Lack of awareness and access to quality healthcare are two major causes for unsafe abortions in India:HCFI

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Sensitizing women in rural areas about the use of contraceptives and safe delivery is the need of the hour

New Delhi, 7th May 2019: About half (48%) of all pregnancies in India are unintended largely because women, both married and unmarried, have no information about safe sex or don’t have access to contraceptives, indicates a recent study. Women are denied sex education in school and information about contraceptives and abortion services out of it, which result in millions of unintended pregnancies every year.

Some of the leading causes of unsafe abortions include poverty, gaps in health services, and teen pregnancy. Abortions are also mostly undertaken by unskilled persons in unregistered places. The need of the hour is large-scale awareness and better regulation of the healthcare sector to provide quality services to all, including contraceptives, safe delivery and abortions.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “One of the major reasons for the high rate of abortions in India is the lack of access to knowledge about contraception. This results in high rates of unplanned pregnancy. Apart from this, abortion pills can be effective and safe when administered correctly. However, many women may not have the right information on how to use them properly, which can prove fatal to their health over time. Only a certain percentage of women may have access to abortions using medication. This makes it imperative to provide the others with accurate information on how to use abortion pills and give them access to quality healthcare in case of any complications.”

An estimated 800,000 women in India undergo unsafe abortions through the traditional methods to abort the unwanted fetus. Some of them also go to untrained pharmacists, chemists and informal vendors for the process, indicates the study.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Education and awareness on contraceptives and abortions go hand in hand. Assessing the situation, the need of the hour is to make safe abortion a reality and available across the country. Pregnancy can be terminated surgically or medically. The concern is around medical abortions, done through pills that are either orally or vaginally inserted. While there is a need to improve facilities in public healthcare for safer abortions, awareness programmes can prevent many women from getting into complications through incorrect use of medications.”

Abortion is a highly restricted process in India. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971), permits abortions before 12 weeks of pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner or before 20 weeks of pregnancy with the approval of two registered medical practitioners, but only if the mother or child’s mental or physical health is in danger.

Precautionary measures necessary to prevent hemophilia from extending to vital organs

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India has the second-highest number of hemophilia patients

New Delhi, 18 April 2019: Despite improvement in medical technologies for the treatment of hemophilia, nearly 80% of Indians with the serious blood disorder are not diagnosed due to the absence of proper diagnostic facilities in the remote areas. India with nearly two lakh cases is estimated to have the second highest number of patients with hemophilia. The condition is usually inherited and about 1 in every 5,000 males is born with the disorder.

Hemophilia is a rare genetic bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. As a result, a person suffers from spontaneous and bleed for a longer time after sustaining an injury. This occurs due to the absence of a certain protein called clotting factors required for stopping the bleeding. The intensity of the condition depends on the amount of clotting factor present in the blood.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Females are carriers of hemophilia. It is not a life-threatening disorder unless the bleeding extends into a vital organ. However, it can be severely debilitating and there is no known cure for this disorder. About a third of new cases are caused due to a new mutation of the gene in the mother or the child. In cases where the mother is a carrier and the father does not have the disorder, there is a 50% chance of the male child having hemophilia and 50% chance of the female child being a carrier. One should see a doctor in case the following symptoms show up: a severe headache, repeated vomiting, neck pain, blurred or doubled vision, extreme sleepiness, and continuous bleeding from an injury.”

Hemophilia is of three types: A, B, and C and the difference between the three lies in the deficiency of a specific factor.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The primary treatment for hemophilia is called factor replacement therapy. In this, the deficient factor is replaced by concentrates of clotting factor VIII (for hemophilia A) or clotting factor IX (for hemophilia B). These can be collected and purified from blood plasma or produced artificially in a laboratory (recombinant). They are given to the patient as an injection through a vein (intravenous) directly into the blood.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Adequate physical activity can help maintain body weight and improve muscle and bone strength. However, avoid physical activity that can cause injury and resultant bleeding.
  • Avoid blood-thinning medication such as warfarin and heparin. It is also better to avoid over-the-counter medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Clean your teeth and gums thoroughly. Get tips from your dentist on how to do this without making the gums bleed.
  • Get tested regularly for blood infections and get your doctor’s advice on hepatitis A and B vaccinations.

Hypothermia is a major cause of mortality during winter in India

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Avoid hypothermia in this winter by taking certain necessary precautions

New Delhi, 20th January 2019: According to a recent report, about 44 people died in Delhi between 1 January and 6 January, includng a two-year-old child due to the cold weather conditions. Several of these deaths may probably be due to a condition called hypothermia.

Hypothermia is generally defined as having a core body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and can occur when the outside environment gets too cold or the body’s heat production decreases.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “People can die of hypothermia in the winter season. Imagine a situation when you come across people lying in an area with no clothes early in the morning. One of them is shivering and the other one is not. The one who is shivering indicates that his body is trying to compensate with the low body core temperature. The other one, who is not shivering, may be dead, dying or normal. Recall your naturopathy teaching Sar Thanda, Pet Naram and Paon Garam. If the sole of the feet and the feet are cold and the person is not shivering, this is a medical emergency. On the contrary, if the person is not shivering and the feet are warm, it is not medical emergency. Therefore, hypothermia with no shivering and hyperthermia with no sweating are bad signs.”

An individual may suffer from hypothermia if he or she has been exposed to cool temperatures and shows one or more of the following signs: slowed or slurred speech; sleepiness or confusion; shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs; poor control over body movements; slow reactions, or a weak pulse.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “In hypothermic deaths, a person can be revived even after hours of cardiac arrest. Only once the body temperature is brought back to normal CPR will be effective. That would mean that consciousness gets frozen and does not leave the body when the temperature is below 35°C. This forms the basis for induced hypothermia after death to revive the brain.”

Some tips from HCFI

Here are a few tips to help older people avoid hypothermia.

  • Make sure your home is warm enough. Set the thermostat to at least 68 to 70 degrees.
  • Even mildly cool homes with temperatures from 60 to 65 degrees can lead to hypothermia in older people.

To stay warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers. Wear several layers of warm loose clothing to help trap warm air between the layers. In India, wear a monkey cap.

  • Use a blanket to keep your legs and shoulders warm and wear a hat or cap indoors.
  • When going outside in the cold, it is important to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens to prevent loss of body heat through your head and hands. A hat is particularly important because a large portion of body heat can be lost through the head.
  • Check if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you consume can increase your risk for hypothermia.
  • Remember hypothermia with no shivering is a bad sign

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