A randomised clinical trial (RCT) of remdesivir in patients suffering from moderate Covid-19 was published recently. The study found that, patients administered the drug for five days were 65 per cent more likely to achieve better clinical scores compared to those who received the standard care. However, there was no improvement with 10 days of remdesivir. Further, no reduction in hospitalisation, mortality or fall in duration of oxygen requirement was noticed. Besides, the test itself has glaring holes, as the writer of this column points out. He says that the trial showcases the issues with trials such as this one. They usually end with unimpressive and vague results, just like this one did. The fact that it was sponsored by a major pharma player doesn’t add to its credibility, either. Read more here
Dignity amid Covid-19:
About 88 per cent of the elderly in India live with their children. Their risk of contracting the virus from family members remains high. Besides, social distancing is not as easy for them since they depend on others for access to health care.
For the ones who don’t live with their families, access to food, water and other basic necessities may also be hampered severely. Further, only 7 per cent of the elderly in India have smartphones. This creates issues of access to credible information and essential services. It’s not just the Covid-related services and data that is key to this segment of society as a large number of them also have other underlying health problems that need attention. Precarious work and low incomes among the group also implies that an overwhelmingly large number of them are dependent on others for economic needs as well. Read more here
South Indian doctors:
While South India enjoys the reputation for having better healthcare than the rest of the country, the states are currently on the back foot. Health workers across the region have been demanding better working conditions and this clamour has grown over time. Around 200 doctors have died due to Covid. Of these, 43 are from Tamil Nadu. The state has also seen a strike by medical professionals. Some allege that doctors have been transferred several hundreds of kilometres away from home as punishment postings. Further, post graduates have been posted on Covid duty without being regularised. A similar state of affairs has been noticed in Karnataka where incidents of violence against doctors were also reported. Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association has decided to boycott duties which could lead to a crisis. Read more here
An unintended consequence of the pandemic was the disruption of womens’ health care
services. Among other things, access to contraception and abortion services were upended. A report says that around 2 million women missed out on services amid the pandemic, of which 1.3 million were in India alone. This can lead to an increase in maternal mortality, unwanted pregnancies and domestic violence. Despite India listing abortions as essential services, lack of transport meant most were unable to access it. Further, a study across 6 states showed a severe shortage of medical abortion drugs in pharmacies. Ensuring uninterrupted access to counselling, contraceptive devices and care is essential for safeguarding women’s reproductive rights. Read more here
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