Diseases Current Affairs - 2020

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Soft Drinks Sugar tax in UK to combat obesity and sugar related diseases

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy also known as soft drinks sugar tax or sin tax or sugar tax came into force in United Kingdom as part of government’s plan to combat obesity and sugar related disease. With introduction of sugar levy, UK joins few countries, including Mexico, France and Norway that have introduced similar fat taxes.

Key Facts

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy was announced in 2016. It is based on levels of sugar in drinks, with most sugary drinks paying highest tax. Drinks containing 5 grams of sugar per 100ml taxed are taxed at 18 pence per litre, and those with more than 5 grams per 100ml taxed at 24 pence per litre.

The levy will be applied to manufacturers in Britain and whether they pass it on to consumers or not will be up to them. It will be not applicable to fruit juices as they don’t contain added sugar and neither to drinks that have high milk content.

The levy is expected to raise 240 million pounds every year for Treasury. Proceeds from it will be used to directly fund new sports facilities in schools as well as healthy breakfast clubs, ensuring children in UK lead healthier lives.

Comment

According to UK government figures, 60% of its population is overweight, with approximately one-in-four people obese. Sugary soft drinks account for around 20% of sugar consumed by children. High sugar consumption has been linked to weight gain, which is risk factor for several obesity related diseases including cancer in adults.

Rather than banning products or forcing companies to act, UK Government through this levy is hoping to nudge manufacturers in healthier direction. One option open to companies is changing recipes to lower added sugar, so that they pay less or no tax.

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March 24: World Tuberculosis Day

The World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) is observed every year on March 24 to raise public awareness about the global epidemic of Tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. WTD is observed to commemorate discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, bacillus (bacteria) causing TB on 24th March, 1882 by German microbiologist Robert Koch. This discovery had opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.

The theme of World TB Day 2018 is “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”. It focuses on building commitment to end TB, not only at political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but at all levels from Governors, Mayors, parliamentarians and community leaders to people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors or nurses, NGOs and other partners.

This is critical theme, given political importance of upcoming United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on TB this year, which will bring together Heads of State in New York. It follows on from a very successful Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from Ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB.

Tuberculosis (TB)

TB is disease caused by bacteria “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” that most often affect the lungs. The disease is spread from person to person through the air.  It commonly affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is the second biggest killer disease worldwide next only to HIV/AIDS. World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) is one of eight official global public health campaigns observed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Observance of the day provides opportunity to shine the spotlight on disease and mobilize political and social commitment for accelerate progress to end TB.

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