Monday, November 17, 2014

6th November Newspaper Notes - PM Council of Climate Change, EBOLA Facts, Polio Facts, Threat of Malaria

1. PM Council of Climate Change has been rejuvenated by including many new members replacing the older ones. The council is comprised of 18 members. This council will be entrusted with the task of coordinating the National Action Plan for Assessment, Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change. It would also advise the Government with proactive measures for tackling the problem of climate change and will also be responsible for communication and coordination between various ministries in relation to climate matters.

2. Some facts about Ebola-

1. Mainly affecting 3 countries Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone.

2. According to WHO, till now the Ebola virus has infected around 13, 700 people and 5,000 of them have succumbed to the fatal virus.

3. Australia has refused to send its health workers to the 3 affected countries but has promised a financial aid of around $ 20 million.

4. Till not, the biggest contribution in fighting this deadly virus of Ebola has been from the U.S., the U.K. and France. The United States is spearheading the job in Liberia, the United Kingdom in Sierra Leone and France in Guinea.

5. China has also helped Africa to counter the problem of Ebola as around 200 medical workers of China are already there in Western Africa to tackle the challenge of Ebola and 480 more medical workers from China are to reach there. The financial aid from China to the 3 countries is also significant standing at $ 123 million till date.

6. Vaccine for curing Ebola disease when tested on animals for proving their efficiency had shown promising results. The vaccine is non injectable but respiratory in nature. Whether the vaccine is effective on humans or not is still to be tested.

7. This vaccine has been developed after 7 years of intense efforts of scientists dedicated to develop methods of curing EBOLA.

3. The global effort of removing the deadly virus of polio from the map of our World started in 1988 and the deadline to finish the job was 2000. However the deadline of polio eradication of 2000 was missed by a huge margin. The latest deadline of eradicating polio globally was 2014 but that has also failed in view of the report of IMB (Independent Monitoring Board) which clearly states that the polio virus is still dangerously persisting in Pakistan. The data of Jan-Sep 2014 shows that the polio cases detected in Pakistan have increased five times when compared with the data of the previous years. The some virus has also shown effect in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria paralysing children's of these countries.

Africa is more susceptible to this danger of polio virus now because of the current menace of Ebola, attention to tackle the polio virus in Ebola affected Western African countries are non existent. If Pakistan has to solve its problem of dealing with polio virus it has to take strong steps. For eg. Setting up of an Emergency Operation Centre same as that of Nigeria which has established an EOC to keep an eye on its polio programme.

4. Malaria may be a serious threat for India in next few years – Around 40 years ago, Chloroquine was known to be a very effective vaccine for curing Malaria. But suddenly in South East Asia, Malaria developed resistance to Chloroquine. This triggered off a major global Malaria outbreak and number of death due to malaria increased but thanks to ARTEMISNIN vaccine which is currently responsible for containing and curing the disease of Malaria worldwide but some visible signs of danger are looking at us. In 2006 in Cambodia Malaria showed some signs of resistance to the vaccine Artemisnin and and this trend of developing resistance have also been detected in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. As Myanmar being the neighbour and other countries being in close proximity of India the reasons for India to worry have exacerbated.

Question. If Malaria develops resistance to Artemisnin and Knocks the gate of India, is India well prepared to tackle the challenge?

Ans. India has a huge population and most of this population lives in the rural areas of our country many to which are devoid of adequate health care facilities. A considerable portion of those rural areas do not have any health protection at all. People living in these areas are highly exposed to the risk of Malaria. These people are mostly poor and belong to the disadvantaged section of the society and if any of them contracts Malaria, the medical costs would be an additional burden on them leading them to aggravated poverty and misery.

Some points of tackling Malaria outbreak and its repercussions –

(a) If Malaria outbreak occurs in India it will require drastic spending on the part of our Government to tackle with it thereby increasing the pressure on our resources and reducing our economic growth.

(b) Due to increasing population of India the burden on health sector is increased and in view of increased population tackling malaria outbreak would require a lot of health workers and trained laboratory technicians which at present India does not have.

(c) Most Important – As the best way of dealing with a deadly virus like Ebola is to finish it at its very source, the same needs to be done in case of Malaria. This is the reason that India is playing an active role us recently constituted Asia Pacific Malaria Leaders Alliance which forms a group of heads of governments combined with the objective of fighting and eradicating Malaria.

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