World Malaria Day – 25 April 2017

World Malaria Day 2017 gets World Health Organization to place special focus on prevention of Malaria. This appears to be a critical strategy to assist in reducing the burden of a disease that continues to kill people every year! The new report put forth by WHO suggests the tools to be put to use for the prevention of the deadly disease.

The approach is firstly to focus on core vector control measures. And secondly, to work on the preventive treatment strategies for more vulnerable people affected by the disease. The current strategy also aims to address the biological threat of mosquito resistance to insecticides! Also we need to focus on innovative anti-malaria tools.

It was in May 2007 the WHO established World Malaria Day in the 60th session of the World Health Assembly that is WHO’s decision-making body. The day is meant to educate and understand malaria and earmarked for spreading information on sustained intensified implementation of malaria-control strategies.

For us in India, World Malaria Day is certainly very important and a health issue that needs continued attention. Health departments must commit for malaria prevention and control. They need to include community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas.

Ahead of World Malaria Day today, April 25 2017, WHO has been looking at long lasting insecticide treated mosquito net that is being described as an effective way of preventing malaria. The plan is to advocate use of mosquito nets in a big way, especially in regions of the world where the disease is rampant.

World Malaria Day is therefore focusing on mosquito nets as a most effective way to prevent malaria. The new found treated mosquito nets form a protective barrier around people sleeping under it. The insecticide in it not only kills mosquitoes, which carry the malaria parasites and other insects, but also repels mosquitoes. Thus treated mosquito nets are an effective means of preventing malaria occurrences.

Aside from such preventive measures there a certain basic things we need to take care of. It is essential to keep the environmental sanitation in place. Mosquitoes as we well know breed in dirty, wet environments. It is therefore important to safeguard our health from not only malaria but also be safe from transmission of other infections like Zika virus, chikungunya virus, yellow fever and dengue fever.

World Malaria Day is therefore a clarion call to safeguard ourselves from all mosquito-transmitted diseases. It is a day that highlights the need to inform one and all on the need to learn to avoid mosquitoes and to keep our immediate environment absolutely clean. HERD Foundation joins in the efforts to spread awareness about the importance of World Malaria Day.

 

HERD ORGANIC FARMS Organic Water Melons to Beat the Summer Heat

HERD Organic Farms is offering a bumper produce of its 100 percent organic water melons that are harvesting to peak season now. This super fruit is so healthy you should be eating it every day – all through summer. Watermelons are 92 percent just water. It’s a great food item if you want to lose weight. Also it’s a diuretic that helps reduce belly bloat. Lycopene found in water melons prevents prostate cancer.

Low in fat content water melon has good amount of Vitamin C it and has very little sugar. Even as you enjoy bite after bite of the delicious fruit you would be ingesting essential nutrients that include vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids with just a dash of potassium too. The fruit reduces depression and oxidative stress of brain thereby curbing neurological disorders.

Not many are aware that most of the fruit is entirely edible. After you have enjoyed eating the melon cubes or balls whichever way you prefer them, you might want to make juice with the left over deep red portions that you might not have been able to finish off. It is advisable never to keep a cut water melon for too long. Its best finished off in one go.

Skin off the water melons hard green covering to carve out its soft white rind that is also edible. Make kimchi, pickles or add it to stir fry vegetables. The seeds have a nutty flavor and you may dry roast them and add to food items. Look for interesting recipes on the internet that you will love to experiment with and you may then never throw away the rind portions ever.

You can make a delicious juice by adding a carrot, apple, ginger and lemon that you will enjoy in the summertime. This combination drink will want you to simply keep sipping it all up. Cool, refreshing glasses of watermelon juice are the epitome of summertime delight. A word of caution here – ideally no food should be taken 30 minutes before or after eating melons. The saying goes ‘Eat melon alone or leave it alone, because it will make your stomach groan’.

Here are 6 surprising facts about this ubiquitous summertime fruit:

  • Watermelon has more lycopene than raw tomatoes.
  • Watermelon juice may relieve muscle soreness.
  • Watermelon is a fruit and a vegetable.
  • You can eat watermelon rind and seeds.
  • Water melon is mostly just water.
  • Water melon helps reduce high blood pressure.

Earth Day 2017 – Say NO to Plastic

 

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide as an annual event to focus on the need to protect our earth. The moniker Earth Day chosen in 1970 was the choice of few creative Americans rooting for environment protection in the face of rising concerns on environmental degradation. Celebrated for the first time in 1970, Earth Day is now feted in 193 countries.

The first Earth Day celebrations took place in schools, colleges, universities and concerned communities of USA with 20 million Americans out in support of environmental reform. Coordinated globally now by the Earth Day Network, events are undertaken to demonstrate support for environmental protection by countries joining in on issues of concern.

Earth Day 2000 was charged by the fiery spirit of the first Earth Day, gaining international grassroots momentum of Earth Day 1990. This was the first time that Earth Day used the Internet as an important tool, lending invaluable national and international support to provide worldwide focus for recycling efforts. Again Earth Day 2007 was a huge affair, the largest to date. Many thousands of people from all corners of the globe participated in activities from places like Kiev, Ukraine, Caracas, Venezuela, Tuvalu, Manila, Togo, Madrid, London and New York!

2012 Earth Day highlighted human overpopulation as the main concern. And last year Earth Day 2016 worked for the landmark Paris Agreement signed by United States, China and some 120 other countries. This year Earth Day 2017 has March for Science as its theme for Earth Day events. Earth Day Network outlines four toolkits to aid organizations wanting to hold teach-ins to celebrate the theme “Environmental and Climate Literacy” that are:

  • Earth Day Action Toolkit: Educating and Activating Communities for Change
  • Environmental Teach-in Toolkit
  • Global Day of Conversation Toolkit for Local Governments
  • MobilizeU: Campus Teach-in Toolkit

Coming to our country, India, the most formidable environmental challenge is to tackle the menace of plastic waste garbage. All kind of plastic waste gets illegally burnt at dumpsites causing air pollution and smog. The plastic that is not burnt finds its way out into the oceans. Reports state that approximately 60 percent of plastic found in the ocean originates from India!

Earth Day April 22, 2017 should be a perfect point in time for us to work through scientific ways to dispose of plastic waste in order to preserve and protect our environment. The total plastic waste collected and recycled in our country is estimated to be 9,205 tons every day and 6,137 tons remain uncollected and littered!!!

In April 2013 the Supreme Court cautioned the Central Pollution Control Board, stating “We are sitting on a plastic time bomb”. Our metros generate humongous amounts of waste and the usual practice is to dump it all outside city limits affecting the poor rural folks.

Jacques de Lannoy, a Tokyo-based photographer recently traveled to India to document the issue of plastic pollution that is so rampant.  Lannoy clicked shocking images of piles of plastic garbage swallowing our landscape, waterways and coastlines! Check this link to see it for yourself. http://abcnews.go.com/International/photographer-captures-plastic-pollution-nightmare-india-ahead-earth/story?id=46884654

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Inauguration of Fourth HERD Pharmacy

HERD Pharmacy, an emerging chain of medical stores in Nagpur is a unit of HERD Group of Companies that launched several disparate new businesses few years back. In the space of two years HERD Pharmacy has set up four medical stores across Nagpur. Located in Ravi Nagar, Gayatri Nagar, and Hazari Pahad, this fourth medical store opens up in the busy Khamla Square section of the city.

Spread over 1000 sq. ft. over a double storey structure having a mezzanine floor it has fairly larger premises with plentiful space. The newly spruced up store was inaugurated at the hands of Mr Abhishek Jain, in the presence of HERD staff members and parents of Dr Amol and Dr Suchika Deshmukh. The team had spared no effort in putting up a wonderfully welcoming display on the premises, replete with suitable décor for the inaugural ceremony.

HERD Pharmacy will be treating the place like a wellness destination for the residents spread in the thickly populated areas around. In time the plan is to set up a physician’s chamber upstairs who will cater to the health issues of customers so that the Pharmacy offers more complete services. Plus the medical store has a number of innovative deals which will help us leap ahead in no time to come.

HERD Pharmacy aims to compete with top players in the surrounding area and will leave no marketing strategy untouched to persuade customers to come through its doors. It is being planned to provide customers with a worry free pharma shopping experience. Aside from medicines and medical products the pharmacy offers various general well-being products and self-care cosmetic goods on its shelves.

Suresh Poonia, Stawan Bhujbal, Sachin Salunke and Prasannajit Dhepe led by CEO Ankur Gupta will make for a formidable marketing team ensuring HERD Pharmacy to reach the very top. Egged on by the success and smooth running of previous medical stores, the focus is to be on creating medical stores that are distinctly different from regular pharma retail experiences.

The plan is to take the medicine shop to a whole new level. With sleek fixtures and fittings, dazzling cleanliness and air conditioned environment it is being hoped to establish best practices and adopt them to best suit the needs of the customer. The Pharmacy and staff endorse HERD Pharmacy’s trade mark consumer–centric approach that will pave the way for future success.

Schwarzman Scholarships Open for Future Leaders

Schwarzman Scholars Now Accepting Applications for Future Leaders

New York & Beijing, April 17, 2017 – Schwarzman Scholars has opened their global application for the third cohort of young leaders. The highly selective, fully-funded scholarship program is designed to ensure that the next generation of business, political, and civil society leaders can effectively serve as bridges between China and the rest of the world.

Anchored in an 11-month professional Master’s Degree in Global Affairs at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University, the Schwarzman Scholars experience encompasses unparalleled opportunities inside and outside the classroom, including extensive leadership training, a network of senior mentors, practical training/internships, and travel seminars around China.

Scholars will learn about the emergence of China as an economic and political force from world‐class faculty from leading institutions and guest speakers at the state‐of‐the‐art Schwarzman College. The dynamic core curriculum offers the choice of concentrations in public policy, international studies, or business and economics.

The scholarship aims to build a professionally diverse cohort each year and welcomes undergraduates, graduates, and young professionals up to age 28 of any citizenship who are proficient in English and have obtained an undergraduate degree. A Schwarzman Scholar should demonstrate extraordinary leadership potential, the ability to anticipate paradigm changes, strong intellectual capacity, and exemplary character. Eligible applicants from any field are invited to apply.

Schwarzman Scholars is fully-funded for all participants, including travel costs and a modest personal stipend. The program is supported through a number of generous contributions to Schwarzman Scholars with a fundraising goal of $500 million. Schwarzman Scholars’ inaugural class is currently in residence at Schwarzman College and is comprised of 110 scholars from 32 countries and 75 universities. The program recently announced its second cohort to arrive on campus in August 2017. This year the program will accept 140 scholars for the Class of 2019.

The application can be found on the Schwarzman Scholars website:

www.schwarzmanscholars.org and will be open until 11:59PM onSeptember 28, 2017. More than 400 finalists will be invited to an in-person interview in Singapore (October 27th), London (November 1st), or New York (November 6th & 7th) and will be notified of their acceptance in mid-November 2017.

Those selected for an interview will go before panels of distinguished global figures including CEOs, former heads of state, university presidents, non-profit executives and journalists. For applicants who hold passports from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao, regardless of where they attended university, the appropriate application can be found on the Tsinghua University website.

About Schwarzman Scholars: Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. . Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $400 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $500 million endowment will support up to 200 Scholars annually from the U.S., China and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students taking up residence in 2016. Learn more at www.schwarzmanscholars.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SchwarzmanScholars, and on Twitter at @SchwarzmanOrg.

PAUNI CLINIC UPDATES

To reach Pauni Tribal Clinic one drives down the seventy odd miles on National Highway 44 and in just about an hour and forty minutes you reach your destination. The straight line distance for most of the time may vary in actual travel distance due to curvature of the road.  Driving up northward from Nagpur along the winding wooded landscape allows you to pass through lands rich with biodiversity of the region.

Pauni Clinic is not particularly an imposing medical center and the small clinic works well as a primary care clinic. However because it is situated in the heart of an outlying forest community it becomes a hub for forest people who are drawn to it from all around. It works well for the elderly, the children, the women and the sick adults who get treated for a range of ailments. It’s a reminder of the old-fashioned way of treating people!

As a rural clinical outpost of LMH medical center to which HERD Foundation is affiliated the rural populations who would normally struggle to find medical assistance, find it of immense value for being assisted with healthcare literally at their doorsteps, in a manner of speaking. With a trusted team of medics reaching thrice a week, it has been expanding its services.

HERE are some remarkable events that occurred at Pauni medical outpost that was basically intended to increase access to primary medical care. HERD Foundation remains clear that these remote rural locations must be served. So aside from conducting thrice a week diagnostic treatment services the team of medical professionals also concentrate on health awareness activities. Here are various events that took place in the past year.

  • HIV Awareness Camp at Hiwra Bazar March 28, 2016
  • Pap Smear and Cancer Detection Camp on April 1, 2016
  • ASHA Workers Orientation Camp on April 26, 2016
  • Breast Feeding Week Celebration on August 5, 2016
  • School Health Scabies detection camp in Dahoda on 27 September 2016
  • ASHA Workers Orientation Programme On Scabies at Hiwara Bazar PHC, November 26 2016
  • Detection Of Malnutrition And Health Checkup Camp at Pauni Gram Panchayat on December 7, 2016

Activities are creatively undertaken by joining in with local gatherings so as to have a ready audience. For instance the HIV awareness camp conducted at Hiwra Bazar was clubbed with a get-together of the local Sharda Mahila Mandal. This then became an opportunity for the team to create awareness on the issue. The orientation of government aided ASHA health workers became an occasion to befriend them. It provided us with a foothold for BLS training for them. Similarly the Anganwadi workers too were incentivized for attending trainings.

NKPSIMS and HERD Foundation adopted the Community Initiative for Scabies Control and Elimination for all school children from class 1 to class 12 who were examined in two phases for scabies and other prevailing health conditions. Prompt treatment was administered to them along with free medications for their conditions. Dr Kasturwar, Prof. Community Medicine from NKPSIMS enlightened mothers on proper nutrition informing them that most nutrition supplementation and fortification was to be readily found in foods and ingredients locally available.

Thus apart from diagnosis and treatment of ailments, healthcare education is also an on-going activity conducted by the spirited team of doctors responsible for smooth running of Pauni Clinic.

 

Dr Amol Deshmukh – A Multifaceted Personality

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Dr Amol Deshmukh is an enthusiastic and youthful boss steering HERD Foundation. A doctor, academician, business man and a natural born leader, Dr Deshmukh’s vision of the future of the land and its people sees the present generation gainfully employed or taking a shot at an enterprise with complete confidence and ability.

Harboring an inbred passion for public service he shares a broad vision of development for rural Maharashtra. He wants to see the rural economy thriving and getting shaped by new-age influences. Driven by an inherent desire to create positive changes in the circumstances of the rural poor particularly pertaining to access to healthcare, Dr Deshmukh applies his body of hospital management experiences by embedding best practices and inputs.

As management expert he gained the breadth of experience that he applied back home for healthcare delivery and in the development sector. He has worked with organizations such as EU, World Bank and KFW, and gained hospital management experience in India, UK, Germany, UAE, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Nigeria.

Dr Amol Deshmukh as Managing Director of HERD Group of Companies takes care of its varied divisions. Also as Secretary of Vidya Shikshan Prakashak Mandal (founded 1971) managing 72 educational institutions (Medical, Dental, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Management, Arts, Commerce and Urban & Rural schools), he is in-charge of the objectives of the Trust.

Apart from his academician, humanitarian and entrepreneurial ventures and despite multifarious work responsibilities he regularly speaks at events and conferences on issues related to healthcare, youth and environmental issues. He shares his views with a deep sense of commitment inspiring young people to value community service and volunteerism.

The more Dr Deshmukh visits the rural areas to speak with the youth, the more he gravitates toward advocacy for development and economic growth. It is apparently clear to the youth in rural areas that issues taken up by Dr Deshmukh – education, employment, environment, and women’s empowerment are all the need of the hour.

Dr Deshmukh spells out benefits of economic prospects and emerges as a loud and clear voice in the public sphere. His focus on youth to create change is molding mindsets of rural people. Propelled by hope and self-motivated for hard work he continues to focus his leadership for building a strong team. His plan is to focus on creating growth prospects that work for rural agrarian classes. He also works for ways and means to assist the youth with economic opportunities. Promotion of girl-child education and women’s empowerment is also an agenda for him.  In the final count he wants to ensure a flourishing rural society that enjoys the benefits of development guaranteed by the state.

 

 

Futuristic Healthcare – Telemedicine!

 

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The remote use of telecommunications for diagnosis and treatment of patients is known as telemedicine. Information technology now provides clinical health care from a distance. This capability may be used to reach out to remote locations when distance becomes a hurdle in accessing critical medical services. Telemedicine is especially useful to save lives in emergency situations.

Telemedicine makes use of technology that includes videotelephony, internet, servers, and also telemedical devices! Telemedicine is a product of 20th century telecommunication and information technologies. It facilitates communications between doctors and technical expert  staff easily and complete fidelity of transmission for medical imaging and health data.

The Indian Medical Association at national level is keen to adopt the concept of ‘virtual clinics’ run by telemedicine.  However the Nagpur IMA branch is still uncertain about the pros and cons of the subject. It is yet to take a stand for or against the concept as it involves a lot of legal intricacies. Conformists feel that the move needs to be debated at length. And the interests of both patient and doctor need to be carefully examined.

Moving along with the times it does appear that telemedicine is the need of the hour.  Considering the shortage of specialists in various fields who are not readily available in smaller towns virtual clinics appear to be a good idea. However on two essential counts – patient doctor relationship and terms of payment the idea seems to go for a toss.

Patients of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, AIDS etc can be treated through virtual clinics very well. Overall it is possible for expert diagnostics to be a feasible aspect but the medico-legal side remains a big question.  If things go wrong with incorrect diagnosis doctors could get into trouble. It is still true that physical examination cannot be taken in virtual clinics.

The downsides of telemedicine include the cost of telecommunication and data management equipment and of technical training for medical personnel who will employ it. Virtual medical treatment carries the peril of decreased human interaction between medical professionals and patients, an increased risk of error when medical services are delivered in the absence of a registered professional. All said and done it is the future and here to stay even as conventional healthcare is not going anywhere.

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Time & Tide Wait for None

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HERD Foundation knows full well that employee commitment is not a straight-line course that may be measured by behavioral metrics or wishy-washy motivation. Our HR Department in particular is open to creative inputs that are being factored in when designing focused employee commitment strategies. This is what is being espoused at HERD Foundation to lend a professional perspective on employee engagement practices.

For one, management is attempting to self-induce commitment towards given responsibilities by creating work related time-lines and schedules for all employees. We do not want this essential aspect to remain elusive anymore. With a number of projects lined up we cannot take the risk of businesses and human resources to be at tangent with each other. HR is now towing a highly measurable approach.

Sharing work related activities on an open platform certainly helps staff to be keyed in to their deliverables. To avoid any kind of employee engagement crisis HR is coming up with ways and means to keep work deliverables riveted through performance and results. So aside from punching in for punctuality employees now make use of computerized apps that keep them focused to schedules for optimal productivity.

Dr Amol Deshmukh walks the talk and cutting across verticals has got the entire personnel to become aligned in their responsibility for being accountable for the best interests of the company. Coming out of olden methods of fathoming staff dedication towards allotted work, smart work procedures are being adopted for daily engagement that measure output.

This is an essential step especially when we are trying to build up a great team for our startups. HR is now following every norm in the book right from hiring to filling in available positions to all other value additions that will serve the Foundation in its entrepreneurial ventures. As business leaders we are creating successful regulations to put strong teams in place. The HERD Group of Companies – Organic Farms, Pharmacy, IT TecSol, Transport and Logistics are all geared up to change the face of business in the near future.

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Bipolar Disorder is Not Just Another Manic Monday

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Commonly understood as depression, bipolar disorder is really a mental disorder that causes alternate periods of deep depression and then periods of elevated mood. But now here is new research that suggests the key role played by the PLCγ1 protein in the process leading to bipolar disorder. This then actually is a breakthrough in attempting to understand bipolar disorder.

With countless people all over the world suffering from the condition, bipolar disorder is a debilitating mental illness. People living with the disease experience drastic changes in mood and energy levels to a degree that interferes with their daily activities. With this new information we now know that a protein deficiency is responsible and could be a step forward in future treatment options.

The sad truth is that an overwhelming majority of cases of bipolar disease are rather severe. The causes of the malaise are unknown but again research says it is a genetic disposition and that background could be the cause of the illness. The gene encoding the cellular protein phospholipase Cγ1 is linked to bipolar disease although the exact mechanism that causes the disorder was not known until now.

This new research comes from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Ulsan, South Korea. It has tested the role of phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) in mice and the findings are helping to explain the causative link between the protein and the disease. This study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The studied undertook the premise about occurrences in synapses or the ends of neurons that facilitate electric signaling between two brain cells. Scientists noticed impairment in the inhibitory transmission and synaptic plasticity that is, the synapses’ ability to change their shape, function, or strength over time.

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a protein that regulates several synaptic functions, including the activity of PLCγ1. The crucial synapse formation in the brain deficits led to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory transmission between the brain cells’ synapses. PLCγ1-deprived mice displayed symptoms like hyperactivity, reduced anxiety-like behavior, abnormally high feelings of pleasure, excessive hunger and impaired learning and memory, as well as abnormally high startle responses. Researchers administered drug treatment for BD to these mice and this reduced their symptoms.

Thus it appears that a neurochemical chain reaction leads to the disease. The synapses that do not have enough PLCγ1 are unable to fulfill their inhibitory function properly in excitatory neurons, because the BDNF is not working properly either. This causes a disproportion between excitatory synapses and inhibitory ones, eventually leading to bipolar symptoms. Until now, although the PLCγ1 gene had been suggested to play a role, it was unclear exactly how PLCγ1 affected interneuronal signaling and how it caused mental illness.

After ten long years of research findings suggest evidence that PLCγ1 is critical for synaptic function and plasticity and that the loss of PLCγ1 from the forebrain results in manic-like behavior playing a major role in the onset of bipolar disorder. The breakthrough is likely to influence research into the treatment of the condition and its symptoms.

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