Jaitley Slashes Education, Health Spending

  While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power promising to increase spending on health and education, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has actually reduced the proposed spending on both these crucial sectors for the financial year 2015-16.   Presenting the first full budget of the government, Jaitley reduced spending on education by 16% and health … Continued

Health Crisis Needs Money—But That Isn’t Enough

  India bears 21% of the global disease burden, losing at least 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) to premature death and preventable illness.   Every indicator is grim. About 90% of treatments for childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia–the leading causes of death among Indian children–are wrong and 56 out of every 1,000 kids under the age of … Continued

100% Wrong: Rural Medical Staff Make Diarrhoea Life-Threatening

  More than 90% of treatments for childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia–the leading causes of death among Indian children–are incorrect, a new study has said.   Instead, largely unqualified medical practitioners, unfamiliar with relatively simple life-saving medications, prescribe antibiotics and other potentially harmful drugs, said the study, published recently in JAMA Pediatrics (JAMA stands for Journal … Continued

Swine-Flu Toll Rises, Panic Need Not

  Earlier this week, the Shani mandir—dedicated to Shani Dev, a Hindu god who wards off evil—in Jaipur’s Janta Colony saw a strange ritual unfold. A gathering of men praying for the health of Rajasthan’s former chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, gathered around a sacred fire, wearing the image of Gehlot’s face upon theirs.   Face … Continued

Your Poisoned Food, Our Unending Greed

A child lying in a Patna hospital in July 2013 after eating contaminated food at her school. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi   Akhilanand Mishra will never forget how he found his son Ashish Kumar, “vomiting and with diarrhoea”, indications that the five-year-old child’s body was trying to expel poisons after eating his government-provided midday meal in July … Continued ...

Why Punjab Is India’s Narcotic Haven

  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio speech last month, envisaged the creation of a drug-free India. That is a challenging proposition that requires overcoming several obstacles,especially the state where narcotic abuse is the most serious: Punjab.   Referred to as the granary of India for its agricultural prosperity, Punjab is … Continued

2 Million Reasons India Should Restrict Antibiotics

  Minimum effort. Minimum expense. Maximum result.   In colloquial English, that’s the mantra that guides India, a mantra that has helped it become a global centre for low-cost innovation—and kept the country addicted to slapdash, jerryrigged solutions to complex problems.   One of these careless solutions—seeking quick, cheap solutions to common colds and fevers—now … Continued

Facing Health Crises, India Slashes Healthcare

  Frequently criticised for having one of the emerging world’s most ramshackle health systems, India had committed to increase its spending on health to 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from about 1% at present.   That commitment, made by the previous government, promised an annual budget of Rs 60,000 crore, an increase of 200% from this … Continued

How India Got 2000% Return On Anti-Malaria Investment

  The World Health Organisation’s World Malaria Report 2014, released last week, indicates dramatic success against malaria, with mortality rates down by 47% globally since 2000, and 55 countries, including India, on track to reduce their malaria burden by 75% next year.   Without much publicity, India got many things right in the war against … Continued