeks to expand its expenditure on healthcare, it must select a strategy that provides significant healthcare access benefit to the Indian population. Sustainable policy solutions to healthcare financing, infrastructure and human resource challenges are critically needed.

Overall, while there are pockets of improvements, significant healthcare access challenges continue to exist for the Indian population. The longer India delays acknowledging the severity of these problems and dealing with them head on, the graver the consequences are likely to be.

(IANS)

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Father’s stress linked to kids’ brain development

The researchers noted that by learning more about links between a father's exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid, we can better understand, detect, and prevent these disorders

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The researchers also noted that by learning more about links between a father's exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid.
The researchers also noted that by learning more about links between a father's exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid. Wikimedia Commons
  • According to the researchers, the stress changes the father’s sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child
  • Research found that the father’s sperm showed changes in a genetic material known as microRNA

Fathers, take note! Taking too much stress may affect the brain development of your kids, a new study has claimed.

According to the researchers, the stress changes the father’s sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child.

This new research provides a much better understanding of the key role that fathers play in the brain development of their kids, the researchers said.

Previously, the researchers including Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland School found that adult male mice, experiencing chronic periods of mild stress, have offspring with a reduced response to stress; changes in stress reactivity have been linked to some neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and PTSD.

Also Read: Surgical Infections More Common in Low-Income Countries, Study Finds

They isolated the mechanism of the reduced response; they found that the father’s sperm showed changes in a genetic material known as microRNA.

MicroRNA are important because they play a key role in which genes become functional proteins.

According to the researchers, the stress changes the father's sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child.
According to the researchers, the stress changes the father’s sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child. Wikimedia Commons

Now, the researchers have unravelled new details about these microRNA changes.

In the male reproductive tract, the caput epididymis, the structure where sperm matures, releases tiny vesicles packed with microRNA that can fuse with sperm to change its cargo delivered to the egg, they said.

The caput epididymis responded to the father’s stress by altering the content of these vesicles, the researchers added.

Also Read: Girls may inherit ovarian cancer gene from fathers

The result of the study, presented at AAAS 2018 annual meeting in Austin, suggests that even mild environmental challenges can have a significant impact on the development and potentially the health of future offspring.

The researchers also noted that by learning more about links between a father’s exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid, we can better understand, detect, and prevent these disorders. (IANS)