ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘I’ll Have One Customised Baby, Please, Thank You’

The US Patent and Trademark Office recently granted a patent for a technology that would let prospective parents specify the traits of their offspring, from health risks to eye colour.

Killing Them Silently

Compensating workers dying of silicosis is an important legal breakthrough.

Information on Polio Cases

The National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP) is currently the only agency or organisation which collects information regarding any child up to the age of 15 years who develops paralysis, is labelled as acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) case and is investigated to establish the cause of paralysis...

On Incidence of Diarrhoea among Children in India

Drinking water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour, referred to as the WASH variables by the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, are acknowledged as the three main determinants of diarrhoeal diseases. But the impact of their complementarities on disease incidence remains understudied. This study uses state and household level data to examine the determinants of child diarrhoeal incidence. It introduces indicators of WASH quality and combined presence, both at the household and state levels. It combines them in a novel analysis to understand their roles. In the Indian states, with the worst WASH infrastructure, these variables are strategic substitutes, but as WASH infrastructure improves, they become strategic complements. Thus, resource allocation to lower diarrhoea incidence must take into account the complementary rather than individual presence of these focal variables. Further, the quality of WASH also matters. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, targeting universal sanitation coverage, is unlikely to be effective unless it breaks the Gordian knot of complementarities and WASH quality holding up the burden of childhood diarrhoea.

Is NITI Aayog Even Thinking about Health?

The NITI Aayog has effectively stalled the finalisation and tabling of the National Health Policy 2015 in Parliament. The document, including the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare's report, should be revived to put forth a concrete plan for transforming the healthcare system in India.

Natco-Bayer Verdict

Bayer has lost its case challenging the grant of India's first-ever compulsory licence to Natco Pharma to manufacture an affordable generic version of an anti-cancer drug, but the celebratory air has to be tempered. The issue of what constitutes "local working" of a patent in India remains, in general, unsettled. This article looks at the legality of local working requirements under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. It also analyses the interpretations of "working" by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, and the Bombay High Court, and considers their broader implications.

A Holistic Prescription

Shortage of medical personnel in rural areas needs a multifaceted strategy.

Resource Optimisation for Tuberculosis Elimination in India

The World Health Organization's "End TB Strategy," envisages a tuberculosis free world, with a target to end the TB epidemic by 2035. For this, its member states, including India, have to secure sufficient resources. Despite India's high economic growth in an otherwise gloomy global economy, it struggles with a resource crunch to support its national strategic plan for effective TB control.

Vector Control Operations to Deal with Malaria

Although India had some successes in controlling malaria from the time of independence, it still faces a substantial socio-economic burden from this disease. This paper presents a case study of a highly endemic primary health centre with an annual parasite incidence of 30.9 in the tribal regions of Andhra Pradesh. It reviews the various operations involved in vector control methods like bed nets, insecticide spraying and anti-larval operations. Based on the data available with the health functionaries and household level surveys, it makes operational suggestions to improve the efficacy of control measures. It finds that the current focus is heavily skewed towards surveillance for malaria-affected patients with inadequate attention for vector control methods of malaria prevention. Ensuring the adoption of vector control methods by the community will yield rich dividends in curtailing the malarial transmission process.

Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies

The author is a critical feminist medical anthropologist who has been engaged in ethnographic research on women's health issues in India for the past 25 years. Drawing from her own research experiences, this paper explores the methodologies entailed in research as a feminist critical medical anthropologist: by unpacking core methodological assumptions behind each component of her disciplinary position, introducing methodologies at each level--sociocultural anthropology, medical anthropology, critical medical anthropology, and finally feminist critical medical anthropology. It also examines how she has operationalised the fusion of these methodological approaches in her own research projects. The ways in which the findings from this research have contributed to our understanding of gender and can be useful for improving healthcare for women are also discussed.

Wounded Healers

Evidence points out that physicians in training who work for extended hours remain at great risk of injuring patients or themselves. Being motivated by the best intentions is not enough; they need to be given adequate rest. The time to regulate work hours is long overdue.

No Respite for Public Health

Health allocations in Budget 2016-17, which show a modest increase in nominal terms, must be viewed against the virtual stagnation of allocations since 2010-11, and the major cuts of 2015-16. Meanwhile, state governments' investments in health grew steadily. The centre has only prioritised initiatives that stimulate private health sector growth. This approach will have immediate adverse effects on availability and quality of public health services and will cause impoverishment due to healthcare costs, compromising economic growth in the long run.

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