Syllabus GS II Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
1.What are the major reasons behind the prohibition of liquor in Indian states? Discuss the counter arguments against prohibiting liquor
Ban on alcohol has become an electoral issue in recent times with various political parties and leaders advocating complete prohibition, especially to garner support of women voters. However the chequered success rate of such bans warrants a fundamental rethink of the approach.
Reasons behind the prohibition of liquor:
- According to the WHO, the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions and globally 3 million deaths occur every year due to harmful use of alcohol (5.3% of all deaths).
- Article 47 of the Constitution directs the State to take measures to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health.
- Several studies have pointed out direct correlation between consumption of alcohol and gender violence including in the domestic setting.
- A report by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) on prohibition in Bihar noted there was a 66.6% dip in cases of kidnapping for ransom, followed by 28.3% dip in murder cases and 2.3% in dacoity.
- Addiction to alcohol creates severe hardships especially for poor families as the male members tend to spend more on alcohol due to their excessive addiction.The money saved due to prohibition of liquor is used more productively e.g., the ADRI study pointed out that 19% of households acquired new assets from the money they earlier splurged on alcohol.
Arguments against the blanket ban on liquor:
- A total ban goes against an individual’s right to choice and undermines a person’s freedom.
- The Indian Made Foreign Liquors (IMFL) industry contributes over INR 1 lakh crore in taxes every year. It supports the livelihood of 35 lakh farming families and provides direct and indirect employment to lakhs of workers employed in the industry.Moreover complete prohibition has a negative impact on tourism and hospitality sectors.
- Liquor mafias emerge which keep on supplying the illicit liquor to the masses.
- Many people lose their lives by consuming poor quality illicit liquor.
- Critics argue that Alcohol prohibition is merely used as a political card, especially to woo women voters.
Prohibition of liquor is not the ideal solution to check overuse of alcohol and curbing its harmful impact. On the contrary, multiple studies have shown that prohibition proves to be counter productive. The focus of the policy-makers should be on promoting moderation and temperance.
~Source The Hindu
Syllabus GS II Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
2.Explain the steps to eliminate Hepatitis by 2030 and also discuss transitional targets in eliminating Hepatitis.
On this World Hepatitis Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is highlighting the need to bring hepatitis care closer to the people in need. This means making hepatitis care available, affordable and accessible to all without discrimination. This is crucial in the quest to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030, a global target. Elimination would translate to 90% reduction in incidence and 65% reduction in mortality by 2030, compared to the corresponding figures of 2015.
Steps to reduce eliminate the Hepatitis:
- Hepatitis is the only communicable disease where mortality is showing an increasing trend.
- Globally, approximately 354 million people are suffering from hepatitis B and C. Southeast Asia has 20% of the global morbidity burden of hepatitis.
- About 95% of all hepatitis-related deaths are due to cirrhosis and liver cancers caused by the hepatitis B and C virus.
- Viral hepatitis is preventable. Clean food and good personal hygiene, along with access to safe water and sanitation, can protect us from hepatitis A and E.
- Measures to prevent hepatitis B and C need to focus on full coverage with hepatitis B immunisation including a birth dose, as well as access to safe blood, safe sex and safe needle usage.
- A world free of hepatitis is practical and feasible. We have the tools to diagnose, treat, prevent and therefore eliminate chronic viral hepatitis.
- Safe and effective vaccines exist to prevent hepatitis B, alongside new and powerful antiviral drugs that can manage chronic hepatitis B and cure most cases of hepatitis C.
- These interventions together with early diagnosis and awareness campaigns have the potential to prevent 4.5 million premature deaths in low- and middle-income countries by 2030 globally.
- Access to these services are often out of reach for communities as they are usually available at centralised/specialised hospitals at a cost which cannot be afforded by all.
- People continue to die because of late diagnosis or lack of appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis is the gateway for both prevention and successful treatment.
- Modest testing and treatment coverage is the most important gap to be addressed. If we look at the treatment cascade of the Southeast Asia region, only about 10% of people with hepatitis know their status; and of them, only 5% are on treatment.
- Of the estimated 10.5 million people with hepatitis C, just 7% know their status, of which around one in five are on treatment. This gap needs to be patched up. This is what this year’s World Hepatitis Day campaign is all about.
- Amid all the challenges, the region has continued to implement key interventions to prevent, detect and treat hepatitis.
- Since 2016, when the region launched its Action Plan for viral hepatitis 2016–2021, nine countries have achieved more than 90% coverage of the third dose of hepatitis B vaccine. Four countries have achieved the hepatitis B control target of less than 1% seroprevalence among children over five years of age.
Transitional targets helping in eliminating hepatitis:
- En route to the 2030 target of eliminating hepatitis, there are some transitional targets to be achieved.
- By 2025, we must reduce new infections of hepatitis B and C by half, reduce deaths from liver cancer by 40%, ensure that 60% of people living with hepatitis B and C are diagnosed and that half of those eligible receive appropriate treatment.
- This can only be achieved if hepatitis care reaches the community. Several priorities must be addressed for this.
- These include the need to enhance political commitment across all countries of the region and ensure sustained domestic funding for hepatitis; improve access to drugs and diagnostics by further reducing prices; develop communication strategies to increase awareness; and innovate service delivery to maximise the use of differentiated and people-centred service delivery options across HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs to tailor and deliver services according to people’s needs and preferences in line with the primary healthcare approach.
- Decentralising hepatitis care to peripheral health facilities, community-based venues and locations beyond hospital sites brings care nearer to patients’ homes.
- For the first time, an integrated Regional Action Plan for viral hepatitis, HIV and STIs 2022–2026 is being developed by WHO. This will ensure effective and efficient utilisation of limited resources available for the region and will guide countries to adopt a person-centred approach rather than a disease-specific one.
We must act together with communities and all stakeholders for a future free of hepatitis. This will lay a firm foundation for a healthier, more equitable and more prosperous world.
~Source The Hindu