WHO Declares Sri Lanka to be ‘Malaria-Free’
- World Health Organization (WHO) on 5th September declared Sri Lanka Malaria-free, after confirming that the life-threatening disease had been completely eliminated here.
- Sri Lanka’s road to elimination had not been simple. It demanded well-calibrated, responsive policies. Cases of malaria rose in Sri Lanka in the 1970s and 80s, the country revised its approach, intensively targeting the parasite in addition to targeting the mosquito.
- The declaration came at the 69th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia Region, in Colombo. A delegation from India, led by J.P. Nadda, the Union Minister for Health, is participating in the event.
- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena — who served as Health Minister in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cabinet — and the Ministry of Public Health of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea awarded the ‘Excellence in Public Health’ awards by the WHO South-East Asia Region for “their remarkable and sustained role in the public health gains” of their countries.
- Sri Lanka has, despite the protracted civil war that damaged the country, set high standards in public health and sanitation in South Asia, though it has been witnessing considerable privatization in the last decade.
- India is in the “control phase” with regard to malaria, but is working to reach pre-elimination by 2017 and to complete eradication thereafter, according to a 2015 WHO report.
Karnataka releases Cauvery water to TN
- Karnataka government has released water from the river Cauvery to the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu on 6th September, abiding by a Supreme Court order that numerous angry farmers protested by standing in the river water.
- Protests have been organized in opposition to the court’s ruling that Karnataka should let go 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu for 10 days, nearly twofold what it had been sharing. Water has been released from two of four dams.
- Karnataka has argued that because of less rain this year, it has hardly enough water for irrigation or even drinking. The state had offered 10,000 cusecs a day.
- Tamil Nadu had moved court after Karnataka released far less water this year than was decided in 2007 by a court-appointed committee.
- The water of the Cauvery river, which flows through southern Karnataka and then into Tamil Nadu, was originally divided according to nearly century-old agreements.
India to have 7 mega cities by 2030
- India is home to five mega cities, with over 10 million population, but by 2030 this number will go up to seven. Delhi will persist to be the second most densely inhabited city in the world till 2030, adding a staggering 9.6 million people to its population — the most in any mega city.
- The facts have been revealed in the 2016 World Cities Report issued by the UN’s department of economic and social affairs.
- Around the world, about 500 million people live in 31 such mega cities. That’s about 6.8% of the world’s population or 12% of the world’s urban population. The report calculates that by 2030, the count of mega cities will increase to 41 and their population to about 730 million or 8.7% of the world’s population.
- Other Indian cities featuring in 2016’s mega cities list are Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai. By 2030, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad will join them, as their individual populations would cross 10 million.
- The UN report shows that only a minority of urban dwellers actually live in mega cities. Approximately 21% of the world’s population stays in cities of population between 500,000 to 10 million, while an even larger share of 26.8% resides in smaller cities and towns with a population of less than 500,000.
- By 2030, the world’s population will unfalteringly shift to urban living with 60% of the estimated population living in cities, big or small. Presently, about 54% of the world’s population is urban.
- Most of the urban expansion is happening in developing countries in Asia and Africa. By 2030, as many as 33 of the 41 mega cities will be from the third world. Of the 47 cities that grew by over 6% each year between 2000 and 2016, six were in Africa, 40 in Asia (as well as 20 in China) and just one in North America.