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Modi govt aims to revamp public health scheme, lower costs after criticism: Report

India’s health ministry has trimmed its cost estimates for extending its main public health programme by 25% after criticism from a federal think-tank over inefficiency and slow progress, according to government documents seen by Reuters. The new estimate of $25 billion for a three-year extension of the flagship health programme, down from an initial figure of about $33 billion, comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes a multi-pronged agenda to revamp health services. Planned reforms include streamlining spending and bureaucracy, slashing prices of life-saving drugs and medical devices, and nudging companies…

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Google Allo Web Client Still a Month or Two From Public Release

Google’s Web client for its smart messaging app, Allo, is still few months away from public release, according to Nick Fox, VP, Communications Products at Google. Fox last week confirmed the new timeline for Allo Web client in a tweet while replying to a user who wanted to know launch details. Fox in a tweet said, “I’m using Web client every day and loving it. Team is working hard to get it out ASAP, but we’re still a month or two from public release.” The tweet was first reported by…

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China’s Smoggiest City Closes Schools Amid Public Anger

China’s smoggiest city closed schools on Wednesday, as much of the country suffered its sixth day under an oppressive haze, sparking public anger about the slow response to the threat to children’s health. Since Friday a choking miasma has covered a large swathe of northeastern China, leaving more than 460 million gasping for breath. Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, was one of more than 20 cities which went on red alert Friday evening, triggering an emergency plan to reduce pollution by shutting polluting factories and taking cars off the…

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E-Cigarettes a ‘Major Public Health Concern’: US Surgeon General

E-cigarette use is exploding among young people and is now “a major public health concern,” the US Surgeon General warned Thursday, sparking disagreement from experts in Britain where the devices are seen more favorably. The battery-powered devices heat a liquid containing nicotine into a vapor that is inhaled, and some experts worry that a new generation of smokers is becoming addicted. About one in six US high school students say they have used e-cigarettes in the past month. “E-cigarette use has increased considerably in recent years, growing an astounding 900…

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Mexico Declares Public Health Emergency Over Obesity, Diabetes

Mexico has declared a public health emergency over the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes. According to health officials, the decision was made after the National Institute of Statistics and Geography confirmed that between 2014 and 2015 the number of people who died of diabetes rose by more than 4,000, Xinhua news agency reported. In that period, diabetes-related deaths increased from 94,000 to 98,450, the Health Ministry announced. At a press conference on Monday, Deputy Minister of Health Pablo Kuri said the statistics led officials to take the unprecedented measure….

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Bike lanes are a sound public health investment

A woman rides a bicycle along a designated bike lane on Queens Boulevard in the borough of Queens in New York, U.S., May 5, 2016.  (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton) Every $1,300 New York City invested in building bike lanes in 2015 provided benefits equivalent to one additional year of life at full health over the lifetime of all city residents, according to a new economic assessment. That’s a better return on investment than some direct health treatments, like dialysis, which costs $129,000 for one quality-adjusted life year, or QALY, said coauthor Dr….

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