A field report published on 13 January 2017, by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S.A, revealed a unique case of a Washoe County resident who was infected by a superbug during her extended visit to India last year. The 70-year old unnamed woman died of septic shock as her body was unresponsive to 26 different antibiotics available in the U.S.
On 18th August 2016, she was admitted to an acute care Reno hospital after receiving multiple treatments over two years in India for right femur fracture and subsequent osteomyelitis of the right femur and hip. U.S. doctors speculate that hospital treatments in India infected her with the superbug as such bacteria are uncommon in the U.S. Her most recent hospitalisation in India was in June 2016.
CDC doctors later discovered that the woman was infected with CRE (carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae) – the general name of the bacteria which commonly resides in the gut and even fends off carbapenems, the antibiotic used as a last resort when all other antibiotics fail. CDC Director Dr. Frieden named CRE ‘nightmare bacteria’ due to its power to spread antibiotic resistance in the host body and easily communicate in hospital settings.
The woman was put in insolation in the Reno hospital and was unresponsive to all 14 drugs administered. A wound sample sent to CDC Atlanta later revealed that the CRE, identified as Klebsiella pneumonia, was also unresponsive to 12 other antibiotics. Further tests concluded the presence of New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) – the main enzyme responsible for the ineffectiveness of carbapenems. After undergoing treatment in the US for two months, the woman died in September last year as her body rejected all drugs and deteriorated rapidly.
CRE infection has deadly consequences when it enters the bloodstream and kills half the patients affected by it. This is the second instant of the NDM-1 bacteria infecting a foreign national. The bug was first identified in 2009 when it was found in a Swedish patient hospitalised in India.
Lei Chen, an author of the CDC report and a senior epidemiologist with Washoe County Health District, found the whole experience overwhelming as it was her first encounter with such multi-drug resistant bacteria in her area. Resistance rate is low in countries like USA, but common in India – a country known to suffer from major superbug issues. The problem of unregulated sale of prescription drugs makes the rate of resistance to antibiotics high in India. Furthermore, unsanitary living conditions, poverty, misuse of drugs, rising use of antibiotics for boosting poultry growth aids bacteria to become multi-drug resistant.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.