Low-income nations including Bhutan, Nepal spend more than India on health

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Low-income nations including Bhutan, Nepal spend more than India on health

India spends 1% of its gross domestic product on public health. According to the National Health Profile 2018 report there is one allopathic doctor for 11,082 people in the country’s villages.

INDIA Updated: Jun 20, 2018 07:03 IST

Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A lone medical officer handling the emergency ward as well as the OPD at Bhagta Bhai Ka 30-bed community health centre in Bathinda district.
A lone medical officer handling the emergency ward as well as the OPD at Bhagta Bhai Ka 30-bed community health centre in Bathinda district.(Sanjeev Kumar/HT File Photo)

India’s public health expenditure — 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) — may have witnessed a marginal improvement from 0.98% in 2014, but it is still way behind even the low-income countries that spend 1.4% on an average, shows National Health Profile 2018.

India is spending even less than some of its neighbours countries such as Bhutan (2.5%), Sri Lanka (1.6%) and Nepal (1.1%), according to the annual report released on Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, the health intelligence wing of the directorate general of health services in the Union ministry of health and family welfare.

In World Health Organisation’s South-East Asian Region, which includes 10 countries, India finishes second last, above only Bangladesh (0.4%), when their health expenditure is compared. Maldives spends 9.4% of its GDP to claim the top spot in the list, followed by Thailand (2.9%).

India’s National Health Policy 2017 proposes raising the public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP by 2025.

“We are working on it and are hopeful of meeting the target. It won’t happen overnight but we are on the right track. If you look at the healthcare indicators such as maternal and infant mortality rate, we are improving at a greater rate than the global target,” Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said.

Shortage of doctors is still a problem, with one allopathic doctor for 11,082 people in the country’s villages, as per the report.

The report also shows reduction in the number of deaths due to malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, with 104 people dying in 2017 compared to 331 death reported the previous year.

Trump Says He Will Probably Support Marijuana Legalization Bill

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE)

 

Trump Defies Sessions by Saying He Will ‘Probably’ Support Marijuana Bill

The president appears to be joining a group of lawmakers pushing back on the attorney general’s marijuana policy

Could Trump really support a bill that would end federal marijuana prohibition? Evan Vucci/AP/REX Shutterstock

Before heading on a trip abroad that will take him to the G-7 summit in Canada on Friday, and then to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong-un early next Tuesday, President Trump hinted that he is likely to support a bill introduced Thursday that would protect state marijuana laws from federal interference. “I really do,” Trump said when asked outside the White House on Friday whether supports the bill, which was co-authored by Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado. “I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting it, yes.”

Though over half of all states have passed some form of legislation legalizing marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule I narcotic along with heroin, LSD and other drugs the government deem to have “no currently accepted medical use.” Marijuana business is growing rapidly in states where it is legal, but federal restrictions have led to a number of complications. Most banks, for instance, refuse to have relationships with marijuana-related companies, for fear prosecution from federal law enforcement.

“There are federal laws about not being able to put your money into banks if the money comes from illegal activities,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, who co-authored the bill with Gardner, explained Thursday morning on MSNBC. “So long as the sale of marijuana is illegal at the federal level, that means that marijuana stores that are perfectly legal in Colorado or Massachusetts or other states have to do an all-cash business. It’s dangerous and it’s dumb.”

The STATES – or Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States – Act would remove marijuana from the federal schedule of controlled substances in states where it is legal, and allow financial institutions to deal with marijuana businesses as long as those business are legal under state law. The Tenth Amendment reserves that states are in control of all “powers” not outlined in the Constitution. “Our founders intended the states to be laboratories of democracy and many states right now find themselves deep in the heart of that laboratory, but its created significant conflict between state law [and] federal law,” Gardner said alongside Warren as they introduced the bill on Thursday.

Though the bill would largely strip away federal influence from how states are able to enforce their marijuana laws, there are a few caveats. The bill holds that employees of marijuana businesses must be 18 years or older, and that recreational marijuana may only be sold to people 21 and over. It also stipulates that dispensaries may not be set up at rest stops along interstate highways.

Though the president has in the past voiced a desire to leave marijuana legalization up to the states, many have wondered if this latest expression of support may be a result of his intensifying feud with his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization and has used his position as the government’s chief legal authority to crack down on convictions related to the drug. In January, Sessions put an end to an Obama administration policy that limited the degree to which federal authorities could enforce marijuana law in states where the drug was legal. Gardner, whose home state of Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana, criticized the move immediately.

Cory Gardner

@SenCoryGardner

This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.

Cory Gardner

@SenCoryGardner

I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.

Gardner isn’t the only lawmaker pushing back against Sessions’s draconian stance on the drug, and those supporting reform have stressed the bipartisan nature of their efforts. In April, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and California Democrat Kamala Harris wrote a letter to the attorney general asking him to cease blocking research in to marijuana’s medicinal properties. As Gardner and Warren introduced the STATES bill on Friday, Representatives Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, and David Joyce, a Republican from Ohio, introduced a companion bill in the House. At a news conference Thursday, Warren said, “lining them up like Noah’s Ark as they come on two-by-two,” in reference to her and Gardner’s desire to match each of the bill’s co-sponsors with one from the other party.

Despite the attorney general’s vigilant opposition to any form of legalized pot Gardner has said he’s received multiple assurances from President Trump that he would support a bill giving power back to the states, and the president’s comments Friday morning reinforce the belief that he will ultimately endorse the bill. Trump has in recent months made good on several controversial campaign promises, including removing American from the Iran deal and relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Marijuana reform could soon be added to the list.

“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump told the Washington Post while campaigning back in 2015. “Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen – right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

Charles Krauthammer ‘Only A Few Weeks Left To Live’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Charles Krauthammer Pens Final Column: ‘Only A Few Weeks Left To Live’

“This is the final verdict. My fight is over,” the Washington Post columnist wrote.
X

In his final column for The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer announced he has only weeks to live.

Krauthammer explained he’s spent most of the last year recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his abdomen.

Although the operation was initially thought to have been successful, Krauthammer said he’s been fighting “a cascade of secondary complications” ever since.

FNC

“It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health,” he wrote.

However, the cancer returned and is spreading rapidly.

“My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over,” he wrote.

Krauthammer said he is ”grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”

He added:

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.

In a separate column, the Post’s editorial staff honored Krauthammer, saying, “His unsparing judgments were cheered by some readers while angering others. But few could disagree that he wrote a column of breathtaking range and intelligence and integrity.”

Krauthammer graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1975 even after suffering a diving accident as a freshmen that left him paralyzed for the rest of his life, according to Fox News.

He switched to journalism in the early 1980s after spending some time writing speeches for Walter Mondale.

Krauthammer became a columnist for The Washington Post in 1985 and won a Pulitzer Prize two years later.

Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire includes Fox News, responded to Krauthammer’s column with a tribute tweet, saying the pundit’s “always principled stand on the most important issues of our time has been a guiding star in an often turbulent world.”

Fox News

@FoxNews

A statement from Rupert Murdoch on Charles Krauthammer’s cancer diagnosis. https://fxn.ws/2xVqH3d 

 

Severed rattlesnake head bites Texas man, nearly kills him

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

 

Severed rattlesnake head bites Texas man, nearly kills him

A Texas man is recovering after he claims the head of a rattlesnake bit him — moments after he had just cut it off.

Jennifer Sutcliffe’s husband was reportedly bitten by the beheaded snake on May 27 at his home near Lake Corpus Christi.

Sutcliffe told KIII-TV the two were doing yard work when she came across the four-foot rattlesnake. She said her husband used a shovel to behead the snake, but when he went to dispose of it, it bit him.

The snake, Sutcliffe said, “released all its venom into him at that point” because it no longer had a body, and her husband reportedly began immediately experiencing seizures and internal bleeding, and lost his vision.

The man was transported via helicopter to a hospital, where doctors said there was a chance he wouldn’t make it.

RARE TWO-HEADED SNAKE DISCOVERED IN BACKYARD

“A normal person who is going to get bit is going to get two to four doses of antivenom,” Sutcliffe told the news station. “He had to have 26 doses.”

Her husband is now in stable condition but is suffering from weak kidney functions, Sutcliffe said.

While it’s rare to die after being bitten by a snake, roughly one to two people die each yearin Texas as a result of the venom, according to the state’s Parks & Wildlife Department.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Groundbreaking Treatment Cures Woman’s Advanced Breast Cancer in World First

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN)

 

Groundbreaking Treatment Cures Woman’s Advanced Breast Cancer in World First

A Florida woman is still alive thanks to a unique style of immunotherapy in treating her aggressive breast cancer.

Doctors and cancer patients around the world are taking note of an incredible piece of news. A new therapy has reportedly cured a woman diagnosed with advanced breast cancer which had spread throughout her body.

This marks the first time that a woman with advanced, late-stage breast cancer has successfully been treated with immunotherapy. The team of doctors used patient Judy Perkins’s own immune cells to combat the disease.

Perkins was just 49 years old when the engineer discovered she’d been picked for a new therapy. She’d already undergone chemo treatments which continued to fail her. At best, Perkins had three years left to live.

Doctors from the US National Cancer Institute located in Maryland suggested the immunotherapy. They called her response to the treatment “remarkable.”

“My condition deteriorated a lot towards the end, and I had a tumour pressing on a nerve, which meant I spent my time trying not to move at all to avoid pain shooting down my arm. I had given up fighting,” Perkins said in an interview with The Guardian. “After the treatment dissolved most of my tumours, I was able to go for a 40-mile hike.”

Laszlo Radvanyi serves as a scientific director at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Like many keeping up with this news, Radvanyi was not involved in treating Perkins. However, he’s certainly taking notice — calling the treatment “an unprecedented response in such advanced breast cancer.”

“We are now at the cusp of a major revolution in finally realising the elusive goal of being able to target the plethora of mutations in cancer through immunotherapy.”

“We are now at the cusp of a major revolution in finally realising the elusive goal of being able to target the plethora of mutations in cancer through immunotherapy,” Radvanyi said.

Doctors now hope for a major revolution in treatment opportunities available for patients. Some research teams are already developing massive clinical trials to determine just how effective immunotherapy could be for certain patients.

Simon Vincent, director of research at Breast Cancer Now, told interviewers: “This is a remarkable and extremely promising result, but we need to see this effect repeated in other patients before giving hope of a new immunotherapy for incurable metastatic breast cancer.

“Metastatic breast cancer remains incurable, and if we are to finally stop women dying we urgently need to find new ways to target and stop the spread of the disease. We are thrilled by this early finding, but we must remember that this type of immunotherapy remains an experimental approach that has a long way to go before it might be routinely available to patients.”

The process of immunotherapy takes biopsies of the primary tumor and its metastases to determine any mutations specific to a patient’s cancer. Those immune cells that made it through tumor tissue then get cultivated into billions of immune cells in a lab. The tumor tissue itself goes through a bit of gene sequencing so researchers know the main mutations of the tissue. The immune cells being grown then get analyzed to see which ones can target cancer specifically. Those immune cells are the ones that get put back into a patient in order to kill the cancer cells.

SCIENCE

18-Year-Old Boy Designs a Bra That Can Detect Breast Cancer

Perkins had over 80 billion immune cells put into her body. After 42 weeks of treatment, Perkins was declared free of cancer.

She’s been free of cancer ever since.

“It feels miraculous, and I am beyond amazed that I have now been free of cancer for two years,” Perkins said.

“I had resigned my job and was planning on dying. I had a bucket-list of things I needed to do before the end, like going to the Grand Canyon,” she added. “Now, I have gone back to normal everyday life.”

Via: The Guardian

U.S. hospital refuses to help premature twins born alive, leaves them to die

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘LIFE SITE’ NEWS AND ‘NEWS BIOETHICS’)

(IF THIS ARTICLE IS TRUE, HOW IS THIS NOT A CASE OF DOUBLE FIRST DEGREE PREMEDITATED MURDER?)

Lisa BourneFollow Lisa

NEWS

U.S. hospital refuses to help premature twins born alive, leaves them to die

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twin premature newborn boys died at an Ohio hospital last year while staff stood by refusing to give them medical assistance, a pro-life group is reporting, and the hospital classified the boys’ deaths as stillbirth.

Both boys were born alive at 22 weeks and 5 days gestational age at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, according to the report.

The first born, Emery, survived for 45 minutes. His younger brother, Elliot, lived for two and a half hours, even crying, and his mother, Amanda, begged for help to no avail.

Alarming footage released today by Created Equal shows both boys just after their births.

Amanda is shown in the video beseeching in the case of Emery, “You guys are going to save him, right? Promise me they’re going to save him.”

Amanda then says, “Look at him, please save him.”

Amanda is shown holding and speaking to her newborn boys in the video.

Later in the video, she tells Elliot, “Mommy tried, Mommy tried.”

Amanda had been told by the hospital her boys would be stillborn or breathe only for a moment after birth, according to her statement included in the Created Equal report, but the video shows otherwise.

Additionally, an attending physician’s notes confirm the boys were born at 22 weeks, five days, the time at which many healthcare professionals say is the marker of viability.

Even though Emery and Elliot were born alive, Riverside Methodist Hospital released Amanda with stillbirth discharge papers.

“I was discharged with instructions for care after stillbirth,” Amanda said. “But Emery and Elliot were not stillborn. They were born alive and died as Riverside Methodist Hospital staff denied my pleas for help.”

The pro-life group released the video after attempts to have the incidents addressed internally were unsuccessful, the hospital calling the matter “closed.”

LifeSiteNews inquired with the hospital regarding its policy on determining when medical aid is provided to preterm babies. Media relations staff responded initially saying the inquiry was being submitted to leadership for women’s health at the hospital, but a response could not be guaranteed by press time.

Amanda begged repeatedly for help

While the video footage is heartbreaking, Created Equal Director Harrington said it represents just a portion of Amanda’s appeals to Riverside Methodist staff save her children.

“She pleaded with them many times before and after birth to aid the babies,” Harrington told LifeSiteNews.

Harrington said as well that some of Amanda’s paperwork had been changed, and the boys’ ages were scratched out.

“Which makes me think they needed to cover their tracks,” Harrington said.

“There is evidence that Amanda’s children were either right at the limit or below when it comes to receiving care,” he said. “Determining the age of a preborn baby is not an exact science. Still, the staff should have erred on the side of life, being that the children were apparently born at 22.5 weeks, even though the age put on the paperwork is disputed.”

We consider this matter closed’

Created Equal had assisted Amanda in filing a complaint with OhioHealth’s Ethics and Compliance office, but the group said those efforts were rebuffed.

“The ethics and compliance department has investigated and addressed the concern brought by the caller,” the hospital compliance office said in its response. “If further incidents occur, please notify compliance line or local management …. We consider this matter closed.”

“Hospital regulations and rules don’t take into the account the human factor,” said Harrington. “I understand that hospitals need to limit when to use their resources to save a premature baby, but the cold and calculated way the staff disregarded the pleas of Amanda is outrageous.”

“Rules should be guidelines,” he said, “but not black and white determiners of life and death.”

They can feel pain, they could live

Harrington noted that Ohio law penalizes abortionists who kill unborn children after 20 weeks because science considers that viability.

“We need to be consistent and save premature babies born alive below 22 weeks gestational age,” he added.

To date, there has been no real recognition from the hospital of the incident, according to the Created Equal report, nor condolences communicated to the grieving family.

“The family is very disturbed by what happened,” Harrington told LifeSiteNews.

Amanda, the boys’ father Shaun and others, continue to grieve the loss of Emery and Elliot, he said, and they are greatly concerned for others to whom similar incidents may occur. While they do want justice, the family’s last name is redacted for their privacy.

OhioHealth is a non-profit, charitable healthcare system of the United Methodist Church. Based in Columbus, it consists of 10 hospitals, more than 200 ambulatory sites, hospice and other assorted health services throughout a 47-county area.

Emery and Elliot

Amanda went to Riverside Methodist Hospital on June 24, 2017 with bleeding, concerned for her twins. She was at 22 weeks, 2 days in her pregnancy.

Hospital staff informed her that if she delivered prior to 22 weeks, 5 days gestation, there’d be no assessment of her boys and no attempt to resuscitate them.

Emery and Elliot were born three days later at 22 weeks, 5 days gestation.

Despite making it to that critical point in gestation set out by the hospital, Riverside Methodist staff still told Amanda as she labored the boys were coming too early and that its neonatal intensive care unit would not attempt to aid the boys.

“Emery was born first,” Amanda said. “No medical team member was present. He landed on the edge of the bed.”

“My mother demanded assistance from the nurse’s station,” she continued. “A neonatal doctor did come in, but just wrapped Emery in a blanket, put him under a heat lamp, and opened his mouth.”

“Emery did not merely “breathe for a moment,” said Amanda. “He survived for about 45 minutes before passing away without any assistance from hospital staff.”

A couple of hours later, she began to contract again. This time, a doctor delivered Elliot, cut the cord, and laid him on her chest.

“Elliot was bigger than Emery,” Amanda recalled. “Not only was he breathing, like Emery, but he was also crying. But no one assessed his needs. He lived for two and a half hours while they did nothing.”

“Though I repeatedly asked staff to help or assess my babies, I was told they were born too young,” she said. “But there is no documentation to prove they were born too young.”

“In fact, I had been told previously they would not help if the babies were born before 22 weeks and 5 days. Documentation shows I was admitted at 22 weeks 2 days and the babies born at 22 weeks 5 days,” Amanda said. “Nevertheless, when I begged for help, they refused.”

Viability

Harrington points to a 2015 study by the New England Journal of Medicine that says babies born at 22 weeks have a greater probability of survival than was previously thought – provided they are given assistance.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Edward Bell, a pediatrics professor at the University of Iowa, told The New York Times at the time that he considers 22 weeks the new standard of viability.

“That’s what we think, but this is a pretty controversial area,” Bell said. “I guess we would say that these babies deserve a chance.”

At the time of the 2015 New England Journal of Medicine study, a Newsweek reporton the study said there are about 5,000 babies born at 22 weeks in the U.S. each year.

Created Equal also cited a number of cases where children younger than Emery and Elliot were given assistance after their births and lived.

Harrington told LifeSiteNews incidents like what happened with Amanda and her boys are occurring elsewhere, and he believes they are the result of the Obamacare healthcare law. While this is the first case he’s aware of with this hospital, Harrington said he’s certain the case is not unique.

He cautions people not to trust the medical profession will always have you or your family’s best interest in mind.

“The tragic story of Amanda and her twins Emery and Elliot is not an isolated incident and is taking place in hospitals across America,” he said. “Amanda just happened to capture this incident on film.”

Contact information for respectful communications:

Riverside CEO David Blom
Ph: 614-544-4412

New nano treatment gives cancer patients fresh hope

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

New nano treatment gives cancer patients fresh hope

The world’s first surgery using NanoGun technology — jointly developed by Chinese and French scientists — was performed on a lung cancer patient in Shanghai yesterday.

The new minimally invasive treatment, which can be used on patients deemed no longer healthy enough for chemotherapy, injects the radioactive element rhenium-188 covered with nano-particles, including nitroimidazole — an organic matter.

While engulfing the nitroimidazole, the cancer cells also take in the rhenium, which eventually kills the tumor.

The patient, 71, was in the terminal stage of lung cancer and was too ill for further chemotherapy.

“It usually takes three days for the rhenium to kill the cancer cells,” said Gao Yong, the doctor in charge of the operation at Shanghai East Hospital. “There won’t be any side effects (from the rhenium) as the element will lose its radioactivity after three days.”

NanoGun is a Shanghai-based technology developed from scratch. It won China’s top innovation award in 2016.

Yang Guanghua, one of the scientists who helped develop the technology, said that although rhenium had long been ideal to treat cancer, there had been no ideal medium for delivery. It often diffused throughout the body and was hard to be absorbed by the irregular shaped cancer cells.

It took Yang and his colleges almost 10 years to find the right coating material, nitroimidazole, which matches perfectly with rhenium to make sure it directly reaches the nidus, or “nest”, of the cancer.

“Diffusion of the element (rhenium) hindered the effectiveness of the treatment in the past,” said Dr. Sadeg Nouredine, one of the French scientists working with Yang.

The surgery, approved by the hospital’s ethics committee as part of the treatment’s clinical trial, was free.

“We are working on the next stage of the technology in the lab,” said Yang. “So that it can hit multiple niduses simultaneously.”

If the trial succeeds the treatment will be available by 2020, by which time Shanghai will have built a pharmaceutical factory and hospital in Songjiang District to provide rhenium.

Zimbabwe Couple Weds Days After Crocodile Bites Off Bride’s Arm

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

In this photo taken on May, 5, 2018, Zenele Ndlovu walks down the aisle on her wedding day at a hospital Chapel in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
In this photo taken on May, 5, 2018, Zenele Ndlovu walks down the aisle on her wedding day at a hospital Chapel in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
AP Photo
By FARAI MUTSAKA / AP

9:48 PM EDT

(HARARE) — A couple attacked by a crocodile wedded days later in a Zimbabwean hospital, where the bride was recovering after losing an arm.

“In one week we went from shock and agony to a truly amazing experience,” 27-year-old Jamie Fox told The Associated Press Monday.

Fox and his then fiancée, Zanele Ndlovu, were canoeing on the Zambezi, one of Africa’s longest rivers when a crocodile attacked them on Apr. 30. Zenele lost her right arm and suffered injuries to her left hand. Five days later, they married in a hospital chapel.

“We were glad we still had our lives and managed to keep our wedding date, although we had to do with a much smaller venue. The celebrations went ahead at the original venue but Zenele and I had to remain at the hospital,” Fox said.

He described the wedding as “incredible.”

Victoria Falls Guide, a travel website, describes canoeing on the Zambezi above the Victoria Falls “the perfect activity for those who not only want to see the abundant bird and animal life but also want to experience the peace, tranquility and beauty of the Zambezi River.”

For the couple, the experience turned into a terrifying incident.

“I was shouting, trying to save her. She was not complaining of pain when we managed to pull her out of the water, maybe because of the shock. We were hoping the doctors would save her arm but that was not to be,” said Fox, adding that the couple had dated for about 18 months.

“I proposed in February. We are hoping to settle in the U.K. so we are sorting out her visa and then we will think of the honeymoon,” he said.

Zanele was discharged from the hospital on Monday.

Tibetan Medical Technology Ancient And Current Genius

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Technology boosts medical practice in Tibetan hospitals

SEED germinators and western medical equipment are no longer novelties in Tibetan hospitals, as researchers and doctors become increasingly technologically adept.

Tashi Tsering with the Biological Research Institute of Tibetan Medicine at Lhasa’s Men-Tsee-Khang — a traditional Tibetan hospital founded in 1916 — has been growing meconopsis aculeata under controlled conditions for six years.

A rare member of the poppy family, the flowering plant grows only at high altitude and is used in 257 traditional remedies, principally for liver complaints.

As global warming pushes the snow line upward, the plant’s habitat has shifted from 3,000-4,000 meters above sea level to 5,000. This, coupled with a growing demand, has resulted in even greater scarcity, Tsering said.

He and his team surveyed 37 counties in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet and Yunnan before their first attempt to cultivate the plant.

“We scored zero on our first try,” he said. No seeds sprouted in 2011 at the test site in Lhasa, despite the light, temperature, moisture and soil having been meticulously controlled to simulate the natural habitat.

In the second year, the germination rate rose to 17 percent. In 2015, the team harvested their own seeds for the first time and this year almost 90 percent of them sprouted. Despite the achievement, it is too early to begin celebrations until technical assessment and lab tests confirm the reliability of the home-grown product.

Traditionally, Tibetan medical practitioners spent years learning to gather herbs, with instructions so sophisticated that they had to memorize which part of each herb to pick under which weather and seasonal conditions and at which time.

The institute has grown 27 endangered herbs in artificial conditions over the past decade and a new laboratory now houses a variety of equipment including germinators, climate incubators, soil testers and imaging systems.

“To meet the rising demand for Tibetan medicine, artificial cultivation of medicinal herbs is a must,” Tsering said.

Tibetan medicine’s influence is expanding beyond the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

For example, An’erning granules, a remedy for the common cold in children and approved by the State Food and Drug Administration, is a leading pediatric patent medicine nationwide.

Considered incurable

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, considered incurable in western medicine, is claimed to be 94 percent successful in the Arura Hospital in Xining where Tibetan doctors use a holistic approach including medicated bathing, special diets and psychology.

Konchok Gyaltsen, honorary president of the hospital, believes it is the combination of philosophy and herbalism that creates and maintains a healthy mind and body.

Dorje, director of the Qinghai Provincial Tibetan Medicine Research Institute, argues that Tibetan medicine was advanced even in ancient times, with Tibetan physicians performing brain and cataract surgery 1,000 years before their western counterparts. At the Qinghai Tibetan Culture Museum in Xining, dozens of surgical instruments used 1,300 years ago are on display.

Trump Administration Supports Health Programs That Will Sabotage Treaty Rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY’ NEWS AGENCY)

 

Trump Administration Supports Changing Indian Health Programs That Will Sabotage Treaty Rights

Trump administration maintains tribes are a race rather than sovereign governments and Indian Health should not be exempt from Medicaid’s ‘race-based’ work rules

The Trump administration is supporting a major policy shift on Indian health programs which could result in a loss of millions of dollars to the Indian Health Service while also sabotaging treaty rights.

A story in Politico Sunday raised the issue. It said, “the Trump administration contends the tribes are a race rather than separate governments, and exempting them from Medicaid work rules — which have been approved in three states and are being sought by at least 10 others — would be illegal preferential treatment. ‘HHS believes that such an exemption would raise constitutional and federal civil rights law concerns,’ according to a review by administration lawyers,” Politico said.

Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed in January that the Health and Human Services contends that tribes are a race as opposed to a separate sovereign government, thus not exempt from Medicaid work rules.

Administrator Seema Verma

@SeemaCMS

This survey is very insightful. Doctors know that helping individuals rise out of poverty can be the best medicine! https://twitter.com/merritthawkins/status/981252838239154178 

The Trump administration has allowed Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana to institute work-requirements in order to eligible for Medicaid. Other states are in the process of seeking similar requirements where Medicaid participants would have to work some 20 to 80 hours each month in order to continue receiving the health insurance.

A graphic on Medicaid expansion by state.

Screen capture via ‘Families USA’

A graphic on Medicaid expansion by state.

The new policy on Medicaid work requirements “does not honor the duty of the federal government to uphold the government-to-government relationship and recognize the political status enshrined in the Constitution, treaties, federal statutes, and other federal laws,” said Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. “Our political relationship is not based upon race.”

“The United States has a legal responsibility to provide health care to Native Americans,” Mary Smith, who was acting head of the Indian Health Service during the Obama administration and is a member of the Cherokee Nation, told Politico. “It’s the largest prepaid health system in the world — they’ve paid through land and massacres — and now you’re going to take away health care and add a work requirement?”

Medicaid has become a key funding stream for the Indian health system — especially in programs managed by tribes and non-profits. Medicaid is a state-federal partnership and public insurance. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid eligibility, but the Supreme Court ruled that each state could decide whether or not to expand. Since the expansion of Medicaid some 237,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives in 19 states have become insured.

Officially Medicaid represents 13 percent of the Indian Health Service’s $6.1 billion budget (just under $800 million).

But even that number is misleading because it does not include money collected from third-party billing from tribal and non-profit organizations. In Alaska, for example, the entire Alaska Native health system is operated by tribes or tribal organizations and the state says 40 percent of its $1.8 billion Medicaid budget is spent on Alaska Native patients. That one state approaches the entire “budgeted” amount for Medicaid.

Other states report similar increases. In 2016, Kaiser Family Foundation found that in Arizona, half of one tribally-operated health system’s patient visits were covered by Medicaid. And, an urban Indian Health program reported that its uninsured rate at one clinic fell from 85 percent before the Affordable Care Act to under 10 percent due to Medicaid enrollment.

Those Medicaid (and all insurance) dollars are even more significant because by law they remain with local service units where the patient is treated (and the insurance is billed). In Alaska more than two-thirds of those dollars are spent on private sector doctors and hospitals through purchased care for Alaska Native patients. And, unlike IHS funds, Medicaid is an entitlement. So if a person is eligible, the money follows.

A recent report by Kaiser Health News looked at Census data and found that 52 percent of residents in New Mexico’s McKinley County have coverage through the Medicaid.  That’s the highest rate among U.S. counties with at least 65,000 people. “The heavy concentration of Medicaid in this high-altitude desert is a result of two factors: the high poverty rate and the Indian Health Service’s relentless work to enroll patients in the program,” Kaiser reported. Most of McKinley County is located on the Navajo and Zuni reservations.

Kaiser Health News said Medicaid has opened up new opportunities for Native patients to “get more timely care, especially surgery and mental health services. It has been vital in combating high rates of obesity, teen birth, suicide and diabetes, according to local health officials.”

However the growth of Medicaid is resulting in unequal care for patients in the Indian health system. The benefits in some states, including those that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, are more generous. Other states not only refused to expand Medicaid and have been adding new restrictions such as requiring “able-bodied” adults to have their Medicaid eligibility contingent on work.

But the Indian health system — the federal Indian Health Service and tribally and nonprofit operated programs — are in a special case because there is a 100 percent federal match for most services. So states set the rules, but do not have to pay the bill. (Medicaid is often the second largest single item in a state budget behind public schools.)

Medicaid is the largest health insurance program in America, insuring one in five adults, and many with complex and long-term chronic care needs. The Trump administration and many state legislatures controlled by Republicans see Medicaid as a welfare program. While most Democrats view it simply as a public health insurance program.

Work rules are particularly challenging for Indian Country. Unlike other Medicaid programs, patients in the Indian health system will still be eligible to receive basic care. So stricter rules will mean fewer people will sign up for Medicaid and the Indian Health Service — already significantly underfunded — will have to pick up the extra costs from existing appropriations. That will result in less money, and fewer healthcare services, across the board.

A letter from the Tribal Technical Advisory Group for Medicare and Medicaid said American Indians and Alaska Natives “are among the nation’s most vulnerable populations, and rely heavily on the IHS for health care. However, the IHS is currently funded at around 60 percent of need, and average per capita spending for IHS patients is only $3,688.” The latest per person cost for health care nationally is $10,348 (totalling $3.3 trillion, nearly 20 percent of the entire economy).

Uninsured rate for nonelderly American Indians and Alaska Natives from 2013-2015.

Screen capture Kaiser Family Foundation

Uninsured rate for nonelderly American Indians and Alaska Natives from 2013-2015.

The tribal advisory group said it is “critically important” that there be a blanket exemption for IHS beneficiaries from the mandatory work requirements.

A report in September by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that the majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives on Medicaid already work, yet continue to face high rates of poverty. It said over three-quarters of American Indians and Alaska Natives are in working families, but that’s a gap of about 8 percent compared to other Americans (83 percent).

Income and work status for nonelderly American Indians and Alaska Natives from 2015

Screen capture Kaiser Family Foundation

Income and work status for nonelderly American Indians and Alaska Natives from 2015

The Trump administration’s characterization of tribal health programs as “race-based” is particularly troubling to tribal leaders because it would reverse historical precedence.

A memo last month from the law firm of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “has ample legal authority to single out IHS beneficiaries for special treatment in administering the statutes under its jurisdiction if doing so is rationally related to its unique trust responsibility to Indians. Under familiar principles of Indian law, such actions are political in nature, and as a result do not constitute prohibited race based classifications. This principle has been recognized and repeatedly reaffirmed by the Supreme Court and every Circuit Court of Appeals that has considered it, and has been extended to the actions of Administrative Agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services even in the absence of a specific statute.”

(The National Congress of American Indians is the owner of Indian Country Today and manages its business operations. The Indian Country Today editorial team operates independently as a digital journalism enterprise.)

Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter 

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