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‘India’s traditional medicine helped boost immunity in COVID-19 crisis’



Narendra Modi posing for the camera: Prime Minister Narendra Modi


© Provided by Mid-Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that during the Corona crisis, when there was no specific solution against the pandemic, Indian traditional medicinal therapy proved to be very effective in boosting immunity.

“In these difficult times, when there was no specific solution against the Corona, traditional Indian medicinal methods like turmeric, milk, Kadha proved as immunity boosters. It is important that such rich traditional knowledge needs to be integrated into the modern healthcare system. Working on this approach, we have included Ayurved as a prime portion in India’s health policy. In this year’s monsoon session of Parliament, two bills were passed to form the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine and the National Commission for Homeopathy. Even in our new education policy, in medical education, we have emphasised on an integrated approach, where a basic knowledge of Ayurveda in modern allopathic medicinal education and a basic knowledge of allopathy in ayurvedic medicinal education have been stressed,” said the PM.

The Prime Minister was speaking during the virtual dedication programme of Jamnagar-based ITRA and Jaipur based National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA). ITRA was given the recognition as an institute of national importance while NIA, Jaipur was given recognition as a deemed university.

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“Today, the fifth Ayurveda Day, is a special both for Gujarat as well as Rajasthan. I wish that both these ayurvedic institutes will emerge as centres for getting Indian traditional medicine global recognition. Ayurveda is gaining more and more importance globally whether it is America or Germany. Today Brazil’s policies have included Ayurved. Even the WHO has chosen India as the Global Centre for traditional medicine and I thank Doctor Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus for choosing India. I believe that India will emerge as a leader in global wellness,” the PM added.

“In 21st century India, the challenges of health are being solved with holistic approach and wellness is focused more in preventive medicine. Our government is focused on these areas. On the one hand cleanliness, sanitisation, clear water, smoke-free cooking and on the other hand more than 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres are being set up across the nation where more than 12.5 thousand centres are solely based on Ayurveda,” added Modi.

“In these times, when we need to focus on an integrated approach of combining Indian traditional medicine with modern medicine, I request the ministry of education and also the UGC to prepare and workout integrated doctoral and postdoctoral syllabus based on this integration,” added Modi.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who was present at the dedication function at Jamnagar Institute, said, “I thank the Prime Minister and the Union Minister of State of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy, Shripad Naik for giving recognition to our Ayurveda university. We are glad and proud that our state university is getting such a recognition. Gujarat has a rich history of ayurvedic knowledge. Even before independence, there were Ayurveda schools across many parts of the

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health

The truckers who keep India’s coronavirus patients breathing

SELAQUI, India (Reuters) – Subhas Kumar Yadav has fought fear, deadlines and hunger to truck liquid oxygen from a factory in India’s Himalayan foothills to hospitals in the northern plains during the coronavirus epidemic.

Subhas Kumar Yadav, a truck driver who ferries liquid oxygen from a Linde India factory to hospitals, poses in front of a tanker carrying liquid oxygen along a road in Selaqui in the Dehradun district of the northern state of Uttarakhand, India October 29, 2020. Picture taken October 29, 2020. REUTERS/Devjyot Ghoshal

The worst time, he said, was in the weeks after the federal government imposed a sweeping lockdown to contain the disease in late March, when roads were deserted, police made arbitrary checks and roadside restaurants, repair shops and motels were shuttered. But the oxygen he was carrying was saving the lives of thousands of those infected.

“We were on duty,” said the 33-year-old driver with Linde India Ltd, an affiliate of the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases, Linde Plc. “It’s not like we could just give up and go home.”

With India’s COVID-19 infections surging since March and many patients struggling to breathe, hospitals have scrambled to secure supplies of medical oxygen, increasing pressure on people like Yadav and companies like Linde to deliver them in time.

The government says demand for medical oxygen has jumped four times here to about 2,800 tonnes a day, prompting some states to restrict movement here of the commodity from local factories to other regions. Around half of the total liquid oxygen production in India is now being used for medical needs, up from only 15% earlier.

Linde, which competes with nearly two dozen oxygen suppliers in India, including France’s Air Liquide, has responded by tweaking its production lines away from industrial gases like nitrogen and argon, company officials told Reuters.

It has also deployed its entire fleet of trucks, bringing back even grounded vehicles, to deliver medical oxygen to hospitals across the country, many of them in the hinterlands with limited storage capacity.

“Despite the limitations, there has not been a single stock-out situation for our partner hospitals,” Linde India said.

Still, as infections peaked in India in mid-September, hospitals in some parts of the country were left gasping for oxygen.

The government says supplies have since stabilised. It has also floated a global tender to import 100,000 tonnes of oxygen. Linde said it is considering shipping in the commodity, besides bringing additional containers, from its facilities outside the country.

MAXIMUM OXYGEN

India has the world’s second highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections at more than 8 million, behind only the United States.

But India’s deaths-per-million people ratio of around 88 is one of the lowest in the world among hard hit countries, and the government has said getting oxygen to critical patients in time has played a key role.

Linde India’s factory in Selaqui, at the foot of the Himalayas in northern India, is set up to produce 154 tonnes of oxygen daily, but since

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health

These Female Healthcare Workers Are Rural India’s First Defense Against COVID-19

Archana Ghugare’s ringtone, a Hindu devotional song, has been the background score of her life since March. By 7 a.m. on a mid-October day, the 41-year-old has already received two calls about suspected COVID-19 cases in Pavnar, her village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. As she gets ready and rushes out the door an hour later, she receives at least four more.

“My family jokes that not even Prime Minister Modi gets as many calls as I do,” she says.

Ghugare, and nearly a million other Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) assigned to rural villages and small towns across India, are on the front lines of the country’s fight against the coronavirus. Every day, Ghugare goes door to door in search of potential COVID-19 cases, working to get patients tested or to help them find treatment.

With 8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, India has the second-highest tally in the world after the United States and its health infrastructure struggled to cope with the surge in COVID-19 patients this summer. India spends only 1.3% of its GDP on public health care, among the lowest in the world. The situation is stark in rural areas where 66% of India’s 1.3 billion people live and where health facilities are scant and medical professionals can be hard to find.

India’s ASHA program is likely the world’s largest army of all-female community health workers. They are the foot soldiers of the country’s health system. Established in 2005, a key focus of the program was reducing maternal and infant deaths, so all recruits are women. They have also played an essential role in India’s efforts to eradicate polio and increase immunization, according to numerous studies.

Read More: How the Pandemic Is Reshaping India

But even as health authorities have leaned on ASHAs to quell the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas, where a substantial number of new cases have been reported, many of these health care workers say the government is failing them. Pay was meager to begin with, but some workers have reported not being paid for months. Their hours have increased dramatically, but pay rises, when they have come, have not reflected the increased demands. Many ASHAs have also complained about not being provided adequate protective equipment for their high-risk work.

“They are the unsung heroes who are fighting to contain the unfettered spread of the virus in rural areas,” says Dr. Smisha Agarwal, Research Director at the John Hopkins Global Health Initiative. She argues it is vital to improve pay to boost morale and sustain this frontline workforce.

Ghugare was chosen from her village of 7,000 people in 2011. Since then, she has overseen countless births, meticulously monitored the health of thousands of newborn babies and strictly ensured immunization through door-to-door awareness campaigns. The personal relationships she built over the years have helped in the fight against COVID-19, giving her a good grasp of the medical histories of most of the 1,500 people assigned to her. “It’s all in

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health

The Latest: India’s cases keep downturn with 50K infections

NEW DELHI — India’s daily coronavirus cases have dropped to nearly 50,000, maintaining a downturn over the last few weeks.

The Health Ministry says 50,129 new cases have taken the overall tally to nearly 7.9 million on Sunday. It also reported 578 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 118,534.

The ministry also said India’s active coronavirus cases were below 700,000 across the country and almost 7.1 million people had recovered from COVID-19.

India is second to the United States with the largest outbreak of the coronavirus. Last month, India hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but since then daily cases have fallen by about half and deaths by about a third.

Some experts say the decline in cases suggests that the virus may have finally reached a plateau but others question the testing methods. India is relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Surging coronavirus colors White House race in closing days

— Europe, US watch case totals grow, debate new restrictions

— Colombia reaches 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases

— Iran’s supreme leader has urged authorities to prioritize public health above any economic or security concerns, amid the Mideast’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus. Iran’s death toll from the global pandemic topped 32,000 this week.

— Pope Francis met with the Spanish prime minister Saturday at the Vatican, which has had a rash of COVID-19 infections confirmed in recent days, but neither man used a face a mask during the public part of their meeting.

— Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus; apologizes to those in quarantine because of contact, including Poland’s recent French Open winner.

— Police force in England says it will try to stop people from leaving Wales, which has started a 17-day lockdown to slow a surging rate of coronavirus infections.

———

Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MELBOURNE, Australia — A COVID-19 outbreak in the north of Melbourne has led health authorities in Australia’s Victoria state to hold off on any further easing of restrictions in the beleaguered city.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews withheld any announcement on an easing on Sunday as the state awaits results on 3,000 people who were tested in the city’s north in the past 24 hours.

He described it as a “cautious pause” – not a setback – to rule out there wasn’t widespread community transmission linked to the cluster.

Among the current restrictions are mandatory wearing of masks and no traveling beyond 25 kilometers (15 miles) from home. At the start of the second wave of cases two months ago, Andrews instituted an overnight curfew and shut down most businesses.

“I know it is frustrating,” Andrews said. “I know people are keen to have a long and detailed list of changes to the rules.

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health

The Latest: India’s Cases Keep Downturn With 50K Infections | World News

NEW DELHI — India’s daily coronavirus cases have dropped to nearly 50,000, maintaining a downturn over the last few weeks.

The Health Ministry says 50,129 new cases have taken the overall tally to nearly 7.9 million on Sunday. It also reported 578 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 118,534.

The ministry also said India’s active coronavirus cases were below 700,000 across the country and almost 7.1 million people had recovered from COVID-19.

India is second to the United States with the largest outbreak of the coronavirus. Last month, India hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but since then daily cases have fallen by about half and deaths by about a third.

Some experts say the decline in cases suggests that the virus may have finally reached a plateau but others question the testing methods. India is relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Surging coronavirus colors White House race in closing days

— Europe, US watch case totals grow, debate new restrictions

— Colombia reaches 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases

— Iran’s supreme leader has urged authorities to prioritize public health above any economic or security concerns, amid the Mideast’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus. Iran’s death toll from the global pandemic topped 32,000 this week.

— Pope Francis met with the Spanish prime minister Saturday at the Vatican, which has had a rash of COVID-19 infections confirmed in recent days, but neither man used a face a mask during the public part of their meeting.

— Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus; apologizes to those in quarantine because of contact, including Poland’s recent French Open winner.

— Police force in England says it will try to stop people from leaving Wales, which has started a 17-day lockdown to slow a surging rate of coronavirus infections.

Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MELBOURNE, Australia — A COVID-19 outbreak in the north of Melbourne has led health authorities in Australia’s Victoria state to hold off on any further easing of restrictions in the beleaguered city.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews withheld any announcement on an easing on Sunday as the state awaits results on 3,000 people who were tested in the city’s north in the past 24 hours.

He described it as a “cautious pause” – not a setback – to rule out there wasn’t widespread community transmission linked to the cluster.

Among the current restrictions are mandatory wearing of masks and no traveling beyond 25 kilometers (15 miles) from home. At the start of the second wave of cases two months ago, Andrews instituted an overnight curfew and shut down most businesses.

“I know it is frustrating,” Andrews said. “I know people are keen to have a long and detailed list of changes to the rules. It is not

Read More
health

India’s capital chokes on ‘severe’ smog as farm fires soar

New Delhi was blanketed in noxious haze Friday as air pollution levels in parts of the city soared to “severe” levels, hours after US President Donald Trump described the air in the vast nation as “filthy”.

Smoke from agricultural burning, vehicle fumes and industrial emissions — combined with cooler temperatures and slow-moving winds that trap pollutants over the city — turns air in the Indian capital into a toxic soup every winter.

The air quality index at Delhi’s 36 pollution monitoring sites — which monitors tiny PM2.5 and PM10 particles that get into the bloodstream and vital organs — was between 282 and 446, pushing levels into the “severe” category, the Central Pollution Control Board said.

The “good” category is between 0-50, the government’s environmental watchdog added.

A “significant increase in stubble fire count” to 1,213 in Haryana and Punjab states was the highest of this season and made up 17 percent of Delhi’s PM2.5 levels, the state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research added Friday.

“Further deterioration of (air quality) is expected for the two days,” SAFAR said.

This season’s burning started earlier because of advanced sowing and harvesting by farmers amid fears of labour shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

The worsening conditions came as Trump complained that action on climate change was unfair to the US.

“Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India — it’s filthy. The air is filthy,” Trump said at his presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Scientists warned this year’s pollution season would make Delhi’s 20 million residents more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“Air pollution increases the risk of noncommunicable diseases — the same underlying conditions that make people more likely to experience severe illness or death from Covid-19,” epidemiologist Sumi Mehta from global non-profit Vital Strategies told AFP.

Healthcare systems, stretched by the pandemic, could be further stressed by more hospitalisations from pollution-related illnesses, researchers added.

“There are serious worries that during winter when higher air pollution levels in any case worsens respiratory illness and increases hospitalisation, the vulnerability to Covid-19 may be further enhanced,” Anumita Roy Chowdhury of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment told AFP.

The chief medical officer of Gurugram city near New Delhi, Virender Yadav, told The Times of India Thursday some recovering Covid-19 patients were experiencing a reoccurence of respiratory conditions triggered by the heightened air pollution.

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