WHO Current Affairs - 2020

Pathogens listed Critical by World Health Organization found in River Yamuna

The World Health Organization, 2017 had published its first list of antibiotic resistant priority pathogens that pose the greatest threat to human lives. These critical group and certain multi-drug resistant bacteria are found in River Yamuna according to a group of researchers from IIT Delhi.

Highlights

The study conducted by the researchers says that sewage is the main source of their entry into the river. The researcher team studies 20 major sewer drains of the river over two seasons at five major locations of Delhi.

The researchers found Beta-lactamases-Enzymes that help bacteria stay resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

About the Study

The study says that poor sewage collection and lack of sewage treatment plants and lack of connectivity between the drain are the main reasons for the deadly bacteria to develop in the river. There is a need for adequate infrastructure for sewage management in the region.

Currently, the existing treatment plants work on organic pollutants such as nitrogen, carbon and phosphorous. However, there is an emerging need to upgrade the sewage treatment plants in the country.

The study says that the resistance genes present in the river were β-lactamases genes and carbapenemadse. There are possibilities for rapid proliferation of different antibiotic resistant genes through horizontal gene transfer.

WHO list of “Priority Pathogens”

The list was published by World Health Organization in 2017. The list contains antibiotic resistant pathogens for which drugs are urgently needed. The list particularly highlights the Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics.

The list is divided into three categories such as high, medium and critical priority.

The mist critical group include multi drug resistant bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and other Enterobacteriaceae such as E.coli, Klebsiella, Serratia and Proteus.

The second and third tiers in the list are of medium and high priority categories respectively. They cause common diseases such as food poisoning, gonorrhoea.

FSSAI: No sale of junk food within 50 metres of schools

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India recently announced that sale of junk and unhealthy food should be restricted within 50 metres schools and education institutions.

Highlights

The FSSAI has made the announcement to provide safe foods and balanced diet to children in schools. The foods referred to as HFSS (High in Fat, Salt and Sugar) cannot be sold in mess premises and scool canteens.

The FSSAI operates under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It was established as statutory body under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Regulations

The GoI has brought in several regulations to make sure school children are provided with healthy food. The Mid-Day Meal scheme should receive license or registration from food regulating agency. Also, it should comply requirements of hygiene practices as specified under Schedule 4 of Food Safety and Standard Act.

The draft regulation against fast food within 50 metres of school premises was released in November 2019. It was titled as “Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and Healthy Diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019” The regulations are as follows

  • The food companies cannot advertise or offer free foods within 50 metres of the school campus
  • The regulation prohibits companies from using their logos, product names and brand names on educational materials such as school buses, buildings or athletic fields.
  • The school campus should be converted into “Eat Right School”.
  • The schools should get advice from dietitians and nutritionists to prepare menu for children periodically.

Background

India has the second most number of obese children among 195 countries according to WHO. Also, western diet affects the diversity of gut bacteria and sets stage for metabolic diseases. Therefore, these regulations that reduce the intake of unhealthy foods should be welcomed.

In 2015, the Delhi High Court ordered FSSAI to regulate junk foods being sold in school canteens. After this, committees were set up to frame new guidelines to make sure school children get healthy meals.