Rewind 2018: Health roundup of India

Major developments, policies, reports and disputes in the health sector

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 28 December 2018

Rewind 2018

While, the government launched its flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, an improvement in the state of public health desires much more shows the data on key health indicators released this year. The country also saw a spike in vector-borne diseases like dengue. Zika outbreak too made news this year. Lifestyle diseases, which have been on the rise, were also widely reported from across the country. The Supreme Court order to end stigma of leprosy in the country was a landmark verdict. India got its first-ever national healthcare facility registry when Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda launched the National Health Resource Repository (NHRR). It would have the registry of authentic, standardised and updated geo-spatial data of all public and private healthcare establishments. Here is low down of the major developments:

Child health 

Fourteen of 20 states surveyed cut spending on a key nutrition programme—Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP)—that bridges the gap between a child’s actual and ideal dietary needs, according to an analysis of national health-spending data. The government spends a paltry Rs 1,112 on the health of a citizen.

Ayushman Bharat 

Ayushman Bharat scheme launch on Sept 25. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 announced that the government will launch the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat) on September 25. Twenty states have signed memorandums of understanding with the Centre to implement Ayushman Bharat—West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi are some of the states that have not signed up yet.

Vector-borne diseases

With over 13,760 cases of dengue till the end of November, Punjab had the worst dengue outbreak. Delhi recorded 2,406 dengue cases during the season.  Rajasthan not only recorded the highest number of cases in the past 21 years, but the state had the third highest number of dengue cases at 8,490 in the country. RTI data collected by the Praja Foundation has revealed that the occurrence of dengue has increased by 98 per cent in the past five years in Mumbai. Despite the increase, areas such as Andheri West, Ghatkopar East and Chembur have not reported a single case of dengue this year. Dengue has assumed alarming proportions in Bihar with the number of people suffering from the mosquito-borne disease reaching 671 in October. At least 33 of 38 districts are reeling under massive dengue outbreak.

As many as 71 swine flu cases were registered till November 30 and five patients, who were already suffering from various other health issues, died in the present season. Rajasthan recorded 27 deaths between October 3 and October 18, while 235 people were tested positive for the disease in the same period.

Over 280 cases of Zika virus infection, including two deaths, were reported from three states in India from September to November. 159 cases of the infection were reported from Jaipur in Rajasthan.

Lifestyle diseases rising

Andhra Pradesh appeared to be turning obese. Studies carried out by the Union health ministry suggested that there was a 33 per cent increase in obesity cases in the state. In the decade up to 2015, it was observed that there was a 33 per cent increase in obesity cases. The latest Lancet study—covering the 1990-2016 period—on the prevalence of obesity among the people of Gujarat above 20 years has revealed a 149 per cent rise among men and 121.6 per cent rise among women


Healthy states, progressive India: report on the rank of states and Union Territories | February 2018 | NITI Aayog

This comprehensive Health Index ranks states and Union Territories innovatively on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as their overall performance with respect to each other. Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu ranked on top in terms of overall performance.

National Health Profile 2018|June 2018|Central Bureau Of Health Intelligence (CBHI)

This annual report provides data on major health sector related indicators, namely demographic, socio-economic, health status, health finance, health infrastructure and human resources.

National Health Stack: strategy and approach|July 2018| NITI Aayog

The National Health Stack (NHS) envisages a centralised health record for all citizens of the country in order to streamline the health information and facilitate effective management of the same.

Global Adult Tobacco Survey: India 2016-17 |May 2018| Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Exposure to second-hand smoke remains a major concern in India even though there has been a reduction in such exposure at home and public places since 2009-10 reveals this report.

Special bulletin on maternal mortality in India 2014-16|May 2018| Office Of The Registrar General

According to this report, maternal deaths have reduced from 167 in 2011-13 to 130 (per 1,00,000 live births) in 2014-16 with Kerala leading the table.


Support and encourage people afflicted by leprosy to lead a life of equality and dignity: Supreme Court | September 2018| Supreme Court

Supreme Court on September 14, directed the Centre and the states to undertake periodic national surveys for determining the prevalence rate and new cases of leprosy and ensure that drugs for management of leprosy are available free of cost at public health facilities of the country.

Supreme Court permits passive euthanasia| March 2018| Supreme Court

Supreme Court in a landmark verdict on March 9 gave legal sanction to passive euthanasia and said that the right to die with dignity was a fundamental right. 

Regulate clinical drug trials on humans| September 2018| Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on September 12, directed the Centre to finalise the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules as unregulated clinical trials have a serious impact upon people's health.  

SC stays Delhi HC Judgement striking down exclusion of genetic disorders from insurance policies as unconstitutional | August 2018| Supreme Court 

The Supreme Court on August 27 stayed the Delhi High Court order which had ruled that insurance companies can't deny health insurance to those suffering from genetic disorders.

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