Contents:

  1. Nankana Sahib Attack
  2. India Caught in the Crossfire as Trump Invokes Delhi
  3. 171 Hospitals Delisted from PM-JAY
  4. Nobel Prize Winner Calls for Pathogen Specific Drugs
  5. C.N.R. Rao
  6. Double Burden of Malnutrition: Need for Urgent Policy Action
  7. WHO Prequalifies Pneumococcal Vaccine
  8. How Humans Affect the Genetic Connectivity of Four Mammals
  9. Jalsathi
  10. MANI

NANKANA SAHIB ATTACK

Why in News?

  • On 3rd January 2020, there was an attack on Gurudwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan rejected the reports claiming that the Gurudwara was untouched and the “attack” was just a scuffle between locals.

Background

  • Gurudwara Nankana Sahib is also known as Gurudwara Janam Asthan.
  • It is the site where the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak was Born.
  • Guru Nanak founded Sikhism in 1469 and was the first Sikh Guru.
  • He was succeeded by nine gurus
  • Guru Gobind Singh was the last guru of Sikhism.
  • In 1708, the guruship was passed on to the holy sikh scripture Guru Granth Shib. According to Sikh, the holy text is now the living Guru for the followers of Sikhism.
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Image result for nankana sahib gurdwara map

INDIA CAUGHT IN CROSSFIRE AS TRUMP INVOKES DELHI

Why in News?

  • President of the United States of America, Donald Trump blamed the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani for terror attacks including one in Delhi.
  • Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was assassinated on 3rd January by airstrikes on Baghdad under directions from Donald Trump.

Details

  • Iran’s Ambassador to India denied the allegations by Trump, claiming that the general was a soldier and was not involved in targeting of innocents anywhere.
  • Trump was referring to the car bombing of Israeli diplomat in Delhi in February 2012.
  • At the time, the Delhi police Special Cell that investigated believed the Delhi attack was connected to attacks on Israeli Diplomats in Tbilisi, Georgia and Bangkok, Thailand, reportedly carried out by IRGC agents in retaliation for attacks on Iranian Nuclear Scientists.
  • On 3rd January India issued a statement that expressed concern over rising tensions between U.S. and Iran, and “noted” the killing.

171 HOSPITALS DELISTED FROM PM-JAY

Why in News?

The Centre’s healthcare Insurance Scheme – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana(PM-JAY) has de-empanelled 171 hospitals of the 19,000+ empanelled hospitals.

The National Anti-Fraud Unit (NAFU) at the NHA detected the frauds.

Background

  • The National Health Authority (NHA) has joined hands with international giant Google to collaborate as well as strengthen the implementation of government’s flagship health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).
  • PM-JAY is a centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) that launched in 2018.
  • The scheme aims to make interventions in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems. It covers both preventive and promotive health, to address healthcare holistically.
  • The National Health Authority is the successor of National Health Agency.
  • The Ayushman Bharat scheme aims at covering 10 crore poor families providing health coverage of 5 lakh rupees per family. The scheme is recently being criticized wide

NOBEL PRIZE WINNER CALLS FOR PATHOGEN SPECIFIC DRUGS

  • Ada. E. Yonath (Winner of Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009) delivered a talk in 107th Indian Science Congress
  • She said – Concerns surrounding anti-biotic use, including environmental hazards and the appearance of multi-drug resistant bacteria can be minimised by designing antibiotics that are specific to each species of pathogen, instead of using the broad-range antibiotics that are currently favoured.
  • The danger of antibiotics is the potential damage that they cause to the microbiome. Changes to the human microbiome can cause diseases.

What is Multi drug resistance?

  • Multiple drug resistance (MDR), multidrug resistance or multi-resistance is antimicrobial resistance shown by a species of microorganism to multiple antimicrobial drugs.
  • The types most threatening to public health are MDR bacteria that resist multiple antibiotics; other types include MDR viruses, parasites (resistant to multiple antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic drugs of a wide chemical variety).
  • Recognizing different degrees of MDR, the terms extensively drug resistant (XDR) and pandrug-resistant (PDR) have been introduced.

C.N.R. RAO

Why in News?

  • C.N.R. Rao, the chief guest at the Indian Science Congress told that Neither the Quality nor the quantity of publications that come out of India are adequate.
  • He said China had made major strides in science, and as of today, it nearly equalled the research publication output of the U.S. — the leading producer of scientific publications in the world.

About C. N. Rao

  • 2013 Bharat Ratna Awardee (The highest Civilian Award in India)
  • He became the third scientist after C.V. Raman and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to receive the Bharat Ratna.
  • He also received the Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS) which is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a ‘substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science’.
  • One of the Foremost Indian chemist who has worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry.
  • Currently serving as the Head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.

DOUBLE BURDEN OF MALNUTRITION: NEED FOR URGENT POLICY ACTION

  • 2019 was remarkable for nutrition in India as – After years of slow and somewhat tentative action to acknowledge, understand and act on the challenge of undernutrition, India’s National Nutrition Mission brought focus and ambition and a range of actions followed.
  • Changes seen:
    • National and State Governments mobilised
    • District Administrators engaged
    • Private sector mobilised in its own way
    • Civil society continued to push for accountability and action.
  • India’s ‘father of nutrition’, Dr. C. Gopalan invested in connecting science with the policy world.
  • The use of data and science to inform India’s efforts, to track progress and to learn from both successes and failures is very important.
  • In a time where information flows have been dramatically reshaped by technology – the science and evidence community must use these new tools, new networks and new ways to engage the public and the policy community on critical issues such as nutrition.

Background:

  • Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
  • The term malnutrition addresses 3 broad groups of conditions:
    • Undernutrition, which includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age);
    • Micronutrient-related malnutrition, which includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess; and
    • Overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers).

Key Challenges on Nutrition front for India

  • Progress in maternal and child undernutrition varies tremendously by State.
  • Malnutrition contributes the most to child deaths as well as disability in adults.
  • Saving lives of children under five years of age in India will require a steady focus on nutrition.
  • New data on malnutrition among children from the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey highlights how challenges of overweight, obesity and even early non-communicable disease, are no longer adult challenges.
  • About 10% of children under 19 years have pre-diabetes.
  • Coherence is needed in areas of public policy across multiple ministries- incentivising the cultivation and consumption of a range of food commodities; using the levers of government financing to buy better nutrition (not just more calories) in programmes such as the PDS, ICDS and school meals; ensuring optimal healthcare of adolescents, pregnant women and young children; restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks; and expanding efforts to improve nutrition literacy.
  • India’s adults also bear a tremendous double burden of malnutrition.
  • Studies show economic progress is a double-edged sword – reducing underweight among women while also exacerbating the challenge of overweight among others.
  • Today, some districts in India have levels of overweight that are as high as 40%.
  • Studies also demonstrate that social determinants related to gender, education, sanitation and poverty are key drivers of stunting and undernutrition.
  • Early-life undernutrition is an important risk factor for later-life adult disease, along with food environments, physical activity and preventive healthcare.

Way-Forward:

  • India has launched policies and programmes like POSHAN Abhiyaan, Anaemia Mukt Bharat and Eat Right India.
  • However, malnutrition does not exist in isolation – individuals, households and communities share multiple forms of malnutrition.
  • Therefore, it is imperative that policy efforts also come together under a common umbrella and an overarching body is needed to ensure convergence.
  • Given the diversity and complexity of the challenge, an even sharper evidence-based and data-driven approach to diagnosing the challenge of malnutrition in India’s states, districts and communities is needed.
  • A nuanced understanding of the risk factors that contribute the most to the multiple burdens and the use of data on the reach of programmes and interventions to identify critical gaps and fuel rapid action will be useful.
  • The underlying data that is now available to undertake these assessments, such as the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey, can be made available to the scientific community.
  • Silos in data systems should be broken and community health-workers and anganwadi workers should be provided feedback on areas of good performance and where improvement is needed.
  • On actions, a range of evidence-informed options are available to India as they are to the global community – the World Health Organization’s updated Essential Nutrition Actions Across the Life Course, is a critical guide that can be adapted to India’s needs.
  • Addressing the double burden of malnutrition will take an unrelenting focus in coming years – the challenge is complex, the actions needed must come from different sectors, and data and accountability mechanisms must absolutely inform what happens next. The consequences of poor nutrition are too broad, too deep and too costly for society to ignore.

WHO PREQUALIFIES PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINE

Why in News?

Pneumococcal vaccine developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India has been pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the third week of December 2019.

This Vaccine costs only 2$ per dose, 30% lesser than Gavi.

Serum Institute had optimised an efficient conjugate vaccine manufacturing processes for its meningitis A vaccine (MenAfriVac), which was used for manufacturing the pneumococcal vaccine.

This helped the company reduce the manufacturing cost of pneumococcal vaccine

Background:

According to a November 2019 UNICEF report, pneumonia caused 1,27,000 deaths in India in 2018, the second highest number of child mortality under the age of five in the world.

In India, pneumonia and diarrhoea cause the most deaths in children under five years.

Pneumonia - Child Survival & Development for every child in India Infographic

HOW HUMANS AFFECT THE GENETIC CONNECTIVITY OF FOUR MAMMALS

Why in News?

A new study of four wide ranging mammals – Jungle cats, Leopards, Sloth Bears and Tigers in central India – from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, has shown that anthropogenic activities can impact genetic connectivity or the movement among habitat patches usually resulting in mating and genetic exchange.

Details

  • Previously  Changing landscapes, habitat loss, fragmentation, and global climate change have been listed as the main reason for biodiversity decline worldwide.
  • Isolation of habitat patches (due to habitat destruction and fragmentation) can restrict animal movement among habitat patches and thus reduce genetic exchange and increase the probability of extinction.
  • Hence maintaining connectivity is critical to ensure long term persistence of a species
  • Tigers were impacted the most by high human footprint.
  • Although tigers are known to travel long distances and move through agricultural
  • fields to some extent, tigers in central India do not have equally high genetic  exchange throughout the landscape.
  • Some protected areas like Bandhavgarh tiger reserve seem to be getting relatively
  • isolated (the 2014 tiger census report also shows the same).
  • India has also started paying attention to wildlife corridors and encouraging engineering reforms to promote wildlife movements.
  • The Ministry of Environment along with the Wildlife Institute of India released a document that lays out the regulatory requirements for developing roads, railways, powerlines while recognising the impacts on wildlife and people.
  • NHAI(National Highways Authority of India) and all PWDs (Public Works Departments) have been instructed to follow the guidelines.

JALSATHI

Why in News?

  • Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik launched the ‘Jalsathi’ programme which will ensure supply of safe drinking water to all households in the state.
  • During the programme launch, he distributed water quality testing kits and POS (point of sale) machines to women volunteers being called as- ‘Jalasathis’.
  • The inclusion of woman volunteers from Mission Shakti for piped water supply where they will serve people as ‘Jalasathis’ will further boost their economic empowerment.

MANI

Why in News?

  • India’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has launched a mobile app named ‘MANI’ on Wednesday, 1st January 2019.
  • MANI will help in identifying the denomination of currency notes for the visually challenged persons. MANI stands for Mobile Aided Note Identifier is available for download from Google Play Store and Apple app store- iOS operating systems.
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