New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) In the context of public discourse regarding detection of new variants, NITI Aayog Member (Health) V.K. Paul has reminded that the newly detected 'Delta Plus' variant is not yet classified as a Variant of Concern (VOC).The variant was observed in Europe in March and has been notified and brought into public domain on June 13 this month.As 'Delta Plus' is not yet classified as a VOC, Paul said, the way forward is to watch the potential presence of 'Delta Plus' in the country and take the appropriate public health response."The present status is that yes, a new variant has been found. This is as of now a Variant of Interest (VoI), not as yet classified a VoC," Paul clarified it in a Covid-19 media briefing.The VOC is one in which we have understood that there are adverse consequences to humanity, which could be due to increased transmissibility or virulence, said Paul, adding "We do not know at this moment about the Delta Plus variant."Paul stressed on the need to watch the effect the variant in a scientific manner as it has been found outside our country."We need to monitor it through The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) in order to assess and detect its potential presence and growth in our country. This is the way forward in relation to the virus," said Paul.He also mentioned that this will be an important area of future work for our comprehensive system of almost 28 laboratories and that the system will constantly watch this and study its significance."This is something which science should and will watch and understand."The NITI Aayog Member said that this variant is a reminder to us about the importance of infection control and containment measures and behaviour."Remember that there is no way that we can shoot these variants away, to use any precision weapon to ensure that they don't appear in future. What we need to do is to monitor, understand their behaviour and mount an appropriate response, being conscious of their effects on us. The appropriate response includes the same principles, namely containment measures and Covid appropriate behaviour."He spoke of the importance of addressing the root cause and breaking the chain of transmission. "One of the important tools to tackle any new variant is by following COVID Appropriate Behaviour.The root cause is the chain of transmission, Paul said, adding "so, if we are able to address the root cause and break the chains of transmission, we will be able to contain the spread, whichever the variant may be."Explaining the origin of 'Delta Plus' variant, Paul said: "During the second wave, Delta variant - B.1.617.2 exhibited its effect, and its higher transmissibility played a major role in making the wave intense."Along the same line, he said, an additional mutation has been detected, which has also been submitted to the Global Data System. "This has been referred to as the 'Delta Plus' or 'AY.1' variant."--IANSrak/in
New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) There may be a slight demand-supply imbalance in vaccines during June-July but from August onwards, there will be an adequate number of doses available, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said."From then on, we should be able to vaccinate everybody in India properly and that should help us," he said, amid a shortage of vaccine in various states.He warned that all of us need to be responsible to save ourselves from a third wave because if it happens, then the children and people in rural areas will get impacted."We need to build up both hospital infrastructure and human resources. We need to ensure ICU facility at the grassroot level. This is also an opportunity for the private sector to come forward," he said at the virtual interactive session on "Saving Lives and Livelihood", organised by FICCI, jointly with OYO, on Wednesday.Lauding the role of the private sector in the overall vaccination drive, Kant said that the second wave has been more catastrophic than the first one and it overwhelmed the health system for a while."The government has taken a series of measures since then and there has been a steady decline in the number of active cases. There has been further ramping up of the vaccination drive and the private sector has played a very pivotal role in managing the pandemic and has complimented the efforts of the government in a significant way," he added.The private sector, Kant noted, came forward in bolstering the supply chain, supplementing oxygen capabilities, ramping up of medical infrastructure and providing oxygen concentrators and technical assistance to several government agencies.Emphasising the need to build up a model of private public-partnership in which the government acts as a facilitator and the private sector comes forward, he said: "If we leave everything on the government, it will be difficult to achieve the goal. "This is an opportunity to create the infrastructure in the rural areas and in tier-2,3 cities. We should not lose the momentum of creating good quality infrastructure and associations like FICCI will play a very important role in this.""We are working with the private sector and international developmental organisations with an aim to forge strong partnership to strengthen our response to the pandemic."Kant stated that when the situation worsened and international assistance started pouring in, "we (the Central government) worked on a war footing to coordinate all assistance, ensured zero delays, and all items dispatched to destinations with the use of technology in a transparent manner"."We used technology to develop a fully digital and transparent end-to-end system which enabled all aid coming via government to government and private to government channels." He also said that sectors like tourism and aviation are badly-hit and would need government support. "We should be as innovative as possible and support our industries both on the monetary as well as the fiscal side."--IANSrak/vd
New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh has announced that the Yogi Adityanath-led government in the state has proven Niti Aayogs apprehension about the Covid situation in UP wrong.A press release issued by the Uttar Pradesh government said that the Niti Aayog's grim predictions about Uttar Pradesh regarding spike in Covid-19 cases by the end of April have turned out to be wrong, thanks to the proactive approach of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to tackle the second wave of the pandemic. The UP government said the Aayog had forecast that the state would report on an average 119,000 Covid-19 cases daily by April 30 onwards leaving even Delhi and Maharashtra far behind in terms of number of cases, but thankfully it did not happen. "The Test, Trace and Treat policy of Yogi Adityanath has done the trick as far as control of Covid is concerned," the press release said. "The Yogi government with its multi-pronged strategy to contain the virus has been able to restrict the number of cases much below the predicted figures, while cases have started dropping already," the UP government said. The Niti Aayog report had predicted a very gloomy picture of Uttar Pradesh with daily Covid cases in the state outnumbering Maharashtra, Delhi and Chhatisgarh with 99,665, 67,134 and 61,474 cases, respectively, by April 30. "The Yogi government has been able to belie the Niti Aayog's prediction, which was probably based on various factors such as population density, influx of migrant workers, lack of sufficient health facilities for Covid patients compared to population, through a focused approach," the statement said. "The Chief Minister has been working overtime to contain and tackle the virus right since the outbreak of the second wave. He established isolation centres for migrant workers as soon as Maharshtra and Delhi geared up to enforce a fresh spell of lockdown. "Officials were instructed to test suspected Covid cases among migrants and facilitate treatment for positive cases among them. The state government led by Yogi Adityanath has also started door-to-door campaign to test suspected cases and facilitate timely treatment of positive cases. All these steps have paid off in containing the spread of the virus," the UP government said. Meanwhile, the government has placed orders for five million doses each of Covaxin and Covishield vaccines and the delivery of the same has also started. Oxygen plants are being set up across the state while oxygen cylinders and concentrators are also being brought from outside the state to meet the growing demand and to avert such a crisis in future. The latest data reveals that the prevalence of Covid cases in Uttar Pradesh is much less than many other states despite its huge population and high population density. In Delhi, Maharshtra and Chhatisgarh, the Covid positive cases reported per million since April 1 are 29,683, 17,115 and 15,845, respectively, against 3,502 cases in UP. In fact, the maximum number of Covid cases on a single day at 38,000 was reported on April 24 and since then, the graph has been southwards. In Covid related deaths reported since April 1, Delhi, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have outpaced Uttar Pradesh. Delhi, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh reported 358, 152 and 196 deaths per million, respectively, against 25 deaths in UP. Besides, according to a report, 65,000 active cases have been cured in UP in the last eight days alone. The Yogi government has also made elaborate arrangements for the treatment of Covid patients in home isolation. The CM Helpline is reaching out to thousands of such patients on a daily basis to offer them treatment related advice and other assistance. The helpline has contacted 18,55,788 Covid patients and 95,692 monitoring committees to take stock of the Covid situation in the state and extend help to those in need. It is worth mentioning here that in Covid testing also, UP ranks second in the country. The state conducted 29,07,807 tests between April 21 and May 4, against 9,55,261 in Delhi, 22,19,500 in Karnataka, and 17,04,517 in Kerala. --IANS san/arm
New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Niti Aayog's member health, Dr V K Paul, on Monday urged people not to venture out unnecessarily and wear masks at home also. Speaking at a Union Health Ministry press conference Paul said, "Please wear a mask, do not go out unnecessarily. Stay with your family. Even within the family wear the mask."He urged people not to invite anyone home. "Please don't invite anyone to your home. This is not the time to do so. Take all possible care within the home. Protect yourselves and your family members," Paul said. Referring to studies, Joint Secretary Union Health Ministry, Luv Aggarwal said, "By not following physical distancing one infected person could infect 406 people in 30 days. Reducing physical exposure by 50 per cent, one person can only infect 15 people in 30 days. Reducing the physical exposure by 75 per cent, one infected person can only infect 2.5 people in 30 days." He said that people must understand the importance of following Covid appropriate behaviour in controlling and managing the infection. He pointed out that a mask coupled with physical distancing can lower the transmission risk. "Both a Covid infected person and uninfected person not wearing a mask or maintaining physical distance have 90 per cent risk of virus transmission. There is a 30 percent risk of transmission when the infected person is not wearing a mask and the infected person is wearing a mask. There is a medium risk (five per cent) of transmission when an infected person is wearing the mask and uninfected is not wearing," Aggarwal said. He stated: "Transmission risk becomes low (1.5 per cent) when both the people are wearing the mask. There is negligible or lowest risk when both (infected and uninfected person) are wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance of six feet." Dr Paul clarified that women can take the Covid vaccine during their menstrual cycle. "Yes, women can and should take the vaccine during the menstrual cycle. There is no reason to postpone the vaccination," he Paul said. AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that unnecessary panic among people is creating a rush at hospitals, shortage of drugs and oxygen. "Unnecessary panic causing rush outside hospitals, shortage of essential drugs and oxygen. Misuse of oxygen is a major factor. If the saturation is 94 percent or above, then there's no need to worry," Guleria added. Aggarwal said, "Maharashtra has the highest active caseload with 7,00,207 active cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Most of the states have crossed their highest reported daily cases during September last year.""Eight states -- Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu -- have more than 100,000 active Covid-19 cases," he said.He explained that the union government is working on three strategies to contain the virus spread -- Containment, Clinical Management and Community Engagement -- across the country. --IANSssb/bg
India's healthcare industry has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 22 percent since 2016 and is expected to reach $372 billion in 2022 at this rate, a NITI Aayog report said on Tuesday.
Healthcare has become one of the largest sectors of the Indian economy, in terms of both revenue and employment, said the report released by NITI Aayog's Member, Health, V.K. Paul, CEO Amitabh Kant, and Additional Secretary Rakesh Sarwal.
The report outlines the range of investment opportunities in various segments of India's healthcare sector, including hospitals, medical devices and equipment, health insurance, telemedicine, home healthcare and medical value travel.
"Several factors are driving the growth of the Indian healthcare sector, including an aging population, a growing middle class, the rising proportion of lifestyle diseases, an increased emphasis on public-private partnerships as well as accelerated adoption of digital technologies," Kant wrote in the report's foreword.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has not only presented challenges but also several opportunities for India to grow. All these factors, together make India's healthcare industry ripe for investment."
In the first section, the report provides an overview of India's healthcare sector, including insights about its employment generation potential, the prevailing business and investment climate as well as the overarching policy landscape.
The second section highlights the key drivers of growth for the sector and the third elaborates upon the enabling policies and investment opportunities in seven key segments - hospitals and infrastructure, health insurance, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, medical devices, medical tourism, home healthcare as well as telemedicine and other technology-related health services.
In the hospital segment, the expansion of private players to tier-2 and tier-3 locations, beyond metropolitan cities, offers an attractive investment opportunity, it says.
With respect to pharmaceuticals, the report said, India can boost domestic manufacturing, supported by recent government schemes with performance-linked incentives, as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
In the medical devices and equipment segment, it said, expansion of diagnostic and pathology centres as well as miniaturised diagnostics have high potential for growth.
Further, medical value travel, especially wellness tourism, has bright prospects, given India's inherent strengths in alternative systems of medicine, said the report.
"Technology advancements such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), wearables and other mobile technologies, along with Internet of Things, also offer numerous avenues for investment." (IANS)
<br>However, the union health ministry would take a final call on the proposition.The proposed price has been floated after a five-hour long meeting held between the Dr VK Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog and officials from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech on Friday evening, which was concluded around 11 p.m., sources added."This would be the price end-user would pay for a dose. It includes the service charge the private facilities can take from the beneficiaries," a top official said.IANS had reported earlier that private facilities will be able to collect a "service charge" of up to Rs 100 from the beneficiaries to meet the operational expenses they will be incurring during the vaccination drive against Covid-19. This will be in addition to the cost of the vaccines.As per reports, the government has been procuring SII's Covishield for around Rs 210 per dose while the cost of Covaxin is around Rs 290 for a shot.The third phase of vaccination will begin from March 1 and will cover 27 crore people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres.The government has decided that the people will be vaccinated free of cost at the government hospitals, while those taking the shots at private hospitals will have to pay.The vaccines will be stored at public health facilities having cold chain points. The private facilities will be able to receive the desired doses from public hospitals in their vicinity.Akin to the previous priority groups, healthcare and frontline workers, the general public as well will not be given a choice among the two vaccines. However, the people can make a choice between the centres where they are willing to take the jab, officials told IANS."One would not be allowed to choose among the two vaccines. However, they can indirectly go for their preference by selecting the centre they wish to be inoculated since the information of centres along with the vaccines they use will be available to the public," the official informed.--IANS<br>asr/in