Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2017

हिंदी करंट अफेयर्स प्रश्नोत्तरी 2017 के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें.

SOHUM: Indigenously developed low-cost hearing screening device for newborns launched

The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has launched SOHUM, an indigenously developed low-cost hearing screening device for newborns.

The innovative medical device has been developed by the School of International Biodesign (SIB) startup Sohum Innovation Labs India Pvt Ltd under Department of Biotechnology (DBT) supported (SIB).

Features of SOHUM

The Sohum aims to make this battery-operated non-invasive screening device available across the country to  minimise or reverse the hearing loss damage. It is a low cost portable device which uses brain-stem auditory evoked response, a best screening choice recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics and National Health Services of UK.

It measures auditory brain waves via three electrodes placed on the baby’s head. When stimulated, electrodes detect electrical responses generated by the brain’s auditory system. If there is no response, it indicates child cannot hear. Once it is detected at quite an early age, measures can be taken to prevent other problems such as impaired communication skills and even possible mental illness.

It is battery operated device and is non-invasive, it doesn’t require babies to be sedated, which is risky, testing in process at present. It has in-built algorithm that filters out ambient noise from the test signal. This is important because health clinics can be crowded and noisy.

School of International Biodesign

SIB is a flagship Program of the DBT aimed to develop innovative and affordable medical devices as per India’s unmet clinical needs and to train the next generation of medical technology innovators in India. It is implemented jointly at All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and IIT Delhi in collaboration with International partners. Biotech Consortium India Limited manages techno-legal activities of the Program. It serves as a valuable contribution to the Make in India campaign of the Government.


Fact box: National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination

The Union Health Ministry and Family Welfare for first time has unveiled National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Malaria Elimination (2017-22). It has set malaria elimination deadline as 2027, three years ahead of the global deadline.

The NSP is based on 2016 National Framework for Malaria Elimination framed with support of WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria, 2016-2030.

Features of the Plan

The NSP is a year-wise roadmap for malaria elimination across the country. The plan aims to achieve universal case detection and treatment services in malaria endemic districts to ensure 100% diagnosis of all suspected cases, and full treatment of all confirmed cases. It seeks to maintain a malaria-free status for areas where transmission has been interrupted.

Categorisation of Districts: The plan divides country into four categories, from 0 to 3 based on their annual parasite incidence (API). The first category, Zero has 75 districts having of API of malaria for the last three years. The Category 1 covers 448 districts, in which the API is less than 1 per 1,000 population.

The Category 2 covers 48 districts, in which API is one and above, but less than 2 per 1,000 population. The Category 3 covers 107 districts, in which API of two and above per 1,000 population.

Targets: The plan aims to eliminate malaria (zero indigenous cases) in all Category 1 and 2 districts by 2022. In Category 3, the target is bring remaining districts under a pre-elimination and elimination programme by 2022.

Four components, based on recommendations WHO: Diagnosis and case management; surveillance and epidemic response; prevention — integrated vector management; cross-cutting interventions, which include communication, advocacy, R&D and other initiatives.

Funding: The resources required for the elimination of malaria is around Rs 10,653.16 crore over a period of five years (2017-2022). These resources will be managed from government sources, international donors, and the corporate sector as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Significance: This is for the first time, the Union Health Ministry has come up with a roadmap for elimination of malaria in the country. Prior to it, effort was to “control” malaria under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDC). The NSP lays down detailed strategy with operational guidelines for all states towards set targets. It has also given a detailed breakdown of annual budgetary requirements over five years.


Malaria is a vector borne disease caused by parasitic protozoans belonging to the Plasmodium type. It is most commonly transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito. According to the World Malaria Report 2016, India accounts for 89% of the incidence of malaria in the South-East Asia region.

In India, malaria is caused by the parasites Plasmodium falciparum (Pf), found more in the forest areas and Plasmodium Vivax (Pv), more common in the plains. Most malaria cases are mainly concentrated in tribal and remote areas of the country.

The majority of malaria reporting districts are in India’s eastern and central parts. Six states — Odisha (40%), Jharkhand (20%), Chhattisgarh (20%), Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram (5-7%) report most of the malaria cases in India. These states, along with tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra account for 90% of India’s malaria burden.