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Health care

Where’s the fire alarm?

Author(s): Sonal Matharu
Issue Date: Jan 15, 2012
Close to a hundred people died in a major fire that engulfed the Advanced Medical Research Institute (AMRI) Hospital in Kolkata on December 9. Majority of them were patients, in so critical a condition that they could not even move their limbs. They helplessly saw smoke enter their cabins as they suffocated to death. Those administered sedatives died in sleep. The cause of fire is still not known. What’s known is that despite warnings, the hospital had not taken steps.

HIV bill at risk

Author(s): Sonal Matharu
Issue Date: Dec 31, 2011
In October, a government hospital in Delhi refused to give an infant born to an HIV-infected woman a dose of Nevirapine. This drug, which prevents mother-to-child HIV transmission, must be administered within 72 hours of birth. Under the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) guidelines, hospitals must always be stocked with Nevirapine.

Letters - December 31, 2011

Issue Date: Dec 31, 2011
Cautious Warning It appears that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has tightened its procedures in the hope of preventing errors in terms of the language used in its report (‘Future shock’, November 16-30, 2011).

Leprosy looms

Author(s): Sonal Matharu
Issue Date: Dec 15, 2011
In 2006, India boastfully declared it had eliminated leprosy, achieving the WHO target of less than 10 cases per 100,000 population. But a national sample survey in 2010-11 shows an alarming trend: annually 14 new leprosy cases are being detected per 100,000 population.


Issue Date: Dec 15, 2011
Sundarbans in peril This refers to the article, “The secret garden” (November 1- 15, 2011). The Sundarbans is one of the largest mangrove forests and home to the famous Royal Bengal Tiger and numerous fauna, including spotted deer. Situated in the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta of the Bay of Bengal, the forests cover an area of 10,000 sq km, of which about 4,000 sq km lies in India. The rest is in Bangladesh. In 1987 it became inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site. But today the ecology of the Sundarbans is at risk due to illegal felling of trees and rampant poaching.

Out of control

Author(s): Sonal Matharu
Issue Date: Nov 30, 2011
ON OCTOBER 31 when Nargis, a newborn in Uttar Pradesh, was declared the world’s seven billionth person, the event made the global population look as if it is rising as fast as ever. Rather, the event came as the world undergoes a demographic shift: population is stabilising in countries that are home to almost half of the humanity.

Alternative care

Issue Date: Nov 15, 2011
Anyone who has ever been sick—which I suppose includes everyone in the world—would have had firsthand experience of the callous ways of healthcare establishments. For the poor, healthcare is not available at most times.

Fever stalks UP

Author(s): Sonal Matharu
Issue Date: Nov 15, 2011
It’s four months now. Baba Raghav Das Medical College (BRDMC) in Gorakhpur has been brimming with children. Most are unconscious. Many have drip needles pierced through their skinny arms and legs. Their parents line the hospital corridors, eating, sleeping, weeping and some even defecating.

NCD battle starts now

Issue Date: Oct 15, 2011
Historic it may be—even if watered down. The unanimous adoption of a “political declaration” by the UN on the need to fight the rising tide of non-communicable diseases (NCD) is a singular development and, as analysts have been reminding us, it is only the second time a health issue has been debated at a special meeting of the General Assembly. The first was when it pledged to take on AIDS a decade ago.

Leprosy returns

Issue Date: Sep 15, 2011
THE World Health Organization has raised alarm over leprosy spreading across India. With the disease infecting about 120,000 people every year, the country is now the biggest contributor to the global leprosy burden, the UN body said in a press release.  
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