Image credit: Nikita2706, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled fresh statistics regarding what it termed the ‘tobacco epidemic’ and efforts to tackle it.

The report found encouraging news in that a substantial increase has been reported in those covered by at least one measure recommended by the WHO for cessation of tobacco use. These measures — MPOWER — include ‘monitoring tobacco use and preventive measures; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit; warning about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raising taxes on tobacco.”

At least one of these measures cover approximately…

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By Nicholas Parry

The COVID-19 crisis in India shows no signs of abating, as cases remain around the 400,000 peak. The situation remains dire, with figures consistently surpassing that of all other nations.

India reported 403,000 new infections and 4,000 deaths on Sunday, indicating that — though the country may have hit a plateau — its figures remain at a global high. Global new daily cases currently range between 700,000 and 900,000, indicating that India now accounts for around half of all global cases.

Many are now suggesting that figures could be far higher than currently stated. Such a claim…

A group of boys play soccer in the smog on a maidan in Kolkata. Environmental concerns such as pollution have a ruinous effect on public health. Image credit: edan / 123rf

By Nicholas Witts

Indian cities’ levels of air pollution are continuing to rise. Critical contributions to this trend are coming from hidden pollutants, scientists from the University of Birmingham have revealed.

Using observations from instruments on satellites that scan the global skies every day, scientists were able to build estimated trends for a range of air pollutants from 2005 to 2018, timed to examine rapid development in India and air quality policies in the UK. The findings from these estimates, published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, showed that PM 2.5 — a categorisation of tiny particles or droplets…

Image credit: prashantzi / 123RF Stock Photo

Millions of lives could be saved each year if we properly invested in midwifery, a new report has found. Jointly prepared by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and partners, the 2021 State of the World’s Midwifery report estimates a global deficit of 900,000 midwives — one-third of the globally-needed midwifery workforce.

“The findings demonstrate the importance and effectiveness of midwives as core members of the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health (SRMNAH) workforce,” United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed writes in the foreword to the report. …

A road sign aimed at promoting HIV/AIDS awareness in Himachal Pradesh. Image credit: John Hill, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

By Nicholas Witts

People living with HIV are potentially more susceptible to a severe clinical course of COVID-19 than those who are HIV-negative, according to a study published in The Lancet which has provided fresh insight into the link between HIV and COVID-19.

Amongst people who are HIV-positive, individuals with a low CD4 cell count — an indication of the number of white blood cells in the body — are thought to potentially be more susceptible to cases of severe COVID-19. …

By Nicholas Parry

A view of a hospital ward in Assam in response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic Image credit: AnjanBorah, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The initial wave of COVID-19 in India had already pushed hospitals to breaking point. The second wave has seen both daily cases and death counts triple, with many now dying simply through the lack of ability to avail healthcare.

While the initial wave lingered just below 100,000 cases for a short period before dropping, the current wave has surpassed 300,000 cases for more than a week. Hospitals are overwhelmed. Deaths are now so high that even crematoriums are reporting being overburdened, with round-the-clock cremations occurring in some areas.

Chemical structure of Remdesivir, one of the items for which fraudsters are conning Indians out of money. Image credit: Hbf878, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Nicholas Parry

India’s plight amidst the second wave of COVID-19 is dire. The death toll is rising and there is still no end in sight to the rise in cases. Many have lost loved ones. In these trying times, fraudsters are conning people, adding to the misery the country is suffering through.

As reported in The Independent, when Kanika Saxena transferred Rs 18,000 to a man to get remdesivir injections for a COVID-19 patient who was in a critical condition, she would later find the money had been stolen. “We waited seven hours for this man to deliver the…

Healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment while caring for patients with COVID-19 in the Indian state of Kerala. Image credit: Javed Anees, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Nicholas Parry

In just a few short months, the tables for India’s COVID-19 vaccine donation plans have turned. While in February India was committed to providing vaccine doses across the world, recent events have seen the international community rally behind India to provide aid.

India continues to break daily new case records with a further 349,691 additional cases on Sunday. This daily figure — now the highest in the world — is in stark contrast to figures in mid-February which were consistently hovering just above the 10,000 mark. …

FK1954, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By TM Chen, President, Continental Carbon India Limited

Policies we lay down today, pave way for the future of domestic industry. For instance, tariffs imposed on goods and services that enter the country can alter the balance of trade between the international trading partner and the tariff imposing country. There is a myriad of reasons why governments levy taxes on imports including protecting nascent industries, supporting domestic employment opportunities, and combatting aggressive trade policies. Case in point, the Finance Ministry’s recent decision to omit anti-dumping duty on imports of carbon black from China and Russia. Carbon black is a rubber-reinforcing…

Image credit: UK Government, OGL v1.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Plans to cut Universal Credit is not simply a political decision. For many who depend on it and other benefits, it’s the difference between life and death.

The failings of the UK welfare system have become painfully apparent. In recent weeks, the harrowing story of Philippa Day gained traction — though not enough — following her death aged 27. Day left what is believed to be a suicide note in which she criticised the government’s handling of her personal independent payment (PIP). The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) rescinded Day’s disability benefits in January of 2019. …

Kerean J. Watts

Writer for Hyderus and Health Issues India. Views are personal.

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