2019’S Biggest Health Stories In India

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Sanjeev Thakur
Jan 02, 2020   •  0 views

From a continued decline in infant and maternal mortality to inadequate funding for healthcare, from poor nutrition to an acute encephalitis syndrome outbreak, and from success in malaria prevention to below-par performance on leprosy control and tuberculosis elimination.

Here’s a look at 2019’s biggest health stories:

Decrease in maternal mortality, infant mortality

  • India’s infant mortality rate–deaths per 1,000 live births–also fell from 42 in 2012 to 33 in 2017. However, India is still a long way from the Sustainable Development Goal for MMR: a target of 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. Three Indian states have already achieved this–Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Health budget increases, Ayushman Bharat completes a year

  • The Centre has been increasing its allocation to the health ministry, and this year’s budget of Rs 62,659 crore–2.25% of total expenditure–was the highest till date. Also By December 20, 2019, it had covered more than 6.9 million hospitalizations and issued more than 69.4 million e-cards.

Litchis, malnutrition, or heat and humidity?

  • In one of the worst outbreaks of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in the state since 2014, 162 children died in Bihar (till July 2, 2019). There are several agents causing AES such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. The most common causes are Japanese encephalitis, Scrub typhus, dengue, measles and even Zika virus.

Malnutrition rampant in children, adolescents

  • One in three (35%) children younger than five years were stunted (low height for age) and underweight, one in six (17%) were wasted (low weight for height), and two in five (41%) were anemic, the first of its kind that gave nutritional status of children aged 5-14 years.

Does air pollution kill or not?

  • One in eight deaths in India was due to air pollution. In 2017, 1.24 million had died due to air pollution, and Indians could live 1.7 years longer if they breathed clean air.

India gets a National Medical Commission Bill

  • This is crucial because India’s current density of healthcare workforce–including doctors, nurses, midwives–per 10,000 population is 20.6 in 2016, compared to 22.8 recommended by the WHO. India would need 250,000 health workers to meet this requirement.

Success in malaria continues

  • India is among the 11 most malaria-affected countries in the world, accounting for 70% of cases globally. In 2018, India registered 2.6 million fewer malaria cases than in 2017. This was 51% fewer than in 2017 and 60% fewer than in 2016. Currently accounting for 3% of global malaria cases, India aims to eliminate the disease by 2030.


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