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

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Risk of Intimate Partner Violence and Alcohol Use

This response to "Domestic Violence and Effectiveness of Law Enforcement Agencies: A Panel Data Study" (EPW, 16 January 2016) supports the recommendation to increase quantitative research efforts in the field and apply evidence-based policy to reduce violence against women. As an example, the article presents an epidemiological analysis of alcohol as an important risk factor for intimate partner violence against women in India.

Cleaning Up the Pharma Industry

For over 30 years pharmaceutical companies have been selling fixed-dose combination drugs with scant need to justify their efficacy, safety or rationality for use. The Government of India has finally banned 344 such drugs, though pharma companies have been able to obtain interim judicial stay orders. It is hoped that the courts take into account the serious public health implications of the sale of certain drugs and allow regulatory intervention banning uncertified combination drugs, including codeine-based cough syrups and various cold and flu drugs.

Politics of Medical Education in India

The impoverishment within the public health system is in stark contrast to the phenomenal rise of private healthcare, its international standards, medical tourism and its focus on servicing the rich. A meaningful change within medical education and the public health system, both predictors of healthcare delivery and of national standards of health, seems to be light years away. While the challenge of reforming medical education in India requires a revolution, much of the debate refuses to identify the elephant in the room, that is, the politics of medical education and public health.

Combating Dengue in India

The limited official data available on dengue in India fails to define its epidemiological profiles. However, it reveals how little has been done in the surveillance of this disease at the level of the states, and gives an idea of the quantum of effort required to fight dengue. The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme faces some classic pitfalls in India with its implementation not mandatory in the states. Arguments about the number of cases and hospitalisation, both with wide ranges, persist. Applying integrated action plans at the district level in the states would have helped. Improvement of the system of public health services, strengthening skills of medical personnel, active surveillance components with a well-functioning surveillance system, enhancement or creation of suitable water distribution network and garbage collection are critical components of an integrated plan.

Role of Private Sector in Medical Education and Human Resource Development for Health in India

This paper examines the growth and regional spread of medical education in India, particularly in the private sector. An important feature of the considerable growth of medical education, especially after the 1990s, has been the setting up of numerous private medical colleges in the country. Interestingly, this growth has occurred primarily in the more developed states with better health outcomes, while the low-income states with poor health indicators have lagged behind. This unequal distribution of medical colleges has had an impact on the availability of medical services and has resulted in regional differences in access to doctors in the country.

Hand-Washing and Public Health

The importance of hand-washing in personal and public hygiene has evolved over the centuries. While the market with its countless number of soaps and hand-wash products for personal hygiene with the accompanying advertising has created a false sense of security, it is community hygiene implemented through public health measures that is really effective in the battle against disease.

Diphtheria Deaths in Kerala

The diphtheria deaths in Kerala have shown the signs of a public health crisis. If it is not tackled through action and awareness then it may have far-reaching consequences and demean the much-acclaimed Kerala model of health.

Privatising Healthcare in Rajasthan

The Rajasthan government has planned to hand over its public health centres to private operators through a process of bidding. However this will have a debilitating effect on the inadequate and under-resourced public healthcare system in the state. 

Mala Fide Decision on Drug Prices

The decision to reduce the powers of the drug pricing body goes against the interest of public health.

Understanding Government Failure in Public Health Services

High absenteeism, low quality in clinical care, low satisfaction levels with care and rampant corruption plague public health services in India. This has led to mistrust of the system and the rapid growth of private services. This paper develops an analytical framework to understand the status of healthcare in India. Drawing on a model of public sector accountability, it argues that a weak voice and low accountability is the key binding constraint to effective delivery.

Bird Flu: Public Health Implications for India

The H5N1 virus, commonly referred to as bird flu, must be viewed as a serious threat to India and all possible precautions must be taken to guard against disaster. Countries with robust public health systems are gearing up to face a H5N1 global pandemic. India's weakness in public health is, however, a cause for worry. Our defences could easily be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the pandemic.

SARS: Public Health and Social Science Perspectives

SARS is unprecedented in many ways. For one, we may well be the first real epidemic of a globalised Asia. Second, it has prompted new measures put in place rapidly and with wide scope to counter the spread of the disease. How has SARS been perceived by the public and what are the social consequences of the outbreak and the responses? What can we learn about governance from the SARS outbreak? How will it impact on the planning of public health systems, much neglected in this region in the race for economic development in the era of globalisation?

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