National Health Bill 2009; Public Health Bill, 2017
In the current pandemic climate, we often hear of the archaic Epidemics Act of 1897 as a vehicle for the policy response. But in the past couple of decades, two other bills have been proposed to govern public health in the country. Both Bills were proposed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. While neither Bills saw the light of day, they have interesting differences in the approach to public health governance.
1. National Health Bill, 2009:
A Bill to provide for protection and fulfilment of rights in relation to health and wellbeing, health equity and justice, including those related to all the underlying determinants of health as well as health care; and for achieving the goal of health for all; and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. (Read more)
The Funding of Science:
A preprint published on MedRxiv argued via seroprevalence studies that COVID-19 infection was much more widespread in the population of Sant Clara than previously thought. They deduced that since the infected population was greater, true mortality rates for COVID-19 were much lesser (0.12%–0.2%) than projected (~5%).
Commentators on the website were quick to point flaws in the methods used in the paper. But more concerning issues with the paper were revealed later: (Read more)
Hydroxychloroquine: Good or Bad?
The WHO has suspended testing HCQ (sometimes also referred to as “Trump’s Drug” in popular media) based on safety concerns. The century-old anti-malarial drug has been demonstrated to cause decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for the treatment of COVID-19.
ICMR however, continues recommending the drug as a prophylactic against COVID-19. In a statement. ICMR DG Balram Bhargava said, “We found there were no major side effects except for nausea, vomiting, palpitation occasionally. Hence in our advisory, we have recommended that it should be continued for prophylaxis as there is no harm. There may be a benefit.” (Read more)
Meanwhile, Things Just Got Weird:
Picky parents lead to picky children: A study has found that lower levels of picky eating in children were associated with parents imposing few restrictions on foods and a lack of pressure to eat. A senior author on the paper advised parents not to force kids to clean their plates or bribe children with food.
Neanderthal gene linked to increased fertility: A study has linked progesterone receptor gene, inherited from Neanderthals, with increased fertility in women. And we thought we had left our Neanderthal past behind. They seem to be still influencing our future!
Antarctic penguins release laughing gas in their feces: And no insignificant amount according to statements given by Bo Elberling, author of the research. There was enough emitted nitrous, in fact, that one researcher went “completely cuckoo,” while “nosing about in guano for several hours,” Elberling said. The fun in experimental science.