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Total Solar Eclipse on 22nd July Surya Utsav

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Public Health
Structural Adjustment Programmes and the Pressures by International Agencies on Health Policies

The World Development Report 1993 is the most comprehensive document of the World Bank regarding the Health Sector as a whole, and in that sense embodies the basic understanding of the Bank towards this sector. In this paper I shall try to critically analyse the essential formulations being made in this document, as well as attempt to project the implications of these formulations on the future development of health infrastructure in developing countries.

Before embarking on this task, however, it would be useful, first, to take a look at the specific juncture at which the World Bank has chosen to make its views on the Health Infrastructure public, in ...

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Tobacco Industry and its Tryst with Death By Prabir Purkayastha

After denying for the last fifty years that tobacco is either addictive or harmful, tobacco companies are now trying to negotiate their future with the US Government. They have agreed to pay up to $300 billion over the next 20 years provided they are given total immunity against future damages in US and outside. Obviously, the US tobacco companies and the US Government both feel that US laws supersede all international laws. And if this is not enough, the cynical nature of these negotiations are that if the US government is paid off for the damage inflicted on US citizens, it should satisfy all victims -- in US or elsewhere -- and the tobacco companies can continue with bu ...

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Private Health Care under the Microscope By Amit Sen Gupta

THE recent controversy relating to Sri Kumaramangalam’s death and the enquiry instituted to probe allegations of negligence against the Apollo Hospital in this regard, has opened a virtual Pandora’s box. The Ministry of Health appears to have suddenly woken up to the ills of privatised health care. It is rather unfortunate that it required the death of a senior minister in the government to focus attention on an area that endangers the lives of millions of Indians.

The government would do well to consider how its own acts of omissions and commissions have led to a situation where private medical care constitutes a major menace. It is seldom realised t ...

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Data Exclusivity:Implications For Public Health By Amit Sen Gupta

IN recent months there has been substantive lobbying by a section of the pharmaceutical industry in India – led by the multinational sector – and pressures from the US to provide for what is known as “Data Exclusivity”. Responding to such lobbying and pressures the government had set up an inter-ministerial group involving the ministries of Chemicals, Health and Commerce. It is understood that the group, unable to reach a consensus has now referred it to the PMO.
Whatever the current status of deliberations on this issue might be, what is clear is that there has been little public debate on the issue. That is unfortunate given that the resolution of the issue can hav ...

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Avian Flu of Death By Amit Sen Gupta

IN the last two years about 60 deaths in four countries (Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia) have been reported due to the dreaded “avian flu”.  On the face of it, not something that would appear to be a cause for major concern. Yet there is widespread panic across the world. Is this mere scare-mongering or do we really stand on the precipice of the next global “pandemic” of influenza?
Avian flu is influenza caused by varieties of the virus that primarily cause infection in birds. Pandemics of influenza are different from seasonal outbreaks or “epidemics” of influenza. Seasonal outbreaks are caused by subtypes of influenza viruses that already circulate among ...

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