Reading Time: 7 mins The COVID-19 crisis has exposed our fragility, with health systems strained and social safety nets stretched to the limit. The economic downturn caused by the global pandemic may drive more people to substance abuse or leave them vulnerable to involvement in drug trafficking and related crime. According to the World Drug Report, 2020 published by UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently, about 269 million people used drugs in 2018, which was 30% more than the 2009 figure, with adolescents and young adults accounting for the largest share of users and also, it has highlighted the possible consequences of COVID-19 on the production, supply and consumption of illicit drugs. An Annual Action Plan for 2020-21 called Nasha Mukt Bharat was e-launched for the 272 Most Affected Districts by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment on the occasion of “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”.
Reading Time: 8 mins With the threat of climate change and the subsequent impact of it on the monsoon patterns and agricultural output, all stakeholders must mitigate food waste by employing new practices at multiple levels. At a time when it was reported that migrants died due to hunger and starvation during the lockdown period in April and May 2020, The data revealed recently highlights that over 1,550 tonnes of food grains got damaged in Food Corporation of India (FCI) warehouses.
Reading Time: 8 mins Violence against women in India is an issue deeply rooted in societal norms and economic dependence. Female feticide, domestic violence, sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence constitute the reality of most girls’ and women’s lives in India. During the first four phases of the COVID-19-related lockdown, Indian women filed more domestic violence complaints than recorded in a similar period in the last 10 years. But even this unusual spurt is only the tip of the iceberg as 86% of women who experience domestic violence do not seek help in India.
Reading Time: 7 mins The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the spotlight on the health-promoting and disease-preventive solutions of Ayush disciplines. Recently, the operational integration of Ayush Grid, the emerging IT backbone for AYUSH Sector with the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), was endorsed at a high-level meeting. This integration will be immensely beneficial to the public for availing varied options for their health needs. The integration will also accelerate the mainstreaming of the AYUSH disciplines of healthcare.
Reading Time: 7 mins With the drastic spread of the Novel Corona Virus, Covid-19 originated from the city of Wuhan of China, Countries started declaring National Emergency and complete lockdown. Almost all sectors of the economy got severely affected by this, in which the most prominent sectors are Tourism and Hospitality sector. The tourism sector of a country generates foreign exchange, drives regional development, and directly supports various businesses and numerous types of jobs such as catering, tourist operators etc. The Hospitality Industry in itself is very vast and includes lodging, food and drink services, event planning, transportations and even theme parks, so the employment capacity is also quite high in this sector. According to the latest UN report, Global tourism which accounts for the 10% of total global GDP lost USD 320 billion in 5 months and more than 120 million jobs at risk due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The impact of the novel coronavirus on India’s tourism and hospitality sector jobs is nothing short of severe.
Reading Time: 10 mins On India’s 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) based on the National Digital Health Blueprint, which was prepared to create a framework for the National Digital Health Stack. With the economic crisis persisting amid the pandemic, India needs to ensure improved and affordable healthcare so as to guarantee a healthy workforce that helps in the recovery process. NDHM is the step in the right direction in this regard. However, the supportive and regulatory aspects must be fortified before the full-scale implementation of the digital healthcare system.
Reading Time: 8 mins Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been launched the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), while he was addressing the nation on India’s 74th Independence Day, an initiative which is completely technology-based and is to revolutionize the health sector in India. The National Digital Health Blueprint of the mission was prepared by a health ministry panel to create a framework for the national health stack proposed by the government think tank – NITI Aayog in 2018. Under the mission, every Indian would get a Health ID card containing all relevant information about his/her medical conditions and treatments, tests etc. For every doctor or a pharmacy, or a lab, they visit, all the detail will be registered in this health card. Ranging from doctor appointment to the medication prescribed, medical tests, when were they done, every bit of detail will be available in your health profile.
Reading Time: 10 mins As Companies race to bring out a vaccine against the Covid-19, Experts are divided on whether the challenge model for vaccine trials should be put to use in the current pandemic. Many people have volunteered to take part in the Human Challenge Trials (HCTs) which involves intentionally infecting volunteers with the novel Coronavirus, in order to speed up the vaccination development. Initiatives like 1DaySooner have seen massive registration of people in many countries who had signed up for such trials voluntarily. Clinical trials are essential to test the safety and efficacy of new treatments in any population. Advocates of HCT believe that such trials could save valuable time in developing vaccines like a Covid-19 vaccine, as researchers would not have to wait for participants to contract the infection under real-world conditions. A paper in The Journal of Infectious Diseases has proposed replacing Phase 3 with human challenge trials which may subtract many months from the licensure process, making efficacious vaccines available more quickly. However, human challenge studies are ethically sensitive and raise several controversial and unresolved issues in research ethics.
Reading Time: 8 mins Some experts estimate the coronavirus pandemic to last for two years. Deferring elections for such a long duration could go against the spirit of democracy and federalism – the basic components of the Indian Constitution. Thus, the Election Commission of India (ECI) made India one among the few countries to hold elections amid the pandemic. Since June, it had successfully held Rajya Sabha and legislative council elections in various states under strict COVID-related guidelines. Bihar will be the ultimate test for the EC’s ability to safeguard democracy and public health, as it is the first state to be holding Assembly elections amid pandemic in October-November. The Supreme Court backs the EC’s stand on election process by rejected the plea for the cancellation of Bihar polls, stating that COVID-19 cannot be a “valid reason” for stopping elections.