Healthcare Current Affairs
Government’s premier think tank NITI Aayog has inked agreement with Microsoft India to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to address challenges in agriculture and healthcare and promote adoption of local language computing among others. This partnership will help NITI Aayog to move beyond pilots and understand how to scale AI implementation in sectors characterized by preponderance of public goods.
Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide NITI Aayog advanced AI-based solutions to address challenges in agriculture and healthcare including farm advisory services, healthcare screening models at Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and build capacity for AI through education among others. It will also support NITI Aayog by combining cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions across several core areas.
Microsoft will also accelerate use of AI for development and adoption of local language computing, in addition to building capacity for AI among workforce through education. Additionally, it will also promote STEM education in areas of AI studies and data sciences for young women in institutes identified by NITI Aayog.
India ranked 145th among 195 countries in terms of Healthcare access and quality (HAQ) index in the year 2016, behind its neighbours like China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. The index was released as part of Global Burden of Disease study released by Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and best known peer-reviewed general medical journal.
Healthcare access and quality (HAQ) Index
The study used index to measure quality and accessibility of healthcare, based on 32 causes of death which should be preventable with effective medical care. Each of 195 countries and territories assessed were given score between 0 (lowest)-100 (highest). For the first time, it also analysed healthcare access and quality between regions within seven countries: Brazil, China, India, England, Japan, Mexico, and US.
Top five countries with highest levels of healthcare access and quality in 2016 are Iceland (rank-1st, score-97.1 points), Norway (2nd, 96.6), Netherlands (3rd, 96.1), Luxembourg (4th, 96.0), and Finland and Australia (5th, each with 95.9).
The global average healthcare access and quality score in 2016 was 54.4, increasing from 42.4 points in 2000. The countries with lowest scores are Central African Republic (18.6), Somalia (19.0), Guinea-Bissau (23.4), Chad (25.4), and Afghanistan (25.9).
India’s Neighbours: India lags behind China (48th), Sri Lanka (71st), Bangladesh (133rd) and Bhutan (134th) in terms of levels of healthcare access and quality. But it is better than Nepal (149th), Pakistan (154th) and Afghanistan (191st).
India related Facts
India has seen improvements in healthcare access and quality since 1990. In 2016, India’s healthcare access and quality scored at 41.2 (up from 24.7 in 1990). India performed poorly in tackling cases of rheumatic heart diseases, Ischaemic heart diseases, stroke, tuberculosis, testicular cancer, colon cancer and chronic kidney disease among others. Though, India’s improvements on HAQ index has hastened from 2000 to 2016, but gap between country’s highest and lowest scores widened (23·4-point difference in 1990, and 30·8-point difference in 2016). Goa and Kerala have highest HAQ index scores in 2016, each exceeding 60 points, whereas Assam and Uttar Pradesh have lowest, each below 40.