This year's first P1 wild polio virus strain has been isolated in Delhi. Fourteen-month-old Gulnaz from Darbangia colony in Kirti Nagar area is the victim. Daughter of a rickshawpuller, the girl's family migrated from Bihar just six months ago. She was supposedly administered 10 doses of oral polio vaccine in the last two national immunization rounds in January and February this year. Till now this year, 106 polio cases have been isolated in India but all of them have been P3 strains. This is the first P1 polio case in Delhi after August 2006. P1 has been India's major enemy with the global advisory committee on polio giving top priority to its eradication. The Union health ministry successfully contained its spread in 2007 with just 36 cases. For the first time since 1999, the number of P3 cases had outnumbered the number of infections caused by P1 strain. P1 travels faster and infects more children, which is why the emphasis was on eradicating type 1 first. P3 is a very slow moving virus with low virulence. P1 causes paralysis in one out of every 200 children, as compared to P3, which causes paralysis in one out of every 1,000 infections. Health ministry sources told TOI that a polio vaccination round is scheduled to take place in Delhi this month. But states can undertake an emergency mopup operation whenever a P1 strain crops up. Polio has been crippling India, with 864 cases in 2007 compared to 676 cases in 2006. This made finance minister P Chidambaram allocate Rs 1,042 crore just for polio in the Union Budget for 2008-09, most of which will be spent to contain the virus in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar, which reported 193 fresh cases of the crippling disease in 2007, has been exporting polio strains across India. An alarmed health ministry has now marked 72 blocks in Bihar as high risk. These blocks or the ones adjacent to them accounted for three-fourths of the total polio cases in the state in the past five years. In 2007, 90% of P1 cases were found in these blocks. According to experts, polio immunisation activities are being intensified in these blocks. A special immunization drive was conducted on January 13 in these 72 blocks. A ministry official told TOI:

Packs of cigarette and beedi or hand-rolled cigars will carry pictorial warnings but not grisly depictions of mouth ulcerations due to cancer, a group of ministers decided after a meeting here Tuesday evening. The ministers also decided that the size and the picture content - of a scorpion or lung - would be decided later. "There will be no more GoMs (group of minister meetings) on this issue. We collectively agreed that pictorial warnings will be carried on beedi, cigarette and all tobacco products,' said Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi after the meeting, which began Tuesday 5.50 p.m. and ended at 7 p.m. Dasmunsi said the information and broadcasting ministry would decide on the picture and the size - either 30 per cent or 40 per cent coverage of the packet - and forward it to chairman of the GoM Pranab Mukherjee this week.

All tobacco packets sold in India will soon have either of the two mild images

A Group of Ministers (GoM) on Tuesday recommended using pictorial warnings on cigarette, beedi and tobacco product packs but did not set any time-frame for its implementation. Chaired by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the GoM also decided to tone down the nature of pictures and reduce the size of warnings from 50 to 30 or 40 per cent of the pack size. "The chairman will decide on the kind of pictures, which are either a scorpion or lungs and the size of the pictures in consultation with the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister,' Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after the meeting. He said this was the last meeting of the GoM and the final decision on the nature and size would be taken by this weekend. Notification According to Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, a notification on pictorial warnings would be issued once a decision was taken on the picture and the size. However, the government would run a two-phase campaign to create awareness on the issue before implementation. "Importantly, we want to give time to the Labour Ministry to look for alternative jobs for those who could, if any, be affected by these warnings,' Dr. Ramadoss said. The first phase would be started in the next financial year and depending upon its outcome, the second phase would be launched, Dr. Ramadoss said.

Two years ago, Parliament passed the food safety act. Till date the union health ministry has not notified the law in full, nor has it formulated rules under the act. Instead, the ministry has now signed an agreement with the us to draw up standards for import and export of food and medicine.

KOLKATA, Feb. 13: School-going children in West Bengal are more prone to get addicted to tobacco products. Thanks to the lack of awareness among people in these parts about the dangers of tobacco use. This was revealed by a voluntary organisation, West Bengal Voluntary Health Association (WBVHA) this afternoon who have been engaged by the Union health ministry to spread awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco.

the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently launched a national programme on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases

Doctors in 12 states went on strike in the first week of December protesting mandatory rural posting. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare came up with the proposal in July. A

the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has set up a new department for health-related research. The unit aims at setting up a mechanism for coordination among government agencies to help

the Union ministry of health and family welfare has given the go-ahead for including an expensive vaccine into the country's immunisation programme despite the absence of scientific data. A meeting