World Health Organization Current Affairs - 2019

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October 10: World Mental Health Day

The World Mental Health Day (WHD) is organized by World Federation for Mental Health and is supported by WHO – World Health Organization all over the world. The main objective of WHD is to raise awareness about mental health issues all over the world. It provides an opportunity to the stakeholders to talk about their work and inspire others.

This year WHO is joined by International Association for Suicide Prevention and United for Global Mental Health to support the event.

Theme: Suicide Prevention

This year, the focus of WHD is on suicide prevention. According to WHO, every 40 seconds, a person loses their life to suicide.


According to WHO, every year around 800,000 people die of suicide all over the world. 79%of the suicides happen in middle – income counties. The people dying of suicides belong to the age of 15 to 29 years. It is the second leading cause of death in the category of age.

The day plays an important role in achieving SDG 3: To ensure healthy lives and promote well – being for all ages. The target is to reduce one third premature deaths from non – communicable disease that includes suicides as well.

India and suicides

According Lancet Public Health journal, in 2018 there were around 2.3 lakh deaths due to suicide. There is no other medical related condition that causes such huge number of deaths.

India is yet to frame policies towards suicides. In 1990, China had the highest rate of suicides in the world. The suicide rates reduced greatly after China reduced the access to pesticides! The other countries who have successful policies on suicide include Finland, Sri Lanka and Scotland.

NHSRC to be WHO Collaborating Centre for Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Governmnet of India in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) re-designated the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy.

About National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC)

It was established in 2006. The NHSRC is mandated to assist in policy and strategy development in provision and mobilization of technical assistance to states. It is also mandated to provide capacity building for Health Ministry.

The mandate of Division of Healthcare Technology at NHSRC is to draw up technical specifications for technologies procured under National Health Mission (NHM), draft policies for medical device maintenance and management, undertake evaluations of health product innovations, conduct Health Technology Assessments (HTA), and support MoHFW on issues related to diagnostics initiative, National Dialysis Program (NDP) and other technology intensive services.


In 2019 NHSRC in collaboration with WHOs’ country’s office developed a guidance document for Health Ministry’s free diagnostics initiative to further strengthen agenda of Universal access to affordable diagnostics. In past NHSRC (as a collaborating centre) also supported WHO in formulating technical specifications for medical devices like resuscitation devices (devices wich initiate spontaneous breathing by mechanically ventilating the lungs), oxygen concentrators and now continues to support evaluation of innovations for WHO’s compendium on innovative devices.

NHSRC also works with WHO on development of technical specification of Blood pressure measuring devices, in-vitro diagnostics and devices for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cancer.

Future collaboration between two includes work on International Classification and Nomenclature for Medical Devices (ICMD), which would improve access to affordable health technologies.

Significance: Such global collaborations in area of health technology ensures that research and development (R&D), scientific and technological advances and innovative technologies play a substantial supportive role in healthcare. It also enables both players involved to reach public health goals and achieve universal health coverage (UHC).