Health Current Affairs - 2019

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WHO partners with IFBA to eliminate Trans Fat

The World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered with International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to achieve its target under ‘REPLACE Strategy’ of eliminating Trans-fat from industrially produced global food supply by 2023.

Key Highlights:

  • As per WHO, Trans-fat (worst form of fat in food) is responsible for more than 5,00,000 deaths each year from coronary heart disease globally.
  • Therefore, eliminating Trans Fat from food supply by 2023, is one of the most effective and simplest ways to save lives and simultaneously creating a healthier food supply.
  • IFBA members ensured that they will not exceed trans-fat’s industrial limit of 2 gram per 100 g fat/oil in their products globally by 2023.

About Trans Fat

  • It is also called trans fatty acids or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat.
  • Types: two types of trans-fats found in foods, namely
  1. Naturally-occurring: These are produced in gut of some animals. Animal foods (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats.
  2. Artificial: These are created in industrial process by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Food containing Trans-fat include margarine and ghee, snack, baked, fried foods etc.
  • It is widely used in Food Industry as they are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time.
  • Impact on health: They not only raises bad cholesterol (LDL) levels but also lowers good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Thus increases risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke. It also make prone to higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Recent Developments

  • In 2003 Denmark became first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans-fats in food products. It resulted in decline in deaths due to cardiovascular disease more quickly than in comparison to OECD countries. The move was then followed by some high-income countries.
  • In May 2018, WHO released ‘REPLACE’ strategy which provides six strategic actions to ensure the quick and complete elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply by 2023.
  • To ensure that benefits are felt equally around the world, action is needed in low and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially produced trans-fats are often weaker.

About REPLACE

  • It seeks to encourage complete and sustained elimination of industrially produced trans-fats from food supply by 2023.
  • REPLACE is an abbreviation for WHO’s six strategic actions as:
    • Review (dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats),
    • Promote (replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats,
    • Legislate (enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats),
    • Assess (trans fats content in the food supply),
    • Create awareness (about negative health impact of trans fats) and
    • Enforce (compliance of policies and regulations).

Way Forward for India

On a global scale India has high number of coronary heart disease cases therefore it must try to beat this 2023 deadline and must try to achieve goal earlier.

Month: Categories: Science & TechnologyUPSC

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WHO Guidelines on Use of Digital Health Technology

World Health Organisation (WHO) has released new recommendations on 10 ways through which countries can use digital health technology which is accessible via mobile phones, tablets and computers to improve people’s health and essential services.

Overview of WHO Recommendations

  • The guideline demonstrates that health systems need to respond to the increased visibility and availability of information.
  • The recommendations advise on everything from how to employ digital tools for birth notifications to implementing health worker decision support tools and using telemedicine to digital health education services.
  • The guidelines are designed to help decision-makers in government health departments; the public health sector and other stakeholders, better understand how digital tools could address their population’s health needs.
  • The guideline emphasises the importance of providing supportive environments for training, dealing with unstable infrastructure, as well as policies to protect the privacy of individuals, and governance and coordination to ensure these tools are not fragmented across the health system.
  • People must be assured that their own data is safe and that they are not being put at risk because they have accessed information on sensitive health topics, such as sexual and reproductive health issues.
  • The guideline underlines the importance of reaching vulnerable populations and ensuring that digital health does not endanger them in any way.

The recommendations were based on the two-year-long research by the WHO on digital technologies, including consultations with global experts, so that such tools may be used for maximum impact on health systems and people’s health.

Month: Categories: InternationalUPSC

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