Budget 2019 must focus on making One Health a reality in India: HCFI

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

All health-related aspects must come under the ambit of single department

New Delhi, 28th June 2019: As the nation gears up for the first set of policies to be announced by the new government, it remains to be seen what the powers-that-be have in store for India’s healthcare sector. Making simple, accessible, and affordable healthcare a reality is the need of the hour as is the idea of ensuring that the concept of One Health turns into a reality in the country.

In most nations world over, inter-sectoral coordination has been established by the concerned governments, to consult with each other, share their knowledge, and provide effective and efficient means to control emergence of such diseases as per protocols set by the World Health Organization under their one health programme.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The time has come for health professionals, environmentalists, and agriculture professionals to work collaboratively and develop solutions to various problems which are increasing with each passing year. Although the One Health programme is in place in India, it does not seem to be getting the right results due to different administrative and ministerial controls. It has often been seen that allocation of budgets are spread over different ministries looking after the human, animal, agriculture, and environmental health programmes.”

One Health is a concept that incorporates human, animal, plant, and environmental health (air, water, earth) under one roof. It recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals, plants and the environment.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “At present, the ministries of health, agriculture, rural development, environment, road transport, climate change, earth sciences, water, Women and child development, Swatch Bharat Program, ICMR, ICAR, IARI, etc., are looking after their respective matters of human concern.”

The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI would request the government to consider the following while framing guidelines for the budget.

  • Bring administrative and budgetary control of all such schemes of all segments that deal with health of humans, animals, environment-climate change, agriculture production, and disease control, under one roof namely “One health Program”. This will enable the scientists working in these sectors independently on prevention and control of diseases that have potential to shift their host from one sector to other, and these can be better researched and controlled.
  • Allocate common budget or link these budgets for these programmes so that more intersectoral cooperation and sharing of knowledge takes place. Besides, overlapping of programmes in these ministries will also go away to a large extent and thus would also result in more saving of financial outflow.
  • Provide emergent care services free of cost or reimbursed to the private sector by the government.

Precaution and not panic is the key in preventing Nipah infection: HCFI

Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine, Social Health Community Comments Off

Monitoring and surveillance are the need of the hour

New Delhi, 6th June 2019: A total of 314 people have been quarantined and placed under observation for having been in immediate contact with the 23-year-old youth diagnosed as having contracted the Nipah virus. The boy, however, is stable and eating well. Two more persons were admitted to the Government Medical College (GMC), Ernakulam, taking the numbers of suspected Nipah infections to seven. The need of the hour is to educate the public on taking precautions and not panic.

Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, which causes severe disease in both humans and animals. The associated mortality is high. The natural hosts for the Nipah virus are the fruit bats of the Pteropus genus, which are symptomless carriers.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “About 60% diseases in humans and 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature and are spread from animals to humans. Nipah is an emerging disease. Many re-emerging diseases such as avian influenza are also transmitted from animals to humans. Animals are also susceptible to some diseases and environment hazards similar to humans. Hence, they may also be early warning signs of impending human illness. Zoonotic diseases should be identified at their animal source itself and acted upon at that point of time in the cycle. And, instead of considering a human patient as the index case, the infected animal should be the index case.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “There are lessons to be learnt from the Nipah outbreak. Monitoring systems should be in place preempt any future outbreaks. Disease surveillance should be continual and not episodic. It is also of utmost importance to increase public awareness about these diseases so that they can take due precautions. Otherwise, a small outbreak such as this may well turn into an epidemic.”

With geographical boundaries fast disappearing today, the pathogens get greater opportunity to rapidly travel around the world to different locations where they were previously unknown. However, there is no need to panic and some precautions must be taken to prevent the infection from spreading.

  • Ensure that the food you eat is not contaminated by bats or their feces. Avoid consuming fruits bitten by bats.
  • Avoid drinking toddy that is brewed in open containers near palm trees.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who has contracted the disease. Sanitize and wash your hands thoroughly if you happen to visit someone with NiV.
  • Clothes, utensils and items typically used in the toilet or bathroom, like buckets and mugs, should be cleaned separately and maintained hygienically.
  • It is important to cover the face while transporting the dead body of anyone who dies after contracting Nipah fever. Refrain from hugging or kissing the dead person and take precautions while bathing the body before cremation or burial.

Parents should model the behavior they want their children to adopt: HCFI

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Tech-free time is imperative for adults and children alike

New Delhi, 5th June 2019: Children who are exposed to violent video games were found to more likely pull the trigger in real-life situations, when compared to kids who don’t indulge in such gaming habits, recent research has warned. In its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the WHO has classified addiction to digital and video gaming as a mental health disorder. There is a need to raise awareness on both the physical and mental health hazards of this addiction, especially in children.

In those with a ‘Gaming disorder’, gaming takes precedence over other activities to the extent that everything else is pushed to the periphery. The condition can lead to significant distress and impairment in personal, familial, social, educational or occupational functioning. Apart from this, it can also cause disturbed sleep patterns, diet problems and deficiency in physical activities.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “A person addicted to gaming can spend anywhere between 10 and 14 hours a day playing. Most of these people have some underlying social and psychological conditions as well. For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of enough severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months. Increasingly, there is a lack of interaction among family e members primarily because each of them is engrossed in some screen or the other. And children emulate what parents and other elders do.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Recovery from this condition can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks of intense cognitive therapy. Under this, they are taught how to handle the craving for playing games, counter discomfort, and focus on other healthier recreations. Children alone can’t be corrected. Today, parents hardly have any time to spend with their children unlike old times. It is important for them to give children adequate time and attention to prevent such addictions. Presence cannot and should not be substituted by presents.”

Many parents wake up to this disorder in their children only when there is a drastic drop in academics, a failure in professional life, or visible social alienation. Some preventive tips that parents can adopt, from HCFI.

  • Interact with children: Instead of giving them a phone to keep them busy, spend some time interacting with them and talking to them. This will eliminate the need for a device.
  • Put computers or TVs in shared spaces: This way it will be easier to keep track of their usage and limit screen time.
  • Opt for a tech-free time: Ensure devoting few hours in a day to zero screen time for the entire household.
  • Watch your habits: If, as parents, you devote a lot of time to mobiles and computers, children are naturally inclined to follow suit. Be a positive role model for them.
  • Eat together: Meal times should be free from screens and a time for the family to sit together and eat. Make this a practice.
  • Indulge in physical activity: Ensure that the children spend sufficient time in outdoor activities. This will make them less prone to using Smartphone.

« Previous Entries