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US mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes amid youth ‘epidemic’

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WASHINGTON: US regulators said Wednesday they are considering an immediate ban on flavored e-cigarettes, as the Food and Drug Administration chief warned of an “epidemic” of vaping among youths.
The agency sent more than 1,100 warning letters and 131 fines to retailers it said illegally sold JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors during a nationwide undercover sting including brick-and-mortar and online stores this summer.
The crackdown marked the “largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history,” the agency said in a statement, warning of even harsher action to come.
“We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement.
“We’re especially focused on the flavored e-cigarettes. And we’re seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavored products from the market.”
Gottlieb cited preliminary data that has not yet been published, but which he said shows “youth use of e-cigs is rising very sharply.”
The data is expected to be published in the coming months. The FDA declined to release the figures publicly.
According to the Washington Post, the preliminary data is from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, and it shows a 75 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students in 2018 compared to 2017.
“I use the word epidemic with great care. E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous – and dangerous – trend among teens,” added Gottlieb.
“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end.”
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ president Matthew Myers, the FDA has made a crucial step toward curtailing youth use of e-cigarettes.
“Critically, FDA for the first time recognizes that it must be addressed by requiring that manufacturers remove flavored products from the market unless those products have been reviewed by FDA, alter current marketing practices, eliminate online sales and take significant steps to curtail illegal sales to kids,” Myers said.
He said the FDA move could “represent a fundamental turning point” if the agency requires “all of these products undergo premarket review now, not four years from now.”
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine liquid into a vapor that can be inhaled. Many use fruit-flavored liquids that critics say appeal to kids, and risk addicting them to nicotine.

 

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Tribals are content to get Sehat Insaf Cards

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1st Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Sports Fest

PESHAWAR: Sehat Insaf Card Programme recently launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan in merged tribal districts, has brought happiness and joy on faces of millions of tribesmen as they will now get free treatment in any top Govt and private hospitals of Pakistan.
The tribal people of erstwhile Fata here Friday expressed jubilation overextension of Sehat Insaf Card facility to the merged tribal district and termed it a gift of Prime Minister Imran Khan for millions of tribal people of former Fata. “I am very pleased to see an extension of Sehat Insaf Card to tribal districts as this facility would help hundreds of thousands of poor people to get free treatment in any top paneled Govt and Private hospital of the country,” Asghar Afridi, a resident of Khyber district told the Media.  “Sure, it was one of the long-awaited demands of people of tribal districts that were finally fulfilled by Prime Minister Imran. The Prime Minister has won hearts and minds of millions of tribesmen and the entire tribesmen are very thankful to him,” Afridi said.
“In the past, we have seen that poor tribesmen after being diagnosed with a fatal ailment like cancer or heart disease, had sold their houses, properties or precious agriculture lands to get treatment,” he said, adding tribesmen will not sell their houses, properties, and lands for treatment anymore. A record one million families of merged tribal districts would be benefited from this program and it would bring revolution in the health sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As per Sehat Insaf Card, a registered patient will get treatment up to Rs7,20,000 annually in any top panned Government or Private hospital of Pakistan. In case of recurrence of the disease, the said patient can avail treatment of another Rs7,20,000 for another year till he was fully recovered.
The beneficiaries will continue their indoor treatment in hospitals without facing financial constraints of payment of doctors and laboratories’ fees, medicines and surgical operations till they are fully recovered. The cardholders will also be allowed to get free treatment in case of fatal diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, emergency & trauma, end-stage renal failure & dialysis, organ failure management, cancer, and neuro-surgical procedures etc.
A household beneficiary consists of at least eight people including family head, his spouse and up to five children and one elderly dependent person in case the number of children is less than five. Following the successful implementation of Sehat Insaf Programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that covered over 69% of the needy population, the PTI Govt has taken a principal decision to extend it to merged tribal districts to provide free treatment to all poor tribal patients.
With the inclusion of tribal districts in this health insurance programme, it is expected that around 80pc population of KP will now get free treatment over the next five years. On February 15, Prime Minister had inaugurated launching of Sehat Insaf Card Programme in tribal districts to provide free treatment to ailing tribesmen and distributed the said cards among widows, orphans, senior citizens and poor tribal people.
The first phase of free treatment under Sehat Insaf Card is being started from Khyber and Bajaur districts and later being extended to other tribal districts of KP. Except for transplant cases, Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Kurram and Orakzai districts patients would now avail free treatment soon after being diagnosed with fatal ailments anywhere in the country. The patient will get free medicines for five years on time of discharge from hospital besides Rs1000 for transportation of luggage and Rs10000 for burial purposes in case of death.
The program covers patients of all age groups, starting from birth of a child to a senior citizen and both males as well as female are eligible to use this facility for indoor treatment. The program is being implemented with help of State Life of Pakistan and all families having PMT score under BISP survey list will get the said cards. The cards are distributed among deserving families strictly on merit and efforts would be made that no deserving family deprive of the facility. All the impaneled hospitals and service providers registered with KP Healthcare Commission and comply with provincial quality standards in KP were selected for treatment of the millions of beneficiaries.

 

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PIMS employees call off strike

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ISLAMABAD: The doctors, nurses and paramedical staff of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) today called off their ongoing strike on the assurance of Minister for National Health Services to address their concerns on the proposed draft of the legislation.
“Arising from this assurance the ongoing strike that we have embarked upon is hereby suspended. This is to show our trust on the assurance of the minister on our concerns about the certain amendments in legislation related to the hospital,” head of employees’ action committee PIMS Dr. Asfandyar announced this at a gathering of protesters.
Talking to media persons at PIMS, Minister for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Aamer Mehmood Kiani said, “We have looked at these issues and through the process, we have able to come to conclusion with the representatives of protesters. Now the dispute has been resolved.”
He said that the government was well aware of the issues of the doctors, medical and non-medical staff of PIMS.
He assured that the government will not take a decision about the legislation without taking inputs from the representatives of hospital staff. He said that the government would get suggestions from them and make it part of that legislation.
He made it clear that presently the only draft of the legislation has been approved and the final legislation would be made after satisfying the PIMS employees.
He said that a five-member-committee representing the PIMS employees will have a meeting with him to resolve all matters. He said that the government would address all genuine issues of the PIMS employees.
The minister also announced to reverse the suspension orders of some PIMS employees. He said that the government was committed to ensuring best medical care to the patients at all public sector hospitals and said that the role of doctors, nurses and the paramedical staff was important in this regard.
He said that more funds were being allocated to improve the standard of healthcare delivery system. He said that more facilities were being provided to federal capital major hospitals including PIMS to satisfy the patients.
Talking to media persons, Dr. Asfandyar said that the strike was suspended due to the mutual understanding reached between the representatives of PIMS employees and the minister. “We have reached an understanding after a lengthy deliberation which started one day back.”
He said, “We were able to reach an understanding and the employees have agreed to call off the strike, which is being implemented.” He said that the minister has accepted all the demands of the employees and assured full support to meet the genuine demands of the PIMS employees.
Dr. Asfandyar expressed optimism that the demands of the employees would be met in the coming days as agreed upon by the two parties regarding the decision of running the affairs of the hospital under a board of governors.
It is pertinent to mention here that the employees of PIMS had proceeded on an indefinite strike a week back at the hospital, in favor of their demands.

 

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‘Mother of the UAE’ orders deployment of field hospital in Balochistan

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ISLAMABAD: The wife of the founder of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has ordered deployment of a field hospital in Balochistan for the medical treatment of women and children.

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, commonly known as ‘Mother of the UAE’ has directed setting up hospital and mobile clinics in the villages of Balochistan, which will work under a one-year operational plan, Emirates News Agency (WAM) said on Friday.

Under the supervision of an Emirati-Pakistani volunteer medical team headed by the Emirati cardiac surgeon Dr Adel Al Shameri, the hospital will work in coordination with UAE embassy in Pakistan and the government and non-profit organizations.

The field hospital is a follow-up to the campaign’s previous humanitarian efforts in Sindh which benefited thousands of women and children through best diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and surgical services, WAM added.

The initiative is part of the Sheikha Fatima Global Humanitarian Campaign under the theme ‘Following the Footsteps of Zayed’.

Sheikha Fatima is the recipient of UNESCO’s Marie Curie Medal for her efforts in education, literacy and women’s rights, making her third international and the first Arab winner of the award.

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