Comprehensive News Analysis 22-05-2022

By Subject Expert (BYJU'S IAS)|Updated : May 22nd, 2022

Comprehensive News Analysis covers all the important articles and editorials of 'The Hindu' from the UPSC/IAS examination point of view.

Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Prelims: About India Hypertension Control Initiative 

Mains: the significance of India Hypertension Control Initiative and its achievements.

Context

This article discusses the India Hypertension Control Initiative and its successful implementation.

Background

  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a major cause of death among adults in India. 
  • Also, the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes is the negligence of high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension is a silent killer i.e. most of the time patients do not experience any symptoms.
  • India has reported over 20 crore people with hypertension, out of which only 14.5% of the patients are being treated. Hypertension is easy to diagnose and can be treated with low-cost generic drugs.

India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI)

  • India Hypertension Control Initiative was started in 2018.
  • It is a multi-partner initiative involving the Indian Council of Medical Research, WHO-India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and State governments 
  • The main aim of the initiative is to improve blood pressure control for people with hypertension. 
  • It also aims to reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Five scalable strategies of the Initiative

  • It has a simple treatment protocol with three drugs that were selected in consultation with the experts 
  • Strengthening of the supply chain to ensure the availability of adequate antihypertensive drugs.
  • Patient-centric approaches were followed which include refills for a minimum of 30 days and assigning the patients to the closest primary health centres to make follow-up easier.
  • Capacity building approach was followed with the health staff and all the tasks such as BP measurement, documentation, and follow-up were shared among them.
  • Minimal documentation methods were adopted using either paper-based or digital tools to monitor follow-ups and BP control.

Read more about India Hypertension Control Initiative

Achievements and success of the Initiative

  • The project was started in 26 districts in 2018 and has now (2022) been expanded to over 100 districts.
  • Over 20 lakh individuals were started with the treatment and are monitored regularly.
  • The initiative has shown that hypertension can be treated and controlled with basic health care facilities in various health systems across India.
    • Before IHCI, many patients had to visit higher-level facilities like community district hospitals in the public sector for the treatment of blood pressure.
    • The BP control among patients treated was 48% at primary health centres and 55% at the health wellness centres.
    • The fact that BP control in the primary care facilities was better than compared to hospitals is an encouraging sign.
  • In three years all the strata of health staff at the primary health centres and health wellness centres are trained to provide treatment and follow-up services for hypertension.
  • About 47% of the patients achieved blood pressure control.
  • The availability of medications in the nearby facilities has facilitated the BP control treatment for the patient.

Data-driven approach

  • The data-driven approach is a major contribution to the project.
  • The approach involves the preparation of a list of patients who have not returned for treatment and these individuals were constantly reminded over the phone or through home visits. Also, the programme managers reviewed the data at the district and State levels and assessed the performance of facilities.
  • This approach encouraged a large number of individuals to continue treatment.
  • Considering India’s healthcare system, scaling hypertension treatment is very much feasible also the generic antihypertensive drugs cost only ₹200 per patient per year when scaled.
    • The initiative has utilised India’s network of primary health centres, doctors and staff very efficiently
    • Health and wellness centres set up under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana have been used to train healthcare staff about measuring blood pressure and providing refills for patients.
  • E-Sanjeevani which is a telemedicine platform was also used to provide teleconsultations.

Way forward

  • As the success of the initiative has encouraged many States to implement the strategies of the initiative beyond project districts, there is a need to address a few new challenges that have arisen such as reducing the treatment gaps in many states. 
  • Also since a large number of patients with hypertension are not aware of their high BP, all the healthcare institutions could be mandated to measure BP at the entry point of these centres for people who visit the doctor for any health problem. 
    • This strategy is called opportunistic screening and does not require additional resources.
  • The use of good quality blood pressure monitors is important for accurate BP measurement and these have to be procured and distributed to health facilities.
  • Extending the number of refills provided to 60 days from currently practised 30-day refills can help reduce visits to healthcare centres.
  • The lack of involvement of the private sector has been a cause of concern when such a large number of people are seeking treatment, hence there is a need to extend the facilities and make sure that early detection and treatment of hypertension reduces deaths and disability due to heart attack, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.
Nut Graf
With the increasing number of deaths and disabilities caused due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India, the success of the India Hypertension Control Initiative has gained significance and it stands as a remarkable example of how effective implementation brings about positive outcomes.

C. GS 3 Related

1. Has Kerala changed its stance on NEP?

Syllabus: GS II, Social Justice, Issues relating to education

Prelims: NEP 2020

Mains: Challenges and opportunities of the National Education Policy.

Context: The article discusses the changing views of the government of Kerala regarding the National Education Policy.

The perspective:

  • The National Education Policy was introduced in 2020 and became the central theme of several debates. 
  • There were significant disagreements expressed by the government of Kerala regarding the policy. 
  • Gradually with the progress of time, a shift in the views of the government of Kerala has been observed. However, certain concerns remain. 
  • Despite the observed shift in the views regarding the implementation of the new policy on education, there are very less chances of a speedy roll-out due to various factors. 
  • The government of Kerala has hinted that the proposed reforms of the policy can be enforced during the 2023-24 academic year. 

The Initial Apathy:

  • To assess the impact of the NEP, the Kerala State Higher Education Council had constituted a committee that inferred that the policy is retrograde and exemplified an exclusionary vision of education as opposed to aspiring for inclusiveness in education. 
  • The policy has been alleged to accompany the challenges with respect to accessibility, equity, social justice, and the reservation system. 
  • The policy seemed to have ignored the democratic doctrines and the ethos of the federal system, thereby only promoting the need for private investments in education and techno-capitalism.
  • The provisions of relaxing the entries at various levels of academic programmes have opened the avenues to legitimise dropouts which is already an existing challenge. 
  • Moreover, the state government opined that the NEP will destroy the democratic spirit and the autonomy of universities. 

Going forward:

  • There must be a thorough discussion involving the Centre, States, educational institutions, universities, educationists, investors, and all the essential stakeholders to introduce the roadmap for the implementation of the National Education Policy. 
  • The legitimate issues of the stakeholders must be considered for the effective enforcement of the policy. 
  • Many educationists advocated that the State would do well to be mindful in the implementation of the policy with a better understanding of the challenges that vary from one state to another. 
  • With the ever-changing socio-economic conditions, skill education needs to ramp up which will add to the overall growth of students, industries, and communities. 
  • Therefore, the lofty goals of skilling the youth and churning out the potential of the demographic dividend can only be possible by the active participation of all the stakeholders of the entire education system contributing to nation-building. 
  • The innovation in education has a far-reaching impact on human development for productivity, research, and improved value chain interaction across different spheres of the economy. 
  • Emerging disciplines must be inculcated in the educational institutions to make innovation a habit as education is not immune to the dynamic nature of the world with a faster pace of digital revolution. For instance, the academic curriculum of technical institutes must encourage an understanding of automation, machine intelligence, data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence. This would assist the area of manufacturing with skilled labour and gear up the country to head towards Industry 4.0.

Read more about National Education Policy in the link shared.

Nut Graf
A collective effort by the Union Government, State governments, educational institutions, universities, and other stakeholders of education, is required for the speedy implementation of the National Education Policy reversing the prolonged resistance.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Monkeypox Virus

Syllabus: GS2, Health; Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Prelims: About Monkeypox Virus

Context

Researchers from the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), Lisbon, Portugal have shared the draft genome sequence of the monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox Virus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRjuWcrZZ-4&list=PLkJ-kjtioPGogCeqQdQMGkIKtFzIlx-eN&index=3

  • Monkeypox virus is a double-stranded DNA zoonotic virus that causes monkeypox in humans and other animals.
  • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that is found mainly in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa.
  • Research suggests that monkeypox resembles smallpox which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980.
  • Symptoms: fever, rashes and swollen lymph nodes and other medical complications.
  • Monkeypox is generally a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. 
  • Monkeypox virus can spread both from animal to human and from human to human. 
  • Monkeypox virus can be transmitted by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
  • According to WHO, many cases of monkeypox have been reported from at least 11 countries and there were about 80 confirmed cases, and 50 pending investigations in May 2022.

G. Tidbits

1. India will soon have eVTOLs for urban air mobility: Scindia

  • India will see the deployment of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft which ensures urban air mobility in the future.
  • Negotiations are underway with several eVTOL technology producers in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Modern aviation technologies are being adopted by the Army and the Air Force and eVTOLs are looked at as one of the options for infrastructure by the year 2047.

2. Enigmatic area

  • University of Cambridge researchers have found an unusual pocket of rock at the boundary layer with Earth’s core, about 3,000 km below the surface. 
  • The enigmatic area of rock is located directly beneath the Hawaiian Islands which is one of several ultra-low velocity zones, which are so-called because earthquake waves slow to a crawl as they pass through them.
  • Earth’s interior is layered like an onion as an iron-nickel core forms the centre surrounded by a thick layer known as the mantle, and crust on top of the mantle.
    • Although the mantle is solid rock, it is hot enough to flow extremely slowly.
  • Scientists use seismic waves from earthquakes to map the interiors of the Earth’s surface. 
  • The researchers used numerical modelling methods to reveal structures at the core-mantle boundary.

3. New species of snake found in Meghalaya

  • A new species of snake has been recorded in Meghalaya and Mizoram is named Trimeresurus mayaae.
  • The snake has also been named Maya’s pit viper after the deceased mother of an Army officer.
  • The study was published in the recent edition of PLOS One, a scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science.

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. Discuss the points of contention raised by experts on the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021. (10 Marks, 150 Words) (GS III – Biodiversity)

2. Discuss the medical and ethical issues involved in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. (10 Marks, 150 Words) (GS II – Health)

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