Wishing a Happy International Nurses Day to all in the profession

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Need to provide better opportunities and career progression for nurses in India

New Delhi, 12th May 2018: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) wishes all those in the nursing profession a very happy International Nurses Day. May 12th is celebrated as International Nurses Day every year on the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale – one of the world’s most famous nurses. The theme for this year is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Health is a Human Right.

Several aspects of medical care require trained individuals such as nurses. But, despite being a noble profession, nursing seems to be dying in India. This is perhaps due to a perceived lack of career advancement in the profession. As a result, the country currently faces a shortage of nearly 4 million nurses.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The theme this year is apt as Florence Nightingale was a leader in the profession and is regarded as the founder of modern nursing. Through her committed and compassionate approach she exemplified patient care for nurses. Not just on one day, but it is important to celebrate and recognize the hard work and contribution nurses make to health sectors all around the world. Nurses are often the first healthcare professional to come into contact with patients. They play a significant role in increasing life expectancy and reducing child and maternal mortality in both urban as well as rural India. The complexity of medical and healthcare practices today demands that nurses are fully involved in the planning, implementation, research and evaluation that goes into the successful delivery of patient care.”

As per the MCI code of ethics, physicians should recognize and promote the practice of nursing as a profession and work in tandem with nurses whenever there is a need.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “The National Health Policy, 2017 envisages innovation in nursing and other similar professions. With Indian nurses taking on greater local, national and international roles, there is also a need to ensure that they are able to get adequate professional development opportunities. Human resource policies in our country also need to be modified accordingly with increased involvement of nurses in policy development.”

HCFI Facts about nursing

• The 1st nursing school was established in India in 250 B.C.
•Nursing has been consistently named as one of the most trusting professions.
• There are over 100 nursing specialties to choose from such as Advanced Practice nursing, Clinical nursing, Community health nursing, Surgical nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric nursing and Maternal-Child nursing.
• General nursing practices are universal all over the world.
• Nurses walk 4 miles (6.5 km) a day on an average.
• Nursing students make up more than half of all health profession students.

Heart transplants show an increase in India; despite this, awareness on organ donation needed

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Myths and misconceptions about organ donation in India should be removed

New Delhi, 11 May 2018: There has been a ten-fold increase in heart transplantations in India since 2016, thanks to improved coordination between donation, retrieval and transplantation, as per recent estimates. About 300 heart transplantations took place across India in two years, as per data provided by the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organization (NOTTO), the national coordinating agency for cadaveric organ donation. What is encouraging is that even Tier 2 cities have emerged as transplantation hubs.

A heart transplant surgery is a highly sensitive procedure during which heart with damaged heart muscles, artery or valve is replaced with a fully functional and a healthy heart retrieved from a recently deceased individual.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Most organs retrieved after brain death remains alive for hours before they are transplanted in next person. Once blood is taken from a person it can be stored for months before being given to next person. The story of dancer Claire Sylvia who after receiving heart and lung transplant developed the traits of the donor (change in sexual preferences from male to female, change in the liking of color from red to green and blue, new acquiring taste for chicken and beer) talks about the concept cellular memory and that memory and consciousness can remain alive and even transfer to other persons during transplantation. However, this may not happen in everyone.”

The process of recovering organs is called harvesting. This organ is transplanted into the recipient who needs that organ. There are two types of organ donation: Live Donation and Deceased or Cadaver Donation.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Although the statistics indicate that there has been an increase in the number of heart transplants, there is a need to raise further awareness. People need to be sensitized on the fact that they can live even after death through organ donation. There is also a need to remove myths and misconceptions about organ donation and spread the message around.”

HCFI demystifies some myths

• Age is not a barrier for organ donation. Even people above the age of 80 have become organ and tissue donors.

• There is no requirement to be in perfect health for donation. Even those who smoke, drink or don’t have a healthy diet can donate.

• Organ and tissue donation do not disfigure the body in any way.

• In case of an accident, the doctor will always try to save the life of the victim first. Organ donation is considered as an option only when the person dies due to certain circumstances.

Long-term use of topical steroid creams can be detrimental for the skin

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Over-the-counter purchase and use of creams must be avoided

New Delhi, 18th April 2018: Uninformed application of anti-fungal creams, and technologies like hair transplant have become serious public health issues. A particular area of concern is the use of fairness creams. Many of the beauty creams available over the counter or at beauty salons contain steroids. The need of the hour is to create awareness that their long-term use may lead to a condition called ‘topical steroid-damaged face’.

Overuse of creams also leads to something called ‘steroid addiction syndrome’ wherein a person finds it difficult to stop its use. Such blatant abuse of products damages natural complexion and makes the skin lose its usual thickness, eventually leading to skin ageing.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI),said, “Many people take recourse to creams available over the counter for fungal infections. This can cause more damage as there is a lack of awareness about their side effects. The fact that such creams give fast results is what makes them opt for it, with some people even using them for months or even years. A dermatologist, on the other hand, only prescribes them for a fixed duration beyond which it is advisable to not use these creams and medications, unless advised. Many creams should be brought under Schedule H drugs. There is also a need to impose some amount of censorship on advertisements which claim that the use of certain creams lightens the skin.”

Some typical features of topical steroid overuse and withdrawal include burning, stinging, and bright red skin. These may either occur within few days of use or over a period of few weeks.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “It is important to stop the use of topical steroids, only under the supervision of a doctor. Although there isn’t any one treatment, certain home remedies and medication can help in relieving the itching that may persist once the steroid is withdrawn. Some examples include ice and cool compresses, ointments and balms, and oatmeal baths.”

Some other tips from HCFI to relieve pain and itch for those with this condition.

  • Select a detergent that will not irritated the skin. It is also recommended to cycle your washing machine with vinegar or bleach to prevent bacteria from growing.
  • Wear clothes that are made of 100% cotton fabric.
  • Use soft towels and blankets that do not rub against the skin and irritate the rashes further.
  • Keep your skin cool and avoid hot environments till the allergy subsides.
  • Avoid food and environmental triggers that may cause the rashes to flare up.

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