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Monday, October 15, 2012

Small infections cost Indians 69,000 crore

Mumbai:India loses Rs 69,000 crore a year—more than twice the sum of Rs 34,488 crore it set aside for the country's health budget in 2012—to small infections. What's more, an estimated 38 crore of its citizens catch small infections with the result that they lose 162 crore workdays every year. 
    This is the shocking find
ing of a recent London School of Economics study that puts a question mark on its citizens' hygiene. The study was conducted in Mumbai and Delhi and the findings extrapolated to the whole of India. Small infections, including diarrhoea and skin ailments such as rash, blisters and prickly heat, as well as respiratory illnesses were covered. The respondents were also questioned on the direct and indirect costs for each episode of illness. 
Indians lost 1.8cr yrs to cancer in 2008 
study to find the impact of cancer on the number of healthy years in life has found that Indians lost 1.87 crore years of productive life to the ailment in 2008 alone. Around 170 million years were lost to cancer globally the same year, the study, a first of its kind, has revealed. Indian women have lost more years than men. P 10 Most kids have one infection bout every two months: Study 
Mumbai: A London School of Economics study has shown that India loses Rs 69,000 crore a year because of small infections. The findings say that every time a family member falls ill, it costs them an average of Rs 997, which over the course of a year, works out to an average of Rs 8,814 per household. 
    Laddered up to a national level, everyday infections would cost the citizens a staggering Rs 69,000 crore. 
    These infections can be avoided with something as simple as washing hands with soap at critical times—before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet, say doctors. 
    Dr Jayanti Shastri, head of the microbiology department at the civic-run Nair Hospital, said that washing hands may sound like a very trivial habit, but it is essential. 
    "People should especially take care to wash their hands with a liquid soap or alcohol-based hand-rubs as soap bars are not generally a good option. We had conducted a study and found that soap 
bars carry on contamination as they house a lot of bacteria. Moreover, it is also the technique of washing hands that has to be taken into consideration. Fingernail beds and the space between the fingers are areas that have to be given more attention," said Shastri. 
    The study also found that two out of three episodes of illnesses among children aged 16 or less resulted in loss of three school days. 
    Moreover, two out of three children between five and 15 experience one bout of infection every two months. 
    The Lifebuoy Cost of Infection Study was conducted in association with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in India, a department of the London School of Economics. The findings were shared in a hand hygiene awareness campaign by Nitin Paranjpe, CEO of Hindustan Unilever Ltd. 
    Dr Hemant Thacker, who consults at Jaslok and Breach Candy hospitals, goes so far as to say that washing hands is akin to vaccination in little children. 
    "Washing hands can definitely circumvent water and food-borne diseases and skin infections. Moreover, if the caregiver is careful to wash his or her hands during a respiratory illness, even these won't be passed on at all," advised Thacker. 

Findings of infections study 
India loses 69,000cr a year to small infections 
38cr Indians catch small infections and lose 162cr workdays every year 
Each time a family member falls ill, it costs the unit an average of 997; in a year, this works out to 8,814 
68% episodes of small infections in kids under 16 result in absenteeism at school; each episode costs an average of three school days 
A global review of 11 countries: Average rate of washing hands after using the washroom is only 17%; this dips to 3% in Ghana & 1% in rural India


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