News Brief

After RSS letter, Centre may leave out cervical cancer shot from immunisation scheme: Indian Express

The letter had claimed that including the HPV vaccine in the programme will divert ‘scarce resources from more worthwhile health initiatives’.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will, in all likelihood, not introduce a cervical cancer vaccine in its universal immunisation programme, the The Indian Express reported, quoting sources in the ministry.

The decision comes just days after the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the vaccine, the report said.

Cancer of the uterine cervix, or cervical cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India. Nearly a lakh women die of the disease every year in the country. India’s universal immunisation programme – a central government-funded scheme – aims to ensure that women and children get better access to essential vaccines.

Gardasil and Glaxosmithkline market the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine in India. It is mainly used in the private sector. A single dose costs around Rs 3,000 and two to three doses are necessary for vaccination.

According to the news report, a technical advisory body on immunisation is still mulling over whether to include the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine to treat cervical cancer in the programme. However, the Health Ministry is unlikely to include the vaccine regardless of the decision of this body – the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation – the report said, quoting highly placed sources in the ministry.

The advisory body discussed introducing the vaccine into the programme at a meeting on December 19, but did not come to a decision. But in the days before the meeting, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch wing of the RSS reportedly wrote to the prime minister.

The wing’s national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said they were worried that the programme will divert “scarce resources from more worthwhile health initiatives” to a vaccine of “doubtful utility”.

“Swadeshi Jagran Manch requests you to stop this move to introduce Human Papilloma Virus vaccine in India, and we recommend the strongest action against groups that pervert science, which brings ignominy to the scientific community in the country and sells the country to vested interests,” the letter said, according to The Indian Express.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

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Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.