Expert Group Consultation demands for a Comprehensive National Alcohol Control Policy

New Delhi , 9th April 2014 : The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, (MoHFW) Govt. of India organised an expert group consultation titled “Alcohol Control: Public Health Perspective – Moving forward towards a comprehensive national alcohol control policy”. The consultation was organised with an aim to raise the discourse with key relevant government departments and ministries, government alcohol monopolies, civil society organizations, media and other important stakeholders. The consultation was attended by Shri CK Mishra, Additional Health Secretary, MoHFW; Mr. Harald Sandberg, Hon’ble Swedish Ambassador to India,; Dr. Vivek Bengal, Psychiatrist from NIMHANS, representatives from the World Health Organisation and civil society members.

Alcohol_desgraciaSpeaking at the event, Shri C. K Mishra, Additional Secretary (Health) said “It is important to think of a coherent strategy and put together overall policy framework for control of NCDs where alcohol and tobacco form the basis of a policy formulation.” “There is a need to address the problem of alcohol use from public health perspective with multi-stakeholder involvement from government, civil society and like-minded organisations” added Shri Mishra

In India, Alcohol is a state subject and States/ Union territories have the power to frame policies and guidelines on issues relating to movement, possession, marketing, availability, consumption, sale and state excise rates of alcohol. Similarly, the provisions of the state excise policies differ widely from state to state with regards to advertising, promotion and sponsorships as well the minimum legal drinking age. The differential policies of the states are exploited by the industry to promote and induce new initiates as well keep the initiated addicted to alcohol. To address the above and pave the way for the development of a comprehensive programme and policy response, the consultation was organised.

“The consultation aims at sharing of global and national best practices to create a conducive environment to address alcohol problem in India from a public health perspective. The consultation also discussed a draft White Paper on Alcohol Control in India enlisting the public health interventions and programs needed to overcome the burden of alcohol in India” said Dr. Monika Arora, Director-Health Promotion, PHFI. “The inputs of state officials from excise and health department at this consultation will further inform this white paper as an outcome and a final white paper on Alcohol Control from this consultation will be presented to Government of India” added Dr. Arora

India is the dominant producer of alcohol (65%) in the South East Asia region and contributes to about 7% of total alcohol beverage imports into the region. Alcohol use in India has registered a steady growth rate of 10% to 15% each year during the past decade with greater expansion seen in southern parts of the country. The per capita consumption of alcohol, among adults, (over) 15 years in India, has increased by 106.7% between 1970‐72 and 1994‐1996. India is now one of the key markets for the global spirits industry.

To address the issue, PHFI had also released a report titled “Alcohol Marketing and Regulatory Policy Environment in India” which highlights the various characteristics of the alcohol industry. It draws attention to the key alcohol players in India and the types of alcohol products and brands available in the market. It also discusses the production and distribution of alcohol under different names. The second part of the report reviews policies that regulate alcohol in different states. The third section focuses on the advertising and promotion of alcohol products across India and how the industry circumvents laws regulating and prohibiting alcohol advertising. In conclusion, the report recommends strategies and interventions for policymakers and other key stakeholders to consider as part of a comprehensive alcohol control policy in India.

Reproduced from the Press Release of  PHFI on an  as-it-is basis with kind permission.

Image file  is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

What is Research Priority setting?

Originally posted on Flying Evidence:

Research priority setting is a term used by lots of people, however, many of them have a different understanding what this term means. Research priority setting has been defined as part of a research cycle starting from the identification of a research questions (based on scoping the context and/or engaging with stakeholders) to ranking the questions, implementing them and finally evaluating the process. Others would see only the step “ranking the questions” as research priority setting. Some researchers believe that research priority setting should be accountable and systematic. Others accept a consensus of a few people behind the doors adequate to prioritise research. We had recently an international workshop on agenda setting and research priority setting methods on 1-2 June in Plymouth University, UK. A question that was raised again and again in the workshop was “what are values underpinning the decisions that we make in setting a research agenda…

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Role of Trade Union Leaders in workplace HIV/AIDS program

It is essential for the Worker/Trade Union Leader to help the Company management in helping it fight against HIV/AIDS .Several years of research clearly indicate that the early investments in education, prevention campaigns and health care provision may be initially costly, but they will have long-term cost benefits. Inaction, on the other hand, will result in increased production costs related to the rising of HIV rates.

A trade union leader/worker hold an important key in the entire HIV/AIDS prevention dynamics. Owing to his/her stature and the fact that workers will often find it easier to confide to a fellow worker rather than a Health Educator or a doctor or even the management staff whom he has never even earlier seen or even heard about. Thus they are indispensable and are to be help the management to “break the ice” during the initial period of Education and prevention campaign when workers or even some management staff may refuse to attend any such programmes.


Trade Union Workers/leaders should themselves start promoting safe sex practices and help/motivate/coordinate with government health workers and also the company management regarding safe sex practices. An informed progressive workplace can manage the impact and costs of the epidemic by providing care and support to help infected workers live longer and to work more productively rather than downgrading workers because of their HIV status.

One essential considerations for Trade Union leaders involved in workplace HIV/AIDS program is that  he/ she cannot disclose the union friends HIV /AIDS status to anyone (even to the employer or to his own family or even the union friend’s family) without explicit consent from your friend. Trade union leaders need to be trained on how to deal with such scenarios so that he can counsel his/her union friend to break the stigma and reveal the status to his/her spouse or sexual partner so that they don’t remain in the dark. The trade union leader should also make it a point to see that the HIV/AIDS affected union friend visits the physician and ensure and encourage the friend to avail the benefits as per your company norms.


Key Message for Labour /Trade Union Leaders

  • It affects fundamental rights at work
  • Causes suffering to individuals and their families
  • Stigma, discrimination and victimisation of HIV+ workers is still undesirable
  • Loss of jobs and  income is an issue that falls well within the trade union responsiblity.
  • Being supportive to the union brother /sister is the moral/social/political obligation of all trade union workers/leaders.
  • Worker rights protections are a major benefit to the workplace policies.
  • Components of workplace policies can become part of collective bargaining agreements
  • An HIV/AIDS policy of the union can be used as a recruitment tool
  • Workers need education to address stigma










News: The Lancet’s manifesto “From Public to Planetary Health”

Originally posted on Library News:

globeSource: The Lancet

The Lancet wants to see public health transformed and is asking health professionals to commit to their manifesto.

Our vision is for a planet that nourishes and sustains the diversity of life with which we co-exist and on which we depend. Our goal is to create a movement for planetary health.

Read and register your agreement with the manifesto.

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Cochrane Review: Dietary advice given by a dietitian versus other health professional or self-help resources to reduce blood cholesterol

Originally posted on communitymedicine4asses:

This post discusses the systematic review “Dietary advice given by a dietitian versus other health professional or self-help resources to reduce blood cholesterol”

Background: Blood cholesterol level is an important indicator of the risk of developing heart disease. Blood cholesterol can be lowered by making changes in diet. Ideally, dietitians should give dietary advice to patients. Due to practical considerations, often dietary advice is given by other health professionals.

What was the (research) question the reviewers were trying to answer? What is the effectiveness of dietary advice given by dietitians to lower blood cholesterol, compared to that given by other health professionals, or using self-help resources?

What did the reviewers do? The reviewers searched for Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) that compared the effects of dietary advice given by dietitians versus other health professionals, or using self-help resources. The main outcome was difference in blood cholesterol levels between dietitian…

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Chronic pain: can treatment over the Internet help?

Originally posted on Evidently Cochrane:

Key message:  The Internet offers a means of delivering therapies to people in their homes to help them manage chronic pain and a new Cochrane review has explored the evidence on how well these work. Current evidence suggests that psychological treatments delivered in this way may help adults with non-headache pain, reducing pain, disability, depression and anxiety, but more research is needed before we can be confident about these results.

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Evidence versus attitude and habit – Who gets to be Bruce Willis?

Originally posted on Nordic-EBM:

Blog post by Jani Ruotsalainen
Managing Editor of the Cochrane Occupational Safety and Health Review Group

142The phenomenon of needle stick injuries
Healthcare workers can hurt themselves accidentally with needles or sharp instruments that are used in patient care. This results in the healthcare worker’s own blood coming to contact with the patient’s blood or bodily fluids. If the patient has a serious viral infection, such as HIV or Hepatitis C, there is a small risk that the healthcare worker also becomes infected.

If anyone needs reminding, HIV and Hepatitis C are serious viral infections that have a range of nasty symptoms and may eventually lead to death. Such infections or even suspicions of infection also cause stress and absenteeism from work. Accurate data on the number of needle stick injuries in Finland is not available, but in hospitals they are usually the most common type of work accidents…

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