Global Health Current Affairs - 2020

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India prepares for Corona Virus-Steps of Health Ministry

India has been closely monitoring the happenings in China after more than 200 cases were confirmed to be infected with Corona virus (a new stain). The increase in numbers is mainly because more than millions travel for Lunar New Year in China.

On January 17, 2020 Thailand reported to have found the first case of the virus following Japan.


India is preparing itself after it has learnt from WHO (World Health Organization) that the infections of the virus are linked to sea food market. Managing the importation of the virus into the country is being strengthened.

International travelers from China are being examined thoroughly using thermal scanners. These are currently being done at Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata international terminals.

The Health Ministry has issued directions to laboratory diagnosis, infection prevention and surveillance of the virus.

The other measures of Health Ministry is as follows

  • Ministry of External Affairs has been requested to provide details of travelers from Wuhan city where the virus is spreading rapidly
  • The states have been instructed to increase area of surveillance and laboratory support infection prevention and control.
  • The Joint Monitoring Group operating under DGHS (Directorate General of Health Services) meets to assess risks. WHO attends the meeting and provides regular updates.
  • GoI has issued travel advisory
  • National Institute of Virology, Pune has been appointed the nodal agency to test the virus samples.
  • Rapid Response Teams that are trained in MERS-CoV outbreak have been set up in states and union territories.

Sea Food Scenario in India

The chances of India being the victim of the virus is minimal. This is because India’s imports of sea food are highly limited. According to 2018 report of MPEDA (Marine Products Export Development Authority), India exported sea food (fish predominantly) worth of 6,923 million USD and imported 138 million USD. USA is the predominant import destination of India according to MPEDA. Import of sea food from other countries is miniscule or negligent. As far as China is considered, Japan is its leading importer of sea food from China, followed by USA, Hong Kong and Korea.

Though chances are minimal, India is preparing itself to encounter the situation.

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WHO releases Global Health Challenges for 2020

Every year, the World Health Organization releases list of Global Health Challenges of the forth coming year. This year, on January 13, 2020, the organization had released the top global health challenges for the year.

Global Health Challenges

The list included 13 potential threats. The foremost threat was Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) and climate crisis. The 2 threats have been on the top for the previous year, 2019 as well. The report says around 7 million people are affected because of climate change. Climate change has increased malnutrition and is fueling the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria. The other threats that have topped the list includes influenza epidemic and spread of infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

More than one-quarter of death is due to stroke, heart attack, chronic respiratory disease and lung cancer. The chances of these diseases are increased by raising levels of air pollution.

A new entrant to the list of top 13 potential threats is Lack of Access. The report says that around a third of world population lack access to vaccines, diagnostic tools, medicines and other essential health products.

Shortage of health care workers is also the major global concern. WHO says that another 18 million health workers are required by 2030.

Above of all unhealthy food diets is also major threat. Lack of food, unhealthy diets and unsafe food are responsible for one-third of global disease burden.

Other Threats

The threats are not only diseases-related. It also includes other threats such as social media, infrastructure, human resources and new technologies. The misinformation about diseases in social media is a major threat as it is spread false fears among people. Also, delivering health care in conflict ridden areas is also the biggest challenge according to WHO.

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