Thursday, September 25, 2008

WHO’s World Malaria Report, 2008

The advent of long-lasting nets and artemisinin-based (artemisinin is the miracle drug of Malaria) combination therapy plus a revival of support for indoor residual spraying of insecticide, presents a new opportunity for malaria control..

A WHO (World Health Organisation) report (called the World Malaria Report 2008) released recently speaks of not only the progress made in controlling malaria but also the challenges posed by it. The global burden of malaria remains enormous, though progress in malaria control has accelerated dramatically since 2006. The report states that half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. An estimated 247 million malaria cases out of the 3.3 billion people at risk in 2006 caused nearly a million deaths, mostly of children under 5 years of age. Malaria was endemic in 109 countries in 2008 and 45 of them were within the WHO African region. 86 per cent or 212 million (152–287 million) cases were from the African Region. 80 per cent of the cases in Africa were detected in 13 countries and over half were in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya. Among the cases that occurred outside the African region, 80 per cent were from India, Sudan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Pakistan.

The World Malaria Report 2008 describes the global distribution of cases and deaths. It also explains how the WHO-recommended control strategies have been adopted and implemented in Malaria-endemic countries, the sources of funding for malaria control and recent evidence that prevention and treatment can alleviate the burden imposed by the disease. The report states that the advent of long-lasting insecticidal nets and artemisinin-based (artemisinin is the miracle drug of Malaria) combination therapy plus a revival of support for indoor residual spraying of insecticide, presents a new opportunity for large-scale malaria control. Some salient features and points raised in the report are:

1. It talks of renewed efforts to control malaria worldwide; elimination in some countries is founded on the latest generation of effective tools and methods for prevention and cure.

2. The report raises concern that little children remain by far the most likely to die of the disease.

3. It puts forward policies and strategies for malaria control - the various national malaria control programmes have adopted many of the WHO-recommended policies on prevention and cure, but with variation among countries and regions.

4. It talks about prevention of malaria – it says that despite big increases in the supply of mosquito nets, especially of long-lasing insecticidal nets in Africa, the number available is still far below the requirement in most countries.

5. On the issue of treatment of malaria, the report says that the procurement of anti-malarial medicines through public health services increased sharply between 2001 and 2006, but access to treatment, especially of artemisinin-based combination therapy, was inadequate in all the countries surveyed in 2006.

6. It states that funding for malaria control in 2006 was reported to be greater than ever before, but it is not yet possible to judge from NMCP budgets which countries have adequate resources for malaria control.

7. It also brings out the impact of malaria control - some countries that have implemented aggressive programmes of prevention and treatment in Africa and other regions, have reported significant reduction in malaria incidence. For the first time, three African countries reported dramatic reduction in malarial deaths - by 50 per cent or more. Eritrea, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe achieved this result between 2000 and 2006/2007 through a mix of bednet (protective netting) distribution, indoor spraying, improved access to treatment and advances in disease surveillance.

Contributed by Anil Gulati

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Orissa floods - situation grim while R & R stepped up

Situation remains grim in the flood-hit 17 districts of Orissa, while rescue and relief operation were stepped up including air dropping of food packets and essentials for people affected by the deluge that had claimed 16 lives.
Describing the floods as that of "rare severity", a senior official that nearly 20 lakh people in 110 blocks in 17 districts were affected by the calamity.The situation continued to be grim as Mahanadi and its tributaries which were in spate for the last four days caused at least 32 breaches.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas, has asked the Centre to declare the floods as a 'National Disaster' and immediately release Rs 1500 crore assistance from the National Calamity Contingency Fund for relief and rehabilitation.The government machinery geared up to intensify relief work and and air dropping of relief materials, medicines and water pouches in different flood affected areas, the sources said.Describing the recent flood as the most furious in last 55 years, the engineer-in-chief of water resource department H C Behera said the maximum flow of water at Munduli near Cuttack was this time recorded at 15.81 lakh cusec against the previous highest of 15.80 lakh cusec in 1982.Water level in the Hirakud dam near Sambalpur in western Orissa stood at 629.50 feet this morning as against its maximum capacity of 630 feet, they said.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

22 lakh affected due to floods in Orissa

220,000 people have been affected in villages of Orissa in 17 out of 30 of its districts as incessant rains caused a river to breach its banks in several places. The breaches on the embankments of Mahanadi and its branches in the delta have affected people in these 17 districts. Indian Army has been asked to stand by for rescue and relief work. As many as 46 of the 64 sluices of Hirakud dam had been opened to discharge over 6.93 lakh cusec water even as Angul, Kendrapara, Puri, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur districts faced the deluge. The road link between Bhubaneswar and Puri as well as Cuttack and Paradip was disrupted due to major breaches at several places. Light vehicles and two wheelers were not allowed to ply on Puri-Bhubaneswar road due to a breach by Debi river near Pipili, media reports quote.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Indian corporates promote brands online

Internet is an inseparable medium for acquiring information. Several Indian companies have started using websites as effective venues for promoting their brands (products or services). They are also supporting online portals for consumer education.

With Increasing reach of Internet and our dependence on it for information, companies are using websites as a medium for promoting their own brands. In addition to online promotion and by hosting one’s own site, corporate houses are also supporting online sites for consumer education, which also subtly pushes their brands in the market that is already getting crowded. Pepsi and Coca Cola are already in this segment. Coca Cola’s website myenjoyzone is its version for teens wherein one has to be a member get to games, jokes and snap shots of movies etc. Pepsi’s pepsizone is for young ones wherein one can see and download Pepsi Deepika, Ranbir and Shahrukh on your desktop.

New websites to come up in this segment are from Hindustan Lever, the consumer goods company that is in segment of home, personal care products, food and beverages. It has set up a new portal called cookitup. As per the website, it endeavours to make cooking a pure pleasure for women and men who’d like to cook it up for their families, friends and for themselves.
Off course, it has recipes, cooking tips, contests, some tools for help in kitchen like how to plan a weekly menu and obviously it has links to Hindustan Lever Limited products.

Meanwhile, Buchanan Group, a global company in third party branded advertising is now in India with its website called brandpower wherein corporates can advertise products.
But, it is different from traditional advertising as it focuses on providing rational information about the products. As per the company, the aim of brandpower is to provide customer facts and value through information. As of now products like Stayfree, Pepsodent, Cadbury, Bournvita, Surf Excel, Domex and Hamam Abhyanga Snan are being profiled and reviewed on the site.
But, whenever one talks of these portals, one needs to remember that they are promoted by corporates for brand promotion.

Website like these, give consumer an online platform to speak out, write and read reviews about products, services. One can also compare the product they intend to buy with others, which gives power to the consumer.

By Anil Gulati