Indian Express Editorial Summary : Summer Warming in India

GS-1 Mains : Geography

Short Notes or Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the recent trends in summer warming in India as highlighted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). How has the frequency and intensity of heatwaves changed over the past few decades?

Introduction

  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) reports 2023 as the second warmest year (after 2016) in 122 years.
  • IMD predicts above-normal temperatures for April, May, and June 2024.

Heatwave-Prone Regions

  • Gujarat, Maharashtra, North Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, North Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh

Heatwave Increase

  • EnviStats-IMD analysis shows a rise in average annual heatwave days:
    • 1990-99: 90 days
    • 2000-09: 94 days
    • 2010-19: 139 days
  • Total annual heatwave days increased from 42 in 2020 to 190 in 2022.

Heatwave-Related Deaths

  • Inconsistencies in reporting across agencies:
    • IMD (2000-2020): 10,545 deaths
    • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): 17,767 deaths
    • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB): 20,615 deaths
  • Likely under-reporting of deaths

Trends in Mortality Data

  • Apparent agreement on three aspects:
    • Actual deaths likely higher than reported.
    • Deaths peaked around 2015-16.
    • Deaths have declined since then.
  • This occurs despite a rise in:
    • Heatwave-affected states (from 9 in 2015 to 23 in 2019)
    • Average heatwave days (increased nearly five-fold from 2015 to 2019)

Case Study: Ballia & Deoria Districts, Uttar Pradesh (June 2023)

  • 150 deaths in five days during a heatwave.
  • Not officially classified as heat-related deaths, but most victims were elderly with pre-existing conditions.
  • Environmental analysts point to extreme temperatures and humidity.

Under-Reporting of Heatwave Deaths

  • Environmental health experts highlight missed non-biomedical factors on death certificates.
  • Example: Lightning strike causing a death might not mention the lightning as a contributing factor.
  • US definition of heat-related death: exposure to high temperatures either caused or significantly contributed to death.

European Method for Addressing Under-Reporting

  • Recording and mapping excess deaths during heatwaves.
  • Over 70,000 excess deaths in Europe during the hot summer of 2003.
  • Epidemiological analysis estimated 61,672 heat-related deaths in 35 European countries during summer 2022.

India’s Preparations for 2024 Heatwave

  • Union Health Minister reviewed public health preparedness on April 3, 2024.
  • Updated Heat Action Plans in 23 states.
  • Awareness campaigns initiated in 100 districts.
  • Focus on high-risk groups: children, pregnant women, elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, socially isolated, and poor.

Conclusion

  • Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable in theory, but difficult to measure in practice.
  • As temperatures rise, focus on protecting vulnerable populations.

 

 

Indian Express Editorial Summary : Hepatitis in India: A Serious Challenge

GS-2 Mains : Health

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Examine the burden of Hepatitis in India, highlighting the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C and the challenges in diagnosis and treatment

Burden of Hepatitis

  • India: Second highest burden of Hepatitis B and C globally.
  • Estimated patients:
    • Hepatitis B: Nearly 3 crore
    • Hepatitis C: Over 50 lakh
  • Deaths: Over 1 lakh in 2022.
  • Low diagnosis rates:
    • Hepatitis C: Less than 30% detected
    • Hepatitis B: Less than 3% detected

National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP)

  • Launched in 2018.
  • Aims to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030 and significantly reduce Hepatitis B mortality by 2030.
  • WHO report: India needs course correction between 2024-2026 to achieve targets.

About Hepatitis

  • Inflammation of the liver, primarily caused by viruses.
  • Other causes: autoimmune hepatitis, medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.
  • Liver: Vital organ for processing nutrients, filtering blood, and fighting infections.
  • Hepatitis B and C spread through contact with contaminated blood.

Hepatitis B

  • Can lead to liver scarring and increased cancer risk.
  • Diagnosis complex: Carriers can be asymptomatic for years.
  • No cure, but treatment can manage symptoms.
  • NVHCP provides free testing and medication, but many patients remain unreached.
  • Rigorous blood screening protocols have reduced transfusion risks.
  • Mother-to-child transmission is a major concern in India.
  • Early childhood vaccination is critical for prevention, but less than 50% of infants receive it.
  • Low institutional birth rate is a contributing factor.

Hepatitis C

  • Curable with antiviral medication.

Conclusion

  • Low treatment cost in India, but vast undiagnosed population.
  • Expanding healthcare facilities is crucial to address Hepatitis and other infectious diseases.

 

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