UK to stop funding homeopathy medicines

Though it is a well-known fact that homeopathy is useless and equal to placebo, a large amount of scarce public resources are wasted on it by many governments all over the world. Now one such wastage will be stopped soon. The National Health Service in United Kingdom is proposing a ban on providing homeopathy medicines.

 The NHS has announced a ban on homeopathy and herbal medicine as they say it is “misuse of scarce funds”.

Officials today ruled that the treatments are among dozens of medicines which should not be funded by the health service.

In the last five years, the NHS has spent almost £600,000 on homeopathic treatment, despite long running debate about whether alternative remedies work.

Today NHS England ruled that “at best homeopathy is a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds which could be better devoted to treatments that work.”

[Read more…]

Leprosy surges in India

Leprosy it seems is making a come back at least in some parts of India.

Leprosy may have left the public discourse but it is still prevalent in India: in six months from April to September 2016, 79,000 leprosy cases were detected, according toNational Health Profile, 2017.

Leprosy is a slow progressive disease that damages the skin and the nervous system.Caused due to infection by Mycobacterium leprae, it leads to skin lesions, disfigurement and loss of sensation in limbs

Uttar Pradesh had the most number of cases (13,423) but it was the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli that has the highest prevalence of 7.93 per 10,000, which means nearly 8 people in 10,000 have leprosy.

[Read more…]

A girl divorce her husband by triple talaq

Under Islamic law as it is practiced in India, a woman cannot divorce a husband like men do by just saying talaq thrice unless the husband has given her the right to do it.  This glaring gender discrimination in the religious laws was put into spotlight when this 16 year old girl from Bengal uttered triple talaq to divorce her husband who refused to allow her to study further.

Mampi, a resident of Mullickpur Mandirbazar, around 55km from Kolkata along the Lakshikantapur train line, was thrust into marriage by her parents in 2015. With three daughters to marry off and two sons to rear, Sarjul Gharami — a tea stall owner — was glad when he received the proposal from a family in Tekpanja village in Mandirbazar, about 6km away. Though Mampi, then in Class IX, wanted to study further, she was unable to wriggle out. She, however, got her in-laws and husband to agree to her continuing studies.
But Mampi’s in-laws soon reneged on the promise and began objecting to her attending school. They ridiculed her desire to study and thrust domestic work on her. Undeterred, Mampi persisted and passed her Madhyamik exam this year. But when she told her husband she wished to get admitted to Class XI at an HS school, he refused. Her repeated pleas failed to move him and her in-laws. When she visited her parents’ home some days later, she told them she wanted to study and would not return to the husband’s house.

[Read more…]

India – The good, bad and the ugly

Three news stories coming out from India this week highlight how unequal the country is in regard to scientific temper and use of science and technology.

First the good news.

India’s space agency debuted a massive rocket on Monday, launching it from the southeastern barrier island of Sriharikota. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk III) will function mainly as a delivery system for heavier satellites, but the Indian Space Research Organization hopes that it can one day carry a manned mission — the country’s first — beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Image courtesy PTI

[Read more…]

Designer babies – Hindutva style

The RSS, the parent organisation of Hindutva based political and cultural movement in India, was always obsessed with racial purity and a staunch believer in greatness of traditional Indian health care system, Ayurveda. Combining the two, its affiliate organisation Arogya Bharati is conducting seminars and counselling sessions in different cities for Indian couples to get the baby they desire.

The two-day workshop and counselling “Garbha Sanskar” in Kolkata – for future parents to give birth to the “Best” Child, as announced and organised by Arogya Bharti, the health and family welfare wing of RSS in the South Kolkata office of the RSS. The announcement and advertisements (which clearly state that the organisation is part of the RSS) clearly described that the two-day workshop will be on reforms of child bearing and counselling of couples on “how to have a good child”. As D-day grew closer, the language of the ads changed to “best child” and examples of geniuses and celebrities symbolising this “best”-ness surfaced. Unsurprisingly, these were mostly men who had become the “best” through the traditional Indian practice of Ayurveda.

One of the ads in social media reads, “Weeds may grow in garden without attention, but to have a beautiful flower one needs proper planning and regular attention….The traditional Indian practice to have a good child is gradually becoming extinct and society is suffering from the subsequent poisonous result”. It was not clear what was meant by “weeds”.

  • Image credit: Narinder Nanu/AFP

[Read more…]

Cholera epidemic overwhelms Yemen

Three hundred and twenty-nine Cholera deaths among 32000 confirmed cases !

No this is not a statistic from 19th century Europe but from 2017.

It was 163 years ago that John Snow established the fact that killer disease Cholera was transmitted through ingestion of food and water contaminated by feces of infected patients. Though it was much before discovery of pathogenic bacteria and antibiotics to combat them, just the discovery of method of transmission helped to contain devastating Cholera epidemics in Western Europe.

In this 21st century armed with all the high-tech drugs and gadgets, and with immense scientific knowledge one does not expect such epidemics to happen again. But sadly it is happening now in war-torn Yemen, where US backed Saudi’s fight Iran backed Houthis.

Children getting treatment – via BBC

[Read more…]

Land for harvesting votes

Ever since Modi became Prime Minister of India, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s business has expanded by manifold. Not only his spiritual Yoga business but also his “chemical free” consumer goods  business.

Baba who had claimed his “genuine” Ayurvedic medical products and yoga can cure AIDS and Homosexuality has now become the leading player in whole range of products for home use. It seems the tremendous support Modi got from Baba Ramdev for catching votes is being reciprocated by giving huge chunks of land at big discounts as per this Reuters report.

[Read more…]

Determined to lose heart and minds of Kashmiris

The ruling Hindutva party in India, the BJP, is it seems determined to antagonise the local population in Kashmir valley. They act as if they only consider the land of Kashmir as part of India , not the people living there.  This is reflected in the award given to an army officer who became infamous by using a civilian tied to a jeep as a human shield against stone pelting by Kashmiris.

[Read more…]

Beliefs that creates murderers

The gruesome mob killing of Mashal Khan is sending shock waves across the liberal minority in Pakistan. It will be good if they realise that religion & religion based politics  is the root of the problem. This article in the Dawn it seems shows such realisation.

Because while the videos will have caused many to recoil, the visuals and the audio will have made others rejoice.

Turn up the volume and hear the howls and screams. This wasn’t ignorance or the lack of knowledge; it was total belief and piety.

They weren’t screaming for blood; they were chanting the name of God.

The videos are an advertisement and an admonition: this is what we will do, this is what you need to do and this is what must be done.

Like snuff films for the masses, it took minutes and hours for the videos to spread; it’s taken days for the state to respond — a gap that may as well have been an eternity because of the effectiveness of the former and the flaccidness of the latter.

And in the state’s claim that no crime was committed by the victim lies a denial of reality — it doesn’t matter to the murderous that an innocent life was taken.

An innocent life is a price worth paying to defend the higher cause — that no one in no way and at no time may ever even think of doing what the dead man was accused of doing.

[Read more…]