Insights Daily Current Events, 28 March 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Rotavirus vaccine launched under immunization drive
Union health ministry has launched the rotavirus vaccine-Rotavac- as part of its universal immunisation programme to prevent diarrhoeal deaths due to the virus which claims lives of nearly one lakh children every year.
- The vaccine has been developed indigenously under a public-private partnership by the ministries of science and technology and health and family welfare.
- The vaccine will be initially introduced in four states – Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. Its coverage will be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.
- An estimated 8.53 lakh children under the age of one will be administered the vaccine annually at 6, 10 and 14 weeks.
Significance of this vaccine:
- Adding this life-saving vaccine to Universal immunisation programme will not only improve the health of children but also reduce hospitalisation and other conditions associated with diarrhoea due to rotavirus such as malnutrition and delayed physical and mental development among children. Besides, reduced hospitalisation eases the economic burden on the family and the health cost burden on the country.
- While the vaccine was already available in open market, the local manufacturing and free distribution under the centrally-sponsored immunisation programme is expected to further bring down prices.
The Rotavac is in addition to three new vaccines that have been introduced in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) including Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine. With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.
Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age. It is responsible for around 10% of total child mortality every year. In 2014, nearly 80,000 children died due to to rotavirus, whereas about 9 lakh were hospitalised due to episodes of severe diarrhoea.
Rotavirus-Signs and Symptoms:
- Kids with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, often followed by abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea.
- Kids may also have a cough and runny nose.
- Sometimes the diarrhea that accompanies a rotavirus infection is so severe that it can quickly lead to dehydration.
As with all viruses, though, some rotavirus infections cause few or no symptoms, especially in adults.
Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, via contact with contaminated hands, surfaces and objects, and possibly by the respiratory route. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: conservation.
Noyyalai Nokki project, a project to restore Noyyal River and its tributaries, has been launched. Stakeholders in Coimbatore, Tirupur, and Erode and Karur Districts will jointly take efforts to restore the river through this initiative.
- The restoration project includes installation of decentralised sewage treatment plants, developing parks where space is available and laying walking paths along the river.
- The project will be implemented on divide-distribute-develop model by forming committees for every 500 metres of the river.
- The initiative will involve educational institutions, businesses, the public and the Government.
- To begin with, a survey of the river would be taken up and an estimate of the project would be prepared.
- Norfed (Noyyal River Restoration Federation) will be the nodal organisation for the project and a common plan will be developed for the entire stretch of the river.
The Noyyal River rises from the Vellingiri hills in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu and passes through Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode and Karur to join the Cauvery at Noyyal village (total of 160 km).
Sources: the hindu.
Paper1 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena.
Sun may produce devastating ‘superflares’
Scientists have indicated that the Sun is capable of producing monstrous eruptions or ‘superflares‘ that can not only break down radio communication and power supplies, but also affect Earth’s ability to support life.
- Superflares have been a mystery since the Kepler mission discovered them in larger numbers four years ago. The largest observed eruption from the Sun took place in September 1859.
- Earth is often struck by solar eruptions. These eruptions consist of energetic particles that are hurled away from the Sun into space. But, when the Sun pours out gigantic amounts of hot plasma during large solar eruptions, it may have severe consequences.
Effects of superflares:
- Damage to or loss of all artificial satellites.
- Airline passengers on trans-polar flights would receive high radiation doses from the energetic particles (as would any astronauts or the crew of the International Space Station).
- Significant depletion of the ozone layer with increased risk of cataracts, sunburn and skin cancer, as well as damage to growing plants. The recovery time would be of the order of months to years.
- In the strongest cases there would be severe damage to the biosphere, especially to primary photosynthesis in the oceans.
- Failure of the electricity distribution system, possibly with damage to transformers and switching equipment.
- Loss of power to the cooling systems of spent fuel rods stored at nuclear power stations.
- Loss of most radio communication because of increased ionisation in the atmosphere.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Indian appointed UN adviser on human rights and businesses
India-born academician- Surya Deva- has been appointed by the Geneva-based UNHRC as the Asia-Pacific representative of the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
- It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
- The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
- The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
- The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
- The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims from “The Hindu”:
Kisan Suvidha App
Kisaan Suvidha is a mobile app developed to help farmers by providing relevant information to them quickly.
- The app has a simple interface and provides information on five critical parameters—weather, input dealers, market price, plant protection and expert advisories.
- An additional tab directly connects the farmer with the Kisan call centre where technical graduates answer their queries.
- The app was developed by the agriculture ministry.
- To begin with, a farmer has to register the mobile number, choose a language—at present limited to Hindi and English—and enter details of the state, district and block or sub-district.
- There are various special buttons in the App including weather button, market price button and plant protection button.
President’s rule in Uttarakhand
President’s rule has been imposed in Uttarakhand and the state assembly is kept in suspended animation after President Pranab Mukherjee signed a proclamation under Article 356 recently. Constitutional breakdown is cited as the reason for the proclamation of President’s rule in the state.