Nutrition Awareness Camp for Tribal Populations

 

The Tribal Clinic set up by HERD Foundation at Pauni undertakes regular health awareness programmes as part of its mandated activities to create healthier communities settled here. We systematically take on health camps to popularize preventive measures by organizing health awareness programs on issues related to health and hygiene. While last fortnight we undertook educating about diarrhea, this fortnight focused on nutritional awareness. Our team has been working for past three years in the region and the surrounding villages are familiar with the scheduled programmes of which they are informed in advance.

It is largely women patients who get involved as they are well acquainted with the medical team and they become willing participants in these awareness programmes. Such events teach them to take better care of their children and families. The tribal women are appropriate messengers to carry back the lessons to implement them in their daily lives. It leads them to take informed care of children, aging parents, and community members. These health camps are organized at the Tribal Clinic and last week the nutrition awareness camp drew nearly 60 women to the event.

Information about events gets circulated well in advance and the nutritive recipe competition was publicized to bring in more participants to the health awareness camp. The camp was organized for the benefit of the community women to coincide with the medical team’s health examination scheduled visit to the Tribal Clinic. It is when the team goes out for providing medical assistance thrice a week to this location, that they also plan and conduct activities to ensure inclusive reach for need of health awareness programs for the benefit of the people living here.

On September 8, 2017 the camp was organized with the aim to improve the nutritional status of the populations and especially targeted the tribal families. The food-preparation based nutrition approach was undertaken to create nutrition awareness to enhance consumption of nutritionally rich fruits, vegetables and ingredients. The team members made a comprehensive presentation to promote and emphasize on the importance of dietary variety in order to improve the nutritional quality of their diet and to increase knowledge and education on food preparation.

The team successfully created an environment in which the women became engrossed in learning how to add sufficient variety in their eating habits through locally available, affordable fruits, vegetables and ingredients that would add to their nutritional intake. This kind of participatory nutrition education for the women actually helped in inspiring them to learn new ways for consumption of nutritionally rich food.

Knowledge about alternate food preparation was shared prolifically. The nutrition-rich food competition announced earlier had the women bring in dishes they had prepared. Prizes were given after tasting and judging of dishes. This was done to encourage them to prepare innovative nutritious food in their households that will increase consumption of new recipes. The tribal women felt benefitted in being imparted necessary knowledge and skills to prepare and consume nutrition rich foods that they would add to their diet.

It turned out to be a wonderful effort by the medical team to raise awareness as well as to promote strategies for achieving nutrition security and enhance diversified food habits among these tribal families. These communities after all suffer from micronutrient malnutrition and the team assisted in offering solutions to address the problems. It was a wonderful participatory gathering that taught them to understand the need to learn about importance of nutrition and know of recipes using seasonal vegetables, fruits and condiments.

HERD Foundation hopes the nutrition awareness programme at the community level will promote increased consumption of nutrient rich foods. The health camp attracted the rural poor and disadvantaged women living here. The activities and advice provided by the team were to improve their awareness and skills in cooking to benefit their healthy eating habits. We know the team will be successful in bridging this critical knowledge link to educate home makers – mostly women to take better care of themselves, their children and families.

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Snuffing Dissent

freedom of speech (media, control, censorship)Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. The law states that, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”.

Google-Speak: The following is taken directly from Google in response to queries posted by people there.

“What is the right to freedom of expression?

It is the right to express one’s ideas and opinions freely through speech, writing, and other forms of communication but without deliberately causing harm to others’ character and/or reputation by false or misleading statements. Freedom of press is part of freedom of expression.

What does free expression mean?

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

What is freedom of thought and expression?

Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience or ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others’ viewpoints. It is different from and not to be confused with the concept of freedom of speech or expression.

Why is it important to have freedom of speech?

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It reinforces all other human rights, allowing society to develop and progress. The ability to express our opinion and speak freely is essential to bring about change in society. Free speech is important for many other reasons.

Is the freedom of speech absolute?

That fallacy is the notion that free speech is absolute. It is the belief that freedom of expression does not mean freedom to speak your mind without government interference, but freedom to speak your mind without any interference at all.

Why is the freedom of the press important in a democracy?

Freedom of expression is important for democracy, because it enables the public to participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

Why is it important to have a free press in a democracy?

Freedom of expression is crucial for a successful democracy because it lets the public participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

What does it mean to have a free press?

A body of book publishers, news media, etc., not controlled or restricted by government censorship in political or ideological matters.

What is the role of the media in a democratic society?

A democracy is a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. Media came into existence around the 1780s with the introduction of newspapers, and since then it has matured by leaps and bounds. It is the backbone of a democracy.

What is democracy in the media?

A media democracy focuses on using information technologies to both empower individual citizens and promote democratic ideals through the spread of information. Additionally, the media system itself should be democratic in its own construction shying away from private ownership or intense regulation.

What is the role of the media?

Media of today is playing an outstanding role in creating and shaping of public opinion and strengthening of society. Media is the sword arm of democracy. Media acts as watchdog to protect public interest against malpractice and create public awareness.”

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting and defending freedom of information and freedom of the press. The organization based in Paris, France, has consultant status at the United Nations. RSF has ranked India 136th of 180 countries in world press freedom ratings.

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Journalists pay tributes to recently slain journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead in Bangalore

 

Beware: Swine Flu Spreads In Nagpur

 

Flu-Prevention-Tips

It is time Nagpur city got better prepared for prevalent swine flu that appears to be spreading all over. It would be good for medical pharmacies to stock up on antiviral medicines and antibiotics that will be needed to treat anyone who becomes ill during the current spike in swine flu cases. It is also the time to follow up on the new vaccine against the virus that is being currently developed. In the meantime the general public is advised to make use of masks when they move outdoors.

The city witnessed a gradual increase in the cases of swine flu cases and deaths have been reported from all quarters.  Health authorities and citizens are facing the dreaded disease that has since January 2017 seen over 300 people testing positive for the H1N1 virus.  Critical patients are quickly hospitalized and those having the symptoms of flu like conditions are being advised to stay isolated at home.

It is true that when people around you start suffering is when the enormity of the situation dawns. As part of its social responsibility, HERD Pharmacy has started advising people to take better care and stay out of harm’s way. Managers and front line staff is proactively talking to the customers to protect their families by observing essential do’s and don’ts. It may not be possible to monitor everybody but precautionary measures are being spelled out.

Just like in the case of regular flu, people who are getting infected by swine flu need to take lots of rest. They can use specific prescribed medications that will reduce their temperature and help bring down their symptoms. Antiviral medications for swine flu are available across all HERD Pharmacy counters and people affected by the virus will get treated by them. It would be essential to take complete rest that will relieve symptoms and reduce potential complications.

Most city doctors are prescribing specified antivirals or antibiotics to people being diagnosed for flu or swine-flu. Seriously ill patients are immediately being hospitalized. It is a good idea to read up as much with regard to flu-like symptoms if anyone is having concerns about suspicion of flu like symptoms. In all events you must rush to see a doctor immediately to confirm the case.

Antibiotics are mostly used to treat swine flu patients who may develop complications. They help combat bacterial infections. A vaccine to protect against swine flu is being developed, but it is not available as yet. It is especially important to safeguard high-risk groups susceptible to the disease and these include – people with chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease, immunosuppression and diabetes mellitus, patients who have had drug treatment for asthma within the past three years, pregnant women, people aged 65 years and older, and young children under five years old.

Be wary of swine flu symptoms like cold, cough, sore throat, headache and fever or difficulty in breathing. If tested positive one should start taking precautions and treatment immediately. Swine flu (H1N1) is a disease caused by virus infection. The infection can spread from one person to another through the infected person’s sneeze, cough, and so on. One should not neglect any symptom and immediately visit a doctor.

 

“Teacher’s Day”

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Teacher’s day in India embodies the very spirit of our traditional guru-shishya (teacher-student) bond. In present times with education fast turning into a mechanized process – computer smart boards, internet connectivity and global learning, this customary relationship gets a shot in the arm when students pay homage to their teachers on this special day.

It was on September 5, 1965 that a group of illustrious students of Late Dr S. Radhakrishnan decided to pay their respects on his birthday by organizing an event. Dr Radhakrishnan, the renowned teacher who by then had gained widespread regard, expressed his wish that instead of celebrating his birthday he would appreciate it better if the day was commemorated as ‘Teachers’ Day’.

Since then 5th September has been celebrated as Teachers’ Day and the trend continues till date. It was a rare, thoughtful gesture that stands us in good stead. The day denotes the cherished relationships students enjoy with their teachers. Traditional Indian culture as well as different religions of our country – Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism – all believe in the subliminal spiritual relationship and mentoring accorded by gurus or teachers.

Be it any genre of knowledge – academic, spiritual, musical, scholarly, professional – we all need a dedicated guru or teacher to guide and instruct us. It is while such knowledge is being imparted that students develop respectful relationships for their mentors. It is the teacher’s capacities to teach, drill, educate, instruct, inculcate, enlighten, and inspire that makes them so venerable. It is teachers who eventually mold the student’s minds to make them master their chosen field of education.

This day is therefore marked out as a tribute to the unfailing contributions made by teachers in all spheres of our lives. The birth anniversary of a great teacher transforms into a day for upholding the guru-shishya tradition in all its dignity and reverence. How better can it get. We all certainly do have our own memories of the way we celebrated in school. The one common thing done by seniors was to role play teachers to demonstrate appreciation.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan born on September 5, 1888, came from the pilgrim town of Tirutani. It was his brilliance that took him to Tirupati and later Vellore for further education. Subsequently he attended Christian College in Madras to study philosophy. His concentration and sense of conviction brought him recognition as a noted philosopher.

An evocative teacher he was quite popular with students. He became a professor at Calcutta University and then served as Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1939 he was appointed Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. Two years later, he took over the Sir Sayaji Rao Chair of Indian Culture and Civilization in Banaras. In 1952, Dr. Radhakrishnan was chosen to be the Vice President of the Republic of India.

September 5th therefore becomes the day to remember this great statesman whose humble submission to turn his birthday into Teacher’s Day speaks volumes of his humility and regard for teachers.  Today is an occasion for us to remember our teachers and their role in contributing to our learning and development. It is our teachers from school and college who made it possible for us to be what we are today. It is day to appreciate their patience, industry and perseverance in shaping our minds and thought processes. It is a day to value their role in our lives.

गुरु ब्रम्हा गुरु विष्णू

गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा

गुरु शाक्षात परब्रम्हा

तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः

Gurur Brahmaa Gurur Vishnu

Gurur Devo Maheshwarah

Guru Saakshaata Parabrahma

Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

 

OF HUMAN BONDING

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Let’s return one more time to the natural disasters that occurred almost all over, this past month. Typhoon Hato hit Hong Kong, hurricane Harvey struck Houston and about the same time flood havoc created calamity in Mumbai. Days prior to these events at least five Indian states experienced severe flooding heaping misery on hapless people. Large areas of Bangladesh underwent flooding brought on by heavy downpours. Nepal suffered landslides in the wake of dense rains when homes were destroyed and people swept away.

The UN reckons nearly 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal alone directly suffered ill effects of the disastrous monsoons.  Even as these catastrophes unfolded in different regions, the one symbiotic feature that was visible in them was the tendency of the human nature to bond and band together, offering care, kindness and support to help people survive.  Ordinary life as they knew it came to a grinding halt, but it was the sympathy of strangers that helped in bringing equanimity to situations that were beyond immediate control.

It was this sense of togetherness in the face of misfortune that remains a measure of  our humaneness. This shining aspect turned out to be a singular attribute offering hope, strength and fortitude. The inherent spiritedness of humans came to the fore when people in cities, towns and communities suffered. With commuting systems at a standstill and people stranded with nothing at hand, it was the kindness of complete strangers that helped assuage the difficult situations.

Social media was ablaze with images of victims caught up in different kinds of predicaments. And we also saw images of people queuing up to volunteer to help victims get out of their plight. This makes us believe in the fact that there are more good people in this world than bad people. Complete outsiders came forward to assist people to cope with the crisis in a spirit of altruism. We saw accounts of people checking on neighbors and friends, sharing food and sharing information, and offering shelter to absolute strangers.

Kindness is definitely contagious! Not only ordinary folks but corporate offices, religious centers and government agencies too opened doors for one and all. It is this concern and support of people who are not kith and kin that really warms the cockles of the heart. Just imagine someone wet, shivering, stranded with no place to go, is suddenly made welcome, and offered a towel, tea and a dry spot! Mumbai in particular is fortunate to have enjoyed such people-centric cooperation in the face of on-going catastrophes.

It is this nameless-faceless mass of people offering speedy resourcefulness, is what is so significant. Their altruism went beyond themselves even at the cost to their own selves. Yet they continued to dole it all – kindness in adversity, unmatched improvisations and support for survival. How does one even begin to understand this language of kindness! More so when emotions are distraught and people pulled willy-nilly into a mindless chaos. Yet they continued reaching out with compassion and concern to assist fellow brethren.

Positive social response brings so many people to come forward to help total strangers. It is this human connection cutting across races and countries that needs to be fueled to facilitate a collective survival spirit. With global economy and global environment so intricately intertwined so as to generate forces that spark off natural disasters to go amuck, we need to enlarge this sphere of humanitarian resilience to ward off potential threats and to learn to survive bigger odds. A case in point is the man-created aggression provoked by nuclear warhead tests that are currently on. It’s a time to remain calm and sane fellow humans!

Road Rage or Road Condition – Safety First

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Nagpur city located in the center of India is well connected via network of roadways moving in all directions augmenting its unique central position. However despite having some of the best city roads unfortunately we do suffer about ten percent of total road fatalities occurring in the country. Notwithstanding this fact, we do have laws in place that regulate traffic on roads, provided under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, an Act passed by the Parliament of India. Applicable to all of India, individual states too have norms and regulations in place.

It is a fact that lapses in traffic law regulations, violations and accidents are a glaring reality. It remains a matter of grave importance especially as we face such recurring instances of road accidents taking place right in the heart of Civil Lines area. The beautiful GPO square located close to the VIP MLA residential areas is a case in point. The crossroads around GPO square are inadvertently subject to the sounds of screeching tyres and collision noises informing people that an accident has occurred.

In this regard HERD Foundation wishes to draw attention of the public and to the concerned authorities that we must address the ever increasing number of road accidents occurring regularly at this juncture. In spite of the precautions taken by traffic authorities this area remains vulnerable and is notorious as an accident-hazard spot. We know full well that Nagpur Traffic Police is very active on social media sites and their WhatsApp helpline but still more needs to be done.

While their efforts are certainly laudable, we would like to draw attention of all concerned to road accidents happening at this spot. It is primarily rash driving and lack of civic responsibility on the part of car drivers. Often they tend to ignore the traffic signals installed her.  Also, the traffic signals follow a prescribed schedule and most accidents take place when the traffic signals are off. It is the pedestrians, scooterists and auto-rickshaws that largely become the target of big vehicles.

The number of such cases is high and we regularly see people suffering due to severe damage and losses on account of the accidents. It appears that on these particular stretches there are no road-bumpers to slow down traffic. We would like the authorities to ensure that road bumpers get built here and that safety norms are adhered to. Perhaps the elite commuters passing down these roads for some reason do not appear to be in need of road bumpers on this particular quadrangle. But it was time authorities took a serious view of the lapses on the roads around this square.

It would be a matter of much gratification if the media, concerned authorities and the public assist in publicizing this rightful concern. Traffic police too ought to take a stricter stance to ensure security of the people. It would be great if they would implement strong measures against erring drivers and ensure that the road works are duly taken up. The menace of vehicular traffic is very high on the victims and we need to curb such menace. Traffic police could analyze what exactly affects the situation here – whether it is road rage, under-age driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or plain VIP hot shots driving rashly.

Traffic police needs to encourage more sensible driving in this accident prone spot. They can enforce it with responsibility – legally, socially and morally. Omission of duty in this regard can bring victims down, leaving them battling for their lives or loss. Road safety therefor becomes a matter of prime importance. Since most incidents occur during times when traffic lights are off should there be more vigilance on this count. While there are no clear laws specifying road rage in India, it high time authorities define and enforce strict rules. Drunken driving is another important factor in causing accidents.

HERD Foundation would be very grateful if the Traffic Police will assist in publicizing this rightful concern so that the traffic police in the area can take care of the security of the people. It would be wonderful if they will implement strong measures against erring drivers and ensure that the road works are duly taken up.

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Picture Courtesy – subodhsathe.com

Adopting Best Practices in Leave Management

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Poised on this last day of August, it is eight months checked off the calendar in the soon-to-be-gone year 2017! With barely four months (122 days, 6 hours, 46 minutes, 17 seconds – to be exact) left before we finally bid the year adieu, suddenly a sizable chunk of time appears to have vanished. This leaves us wondering whether we could have done things better if only we had managed our time more efficiently. Going through the company deliverables and charting out near-future projections we notice a pattern of absences that make us realize that despite having an HR policy in place we still need to adopt certain best practices for leave management.

We need to get more resourceful in the art of managing absences by creating fool proof processes to handle leave absences,  for whatever reasons be they due to illness or injury. These processes will have to involve better responsiveness and proactive stance by employees. The goal of better managing sudden leave processes would be to control unexplained, unscheduled or excessive absenteeism. Any company needs to take care of neat hand-overs and smooth run-of-operations to meet the requirements of functioning of its varied units.

Despite having stated leave-of-absence rules and norms in place, there are bound to occur incidental events, occasions or hazards that may disrupt an employee’s regular work pace. These sudden lapses will decidedly affect direct costs to the company in the wake of unannounced incidental absences. Unplanned absences certainly result in indirect costs to the company in terms of lost productivity or replacement of manpower. We know full well that no sincere employee plays truant but unless some best practices are set in motion we cannot disrupt the progression of operations.

Often times we are really struck by the spate of such events and it is then that we look for ways to manage these kinds of situations created by sudden leave of absence. It is not possible to replace an employee at the spur of the moment and temp positions are still not available to us in our city. All this makes the absence management situation very much more complex, leading to heartburn, confusion and disarray if HR attempts at administering intermittent leaves with a heavy hand.

It is for this reason that management seeks to establish a process to facilitate employees with a clear cut modus operandi to ensure that the charted work does not suffer. Herein it would become essential to monitor and appraise individual employee requests and assess the reasonableness, urgency and necessity for leave absences in lieu of their commitment to return-to-work performances.

The company can feel really quite challenged if employees leave them high and dry, how-so-ever it might be able to manage processes in-house. It is for this reason that following a set of best practices in managing sudden absences will be critical. For one, employees must inform about leaves in the first hour if a situation is coming up that will require their absence. They should never wait to inform at the eleventh hour or depend on well-meaning colleagues to inform management. It is for this reason that we need to develop a written information sharing policy. Such will clarify the disability of the employee and give management time to intervene for makeshift alternate duties by other staff members.

Such processes of necessity require individual assessments as well as accommodations by the company to facilitate smooth run of operations. Further the establishment of a central leave reporting system (WhatsApp leave record group) would be ideal. Herein all absences may be reported in a single line at the very earliest. This will enable the HR managers to understand beforehand how to fill the gap. Once sudden leave gets notified the employee may begin with regular administrative procedures leaving no one in any kind of uncertainty.

What is really needed here is to develop the attitude for being responsive. This will save one from being classified with some employees who are regular leave-abusers and yes every office has them! We have all done it – combined Friday leaves until Mondays to extend weekends to do our thing!! However in case of unforeseen circumstances we should be seen as following best practices that will suit both management and us. This will make the process of reviewing and establishing clear cut norms for sudden leaves, and easier on HR to manage administering such leaves of absence. It would be good to adapt to this format of sudden leaves and HERD Group of Companies will certainly stand to benefit from continually improving on it.