Public Health Current Affairs - 2020

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Kolkata becomes first City to Install ‘Third Umpire’ RT-PCR Machines in India

In a bid towards upholding state’s public health the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has installed first of its kind high-end Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Machines in India for quick detection of diseases such as dengue, tuberculosis (TB) and swine flu.

About RT-PCR Machines

As the Kolkata city continues to record a sharp rise in cases of mosquito-borne diseases, the KMC aims to identify the root causes of diseases such as dengue through RT-PCR Machines. The objective is to give accurate DNA report on blood tests in order to ascertain the exact cause of illness.

These machines will serve as a ‘third umpire’ in situations when medical reports and blood tests reveal contradictory results. The machine will provide the exact cause of illness without any room for doubts. The tests conducted through these machines will be free of cost.

In the initial stages of project, four machines have been installed in Hatbagan in North Kolkata, Jadavpur, Behala and at Haji Mohammad Mohsin Square in central part of city.

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Health Ministry sign MoC with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for technical support

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) for technical support. Under this MoC, BMGF will provide technical, management and program design support to Union Health Ministry through its grantees as well as other partners. The special focus under MoC will be on innovation, best practices and enhancing performance management.

Highlights of MoC

BMGF will support Health Ministry’s work towards strengthening primary health aspects. This includes reducing maternal mortality and child mortality, improving nutrition services as well as increasing immunization reach.

It will also make efforts towards bolstering entire health system by-

Increasing access to family planning measures amongst younger women as well as reduce the burden of select infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis (TB), Visceral Leishmaniasis (Black fever aka Kala Azar) and Lymphatic Filariasis (commonly known as Elephantiasis).

Strengthening of supply chains and monitoring systems while focusing on budget utilization, management as well as skills of human resources for health.


BMGF will support Union Ministry of Health’s ambitious vision to improve the primary healthcare system in this country–especially for women and children. Thus, Union Ministry of Health will use support to achieve the universal health coverage in the country with an effective and quality-driven primary healthcare system.

About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)

It is American private foundation founded by Microsoft Co-founder Bill and his wife Melinda Gates. It was launched in 2000 and is based in Seattle, Washington. It is largest private foundation (philanthropic organisation) in the world, holding $50.7 billion in assets. It is controlled by its three trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett (joined in 2006 with £30 billion pledge.)

It is guided by the belief that every life has equal value and works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In US, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

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