30 August 2017-Current Affairs

  1. A healthy future for mothers and babies
  2. ISRO opens up satellite making to industry

  1. A healthy future for mothers and babies
  • India loses more children under age 5 each year than any other country. Countrywide, more than half of these deaths occur in the neonatal period, most often because babies are born prematurely, suffer from birth asphyxia, or have neonatal infections
  • Of the 27 million babies born in India annually, approximately 13% (3.5 million) are born preterm and 28% (7.6 million) with low birth weight, increasing their risk of dying in the neonatal period. The maternal mortality for India continues to be high, with 167 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
  • There is an upsurge in collective efforts in India to improve neonatal and maternal health in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Role of socio-economic and environmental factors
    • Neonates born to vulnerable populations, such as the urban and rural poor, and traditionally marginalized and excluded communities, such as Adivasis and Dalits, have a higher probability of being excluded from health services and are at high risk of morbidity and mortality.
    • As compared to males, newborn deaths among females are higher at the district level(~30%). Studies show that the average expenditure on healthcare during the neonatal period is nearly four times higher in households with male newborns than those with female newborns.
    • We need better oversight and governance through the engagement of civil society organizations and information technology (IT)-enabled platforms, which can lead to the generation of real-time data for better decision making.
    • Environmental factors, such as lack of nutrition, safe water, sanitation and hygiene can play a role along with germs in causing diseases
  • Moving from reactive to preventive
    • The recent decline in maternal and infant mortality rates is a positive example of public health intervention in India
    • Maharashtra has a home-based newborn care programme in Gadchiroli to reach women in settings where public health infrastructure may be limited.
    • In Odisha, the government is using self-help groups and community participation to address the equity and quality of delivery of public health programmes.
    • The Union government’s safety net programmes, such as the public distribution system, integrated child development services, and midday meal schemes, while challenged by inefficiency, play an important role in offering social protection and ensuring that poor families do not go hungry
    • The training and posting of auxiliary nurse midwives in newly built health sub-centres, under the supervision of block medical officers, is another positive step to improve access to health services in rural areas.
    • Several initiatives, such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, are paying increasing attention to scaling up through institutional delivery, which has a greater impact.
    • Efforts are under way to implement both facility-based newborn care (FBNC) and home-based newborn care (HBNC) programmes to further reduce maternal and infant mortality.
    • By ensuring better nutrition for mothers and newborns during the first 1,000 days after birth, we can greatly reduce malnutrition and help infants survive and stay healthy. A simple step like promoting early exclusive breastfeeding has the potential to prevent 13% of global deaths annually for children under five years. The government of India is moving in the right direction with the recent release of guidelines for comprehensive lactation management centres, kangaroo mother care, and for FBNC.
    • However, there are still gaps in impact, and these interventions remain inadequate due to limited coverage, governance challenges, and the shortage of health workers in primary healthcare facilities.



  1. ISRO opens up satellite making to industry


  • The Indian Space Research Organisation has opened the door to domestic entities that can give it up to 18 spacecraft a year starting in 2018.
  • The Bengaluru-based ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), which has so far produced about 90 Indian spacecraft, invited single or combined industries to apply for this opportunity.
  • ISAC would sign a three-year contract with the finalists, train, handhold and supervise their teams in making its range of satellites at its facility.  It would retain important and scientific missions.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation currently makes four categories of spacecraft — communication, remote sensing, navigation and scientific missions — and in three sizes of 1,000 kg to 4,000 kg.
  • The present bid to outsource AIT will help ISRO to re-deploy human resources effectively and focus on R&D.
  • Satellite manufacturing industry is led by established players from the United States and Europe who supply satellites to their government and commercial users. ISAC’s EoI is seen as a first step towards the making of an independent Indian space industry.