C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI regional centre for training medicos to treat HIV infected
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Antiretroviral therapy

  • Surfaced in the late 1980s, revolutionising management of HIV.
  • In India ART has been introduced through public health system.
  • ART reduces infectiousness by lowering viral loads and suppressing viral replication.
  • It encourages prevention and diagnostic testing, especially voluntary counselling and testing.

Chandigarh, July 5
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has declared the PGIMER as the Regional Resource Centre for training of medical and paramedical staff in administering antiretroviral therapy (ART) to people living with HIV/AIDS.

The decision to designate the PGI as the nodal agency for training manpower in handling and managing ART in North India follows the need to make the therapy available to as many needy persons as possible.

It was taken recently after a team of visiting experts from NACO, WHO and the Clinton Foundation found the PGI equipped enough to handle the responsibility.

The PGI thus becomes one of the 10 regional resource centres for training in ART management and administration across India.

The significance of the move is clear from the fact that less than one lakh persons living with HIV/AIDS are currently on ART whereas general estimations are that of the 5.2 million persons living with HIV/AIDS in India, 10 per cent need ART. This brings the figure to 5.2 lakh.

Ever since WHO declared the failure of providing ART to patients in developing countries as a global health emergency, India has been making efforts to cover as many needy persons as possible.

But the set targets are yet to be achieved. ART was launched in eight government hospitals in six High Prevalence States from April 1, 2004. Post-September 2004, another eight ART centres were added and by the end of December, 2004, as many as 25 ART centres in government medical institutions had been approved and gradually started.

In regions north of Delhi, ART is being administered only at two locations - the PGI, where 964 people from the North are currently seeking ART and the Indira Gandhi Medical College at Shimla, where the facility was recently started. Subject to training of medical staff, ART will start at medical institutions at Rohtak, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

One of the reasons why ART is not available to all who are in need of it is the dearth of trained staff which is equipped to do a need assessment of the HIV/AIDS infected and put him/her on ART, which demands strict compliance. The drugs are supposed to be consumed under very strict regimes. Any lapse on the part of the infected person can cause resistance to ART. Reports suggest that every year 25 per cent persons taking ART are getting resistant to it.

"Compliance and adherence are thus an absolute necessity," says Dr Sonia Trikha, Project Director, Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh. "Anyone administering ART must be aware of the emergencies related to HIV/AIDS, the manner of investigation and the best plan for progression of treatment.



New order may not control medicine prices
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The decision to bring a list of 354 medicines under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), may not ultimately benefit the common man by reducing the cost of medicines. On the contrary, these salts and formulations are likely to disappear from the market to pave way for new and expensive formulations.

Sources in the pharma industry fear that this will lead to the phasing out of the medicines that have just been brought under price control. Instead, the new formulations that could replace these medicines could be more expensive, in order to maintain a static profit margin for the drug manufacturers and retailers.

The Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers had recently announced the Pharma Policy 2006 wherein they proposed to bring the entire list of 354 items in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under Price Control, as a sequel to Supreme Court directions whereby the Government of India has been asked to widen the ambit of Price Control. There were just 70 drugs under the DPCO, which constituted about 25 per cent of essential medicines. With the inclusion of 354 drugs, this proportion of drugs under control will rise to 33 per cent of the total drugs available.

However, past records show that everytime the list of medicines under the DPCO is increased, and prices of medicines are thus reduced, the drugs included in the DPCO are phased out from the market. It may be mentioned that a couple of years ago, the NDA government had to reduce the medicines under the DPCO from 160 to 70, in order to ensure that the old medicines remained available to the common man at subsidised rates.

A case in example is that of the medicine for anti -tuberculosis. A daily dosage of Streptomycin, PAS and Isoniazid would cost Rs 5 till the time these medicines were brought under drug control. The new generation formulation (of Ephanputol and Rifampicin) was developed by the pharma companies, which increased the cost of daily dosage for the patient to Rs 25- 30.

Says Mr Jagdeep Singh, Convener of the Confederation of the Indian Pharma Industry (Small Scale), “Using the DPCO is too simplistic a way of dealing with the malady of price rise, especially when it has been spurred by MRP-based excise recently, as confirmed by NIPER. What needs to be done instead is to strengthen the MRP-based excise, which works wonders on controlling the drug prices. Drug production should be allowed to flourish in states other than the three states enjoying tax holiday (Himachal, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir. The small scale industry exemption should be increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore in these states, and reduce excise duty from 16 per cent to 8 per cent.”



DC emphasises on awareness drives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao today emphasised on the need to organize awareness campaign in rural and slum areas on drug deaddiction, HIV AIDS and various health programme in collaboration with the UT Red Cross Society.

While chairing the first quarterly meeting of the district advisory committee on youth programme of Nehru Yuva Kendra(NYK), the DC stressed the need to form self-help groups with the help of youth clubs.

The meeting approved the action plan proposed by the youth coordinator, NYK, Dr G.S. Bajwa, which included 65 regular programmes and special programmes for the year 2006-2007.



U-17 eves’ soccer tourney from July 10
Will witness women referees in action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
It is for the first time in the history of the Chandigarh soccer that women referees would be seen in action.

It will happen in the third edition of the Girls under-17 Junior National Football Championship being organised by the Chandigarh Football Association under the aegis of the All India Football Federation from July 10 to 27.

Addressing a press conference here today, CFA president Ravinder Talwar said 24 teams from all over India are in the fray for the top honours.

The teams have been divided into eight clusters. The winners from each cluster will qualify for the quarter-final stage. The quarter-finalists would be further divided into two groups for league competitions.

Winners and runners-up from each group will move into semifinals stage which will be organised on July 24 and 25. After a rest day on July 26, the final will be played on July 27.

The CFA secretary, Mr Rakesh Bakshi, said the cluster and quarter-final league fixtures would be played at the Punjab Engineering College campus while the semifinals and the final would be conducted at the Sector 17 Football Stadium.

S. Kumari Devi, former Indian captain from Manipur had been appointed by the AIFF as match commissioner. The AIFF has deputed 12 referees, one match commissioner and one referee inspector U.K. Nair from Gujarat.

“Besides the Match Commissioner, three lady umpires have been deputed among 12 referees to supervise the matches.

“Anamika Sen of the Indian Football Association is an experienced International Football Federation (FIFA) referee. Other lady referees are Kelyani Chanu of Manipur and Chaitali Pal of IFA, said Mr Talwar.

He further informed that the boarding and lodging facilities, as per the directions of the All India Football Federation, had been made at the PEC hostels.

Four matches will be played daily under the cluster programme and on the opening day, Manipur, who had emerged winners in the second edition in Ooty in 2004, have been drawn to meet Jammu and Kashmir in Cluster A at ground No 1 at 7 am. At the adjacent ground, Orissa will play against Bihar also at 7 am.

The evening session on the inaugural day will feature matches between Tamil Nadu vs Jharkhand (Cluster C) and Haryana vs Chattisgarh (Cluster D) at 5.30 pm.

Those officials appointed by the AIFF are: Referees: Kelyani Chanu (Manipur), Anamika Sen (IFA), Chaitali Pal (IFA), JL Srivas (MP), VK Dhaiya (Haryana), Kamlesh Pandey (UP), Khamba Singh (Manipur), Lokendra Sapam (Manipur), Sajid Ahmed (Jharkhand), Abdusamad (Kerala), KN Ghulan (Kerala), Sunil Dutt (Delhi).

Match commissioner: S Kumari Devi (Manipur) and referee inspector3 U K Nair (Gujarat).

The following are the clusters:

Cluster A : Manipur, Jammu and Madhya Pradesh.

Cluster B : Orissa, Bihar , Uttranchal.

Cluster C: Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Goa.

Cluster D : Haryana, Chattisgarh, Pondicherry

Cluster E : West Bengal , Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh.

Cluster F : Tripura Maharashtra, Delhi.

Cluster G :Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Chandigarh.

Cluster H: Punjab , Assam, Gujarat.



10-day camp to groom budding cricketers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 5
A 10-day training camp to hone the skills of budding cricketers in the under-15 age group started at the Punjab Cricket Association grounds here today.

As many as 42 probables were selected by the Punjab Cricket Association Selection Committee (Junior) for the camp, which is being supervised by the coaches D. P. Azad, Munish Bali, Bharti Viz, Dr T. Pawan Kumar (Physio) and Lakhwinder Singh (Trainer).

“On the first day, we took the physical test of the probables to see their physical fitness and strength. Tomorrow, BIP tests will be conducted by Dr Pawan Kumar (Physio),” said Azad.

About the training schedule, he said physical conditioning and fitness would be looked after in morning sessions whereas in the evening sessions, the stress would be on net practice, fielding practice and other drills.

After the camp, a total of 24 probables would be selected by Monish Aggarwal and Sapan Chopra, who are watching the performances of the players.

The final selection of 16, to represent the state, will be made out of those 24 players.

The names of the probables of the ongoing camp are: Vikramaditya Bakshi, Pargat Singh, Karan Preet, Manan Vohra, Ahir Aggarwal, Ankit Parthasady, Birkanwar, Sandeep Singh, Nawab Cheema, Rohin Thappar, Kamal Passi, Rattan Singh and Raj Kamal.

Ujjawal Sharma, Gurkirat Singh, Pankaj Choudury, Abhilash Rathod, Sakhsamjeet Singh, Amarinder Singh, Gurinder Singh, Vijay Choudury, Jashan Sidhu, Rahul Chara, Bhabish Goel, Aman Bharti, Tanuj Bhandari, Lovesh Bansal, Vinay and Karan Sidhu are other probables.

Gaurav Preet, Aman Bawa, Sachin Sohal, Arjun, Nitesh, Navin Dhiman, Vishal Thind, Shah Nawaj, Mandeep Singh, Love Preet Singh, Stand-Byes: Kamal, Akshit, Rohit Kashyap too are among the probables.



Dhillon is shooting team coach
Tribune News Service

Tejinder Singh Dhillon
Tejinder Singh Dhillon

Chandigarh, July 5
Mr Tejinder Singh Dhillon, Deputy Inspector General of Police, CRPF, Jalandhar range, and renowned personality in the shooting arena, has been selected coach of the Indian shooting team for participation in the 49th World Shooting Championship to be held at Zagreb, Croatia, from July 22 to August 6.

Mr Dhillon, recipient of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award and the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service, has recently participated as the coach of the national shooting team in the ISSF World Cup held at Guangzhou, China, in March this year.

Earlier, he had been representing the country in various international events, including last World Shooting Championship-1998 held at Barcelona (Spain), the World Cups held in Munich and Milan (Italy) during 2001 and 2005, besides in the Asian Games-2002 held in Busan.



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