Issues related to Health & Education
- Union Human Resource Minister reviews preparations for PISA 2021
- Union Minister for Health inaugurates National Symposium on Lymphatic Filariasis
- Union Minister for Health releases the 14th National Health Profile, 2019
- Vice President calls for developing new and long-lasting vaccine to combat TB
- Rashtriya Ekta Diwas observed across country to mark birth anniversary of Sardar Patel
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Issues related to Health & Education
Union Human Resource Minister reviews preparations for PISA 2021
Union Minister reviewed the preparations for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2021 and instructed all the Deputy Commissioners to work hard to make India successful in this examination.
WHAT IS PISA?
- Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests the learning levels of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science.
- PISA was introduced in 2000 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD).
- PISA is coordinated by the OECD, an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES.
- It is a competency-based assessment which unlike content-based assessment, measures the extent to which students have acquired key competencies that are essential for full participation in modern societies.
- The test is carried out every three years.
- More than 80 countries, including 44 middle-income countries have participated in PISA.
INDIA’S PARTICIPATION IN PISA
- In 2009, when India (only Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu students) first time participated in PISA test, it was ranked 72nd among the 74 participating countries. The government blamed that PISA had ‘out of context’ questions. Subsequently, India choose to not to participate in the 2012 and 2015 PISA Examination.
- Now, India will participate in the PISA examination in 2021.
- The students of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and Union Territory of Chandigarh will represent India in this examination.
- The CBSE and the NCERT will be part of the process and activities leading to the actual PISA test.
Why Chandigarh was selected for PISA 2021?
- Chandigarh is a compact area.
- India wanted to keep number of languages (in which the test has to be administered) to a minimum. In Chandigarh schools, students are taught in Hindi and English.
- Chandigarh has a record of performing well in learning assessments.
BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATING IN PISA EXAMINATION
- Learnings from participation in PISA will help to introduce competency-based examination reforms in the school system and help move away from rote learning.
WHY DO INDIAN STUDENTS STRUGGLE ON TESTS LIKE PISA?
- The mentality that questions can be only from the textbook or minor variants of textbook questions.
- Most application questions are based on a context which is first explained in the question. This requires students to read through at least a few paragraphs to understand what is being asked. Indian average student has very poor reading abilities and usually prefers to guess what the question must be by glancing through it.
- The strategy that students use to solve questions in typical Indian exams is very different from what is needed for tests like PISA. It is easy for Indian students to recognise question types in the Indian tests since all exams follow a set of patterns that they are familiar with. However, there is no pattern to match with in PISA test.
- When Indian students encounter PISA-type questions, many of them freeze at the first sign of the unfamiliar and decide that they have not ‘learnt this question type’ and cannot solve it.
- Genuinely low understanding of processes or concepts and even comprehension skills.
- In 2012, Shanghai in China topped the reading, mathematics and science test, followed by Singapore.
- In 2015, Singapore (first), Japan (second) and Estonia (third) were ranked as top three countries.
Union Minister for Health inaugurates National Symposium on Lymphatic Filariasis
Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare inaugurated the day long National Symposium on the theme ‘United to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis’.
- He signed the ‘Call to Action to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 2021’.
- Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and and one of the four main worm infections.
- Lymphatic filariasis is a type of Hathipaon infection.
- It is a human disease caused by parasitic worms known as filarial worms.
- The larval stages of the parasite (microfilaria) circulate in the blood and are transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes.
- It affects all ages. While the infection may be acquired during childhood its visible manifestations may occur later in life, causing temporary or permanent disability.
- It is most common in tropical Africa and Asia, and also in and sub-tropics of Asia, Africa, the Western Pacific, and parts of the Caribbean and South America.
- Lymphatic filariasis is a vector-borne disease, being transmitted by mosquitoes (e.g. Culex, Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes).
- Altered lymphatic system causing abnormal enlargement of body parts (elephantiasis).
The disease is caused by three species of thread-like nematode worms, known as:
- Filariae – Wuchereria bancrofti,
- Brugia malayi and
- Brugia timori.
The male and female worms together form nests in the human lymphatic system (lymphatic system maintains the fluid balance between blood and body tissues).
INDIA’S EFFORT TO ERADICATE LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS
Since the launch of the Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) by the World Health Organization in 2000, endemic countries across the world including India have adopted a twin pillar strategy:
- prevention through Mass Drug Administration (MDA) using combination of 2 anti-filarial drugs (DEC (diethylcarbamazine) and Albendazole). The drugs do not kill the adult worms but prevent further spread of the disease until the worms die on their own. Even after the adult worms die, lymphedema can develop.
- providing Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP) services to those affected by the disease.
India has missed earlier deadlines to eradicate the disease by 2015 and 2017. The global deadline now is 2020 and the three drug approach may help the country get there.
TRIPLE DRUG THERAPY
- In 2017, World Health Organization (WHO) recommended Triple drug therapy for elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis.
- It includes three drugs: i) ivermectin, ii) diethylcarbamazine citrate and iii) albendazole
- The Government of India launched the Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (APELF) in 2018. As part of intensifying efforts towards elimination, it also rolled out Triple Drug Therapy (IDA) treatment in a phased manner.
GLOBAL PROGRAMME TO ELIMINATE LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS:
- WHO launched the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) in 2000.
- The elimination strategy has two components:
- to stop the spread of infection (interrupting transmission); and
- to alleviate the suffering of affected populations (controlling morbidity).
Union Minister for Health releases the 14th National Health Profile, 2019
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare released the 14th National Health Profile (NHP) 2019 & its e-book (digital version).
HIGHLIGHTS OF NHP 2019
- Life expectancy in India has increased from 49.7 years in 1970-75 to 68.7 years in 2012-16.
- For period 202-16, the life expectancy for females is 70.2 years and 67.4 years for males. There has been an increase in life expectancy in general compared to 2018 NHP survey.
Maternal, Neonatal, Nutritional Diseases and Other Communicable Diseases
- Disease burden due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases dropped from 61 % to 33 % between 1990 and 2016.
- Accelerated rise in the prevalence of chronic non-communicable (NCD) diseases.
- Dengue and Chikungunya, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, are a cause of great concern to public health in India.
Infant and Maternal Mortality Rate
- Infant Mortality Rate in India which was at 74 (per 1000 live births) in 1994 has declined to 33 (Per 1000 live births) in 2017.
- The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was reduced by 77% from 556 per 1 Lakh live births in 1990 to 130 per 1 Lakh live births in 2016.
- Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was 2.3 whereas in rural areas it was 2.5 and 1.8 in urban areas during 2016.
Birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate
- There has been consistent decrease in the birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate in India since 1991 to 2017.
- As on 2017, India has registered birth rate of 20.2 per population of 1,000 and death rate of 6.3 while the natural growth rate was 13.9 per population of 1,000.
- The birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate are higher in rural areas than in the urban areas. However, the population, continues to grow, as the decline in the birth rate is not as rapid as the decline in the death rate.
Anaemia continues to remain a huge health concern
- Over half the children between 6 and 59 months (58 %) and women in the age group 15-49 are anaemic.
Only One Government Doctor for 10,926 People
- There is only one allopathic government doctor for every 10,926 people in India against the WHO’s recommended doctor-population ratio of 1:1000.
- India’s public expenditure on health is 1.28 % of the GDP, which is way lower than the public health expenditure of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Indonesia, Thailand.
- Highest population density of 11,320 people per square kilometre is in NCT of Delhi whereas Arunachal Pradesh has reported the lowest population density of 17.
Economically active population
- 27% of the total estimated population of 2016 were below the age of 14 years and majority (64 %) of the population were in the age group of 15-59 years i.e. economically active.
Suicidal rates and Accidental rates
- Suicide rates are increasing significantly among young adults and the maximum number of suicide cases is reported between the age group 30-45 years.
ABOUT NATIONAL HEALTH PROFILE (NHP)
- The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) since 2005.
- The objective of NHP is to create a versatile data base of health information of India and making it available to all stakeholders in the healthcare sector.
Six Indicators of NHP (information covered by NHP) are:
- Demographic indicators (population and vital statistics)
- Socio-economic health status (education, employment, housing and amenities, drinking water and sanitation)
- Health status indicators (An overview of Communicable & Non Communicable Disease prevalence in the country)
- Health infrastructure (Public Health Expenditure including pattern of allocations made to Central/State Governments etc.)
- Health of human resources (specialized medical, nursing and paramediacal personnel in the country).
Vice President calls for developing new and long-lasting vaccine to combat TB
Inaugurating ‘The 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health’ in Hyderabad, the Vice President of India has called for developing a new and long-lasting vaccine to combat TB.
- The current BCG (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin) vaccine for TB treatment does not last for many years. Hence, there is an absolute need for a booster vaccine or a new vaccine that is effective and long-lasting.
EFFORTS OF INDIAN GOVERNMENT TO ERADICATED TB
- In 1962, the National TB Programme (NTP) was launched in the form of District TB Centre model, with Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination. Although BCG immunisation does prevent severe multi-organ TB disease in young children, it does not control TB.
- In 1978, the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) began, giving BCG to all babies soon after birth and achieving more than 90% coverage. However, the NTP and the EPI had not reduced India’s TB burden.
- In 1993, the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) was launched, offering free diagnosis and treatment for patients rescuing them from otherwise sure death. It brought down TB incidence in India at an annual rate of 1.7%.
- In 2018, India has pledged to eradicate TB by the year 2025, 5 years ahead of the global deadline set for 2030.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a National Prevalence Survey to estimate prevalence of tuberculosis at national and sub-national levels.
- TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2018.
- It is also the leading killer of people with HIV and a major cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance.
- India is among the eight countries that accounted for 66% of the new TB cases: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and South Africa are the other nations.
- During 2000-2018, TB mortality rate fell by 42%.
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas observed across country to mark birth anniversary of Sardar Patel
National Unity Day – Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was observed across the country on Oct 31 on the occasion of the 144th birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
ABOUT RASHTRIYA EKTA DIWAS
- Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day commemorates the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
- It is being celebrated since the 2014. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was inaugurated by Prime Minister of India in 2014, by flagging of a program which was known as ‘Run For Unity’ in New Delhi.
SARDAR VALLABHBHAI PATEL
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an Indian barrister who played a leading role in the India’s struggle for independence.
- After India achieved Independence, Sardar Patel became the first Home Minister and the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. He also assumed charges as Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Information and Minister of States.
- In 1910, he went to London for further studies. In 1913, he returned to India and settled in Ahmadabad and became a barrister in criminal law at the Ahmadabad bar.
- He served as the first Indian municipal commissioner of Ahmadabad and was elected as a municipal president.
Role in Indian Freedom Struggle
- In 1918 he led a massive “No Tax Campaign” that urged the farmers not to pay taxes after the British insisted on tax after the floods in Kaira, Gujarat.
- In 1928, he successfully led the Bardoli campaign and earned the title ‘Sardar’.
- He was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s ideology and principles. He actively supported the non-cooperation Movement launched by Gandhi.
- Upon Gandhi’s request he gave up his candidacy for the post of the Prime Minister of India.
- In 1930, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was among the leaders imprisoned for participating in the Salt Satyagraha initiated by Mahatma Gandhi. He led the Satyagraha movement across Gujarat when Gandhi was under imprisonment.
- Sardar Patel was freed in 1931, following an agreement, known as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, signed between Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin. The same year, Patel was elected as the President of Indian National Congress in its Karachi session.
- He voiced his annoyance at Jawaharlal Nehru openly when the Nehru adopted socialism in 1936. Patel was also wary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
- In the 1942 Quit India Movement, Patel continued his support to Gandhi when several leaders criticized the Gandhi.
- After independence, he was crucial in the integration of over 500 princely states into the Indian Union. His efforts towards consolidation of India earned him the title ‘Iron Man of India’.
- He was also compelled to use coercion by launching ‘Operation Polo’ to liberate and integrate Hyderabad after the Nizam of Hyderabad entertained false hopes of either joining Pakistan or remaining independent.
- He was a leading member of the Constituent Assembly of India and Dr. R. Ambedkar was appointed on his recommendation. He was the key force in establishing the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service.
- The Civil Services Day is celebrated every year on April 21 to mark Sardar Patel’s address to the probationers at the All India Administrative Service Training School at Delhi on this day in 1947.
- He was also honoured with the highest civilian award ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1991.