China's Health Commission addressed concerns about a surge in acute respiratory infections, asserting that a combination of pathogens is responsible for the increase, attempting to allay fears of a novel virus origin. National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng emphasized that influenza is a primary contributor to the spike in cases. Additionally, circulating pathogens include rhinovirus, mycoplasma pneumoniae, and respiratory syncytial virus.
The health official stressed the importance of ensuring a stable medicine supply and expanding medical treatment areas to address the growing health crisis. Children have been disproportionately affected by respiratory diseases, leading to anxious parents enduring long waits for medical attention. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Beijing Children's Hospital, informed the World Health Organization (WHO) that there has been a notable increase in outpatient visits and hospitalizations. Fortunately, the sources of these illnesses have been identified as known germs.
Concerns were raised following reports of undiagnosed pneumonia cases in children's hospitals in Beijing, Liaoning, and other regions. In response, the WHO requested more information from China. The WHO acknowledged the elevated illness levels for the season but emphasized that winter commonly brings a rise in respiratory diseases. The organization advised people to take basic precautions to minimize risk, reassuring that current circumstances do not warrant travel restrictions.
For weeks, doctors had been warning about a probable surge in "walking pneumonia" cases. Local Chinese media reported a steady uptick in mycoplasma infections among kindergarten and primary school children. While mycoplasma typically causes mild colds in older individuals, younger children with less robust immune systems are prone to developing pneumonia, characterized by prolonged symptoms. The situation underscores the importance of public health measures and preparedness to mitigate the impact of respiratory infections, especially on vulnerable populations like children.
As majority of the people aged over 40 years face a critical digestive disorder, improving digestion is a key factor in maintaining overall health and well-being, and what you consume before bed can play a significant role in promoting a healthy digestive system. There are various natural beverages you can enjoy before bedtime that may help enhance digestion and reduce discomfort. Here are ten drinks that can support better digestion:
Lemon Water: Lemon juice stimulates digestive enzymes and detoxifies the body with an additional input of Vitamin C . Squeeze half a lemon into warm water and drink slowly before bed.
Ginger Tea: Ginger is renowned for its ability to aid digestion, reduce bloating, and help relieve nausea. Grate fresh ginger root and steep in hot water for about 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy to keep the gut health clean.
Turmeric Milk: Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe the gut. Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with warm milk and a pinch of black pepper. Drink it before bed.
Aloe Vera Juice: Aloe vera gel can reduce inflammation and promote gut healing. Blend fresh aloe vera gel with water or juice and consume it in moderation before bedtime.
Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic: Apple cider vinegar aids digestion and can help restore stomach acid levels. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with warm water and honey. Drink it before bed.
Papaya Smoothie: Papaya contains enzymes, such as papain, that aid digestion and flesh out toxins. Blend fresh papaya chunks with a bit of water or coconut milk to make a smoothie. Drink it before bedtime.
These homemade drinks benefit gut health by promoting digestion, reducing inflammation, soothing the stomach, and aiding in detoxification. Additionally, these drinks promote relaxation, which is crucial for proper digestion and quality sleep. By incorporating these beverages into your nighttime routine, you can support your digestive system and enjoy a more restful night's sleep.
Mansi Gulati is an International Yoga exponent with a specialization in Face Yoga. Her journey into the world of Face Yoga began at a very young age, and she takes immense pride in sharing her expertise with individuals seeking natural beauty enhancement, free from artificial cosmetics or costly surgeries. Through the "Manasvini Foundation," she have had the privilege of assisting numerous men and women in their quest to naturally enhance their attractiveness and overall well-being.
Here is a self-narrating story of Mansi in her own words.
Face Yoga: A Path to Natural Rejuvenation
My commitment to Face Yoga has allowed me to demonstrate the incredible benefits it offers for facial and bodily rejuvenation. Through my yoga sessions, I've educated participants on the transformative power of "Face Yoga Asanas," which relieve tension in the face and neck, resulting in a more relaxed and youthful appearance within seconds.
Spreading Awareness and Propagating Face Yoga
I've tirelessly worked to promote the novel concept of Face Yoga, employing various channels of publicity to reach a wider audience:
1. Television Appearances: Over the past decade, I've conducted numerous yoga sessions and workshops in the Indian media and at major events and landmarks. My yoga sessions and interviews have been featured on esteemed television channels such as Doordarshan, Tatasky, V6news, Fittak, Mobile Tak, ErosNow TV channel, ETV, News24 TV Channel, Zee News, India Today, and India Tv.
2. Print Media Recognition: My innovative Face Yoga techniques have received recognition and citations in leading newspapers like Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and Deccan Herald, among others.
3. Diverse Yoga Classes: I've conducted yoga classes in a wide array of settings, including 28 Governor Houses, the Vice President's house of India, embassies, jails, schools, and universities. Additionally, I've had the honor of performing alongside eminent yoga gurus like Baba Ramdevji and Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji at the Kumbh Mela and various other events.
Authoring Books on Face Yoga
My dedication to Face Yoga has led me to publish several books, each delving into the benefits and techniques of this practice:
"Miracles of Face Yoga" (December 2022): Endorsed by the Honourable President of India, Mrs. Draupadi Murmu.
"Yoga and Mindfulness" (July 2018): Released by Sri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India.
"Miracles Of Face Yoga" (March 2021): Published by Prabhat Prakashan.
In summary, my journey as an International Face Yoga exponent has been marked by a passionate commitment to helping individuals naturally enhance their beauty and overall well-being. Through extensive media exposure, diverse yoga classes, and the publication of informative books, I've strived to propagate the art of Face Yoga and empower people to unlock the potential of their facial muscles, promoting relaxation, and rejuvenation. Face Yoga isn't just a practice; it's a transformative journey towards natural beauty and holistic health.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (also known as Obamacare" legislation) it was a historic bill that presidents of the United States have tried for more than a century but could not pass. The bill was widely debated in the US Congress and was vehemently opposed by several stakeholders by the courts. Obamacare not only survived but has now become popular and thriving. According to previous estimates, it has insured more than 40 million Americans who can sleep with peace of mind that God forbid that if a health emergency arises, they will be protected from bankruptcy from all health care expenses. The passage of another landmark legislation, the Right to Health Bill, this month in my home state of Rajasthan, should be understood in this context.
Being from the state of Rajasthan, India, I am expressing my views: Whether it should be called the "Right to Health Bill" or the Right to Treatment" is a matter of semantics, but the basic premise is to provide emergency health care to the most vulnerable among us. It is in the best public health interest of the people of Rajasthan. It is a strange irony that some fellow doctors in Rajasthan are opposing it instead of advocating it.
It is understandable that we doctors have our own area of expertise and comfort level and not all private clinics and hospitals are equipped to treat emergencies. The government has thoughtfully accepted this demand and restricted emergency health care to a select few private hospitals, which are otherwise obliged to provide care for the poor who risk losing their life-long livelihoods in an unfortunate health emergency due to out-of-pocket expenses (OOP), the highest in the world.
Of course, this is not a perfect bill and clearly has room for reform during implementation, but that does not mean that it should be trivialised or politicized or withdrawn. As we move forward and keep learning and doing so that it better meets emergency health needs in a more affordable and accessible way.
We must hold the government accountable for ensuring that adequate funds and timely reimbursements are made as promised. We ensure that people treat doctors with respect and that people understand the limitations of medical and medical professionals. At the same time, doctors have to learn to be empathetic and professional when communicating with patients during health emergencies as we are trained to better manage expectations and communication.
Rajasthan polity has finally respected the mandate of the people and hence we doctors need to respect our professional oath and try to be a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem. Let us celebrate another milestone in the rich history of healthcare reforms in Rajasthan by successive governments.
The history of health care reform around the world has taught us that health care is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. The triple aim of healthcare and global standards are affordability, accessibility and quality and India cannot remain behind. The practice of medicine is becoming Patient-centric and not Doctor centric, so we also need to change with time. Let us change our mindset from (Doctor is God) to (Patient is God). We are professionals and do not belong to the streets, we belong to our patient's bedside in our clinics and hospitals and follow our original “Chikitsa Dharma”, isn't that why we went to medical schools, to begin with, and to serve society?
Writer Dr Brahma Sharma MD is a Senior Consultant at The University of Pittsburgh VA medical center, USA
Clearly, there is a lot of hullabaloo around cyber security for hospitals since the cyber-attack that crippled AIIMS Delhi was reported on November 23 last year. Even two months after the attack, the IT systems of the country’s premier hospital were not fully restored. Was the AIIMS incident a one-off cyber-attack on a hospital in India? The number of cyber-attacks on the Indian healthcare industry was second highest globally, with 7.7 % of total incidence on the segment being witnessed in the country in 2021, cyber security intelligence firm CloudSEK reported in September last year, months ahead of the AIIMS attack. Globally, the Healthcare sector is a top target for cyber attacks. In May 2017, the NHS, was brought to a standstill for several days due to the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, affecting hospitals and GP surgeries across England and Scotland. Although the NHS was not specifically targeted, the attack highlighted security vulnerabilities and resulted in the cancellation of thousands of appointments and operations, together with the frantic relocation of emergency patients from stricken emergency centres.
So, what is there to steal from hospitals and why is the healthcare sector attractive to cyber attackers? Hospitals are attractive targets for cyber attackers mainly as most have weak cyber security infrastructure in place due to a lack of awareness of the risks involved and budget constraints. Cyber attackers choose the healthcare sector as they store a large amount of sensitive data, including patient information, medical records, and financial information. This information can be valuable to cyber criminals who can sell it on the dark web or use it to commit identity theft.
Hospitals and healthcare providers are vulnerable to a range of cyber-attacks, but some of the most commonly reported types of attacks include:
There are several common mistakes that hospitals make which can make them vulnerable to cyber-attacks:
Professional Advice for Hospitals to Act
In a panel discussion recently on cyber security solutions that a mid-size hospital should immediately deploy for securing their networks, Mr. Sourish Dey from Trisim Global Solutions which is a Kolkata headquartered Cyber Security solutions provider suggested that “ Hospital CISOs are implementing or upgrading two important tools. First is Network Management Software or NMS for complete visibility of the network and bandwidth and also for log management and patch management. Next is Security Information and Event Management Software or SIEM for collecting, analyzing, and correlating security-related data to detect and respond to security threats quickly. Both NMS and SIEM is essential for compliance to government guidelines and best practices. Along with that, we are advising hospitals to immediately move from legacy signature-based anti-virus for their workstations and servers to Next Generation and End-point security solutions that use a variety of techniques, including behaviour-based detection, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, to identify and stop threats in real-time and not just scan for known threats.”
Mr. Alok Tripathi, an independent cyber security professional added that “Large hospital chains now have dedicated CISOs, but standalone hospitals are not yet ready to accept the reality that cyber security is essential for their survival and qualified CISOs are must-have. Lot of unpatched systems including medical devices running legacy software make the IT network vulnerable. There is hardly any cyber security awareness among the staff. I have a message for them. At least, get the basics in place. Take professional help to create a Cyber Security Policy. Go for an NMS with capabilities for patch management and asset management. Put access privileges and network segmentation in place. Get proper anti-virus and end-point security. Update the firewalls. And most importantly, go for regular Cyber Security audits.”
Regulatory requirements for data protection and cyber security
One of the primary laws related to data protection in India is the Information Technology (IT) Act, which was enacted in 2000 and amended in 2008. The act includes provisions related to the protection of personal information and the prevention of unauthorized access to computer systems. However, India is yet to enact a specific law for the healthcare sector in line with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which is a US federal law that sets standards for the protection of patients' electronic health information and applies to covered entities such as healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses. The Indian version of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is currently under review. The GDPR regulation established by the European Union (EU) applies to any organization that processes the personal data of EU residents, including healthcare organizations.
Mr. Dey and Mr. Triptathi shared some statistics and upcoming regulatory requirements which should get hospitals to action immediately. The healthcare industry in India faced more than 19 Lac cyber-attacks last year, as per a report by CyberPeace Foundation. Currently, all organizations are required to report cyber security incidents to CERT-In. Soon, there will be mandatory reporting of and strict penalties for data breaches under the digital data protection bill, which is being formulated by the Ministry of Electronics and information technology. Mr. Dey summarized “the Government is taking steps towards implementing the Personal Data Protection Bill and the proposed Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA). Similar to HIPAA in the United States, DISHA will enforce the implementation of more robust data security measures. Although this may require additional investments, it is crucial to safeguard personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI). The significance of protecting such sensitive data cannot be overstated and the ball in the court of hospital administrators to act right now.”
The head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued a stern warning that the world must get ready for the next pandemic, which might be "even deadlier" than the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when COVID cases are somewhat stabilising around the world.
"The end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat," Mr Tedros said.
"The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains, and the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains."
Acting on the complaints, authorities swiftly acted after a Chennai-based pharmaceutical company was flagged by US authorities for fatal contamination in a line of eye drops, Tamil Nadu's Drug Controller and members from the Central Drug Control Authority conducted a late night inspection of Global Pharma Healthcare Private Limited.
The pharma company, located about 40 km south of Chennai, had voluntarily recalled its artificial tears lubricant eye drops from the US market after the country's health protection agency said they could be contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria that have been linked to 55 adverse events, including permanent vision loss and one death from a bloodstream infection.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh launched Bharat Biotech's nasal Covid vaccine, iNCOVACC, on the occasion of Republic Day today. The world's first made-in-India intranasal vaccine was launched at Mandaviya's residence here.
The nasal vaccine -- BBV154 -- had received the Drugs Controller General of India's (DCGI) approval in November for restricted emergency use among adults as a heterologous booster dose.
According to a statement issued by Bharat Biotech earlier, 'iNCOVACC' is priced at Rs 800 for private markets and at Rs 325 for supplies to the government of India and state governments
INCOVACC is a recombinant replication-deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilised spike protein. This vaccine candidate was evaluated in phase I, II and III clinical trials with successful results, the Hyderabad-based vaccine maker had said.
Clinical trials were conducted to evaluate iNCOVACC as a primary dose schedule and as a heterologous booster dose for subjects who have previously received two doses of either Covishield or Covaxin.
Indian Vaccine maker Bharat Biotech's intranasal vaccine for Covid-19, the first in the world, is scheduled to be introduced in the country as a booster dose shortly. The vaccine, iNCOVACC (BBV154), is now available on CoWin, and priced at Rs 800 for private markets and Rs 325 for supplies to the Centre and state governments, the Hyderabad-based company said.
Recently, Bharat Biotech received approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for the use of heterologous booster doses of iNCOVACC. It is a recombinant replication-deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion-stabilised SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
This intranasal vaccine candidate was evaluated in phases I, II III clinical trials with successful results, the company said. iNCOVACC has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery through nasal drops. The nasal delivery system has been designed and developed to be cost-effective in low- and middle-income countries, it added.
Digital influence and technological intervention are breaking barriers in the Indian healthcare industry, leading to a dynamic transformation. While the telemedicine sector witnessed a 30 per cent spike during the pandemic, the online consultation market is projected to grow at 72 per cent CAGR to reach over 800 million dollars by FY2024, as per the report by Praxis Global Alliance.
Artificial intelligence is geared up to dominate the Indian healthcare industry by increasing the market value from $1.1 billion to $5 billion at a 39 per cent CAGR. Tech trends like nanomedicine, virtual and augmented reality and robot-assisted surgery are also acquiring large space in the Indian healthcare industry.
While adopting disruptive technologies, the Indian healthcare industry is evolving from improved accessibility and affordability to quality of life in the rural areas, as well, through technological advancements. In India, the doctor-patient ratio is 1:1456 compared to the standard ratio of 1:1000 as per the WHO. Since the doctor-patient ratio in India lacks the standard WHO ratio, digital healthcare becomes more imperative in remote rural areas where doctors can reach via technology.
Artificial intelligence is the game changer in the global healthcare industry. Currently, the global market of AI stands at $15 billion and is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 37 per cent by 2030. The high-focus areas of AI in Indian healthcare are triaging, detection and diagnostics. AI plays a vital role in identifying the underlying causes of diseases and managing their treatment plans. The government of India is also proactively boosting several initiatives, policies and schemes like National eHealth Authority (2015), the Biotechnology Ignition Grant Scheme (2012, Health Data Privacy & Security Act (2016).
A few decades back, consulting doctors via video conference must have looked like a far-off dream. Virtual healthcare has become the potential tech health segment in India and is targeting to reach $5.4 billion at a CAGR of 31 per cent.
Nanomedicine is another emerging tech-enabled trend that uses nanotechnology for highly-specific medical interventions for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases effectively. The global nanomedicine market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.2 per cent by 2030.
Nanomedicines refer to a more diminutive and accurate delivery system that allows doctors to deliver chemotherapy directly to targeted tumours instead of poisoning an entire body. They slowly release medicine from a single nanoparticle, reducing the frequency of drug injections. Robot-assisted surgeries are the new-edge technology enabling doctors and specialists to perform delicate procedures and complex surgeries more accurately. The surgical tools consist of a camera and mechanical arms, controlled by a surgeon through a computer system, giving them a high-definition (HD) and magnified view of the surgical site. The advantages of this most commonly used system include enhanced precision, flexibility and control, less pain and blood loss and quicker recovery. Since it is minimally invasive, it results in fewer scars and complications than conventional surgeries. Virtual reality in healthcare caters to a broad spectrum of healthcare services. VR technology provides simulators that help healthcare professionals to practice surgeries and procedures in virtual reality, enhancing the quality of operations in real situations. It is also instrumental in physical and mental health treatments. While immersing in the virtual world lowers pain and anxiety, it also helps tackle traumatic experiences by recreating the situation.
Technology facilitates real-time diagnosis, improves the chances of successful treatments, lowers healthcare costs and reduces hospital stays. The growing potential of technology in healthcare indicates that Indian health infrastructure will be fortified.
(Rajib Banerjee:The author is Founder & CEO MasMedi)
Among ancient India’s biggest gifts to the world, we must embrace it emphatically first
Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik has rightly advocated the need for giving benefits of ‘Ayurveda’ to the world. The 9th World Ayurveda Congress is being organised by the World Ayurveda Foundation with support of the Union Ministry of AYUSH and Government of Goa. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the valedictory session on December 11. “It (Ayurveda) is not just medicine, it’s our tradition. We need to give benefits of it to the world,” he said. “Ayurveda has been facilitated by the setting up of a separate Ministry of AYUSH, credit of which goes to Modi” Naik added. He also said that the Modi government took Yoga to the world. And that is perhaps where he was off the mark. Indeed the AYUSH ministry was formed to give fillip to the alternative medicines especially Ayurveda but has it achieved its objective is rather questionable. More than 5,000 delegates and 200 delegates from 30 countries are attending the congress. Though conclaves like this do help, the minister and the government at large should understand that it takes more than just words to make a system popular. Equating it to Yoga would be wrong as Yoga was already popular in the west and the credit for that certainly does not go to the government.
The Ministry of AYUSH is responsible for developing education, research and propagation of traditional medicine systems in India. The Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) was made into a ministry by the Modi Government in 2014. But in its eight years there is hardly anything that AYUSH can be proud of. It started with much fanfare but has delivered nothing. It promised 100 AYUSH hospitals across the country were proposed, an Institute of Naturopathy in Pune at the cost of Rs 1,000 crore and posting 4,000 AYUSH practitioners across the country. Perhaps the AYUSH ministry can throw some light on the progress made. Somewhere the ministry lost its sense of direction and got embroiled in unnecessary controversies with its advisories which were not backed by scientific research. It failed to provide an infrastructure for alternative medicine and create awareness about the alternative medicines. The minister would do well to come up with a viable plan to provide facilities for the alternative medicines. Before that happens it would be just lip service to a great cause by the union ministers, nothing more.