Delhi superbug a symptom of India’s ills

April 13, 2011

By Neha Arha

From objecting to biological samples in the form of “swabs of seepage water and tap water” being smuggled out of the country “on the sly” by British scientists, to calling the resultant Lancet report a western plot to kill India’s potentially $2.3 billion medical tourism industry, New Delhi’s defensive rhetoric appears misplaced as cases of poor health standards surface each day in India’s capital city.

A child drinks water from a tap in a slum area of New Delhi June 4, 2003. REUTERS/FilesA study, published last August in The Lancet Infectious Diseases citing the drug resistant NDM-1 bug that had evolved in India, and named after New Delhi, raised global concerns when the World Health Organisation endorsed the report.

Since its release, the Indian health establishment has downplayed its findings, and alleged a conflict of interest over the report’s funding.

However, despite its public misgivings, India has begun drafting a policy to regulate the use of antibiotics to prevent bugs from becoming resistant to drugs and recommending a ban on non-therapeutic usage of antibiotics in animals and farms to curb the spread of NDM-1 like bacteria in humans.

Even as India’s finance minister showered a 20 percent hike in the annual health budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, the country’s 2 percent of GDP spending on health is paltry compared with the 9-11 percent of GDP spent by European countries.

The government is pushing for increased surveillance and chlorination of drinking water in response to the NDM-1 threat, but India’s creaking health care systems still appear distinctly unable to properly service its 1.21 billion population.

About 20- 50 percent of all antibiotic use in India is inappropriate, the policy being drawn up by the country’s Ministry of Health says.

In Asia’s third-largest economy, despite huge economic advancement, poor sanitation levels, contamination of water supplies, and a severe lack of medical infrastructure has fuelled the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

For example, India accounts for one-fifth of the world’s tuberculosis cases, with two Indians dying of the disease every three minutes. Resistance to antibiotics is a major issue cited by authorities as a barrier to treating the disease, The Hindu reported.

Even if the merit of the Lancet report is questioned, can New Delhi survive the impending health care issues of its growing population?


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It is high time that India has to focus on Public health and education systems. Both are deteriorated in serving needy over period of time.

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After 6 months of offering stem cell therapy in combination with the venous angioplasty liberation procedure, patients of CCSVI Clinic have reported excellent health outcomes. Ms. Kasma Gianopoulos of Athens Greece, who was diagnosed with the Relapsing/Remitting form of MS in 1997 called the combination of treatments a “cure”. “I feel I am completely cured” says Ms. Gianopoulos, “my symptoms have disappeared and I have a recovery of many functions, notably my balance and my muscle strength is all coming (back). Even after six months, I feel like there are good changes happening almost every day. Before, my biggest fear was that the changes wouldn’t (hold). I don’t even worry about having a relapse anymore. I’m looking forward to a normal life with my family. I think I would call that a miracle.”
Other recent MS patients who have had Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation (ASCT), or stem cell therapy have posted videos and comments on YouTube.
Dr. Avneesh Gupte, the Neurosurgeon at Noble Hospital performing the procedure has been encouraged by results in Cerebral Palsy patients as well. “We are fortunate to be able to offer the treatment because not every hospital is able to perform these types of transplants. You must have the specialized medical equipment and specially trained doctors and nurses”. With regard to MS patients, “We are cautious, but nevertheless excited by what patients are telling us. Suffice to say that the few patients who have had the therapy through us are noticing recovery of neuro deficits beyond what the venous angioplasty only should account for”.
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Autologous stem cell transplantation is a procedure by which blood-forming stem cells are removed, and later injected back into the patient. All stem cells are taken from the patient themselves and cultured for later injection. In the case of a bone marrow transplant, the HSC are typically removed from the Pelvis through a large needle that can reach into the bone. The technique is referred to as a bone marrow harvest and is performed under a general anesthesia. The incidence of patients experiencing rejection is rare due to the donor and recipient being the same individual.This remains the only approved method of the SCT therapy.

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