No need to panic about chemicals in bread: AIIMS director

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) There is no need to panic about the presence of chemicals like potassium bromate and potassium iodate in the pre-packaged daily bread, but excess of anything should be avoided, AIIMS director M.C. Mishra said on Thursday.

“It might pose some danger but no individual eats entire pack of bread everyday… majority of people eat a piece or two at the most, so in the long-term, there is no need to panic much as has also been said by the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India),” he said.

Dr Mishra made the observation while inaugurating a conference on “Health Security for All”, organised by industry association, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

“Usage of chemical additives in food items should be minimised and replaced with fresh food items like eggs, fruits, vegetables and other alternatives… besides one should eat everything in moderate quantity,” said the director of the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

On the strike by the Federation of Resident Doctors Association) in Delhi for revision of 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations and an increase in their salaries and allowances, Mishra said: “We also take up our issues related to 7th Pay Commission and we will do that…”

“I feel the government should take care of hopes and aspirations of everyone and I understand that government is already thinking over this issue.”

Mishra also suggested that the government should launch a universal health service to ensure that every citizen is covered.

“Everyone should get some insurance, everyone should pay for their health, be it Re.1 or Rs.10 a day as per individual’s capacity, and the government and tax-payers should contribute for people who cannot pay at all, as there is no other way to answer challenges being faced by health sector in India,” Misra said.

He observed that a “majority of people are looking for free healthcare without paying a single penny, which is causing a problem”.

He said that Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme which is financed by contributions raised from employees (1.75 percent of wages) covered under the scheme and their employers (4.75 percent of wages) shows the way forward.

Quoting certain figures, he said that AIIMS saw almost 3.3 million patients in 2014, and of them 22 percent were from Uttar Pradesh, 11 percent from Bihar, 11 percent from Haryana, Punjab, Jharkhand and others.

“When I joined AIIMS in 1980, number of patients coming from UP was very, very small, but it has increased tremendously in last over 20 years because the healthcare facilities in the government and public sector in UP have gone down,” he said.

Misra said that healthcare should become one of the main topics during elections as health nowhere falls into the priority of citizens.

“Unfortunately, in India, we have never voted out or voted in any government which has done better or which has not done enough on the healthcare front,” he said.



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