Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Prelims
- National Programme for Prevention & Control of Non-Communicable Diseases
- Battlefield Surveillance System
- Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
- Covid no longer an Emergency
1 . National Programme for Prevention & Control of Non-Communicable Diseases
Context: The addition of many new diseases or disease-groups and new health initiatives have prompted the Central government to widen and rename its programme for control and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
About the News
- The union health ministry has decided to rename its national programme and portal aimed at tackling the rising challenge of non-communicable diseases.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has also decided to rename the portal which enables population enumeration, risk assessment, and screening for five common NCDs, including hypertension, diabetes, and oral, breast and cervical cancers of the population aged above 30 years.
- Earlier the programme on non-communicable diseases included diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke, and hence it was known as the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
- NPCDCS was being implemented under the National Health Mission (NHM) across the country.
- However, in the last few years many new diseases or disease groups or new initiatives have been added to the programme such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, STEMI among others
- To subsume all types of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) under a new name the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to rename ‘NPCDCS’ as the National Programme for Prevention & Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD).
- Meanwhile the application or software named Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Non-Communicable Disease (CPHC NCD IT) rolled out under the programme for screening and management, will now be renamed ‘National NCD Portal’.
- Facts about NCD in India– Meanwhile, a study ‘India: Health of the Nation’s States – The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative in 2017’ by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimated that the proportion of deaths due to NCDs in India have increased from 37.9% in 1990 to 61.8% in 2016.
National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS)
- India is experiencing a rapid health transition with a rising burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) surpassing the burden of Communicable diseases like water-borne or vector borne diseases, TB, HIV, etc.
- The Non-Communicable Diseases are estimated to account for around 60% of all deaths.
- In order to prevent and control major NCDs, the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) was launched in 2010 with focus on strengthening infrastructure, human resource development, health promotion, early diagnosis, management and referral.
- Structure- Under NPCDCS, NCD Cells are being established at National, State and District levels for programme management, and NCD Clinics are being set up at District and CHC levels, to provide services for early diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for common NCDs.
- Facilities– Provision has been made under the programme to provide free diagnostic facilities and drugs for patients attending the NCD clinics.
- Cardiac Care Units (CCU) are also being set up in identified districts for providing facilities for emergency Cardiac Care.
- Day Care Centres at the identified districts are setup to provide facilities for Cancer care.
- During the period 2010-2012, the programme was implemented in 100 districts across 21 States. The programme aims to cover the entire country by March 2017.
- The modified strategies are as follows:
- Health promotion through behavior change with involvement of community, civil society, community based organizations, media etc.
- Outreach Camps are envisaged for opportunistic screening at all levels in the health care delivery system from sub-centre and above for early detection of diabetes, hypertension and common cancers.
- Management of chronic Non-Communicable diseases, especially Cancer, Diabetes, CVDs and Stroke through early diagnosis, treatment and follow up through setting up of NCD clinics.
- Build capacity at various levels of health care for prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, IEC/BCC, operational research and rehabilitation.
- Provide support for diagnosis and cost effective treatment at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of health care.
- Provide support for development of database of NCDs through a robust Surveillance System and to monitor NCD morbidity, mortality and risk factors.
What is non communicable disease?
- Non-communicable diseases are diseases that are not spread through infection or through other people, but are typically caused by unhealthy behaviours. They are the leading cause of death worldwide and present a huge threat to health and development, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
- Four types of non-communicable diseases account for over two thirds of deaths globally:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Chronic respiratory diseases
2 . Battlefield Surveillance system
Context: Army formations at all levels — from the commander on the ground to the Corps level — will soon have a real-time, common operating picture, with information and data from various sensors and inputs fused into one comprehensive image for quick decision-making, according to defence sources, who said that this is a result of one of several automation projects in the process of being rolled out.
Battlefield Surveillance System
- The Army’s Battlefield Surveillance System is being built under ‘Project Sanjay’. It seeks to create multiple surveillance centres for the field formations and enable the integration of a large number of sensors.
- It is in the process of being deployed, after extensive validation carried out in the plains, deserts, and mountains last year.
- Objective – Under BSS, the aim is to have surveillance centres for all field formations by December 2025.
- It will integrate thousands of sensors which will enable provision of an integrated surveillance picture to commanders and staff at all levels, besides completing the sensor-shooter grid by integrating with the Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS).
- The system also integrates data on the movements of India’s adversaries received from various sources across borders, including sensors, satellites, UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles, and patrols.
- Significance– This is among a series of automation projects being rolled out which are expected to cumulatively improve operational efficiency, enhance battlefield awareness for commanders on the ground, and also provide functional efficiency for human resource management, logistics, inventory management, medical services and other administrative functions
- Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Ghaziabad is the project’s system integrator, and after hundreds of trials across terrains, it has shown a rate of success of more than 95%, meeting the army’s aspirations and requirements. As part of the trials, a few surveillance centres were set up under two corps of the army, and with the bulk production clearance now granted, the full project will be implemented by the end of 2025.
- To enable these projects, the imminent operationalisation of the secure Network for Spectrum will provide an abundance of bandwidth to the service.
- Captive data centres – Further, the Army is setting up captive data centres across the country and these will be fully operational this year. Complementing the BSS is the Army Information and Decision Support System, an upgraded and redesigned version of the erstwhile Combat Information Decision Support System, which will integrate inputs from all operational and managerial information systems.
- Situational Awareness Module for the Army (SAMA)– A decision support system called the Situational Awareness Module for the Army (SAMA), developed in cooperation with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics has successfully integrated inputs from ACCCS, BSS, e-Sitrep, and the Management Information Systems Organisation.
- The application has been designed to present a comprehensive battlefield picture to commanders at all levels based on authorisation and roles.
- SAMA is being fielded for field validation under a Corps. DSS will significantly reduce decision making time. The Request for Information for SAMA was issued in October 2022 and the project is under categorisation for procurement through the capital route.
- Situational reporting is the keystone of all operational correspondence that happens on a perpetual basis, and this is the lifeblood that keeps the operational staff working.
- A situational reporting would be undertaken through an enterprise-class Situational Reporting Over Enterprise-Class GIS platform (E-Sitrep). This is configured for the army’s operational needs, with state-of-the-art spatial visualisation, temporal and dynamic querying and analytics custom-built for commanders and staff as per authorisation rules.
- The system will be first operationalised in the army’s Northern Command in June 2023 and the balance commands will migrate to the new system later.
- Other projects- Among other projects in the process of being implemented are the computerised inventory control project, a state-of-the-art enterprise resource planning solution for managing the stores, munition, aviation and vehicles supply chains, an army version of Gatishakti called AVAGAT and improved high-precision weather forecasting through a new application called Anuman, in collaboration with the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), which has helped the artillery fire more accurately.
3 . Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
Context: With the 27th edition of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Sharm El Sheikh nearing its final stages and efforts being ramped up to arrive at a conclusive agreement, a consortium of countries that includes India has jointly stated that carbon border taxes, that could result in market distortion and aggravate the trust deficit amongst parties, must be avoided.
What is Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism?
- The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism is a plan from the European Union (EU) to tax carbon-intensive products, such as iron and steel, cement, fertiliser, aluminium and electricity generation, from 2026.
- The EU came up with the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in 2021.
- Working of the CBAM system- EU importers will buy carbon certificates corresponding to the carbon price that would have been paid, had the goods been produced under the EU’s carbon pricing rules. Conversely, once a non-EU producer can show that they have already paid a price for the carbon used in the production of the imported goods in a third country, the corresponding cost can be fully deducted for the EU importer.
- The CBAM, “will equalise the price of carbon between domestic products and imports and ensure that the EU’s climate objectives are not undermined by production relocating to countries with less ambitious policies.”
- Carbon border taxes- Carbon border tax involves imposing an import duty on a product manufactured in a country with more lax climate rules than the one buying it.
- Criticism against carbon tax: While its advocates, like the EU, claim the tax will benefit the environment and provide a level playing field to companies, those opposing it call the tax unfair and protectionist. They say it puts the burden of climate compliance on developing countries, when historically, they have done much less to pollute the environment and yet are often more vulnerable to effects of climate change.
- Unilateral measures and discriminatory practices, such as carbon border taxes, that could result in market distortion and aggravate the trust deficit amongst Parties [signatory countries to the United Nations climate agreements], must be avoided.
- BASIC countries call for a united solidarity response by developing countries to any unfair shifting of responsibilities from developed to developing countries.
What is Carbon Leakage?
- Some developed nations, in efforts to cut emissions, impose high costs on carbon-intensive businesses in their own countries. Businesses can potentially sidestep this simply by moving production to a country with less stringent rules, a practice called carbon leakage i.e companies based in the EU could move carbon-intensive production abroad to take advantage of lax standards, or EU products could be replaced by more carbon-intensive imports.
What is India’s Position?
- India has maintained that developed countries cannot push the burden of doing more to tackle climate change while they evade responsibilities themselves. At COP27, India said all fossil fuels needed to be phased down and not just coal, which has been targeted by the developed countries and which India is heavily reliant on.
- ‘Just transition’ to cleaner sources of energy did not mean that all countries should strive for the same level of decarbonization. “For India, just transition means the transition to a low-carbon development strategy over a time scale that ensures food and energy security, growth, and employment, leaving no one behind in the process.
4 . Public health emergency of international concern
Context: The World Health Organisation (WHO) said thatCovid-19 was no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and that the focus would now be on the long-term management of the infection.
Public health emergency of international concern
- A public health emergency of international concern is a formal declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”, formulated when a situation arises that is “serious, sudden, unusual, or unexpected”, which “carries implications for public health beyond the affected state’s national border” and “may require immediate international action”.
- Under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), states have a legal duty to respond promptly to a PHEIC.
- The declaration is publicized by an IHR Emergency Committee (EC) of international experts, which was developed following the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak.
- The novel viral infection came to light after China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases with no known cause from Wuhan on December 31, 2019. By the end of January 2020, nearly 10,000 cases had been reported, including more than 100 cases in 19 other countries.
- WHO raised its highest level of alert and termed the infection a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, a designation that remained in place for over three years.
Why did the WHO declare Covid-19 a pandemic?
- SARS-CoV-2 was a novel virus about which very little was known in the initial days. Later, as many patients reached hospitals with pneumonia and in need of oxygen support, doctors and researchers discovered that the infection put the immune system into overdrive, leading to a cytokine storm when immune cells started attacking the patient’s own organs. This tended to happen more in the elderly, and in those with existing comorbidities like diabetes.
- There are three conditions for declaring a disease a public health emergency.
- One, it is spreading across several countries.
- Two, it is leading to serious illness, hospitalisations, and deaths.
- Three, serious stress on health systems because of the disease. Covid-19 fulfilled all three conditions in 2020 and 2021.
And why has the WHO removed the designation now?
- Over the last three years, doctors and researchers have figured out a lot — methods of transmission; who are at highest risk of severe disease and death; better, cheaper, and point-of-care diagnostics; a treatment protocol that works; medicines to prevent viral replication that can help in reducing severity of the disease; and most importantly, vaccines that can prevent severe disease.
- Governments have strengthened healthcare systems and rolled out vaccination drives. In India, more than 90% of people above the age of 12 years have received their two primary doses.
- Since many were infected and vaccinated, the population has developed a ‘hybrid immunity’ that has been shown to offer better protection against future severe disease.
- “Omicron was more infectious (transmitting quickly) but less virulent (causing milder disease). This was because the virus changed to become less dangerous but also because people acquired immunity,
- “Health systems are no longer stressed; focus is back on non-Covid conditions that were neglected during 2020 and 2021.
How will the WHO declaration change disease management?
- There are no lockdowns; international travel, restaurants, and cinemas are normal; and containment and control measures haven’t been needed for some time now. So, not much will change on ground with the WHO declaration.
- “At the moment, no practical impact to the common man, but surveillance may stop or reduce greatly.
- There exists a possibility, however tiny, that the virus may mutate to cause more severe disease.
- The focus of surveillance has to be on hospitalised cases and the variants causing it. Community level surveillance can be through waste-water and detection of clusters.