Budget 2019 must focus on making One Health a reality in India: HCFI

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All health-related aspects must come under the ambit of single department

New Delhi, 28th June 2019: As the nation gears up for the first set of policies to be announced by the new government, it remains to be seen what the powers-that-be have in store for India’s healthcare sector. Making simple, accessible, and affordable healthcare a reality is the need of the hour as is the idea of ensuring that the concept of One Health turns into a reality in the country.

In most nations world over, inter-sectoral coordination has been established by the concerned governments, to consult with each other, share their knowledge, and provide effective and efficient means to control emergence of such diseases as per protocols set by the World Health Organization under their one health programme.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The time has come for health professionals, environmentalists, and agriculture professionals to work collaboratively and develop solutions to various problems which are increasing with each passing year. Although the One Health programme is in place in India, it does not seem to be getting the right results due to different administrative and ministerial controls. It has often been seen that allocation of budgets are spread over different ministries looking after the human, animal, agriculture, and environmental health programmes.”

One Health is a concept that incorporates human, animal, plant, and environmental health (air, water, earth) under one roof. It recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals, plants and the environment.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “At present, the ministries of health, agriculture, rural development, environment, road transport, climate change, earth sciences, water, Women and child development, Swatch Bharat Program, ICMR, ICAR, IARI, etc., are looking after their respective matters of human concern.”

The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI would request the government to consider the following while framing guidelines for the budget.

  • Bring administrative and budgetary control of all such schemes of all segments that deal with health of humans, animals, environment-climate change, agriculture production, and disease control, under one roof namely “One health Program”. This will enable the scientists working in these sectors independently on prevention and control of diseases that have potential to shift their host from one sector to other, and these can be better researched and controlled.
  • Allocate common budget or link these budgets for these programmes so that more intersectoral cooperation and sharing of knowledge takes place. Besides, overlapping of programmes in these ministries will also go away to a large extent and thus would also result in more saving of financial outflow.
  • Provide emergent care services free of cost or reimbursed to the private sector by the government.

Lack of awareness and access to quality healthcare are two major causes for unsafe abortions in India:HCFI

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Sensitizing women in rural areas about the use of contraceptives and safe delivery is the need of the hour

New Delhi, 7th May 2019: About half (48%) of all pregnancies in India are unintended largely because women, both married and unmarried, have no information about safe sex or don’t have access to contraceptives, indicates a recent study. Women are denied sex education in school and information about contraceptives and abortion services out of it, which result in millions of unintended pregnancies every year.

Some of the leading causes of unsafe abortions include poverty, gaps in health services, and teen pregnancy. Abortions are also mostly undertaken by unskilled persons in unregistered places. The need of the hour is large-scale awareness and better regulation of the healthcare sector to provide quality services to all, including contraceptives, safe delivery and abortions.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “One of the major reasons for the high rate of abortions in India is the lack of access to knowledge about contraception. This results in high rates of unplanned pregnancy. Apart from this, abortion pills can be effective and safe when administered correctly. However, many women may not have the right information on how to use them properly, which can prove fatal to their health over time. Only a certain percentage of women may have access to abortions using medication. This makes it imperative to provide the others with accurate information on how to use abortion pills and give them access to quality healthcare in case of any complications.”

An estimated 800,000 women in India undergo unsafe abortions through the traditional methods to abort the unwanted fetus. Some of them also go to untrained pharmacists, chemists and informal vendors for the process, indicates the study.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Education and awareness on contraceptives and abortions go hand in hand. Assessing the situation, the need of the hour is to make safe abortion a reality and available across the country. Pregnancy can be terminated surgically or medically. The concern is around medical abortions, done through pills that are either orally or vaginally inserted. While there is a need to improve facilities in public healthcare for safer abortions, awareness programmes can prevent many women from getting into complications through incorrect use of medications.”

Abortion is a highly restricted process in India. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971), permits abortions before 12 weeks of pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner or before 20 weeks of pregnancy with the approval of two registered medical practitioners, but only if the mother or child’s mental or physical health is in danger.

Precautionary measures necessary to prevent hemophilia from extending to vital organs

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India has the second-highest number of hemophilia patients

New Delhi, 18 April 2019: Despite improvement in medical technologies for the treatment of hemophilia, nearly 80% of Indians with the serious blood disorder are not diagnosed due to the absence of proper diagnostic facilities in the remote areas. India with nearly two lakh cases is estimated to have the second highest number of patients with hemophilia. The condition is usually inherited and about 1 in every 5,000 males is born with the disorder.

Hemophilia is a rare genetic bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. As a result, a person suffers from spontaneous and bleed for a longer time after sustaining an injury. This occurs due to the absence of a certain protein called clotting factors required for stopping the bleeding. The intensity of the condition depends on the amount of clotting factor present in the blood.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Females are carriers of hemophilia. It is not a life-threatening disorder unless the bleeding extends into a vital organ. However, it can be severely debilitating and there is no known cure for this disorder. About a third of new cases are caused due to a new mutation of the gene in the mother or the child. In cases where the mother is a carrier and the father does not have the disorder, there is a 50% chance of the male child having hemophilia and 50% chance of the female child being a carrier. One should see a doctor in case the following symptoms show up: a severe headache, repeated vomiting, neck pain, blurred or doubled vision, extreme sleepiness, and continuous bleeding from an injury.”

Hemophilia is of three types: A, B, and C and the difference between the three lies in the deficiency of a specific factor.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The primary treatment for hemophilia is called factor replacement therapy. In this, the deficient factor is replaced by concentrates of clotting factor VIII (for hemophilia A) or clotting factor IX (for hemophilia B). These can be collected and purified from blood plasma or produced artificially in a laboratory (recombinant). They are given to the patient as an injection through a vein (intravenous) directly into the blood.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Adequate physical activity can help maintain body weight and improve muscle and bone strength. However, avoid physical activity that can cause injury and resultant bleeding.
  • Avoid blood-thinning medication such as warfarin and heparin. It is also better to avoid over-the-counter medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Clean your teeth and gums thoroughly. Get tips from your dentist on how to do this without making the gums bleed.
  • Get tested regularly for blood infections and get your doctor’s advice on hepatitis A and B vaccinations.

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