Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Current Affairs
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued advisory to all states and Union Territories to not allow manufacture, sale and advertisement of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). It also has issued warning that use e-cigarettes and other ENDS devices pose great health risk to public at large, especially to children and pregnant women. Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar already have prohibited manufacture, import, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and ENDS.
e-cigarettes and ENDS
ENDS are devices that heat solution to create aerosol, which also frequently contains flavours, usually dissolved into propylene glycolor and glycerin. e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) are most common prototype of ENDS. These devices do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporise solution, which user then inhales. The main constituents of solution are nicotine, propylene glycol (with or without glycerol and flavouring agents).
Health Ministry Advisory
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Global Tobacco Epidemic 2017, 30 countries like Mauritius, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Bahrain, Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE have already banned ENDS.
ENDS including e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, etc. are great health risk to public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age. ENDS are not approved as NRTs (nicotine-replacement therapies) under Drugs and Cosmetics Act and rules made thereunder.
ENDS solutions and emissions contain other chemicals, some of them considered to be toxicants. They contain nicotine, addictive component of tobacco products. In addition they contain metals, including lead, chromium and nickel and chemicals like formaldehyde with concentrations equal to or greater than traditional cigarettes.
Use of ENDS may affect development of foetus during pregnancy. It may contribute to cardiovascular disease to people who use ENDS. Moreover, nicotine may function as ‘tumour promoter’ and seems to be involved in biology of malignant diseases. Foetal and adolescent nicotine exposure have long-term consequences for brain development, potentially leading to learning and anxiety disorders.
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme to control viral hepatitis C on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day (July 28). The programme aims to combat viral hepatitis and reduce mortality and morbidity associated with it.
National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme
The programme aims at both prevention and treatment of hepatitis which is among leading causes of liver cancer, cirrhosis of liver and acute liver failure. It aims to treat minimum of 3 lakh hepatitis C cases over a period of three years for eliminating deadly condition by 2030.
The programme is part of National Health Mission. Under it, expensive antiviral for hepatitis B and C infections will be made available free of cost at all government hospitals. It will set up and upgrade facilities for diagnosis and treatment primarily of hepatitis B and C. These designated treatment centres will provide free anti-viral to hepatitis C patients. They will also provide hepatitis B vaccine to babies born to mothers carrying the virus within 24 hours of birth.
Key strategies under the Program
- Preventive and promotive interventions with focus on awareness generation.
- Safe injection practices and socio-cultural practices, sanitation and hygiene, safe drinking water supply, infection control and immunization
- Increasing access to testing and management of viral hepatitis.
- Promoting diagnosis and providing treatment support for patients of hepatitis B and C through standardized testing and management protocols with focus on treatment of hepatitis B and C.
- Co-ordination and collaboration with different Ministries and departments.
- Building capacities at national, state, district levels and sub-district level up to Primary Health Centres (PHC) and health and wellness centres to scale program till lowest level of the healthcare facility in a phased manner.