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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Chinese Pregnant Women To Be Screened For HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B

Pregnant women across China will receive free screenings for HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis B, and if they test positive, they will be treated at hospitals to prevent them from transmitting the diseases to their children."This is the first nationwide health policy meant mainly to prevent such infections from spreading from mothers to children, and the central government will spend at least 700 million Yuan ($106 million) a year on it," said Wang Ning, deputy director of the National Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control and Prevention. "Thanks to the known ways of preventing the transmission of disease between mothers and children and the new policy, more innocent newborns will be protected from contracting such viruses," the China Daily quoted him, as saying. Wang predicted the policy will prove useful in controlling epidemics, particularly of syphilis, and hopes that the policy will undermine that increase. It's particularly helpful for the relatively poor areas, which can't afford such services for locals," he added. 
In addition to regular health checks and care for women during pregnancy or labor, the Chinese Halth Ministry document also said hospitals and clinics should provide intervention services to prevent mothers from giving their babies AIDS, syphilis or Hepatitis B. 
It said women should get tested for those three diseases in their first health check during a pregnancy, ensuring that infections can be identified and remedies applied early on. 




Monday, 7 March 2011

Medical prescriptions in England will now cost 7.40 pounds per item

Medical prescriptions in England will now cost 7.40 pounds per item from the existing 7.20 pounds. This Government announcement will come into action from April 1, 2011. Dental charges are also expected to rise. Dental charge for a check-up, will increase from 16.50 pounds to 17 pounds; while charge for fillings and a root canal, will increase from 45.6 pounds to 47 pounds. Charges for Dentures and bridges will increase by 198 pounds to 204 pounds.Every year, the NHS makes over 450 million pounds because of prescription charges. England is the only part of UK still charging for prescriptions. Prescriptions are free in Wales and Northern Ireland, and will be free in Scotland from April 1, 2011. The British Medical Association (BMA) had called for a campaign to abolish prescription charges all together. This move will be a great blow for the BMA. Chairman of the BMA, Dr. Hamish Meldrum said, "The Government should be following the example of the other three nations in the UK to abolish prescription charges instead of increasing them." Besides the BMA, a study conducted by former president of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Ian Gilmore also stated, "The current system of charging for prescriptions was outdated and arbitrary. Patients with long-term medical conditions, which lasted more than six months should be exempt from paying for prescriptions, with the exemption standing in place for three years." Doctors and patients groups have reacted with fury in response to this move. They have warned these extra charges could cost lives for those who cannot afford their medication and called for the abolition of the prescription charges. Source-Medindia

Indian Supreme court rejected Active Euthanasia

As the nation waits with bated breath about the fate of the mercy killing petition filed on behalf of 60 year old nurse Aruna Shanbaug, the Supreme Court rejected the plea stating that "medical evidence and facts of the case" do not support euthanasia. Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra rejected the petition stating that active euthanasia is not permissible by law and "there is no provision under the statute or the constitution" to support it.Aruna Shanbaugh is bedridden in a comatose state for 37 years, after a brutal sexual assault by a hospital sweeper on November 27th, 1973, at the Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital. Petitioning Aruna's cause is her friend and social activist, Pinki Virani, who has also written a book on her. In her plea to the court, Pinki Virani said that Aruna, who is lying in a highly vegetative state for more than three decades, should not suffer anymore and must be given the dignity due to her. The court said that only passive euthanasia, which involves withdrawal of life support systems, could be permissible provided the high court approves it. The opinion of close relatives of the patient, the government, doctors and staff of KEM Mumbai will have to be sought before the court can permit passive euthanasia. Source-Medindia

Air pollution in major European countries could save 19,000 lives per year

In an EU-funded study it was found that reducing air pollution in major European countries could save 19,000 lives per year, add life by two years and also save around 31.5 billion euros (43.4 billion dollars) in health costs. The nearly three-year probe, called Aphekom, looked at 25 cities in 12 European Union (EU) countries, encompassing nearly 39 million inhabitants.Only Stockholm was below the threshold of fine particulate pollution of 10 micrograms per cubic metre recommended by the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO), it found. At the other end of the scale, Bucharest notched up 38.2 micrograms, Budapest 33.7 micrograms and Barcelona 27 micrograms per cubic metre. Among other cities, pollution in Rome was 21.4 micrograms per cubic metre, while in Paris and London it was 16.4 and 13.1 micrograms per cubic metre respectively. Fine particulates are tiny airborne grains that can be drawn deep into the lungs, with the potential to cause respiratory and cardiovascular disease. The pollution comes from traffic exhausts, which means that it is particularly pronounced near major roads. In a sub-set of 10 cities studied by Aphekom, scientists estimated that between 15 and 30 percent of cases of childhood asthma could attributed to living close to busy roads.

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