From zero to export, here’s how India ramped up PPE making
US and China are its biggest trade partners
With a 1.3 billion population, India is a highly dense country. The imposition of a sudden lockdown meant critical equipment like PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), masks, and other medical equipment were in low supply. Due to the global outbreak, imports were also difficult to find since the demand was too high.
The initial cases of Coronavirus were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in November 2019. While the outbreak was limited initially, it gradually spread across China, followed by other countries, and reached a critical stage in March.
Many countries implemented a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. While these curfews helped reduce the spread of the virus, it also handicapped industries because the normal flow of goods and production was adversely affected. Adding to this, developing countries were worse hit because their healthcare system is weak and under-equipped.
India rising to the occasion
However, India was able to find a home-grown solution. The country went on to start exporting Coronavirus goods within a few months. California-based financing company Drip Capital released a detailed report that gives us an insight into India’s production response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The report considered 14 categories of medical-related products that were shipped between January and July of 2020. The data is directly compiled from India’s Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). These categories include textiles, disinfectants, test kits, soap, rubber, gloves, footwear, and other medical equipment.
In a nutshell, the industry clocked a growth of US$ 150 million when compared to the same period last year. The country was in a lockdown state for almost two months. PPE demand among medical workers, contact tracers, and other essential workers was extremely high. The textile category alone contributed to the growth of US$ 40 million, followed by test kits at US$ 26 million, disinfectants at US$ 28 million, and soap at US$ 12 million.
PPE production in full swing
What’s even more interesting is, India had zero domestic manufacturing capacity for PPEs in January. A few restrictions were placed on exports in January due to a shortage of inventory, and a complete ban was placed in March. The government released massive tenders to encourage domestic production, and the country was making 700,000 to 800,000 PPE kits a day by June.
Once domestic demand was fulfilled, the government opened up exports, and a milestone was reached in October when India delivered 1.8 million N95 masks to the US. The effect is quite easily visible as the country exported goods worth US$ 539 million in the first seven months of 2020.
In comparison, India exported goods worth US$ 532 million in the whole of 2019. Hence it’s safe to assume this year’s exports shall be almost twice that of last year.
70 percent of all exported goods originated from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. On the other hand, India’s top trade partners were spread across the globe. The US single-handedly imported goods worth US$ 98 million, followed by China at US$ 37 million, Germany at US$ 30 million, and the Netherlands at US$ 22 million.
Indian goods were in high demand in smaller countries like the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. A natural edge that Indian goods have is their pricing. Being a developing economy with a substantial population engaged in agriculture and textile, PPE was a perfect commodity that helped grow small scale industries.
How Watsons is revolutionizing wellness in the Philippines
More holistic solutions for everyone!
Watsons recently held its Race for Wellness last March 5, 2023. Over 6,000 participants have joined the race — from casual and serious runners to fitness enthusiasts, and even groups of friends and families.
The event solidifies the brand’s commitment to becoming the ultimate health and beauty partner for every Filipino. After all, Watson’s enables Filipinos to achieve a balanced lifestyle through its holistic solutions, products, and services.
The race for wellness
After a long flight from Spain, I headed to the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds where the race took place. Instead of just attending the event as a part of the media, I also participated even though my body wasn’t in the condition to take a race. What a brave soul, aren’t I?
The Race for Wellness offered different categories: 5K, 10K, and 21K. Each distance has plenty of surprises along the way, from drum beaters and cheerers to Filipino-themed Wellness zone obstacles. Foam and water fest stations were also set up, which got me sprinting when I passed through them on my 5K race.
Of course, your boy crossed the finish line swiftly, ranking 30th overall with a 28:53 chip time and 29:03 gun time. On another note, an awarding ceremony was held for the winners per category. For 21KM, Welfred Esporma topped the males with 1:14:51 gun time while April Rose Diaz finished strong at 1:36:20.
Alfrene Braza swiftly ran through other males at the 10K race with 0:34:20 gun time, followed by Saltanat Simbina topping the women with 0:48:27 gun time.
Meanwhile, the 5K race was dominated by Mark Angelo Biagtan (0:17:08) and Princess Valerie (0:25:38).
Wellness is for everyone
Watsons believe that wellness is for everyone, inviting anyone to join the race. Aside from runners, fitness enthusiasts, and even celebrities, Cancer survivors from the Philippine General Hospital have also participated in the event.
“The fun run is one of Watsons’ many ways to wellness, with the ultimate goal of encouraging everyone toward a healthy journey of always looking and feeling their best. Good health is a right and is needed to lead happy and productive lives. It, however, requires effort and making the right lifestyle choices,” says Jared De Guzman, Watsons Director for Customer Division.
Medical Associations namely, the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV), the Philippine Physical Therapy Association (PPTA), and the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO) were also present at the event to bring their support and amplify the call for health and wellness.
Revolutionizing health and wellness
While fun runs are one way of promoting good health and an active lifestyle, Watsons takes it up a notch with expert care, advice, and a platform for health literacy.
As a celebration of over 1,000 stores in the Philippines, Watsons launched its self-checkout counter. It also brought SkinFie lab, a scanner that gives free skin assessment.
In an interview with Jared De Guzman, the executive discussed with GadgetMatch its plans to promote the Watsons Health Hub. It’s an online one-stop shop offering subscription plans, laboratory and diagnostic tests, teleconsultations, and more.
De Guzman also discussed how medicines and other essentials are now easily accessible, thanks to Watsons mobile app. Customers can now purchase and pick up their orders from selected stores in just 30 minutes or less through Click & Collect. For those who want to receive the orders directly at their doorsteps, there’s also the Home Delivery Express.
The company is also driving health and wellness literacy, partnering with the Department of Health (DOH) and medical associations.
When asked when is the next Race for Wellness, Watsons hinted that in the coming months, it will focus on other forms of being active such as biking, dancing, and so on.
For your beauty and health needs, go to your nearest Watsons branch, visit the official website at watsons.com.ph, or download the official website on the App Store or Google Play. Visit the Watsons Health Hub for more health information and tips.
Apple champions menstrual health
With new preliminary findings from The Apple Women’s Study
Menstrual health is a very common and sensitive topic for us women, and yet it remains under-researched.
As someone who underwent ovarian surgery a few months ago, one of the things I learned from that experience is how reproductive health is often overlooked.
Usual symptoms like bloating, stomach cramps, and tiredness can be easily dismissed as “common” during periods. But these should always be monitored.
In fact, one out of ten women has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a health condition which can possibly affect fertility rate, menstrual cycles, changes in physical appearance, mental health, among other factors.
And yet, a huge percentage of women remains undiagnosed.
The Apple Women’s Study
This prevalent problem prompted Apple to create a digital study. It aims to gain a deeper understanding about the menstrual cycle and its relationship with a person’s overall health.
The Apple Women’s Study was launched in 2019 and is accessible via Apple Research App. It was done in collaboration with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
Anyone living in the US who has ever menstruated can participate in the study. They simply need to download the app in their iPhone and sign up for the research.
With the help of period tracker Cycle Tracking on Apple Watch, or Cycle Tracking in the Health app on iPhone, participants’ menstrual cycle data and survey answers from the study will be analyzed, and help inform the development of innovative products for menstrual cycles, risk assessment, and screening of gynecologic conditions.
New Preliminary Findings
Harvard Chan School researchers used survey data from the Apple Women’s Health Study to advance the scientific understanding around the relationship between persistently abnormal periods, PCOS, and endometrial hyperplasia and cancer.
Looking at a preliminary analysis cohort of over 50,000 study participants, the study team found:
- 12 percent of participants reported a PCOS diagnosis. Participants with PCOS had more than four times the risk of endometrial hyperplasia (precancer of the uterus). And more than 2.5 times the risk of uterine cancer.
- 5.7 percent of participants reported their cycles taking five or more years to reach cycle regularity after their first period. Participants in that group had more than twice the risk of endometrial hyperplasia. More than 3.5 times the risk of uterine cancer, compared to those who reported their cycles took less than one year to reach regularity.
Previous interim updates
The Apple Women’s Health Study team has previously shared a number of other interim research updates that highlight how large-scale, longitudinal research on menstruation can help advance the science around this topic.
- Research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology focuses on cycle deviations, like irregular or prolonged periods, which can be a sign of underlying conditions including PCOS, fibroids, malignancies, or infections. The study found cycle deviations were found in 16.4 percent of the study population. Black participants had a 33 percent higher prevalence of infrequent periods compared to white, non-Hispanic participants. Asian participants had a higher prevalence of irregular periods.
- Demonstrating just how common menstrual symptoms really are, researchers found the most frequently tracked symptoms were abdominal cramps, bloating, and tiredness, all of which were experienced by more than 60 percent of participants who logged symptoms. More than half of the participants who logged symptoms reported acne and headaches. Some less widely recognized symptoms, like diarrhea and sleep changes, were also tracked by 37 percent of participants logging symptoms.
After analyzing over 125,000 menstrual cycles, researchers found that participants experienced slightly longer menstrual cycles for cycles in which they received a COVID-19 vaccine. But participants’ cycles typically returned to prevaccination lengths the cycle after getting a vaccine.
How about data privacy?
According to Apple, participants can control the data types shared with the study. There’s transparency into how the data will be used for the purposes of the study.
What’s in it for users?
With iOS 16 and watchOS 9, the Cycle Tracking app can inform users if their logged cycle history from the previous six months shows a pattern of irregular periods, infrequent periods, prolonged periods, or persistent spotting.
Users are also able to learn about the Cycle Deviation detected. They can then export the last 12 months of their cycle history as a PDF to share with their provider.
By participating in Apple Women’s Health Study, women can actively monitor their cycle and common symptoms.
In this way, participants contribute to a great cause which can create more reproductive health awareness and help other women understand their period cycles better.
Apple Research App and Cycle Tracking is available on App Store.
Everything new with Apple Fitness+ this January 2023
New workouts, collections, and songs
Starting January 9, Apple Fitness+ users will enjoy more new offerings, from new workouts and trainers to new songs from Beyoncé.
Apple’s subscription-based fitness and wellness service has introduced a new total-body cardio Kickboxing workout under Fitness+.
Users can choose from 10-, 20-, or 30-minute-long variations which will be led by Jaime-Ray Hartshorne and Nez Dally.
In addition to the two new trainers, Brian Cochrane and Jenn Lau have been added to lead HIIT and Strength workouts, respectively.
Another new theme under Meditation, Sleep, has been launched, joining other themes like Calm, Gratitude, Resilience, and Creativity.
Sleep will consist of four 20-minute meditations that conclude with five minutes of relaxing music.
Everywhere else, Time to Walk gets new episodes, while two more Collections have been added to the Fitness+ roster: 6 Weeks to Restart Your Fitness and Level Up Your Core Training.
Lastly, Artist Spotlight will feature new music from Beyoncé, including songs from her latest album RENAISSANCE. These will be available across Cycling, Dance, HIIT, Pilates, Strength, Treadmill, and Yoga exercises.
Succeeding Beyoncé in the next two weeks are Foo Fighters (January 16) and Bad Bunny (January 23).
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