India-WHO Current Affairs - 2020

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WHO: India off-track to meet tobacco target

The World Health Organization on December 19, 2019, released its report on Global Tobacco use trends. According to the report, number of males using tobacco has declined globally for the first time. The report says that the anti-smoking campaigns all over the world is the main reason for the number of tobacco users to reduce.

Highlights: World

Globally the number of tobacco users have declined by 60 million people. In 2000, the overall tobacco users were 1.397 billion and it has come down to 1.337 billion in 2018. The report says despite the reduction in numbers, the global target set by governments to reduce the use of tobacco by 30% by 2025 remains off track. So far only 32 countries are on track to reach the target.

Around 43 million children (of age 13-15) are using tobacco in 2018. The number of women using tobacco was 244 million. Of all the regions of the world, South East Asian region has the highest use of tobacco. The only region on track to achieve the target is the Americas.

Highlights: India

According to the report, India is off track to achieve the target of 30% reduction by 2025 as compared to 2010 level. Along with India 163 countries are off the track.

However, the consumption rate in India is going down by 21.6% as compared to 2010. The current users of smokeless form of tobacco in India is estimated to be 257,020,000.

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GoI to expand WHO’s 3S programme in the country

The Government of India will expand the 3S programme-Smart Safety Surveillance of WHO in the country. The expansion is being done to make sure the vaccines distributed under universal immunization programme are safe and also to optimize post-marketing surveillance of priority drugs.

3S Programme in India

The programme was introduced by WHO (World Health Organization) in India considering limited safety data on vaccines in the country.

Under 3S programme, India is currently evaluating rotavirus vaccines. The Government is also planning to collaborate the key stakeholders of the programme to ensure high levels of vigilance. The key stakeholders of 3S programme include Ministry of Health and Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO).

GoI will also expand the coverage of PCV (Pneumonal Conjugate Vaccine) to all states by 2022 under 3S programme.

Significance

According to ministry of Health and Family Welfare, often new medical products that enter Indian markets are with limited safety data from clinical trials. Also, they are pertinent to small controlled population and therefore difficult to track. Hence, it becomes essential to monitor post-marketing of immunization programmes.

The PCV project was launched in India in 2017. Even after 2 years, the Health ministry has not yet launched an impact study about the programme. Such shortcomings are to be addressed under the new expansion programme.

Also, it is essential to have impact evaluation of newly launched vaccines for further policy decisions.

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