World Humanitarian Day

 

August 19 is designated as World Humanitarian Day by the United Nations General Assembly as part of a Swedish-sponsored GA Resolution on the Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations. The day commemorates the tragic loss of Vieira de Mello and his 21 colleagues along with all humanitarian personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while relieving the suffering of victims of humanitarian crises.

The day keeps the spirit of humanitarian efforts alive while offering the rationalist outlook for adopting the notion of an ethical stance to emphasize the value of human beings, individually and collectively. Humanitarianism reflects a democratic and ethical affirmation that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. Humanitarian vision stands for the building of a more humane society.

World Humanitarian Day 2017 campaigns with the theme ‘Not A Target’ and dedicates the day to recognize humanitarian personnel and others who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad.

Around the world, conflict is exacting a massive toll on people’s lives. Trapped in wars that are not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives. Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes, and communities are torn apart, while the world is not doing enough to stop their suffering. At the same time, health and aid workers – who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence – are increasingly being targeted.

For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget. Through a global online campaign featuring an innovative partnership with Facebook Live, together with events held around the world, voices are being raised to advocate for those most vulnerable in war zones, and demand that world leaders do everything their power to protect civilians in conflict.

This campaign follows on the UN Secretary-General’s report on protection of civilians, which was launched earlier this year. Laying out his ‘path to protection’, the Secretary-General calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers as well as civilian infrastructure. World Humanitarian Day 19 August, 2017 pays tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.

Move Your Body

Nobody Wants To Be A Couch Potato

Nobody Wants To Be A Couch Potato

Chances are that you are reading this blog sitting in front of the computer or lying down with a tablet. Do you ever wonder how much time in the day you spent just simply sitting put. If you recall you probably sat your way to work, came up and sat on the office chair all day long and sat back to travel home, where you may have thrown yourself on a sofa or a bed to unwind.

Many of us are real couch potatoes without realizing it. This term was actually satirically created in the 1970s for comic characters depicting sedentary lifestyles by watching television all the time. As more and more of us turn into couch potatoes with modern day devices we carry around 24X7, we are actually living that very same inactive existence of turning in-tuning in-vegetating out!

With online-everything-facility we do banking, shopping and even socializing, all on the internet. The LED screen stops us from moving about and we do not know anymore the fun and benefits of regular errands. The most important invention of our times makes us its prisoner and this sitting disease goes on to create very bad lifestyles. We get up dim-eyed everyday to plonk back on beds at night ready for another deskbound day.

It will not be long before we begin to pay the price of sitting around all the time. Physical inactivity is already raising risks of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer and of course obesity – the mother of all diseases. We seem to have completely forgotten that human beings are genetically engineered to move about. Lack of physical movement results in disastrous consequences for the human body.

Lack of exercise causes muscle atrophy bringing on shrinking and weakening of muscles. This apart from increasing chances of physical injury adds risks to the body’s immune defenses being reduced. It is clear staying put is an invitation to diseases. The sad part is that we are all well aware of the consequences of leading sedentary lifestyles but yet do not pay heed to getting active for achieving good health. An inactive routine and lack of physical activity contributes for multiple diseases.

It is a fact that sitting-put may cause premature death. The risk is decidedly higher for those of us who sit still more than 5 hours every day. This in itself is a known risk, free of the fact that one could be doing exercises or have good BMI. Further people who sit still more than 4 hours per day have a 40 percent higher risk than those that sit fewer than 4 hours. Lack of physical activity is then one of the leading causes of preventable death – worldwide.

Sitting-put May Cause Premature Death

Sitting-put May Cause Premature Death

Human Body Donation

Body Donation

Body Donation

For some of us making an offering of our own dead body for the good of society is an opportune way to give back to humanity. Nowadays many more people are choosing to donate their bodies to medical study and research. This is usually because donors or their family members have had the benefits of life saving medical technology or procedures through organ transplantation. However this may not be the only reason as many others simply opt for altruistic reasons for donating bodies.

Body donation has the person giving away the entire body after natural death for purposes of medical research and education. It is true the need for bodies for medical study is always there and research on them can continue to save lives. Body donation is a choice one exercises while alive, and one may or may not discuss even within the family. All you need do is contact concerned authorities and fill out the necessary paperwork to give your body to medical institutes.

It is usually medical colleges that accept dead human bodies for donation that are required for teaching students. It is a useful gesture that helps students understand human bodies and is also essential for reasons of advancing knowledge of medical sciences. Medical colleges make use of bodies to teach anatomy to medical students. They may cover the cost of cremation or burial once the cadaver serves its medical purpose or they may return the body back to the family for ritualistic interment.

Any person who wishes to donate a body has to make certain prior arrangements with local medical colleges and complete formalities before death. This usually involves filling out consent forms and completing requisite information therein. It is at this time that the person is also provided with the relevant details of processes and procedures that will take place after expiry.

Every country has its own rules and regulations with regard to accepting body donations. In United Kingdom body donation is governed under the Human Tissue Authority Act, 2004 that gives licenses for the purpose and inspects medical establishments accepting bodies. In the United States body donation is not regulated through licensure and inspection by the federal government. But the American States are subject to their own legislation of tissue donation under the donor’s legal right to choose body donation under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. In India after various amendments to Odisha Anatomy Act, some states have legalized voluntary body donation. People in India can donate their body after death by signing a pledge form along with two accompanying witness signatures.

Decisions regarding body donations are influenced by your sense of social awareness, cultural attitudes and your thinking about body donation. A number of donors are influenced by a sense of altruism and by their wish to assist in the advancement of medical knowledge as also to be useful after death. Also one may be driven by need to help future generations, be useful for medical field or simply to avoid funeral ceremonies.

Steps for Body Donation after death:

  • Contact medical facilities that accept whole body donation.
  • Fill out registration and consent forms to donate your body.
  • Keep a wallet card that notifies people of the intention to donate the body.
  • Complete transport arrangements with the facility of your choice.
  • Inform your doctor and immediate family members about the intention.
  • You may determine what you want for your body after it has been studied.
  • Make alternative arrangements. Some bodies not suitable for medical study in case of major operation done to them are returned to families.
  • Think about what you want done if your body is unable to donate itself to science.
  • You can cancel your decision any time by notifying the medical college in writing.
"Even in death do we serve life":

“Even in death do we serve life”:

Employment Opportunities for Our Youth

Despite the brouhaha about ‘acche din’ or good days as they say, it remains a hard fact that the youth of our country continue to confront challenges for getting suitable job placements after graduating from their studies. Creating a platform for availability of jobs that suits the employer base and that readily absorbs a growing number of young people entering the work force, is now part of HERD Foundations inherent activities. The Employment Fair is a regular feature, adding value to our education component.

We start off each year to understand and estimate availability of productive jobs in our vicinity. Alongside we explore the spectrum of disciplines that will respond to such openings. With final year students ready to walk out of portals of educational institutions in March each year, such an enterprise becomes all the more meaningful. With due preparation we remain focused on the employment scenario in formal/informal, private/public and urban/rural sectors for jobs that become source of income for the needy.

The Foundation pays special attention to low income families comprising majority of the population. We see good impact of efforts in the employment sector to positively influence growth and expansion of opportunities for more applicants who are able to secure suitable and better paying jobs. This then becomes a reason for much satisfaction and one that complements our work on poverty mitigation. We encourage young people to open up to ever widening choices. In a region beset with challenges for employment, the youth are actually provided due hand-holding and support to seek every possibility.

Vidarbha has not escaped the youth employment crisis and in fact in rural areas the situation is really quite grim. Unemployment rate for young male graduates in rural region is particularly high. The whole point of provision of education here appears to be in a morass if employment avenues are not in sight. In fact we are keen to start vocational education in these parts so that we can then offer them increased chances to find jobs as also to facilitate self-employment. This will be beneficial in the long-term too.

As an advocate for youth HERD Foundation is attempting to ensure that candidates commit themselves completely to this endeavor. We make certain that they make full use of the opportunity to participate effectively in their own best interests. We address the match between prospective companies and qualified students that opens up ways to reduce long-term youth unemployment. The attempt is also to train candidates to become fully equipped in following through with the demands of employers. For this we organize measures like extended training programmes to enable better access to jobs.

Employment Opportunities for Youth

Employment Opportunities for Youth

International Thank-You Day – January 11

International Thank You Day

International Thank You Day

HERD Foundation takes the opportunity to thank everyone on the occasion of International Thank-You Day celebrated on January 11. Belated as it may be, this singular day is marked out to thank someone for something special. And so we take this moment to thank all people, supporters and volunteers who helped us on in this great journey. We share our deepest thanks with each one of us who really deserve to be acknowledged for hand-holding and cheering us on in the fulfillment of our dreams.

This special day matters to us, as often enough in our busy routine and rigors of daily living we may forget the niceties of life. Sometimes we do not really even have the time to say these two beautiful short words “Thank You”. May be this is why the day was assigned and set aside so that we appreciate the parts played by everyone around us and who is important to us in the fulfillment of our endeavors.

The International Thank You day is a great opportunity to start of the New Year on a new note by thanking everyone. Just as the holiday season is getting over and once again we delve back into work and business, along comes this day reminding us all that something essential needs to be done. January 11 as International Thank You Day starts us on by showing appreciation to people who make our lives better.

We do believe that all of us have plentiful people to thank something for.  Perhaps it is a day that helps each one of us cultivate goodwill by expressing our gratitude. This special day may add just that much more meaning and fun by conveying and celebrating the quintessential importance of  International Thank You Day! So go ahead and say your own thank-you messages. We usually miss the opportunity to express our gratitude to friends and colleagues – let us thank each other for our countless blessings. Let us all ingrain gratitude.

THANK YOU

THANK YOU

Nosebleeds in Elderly are Serious

Nosebleeds are Serious

Nosebleeds are Serious

Nasal hemorrhage or nosebleeds are called epistaxis in medical terms. Positioned in the middle of the face a nose is full of blood vessels making people susceptible to nosebleeds. Although nosebleed may not be a cause for alarm in youngsters, but nosebleeds in the elderly can be life threatening. Ruptured blood vessels can cause the nose to bleed profusely.

Nosebleeds occur in old people taking anti-coagulants or blood-thinning medications like aspirin. If a patient is taking anti-coagulants, has high blood pressure or blood-clotting disorder then the bleeding will be harder to stop and may last up to twenty minutes. There are two types of nosebleeds – Anterior and Posterior.

Anterior nosebleeds originate from the lower nasal septum and occur mostly in children. The wall between the nostrils contain delicate blood vessels that receive blood from the carotid arteries, two principal arteries in the front of the neck that supply blood to the head and neck. A slight knock or bump causes these vessels to bleed that may be treated at home.

Posterior nosebleeds originate further back and higher up the nose where artery branches supply blood to the nose, which is why it is heavier. Posterior nosebleeds are very serious and require immediate medical attention. They are more common in the elderly. Causes of posterior nosebleeds are high blood pressure, calcium deficiency, cold dry climate, atherosclerosis or daily aspirin use. Such nosebleeds can be dangerous and the older the patient, the more serious is the nosebleed.

One has to be given immediate medical attention. A nosebleed can be really frightening both to the onlooker and to the one it occurs to. Most nosebleeds look much worse than they really are. Help the patient to sit down and lean slightly forward. Keeping the head above the heart slows the bleeding. Leaning forward stops the blood from going down the throat into the stomach.

The usual remedy in a hospital is to either pack the nose or cauterize the bleeding vessel. Cauterization uses a special solution or an electrical or heating device to burn the vessel to stop bleeding. The doctor numbs the nose before the procedure. Packing the nose with special gauze or inflatable latex balloon makes sure enough pressure is placed on the vessel to make it stop bleeding.

After-care is essential and the patient must avoid blowing nose after a nosebleed. Use a humidifier in cold dry climates. If one is prescribed anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) discuss concerns with physician. To prevent recurring nosebleeds avoid exerting or straining and avoid causes of occurrence.

Consult an Expert

Consult an Expert

Vision Impairment & Correctable Disabilities

Magnitude of The Problem

Magnitude of The Problem

HERD Foundation works periodically through affiliated medical institutes for correction of disabilities. In the past we have done far-reaching work on lip-cleft surgical repair interventions. We are now keen on working on vision impairment for teaching communities to maintain eye health. We look ahead to embrace the challenges in this connection that hopefully will serve in servicing people with vision disabilities.

We reinforce positive attitudes to look on persons with visual impairments to be included for these services. In the hope of creating user friendly approaches for people with visual impairments we have been ruminating to understand that very many visual disabilities are correctable conditions. This would mean we could promote an inclusive world in which all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

HERD Foundation visualizes doing this in three ways. We are working on partnerships that support medical care for vision disabilities and for prevention of conditions lead to impairments. We will improve access to healthcare, education and rehabilitation services for people in need of vision care. We want to be part of efforts that mainstream visual disability in all aspects and to empower persons with these disabilities.

It is on humanitarian grounds that HERD Foundation wishes to take an active role in the communities through their inclusion for such development projects, and to involve them in all such initiatives that will benefit them. Disabilities can thus be addressed by good Samaritans to benefit people facing barriers in finding solutions to their vision related health problems.

Our hope is to assist disadvantaged people suffering from impairments. It is really essential to help such people as they do not know that they can be treated and rediscover the full potential of their limitations. This means that HERD Foundation will offer support and play a role in breaking down prejudice towards people with disabilities.

Imagine a situation where a person with correctable visual impairment is further disabled by the attitudes of others around him. Such people can be readily treated rather than facing isolation, mistreatment and maybe even ridicule. HERD Foundation seeks to improve access to eye care, eye-care education and rehabilitation services for persons with visual impairments. We want to mainstream this disability in all aspects of empowerment for the afflicted persons.

Facts about Visual Impairment:

  • Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired due to various cases; 39 million of them are blind.
  • 121 million are visually impaired because of uncorrected refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism). Almost all of them could have normal vision restored with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.
  • 90% of visually impaired people live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • 51% of all blindness is due to age-related cataract, the leading cause of blindness. (Statistics taken from World Health Organization website)
Visual Impairment

Visual Impairment

For a Better World – Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goals or MDGs are time-bound, quantified targets the world had set for itself. The goals addressed extreme poverty, hunger, disease, lack of shelter and to promote gender equality, education and environmental sustainability. It was in 2000 that 189 nations pledged to free the world from such debilitating deprivations. The pledge was converted into 8 MDGs that were to be achieved by 2015.

In September 2010 the world connected again to recommit itself to accelerate these goals. Presently the UN agenda too rests on these MDGs and the target is to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015. The UN Millennium Campaign since 2002 supported and inspired people from around the world to take action for the MDGs.

While some countries made remarkable efforts in achieving health-related targets others have lagged behind. The countries making the least progress were actually affected by economic hardship or conflict. However targets are yet being adhered to and the 8 MDGs ranging from cutting extreme poverty by half, restricting HIV/AIDS and providing primary education are all target bound until 2015.

The blueprint for action agreeable to all countries received support from leading development institutions. These agencies spurred the process with their exceptional assistance so that targets could be achieved. The UN itself works with governments and allied partners to keep up the momentum. In fact health related targets were hand-held by World Health Organization to support efforts for achieving targets. WHO helped in developing health policies for governments to align priorities and track progress as also to disseminate data to plan spending patterns.

The Indian government too chalked out its 12th Five-Year Plan in conjunction with MDG targets to achieve faster and sustainable results. It brought about inclusive growth by incorporating the MDG working frame. This further ratified the potential for prioritized action on the MDG agenda. The ‘Millennium Development Goals (MDG) India Country Report-2014′ captures India’s progress that will be achieved by 2015. 2014, being the penultimate year for the efforts proved significant in realistically assessing progress.

All progress towards reaching these goals have seen mixed results. Despite unforeseen setbacks the reduction in poverty and increased access to health, education, technology and other essential services in many countries’ have been made into a reality. Of particular note is the work undertaken on AIDS that saw dramatic leveling off and decline. The world now looks ahead to the new set of goals established for 2016-2030.

End Poverty & Deprivation

End Poverty & Deprivation

Stay Involved with Life and Living

Connect with Nature

Connect with Nature

The best among us are subject to depression. There are times you feel drained of all hope, drive and energy. Life appears difficult in the face of the storm you may be facing.  But while severe neurosis will have to be taken care of by experts, if you are simply feeling low or find yourself in the grips of fleeting melancholia then you can do things on your own to improve the situation. Some circumstances will of course take their time in resolving themselves but for bouts of depression that affect us all from time to time, you can work on snapping out of it.

With due diligence and persistence you can even wean yourself out of stubborn depression. Start by taking baby steps to feel better. And in no time you will be able to get yourself out of the woods. You can best do this by making positive changes around yourself, everyday. The road to recovery needs to be action oriented. It is but this fact of taking action is what you must be focused on. Set yourself in the frame of mind to do all the things you chalk out or yourself.

You should start by making small changes and adjustments for your psyche to regain its balance. If you like to schedule action points start with daily walks. Nothing is more invigorating than brisk walking. Besides the exercise doing you a world of good, it becomes the reason to step out of the confines of the indoors that seem to tie you down. Stay focused on your plan and do it with regularity. You should miss the activity if you happen to miss out any day. Getting out and enjoying the outdoors restores your sense of well being.

Next you could begin to look for likeminded people to befriend. Cultivate supportive relationships that will make a huge difference to your state of mind. Enjoy small exchanges and interactions – having tea, going for a movie or conversations. These will help you to maintain perspective over situations as well as keep you from being isolated. It is essential not to be lonely as being alone definitely increases depressive states. It is therefore extremely important to enjoy social relationships and activities that will keep you engaged.

Turn to loyal friends or trusted family members who want your betterment. You should share with them whatever is affecting you and help you to face up to things as they are. Sometimes all you need are people who will just listen to what you have to say. Having people you trust in your life keeps you from withdrawing into yourself. Also good company keeps you away from being down in the dumps. In extreme cases people have joined support groups, where often it is far easier to talk to relative strangers.

It helps to talk to people about your feelings. So never miss an opportunity to have coffee, lunch, movies, concerts, parties with friends. Seek out loved ones.  Be thankful they check on you with such regularity. Stay in touch, make calls, write letters, go back to old friends and meet new people too. Extend your social circle and make no bones about enjoying it all. Keep challenging all negativity around you. Negativity puts a spin on things so make sure you enhance positivity around yourself.

An important aspect of self help is taking good care of yourself. Do all the things that keep you happy. Have a healthy lifestyle. It is half the battle won. It automatically puts you on a get well mode and you manage stress better.  Eat well, sleep well and live well. Get good sleep. Stick to a tidy schedule. Enjoy your favorite show on television. Enjoy music. Enjoy sunshine daily. Sunlight offers a very positive impact. Enjoy eating out on the patio. All these small things will help you to feel better, naturally! Last but not the least – Pray. Enjoy your conversations with God – the most powerful therapist of all times.

Sunlight - Powerful Antidote

Sunlight – Powerful Antidote

Status of Eyecare Health in India

Stand Alone Eye Clinics - Need of the Hour

Stand Alone Eye Clinics – Need of the Hour

Our country is the second most populous in the world, having 23.5% of the world’s blind population. The prevalence of blindness and visual impairment remains a major problem. Cataract, corneal opacities, glaucoma and posterior segment conditions are key reasons for blindness. These conditions can be treated only by skilled eye doctors in a hospital setting. We need to establish evidence for occurrence of eye problems by conducting baseline surveys to understand precise prevalence of specific conditions.

A national program for control of blindness was started in 1976 in India. Unfortunately it has not been possible to generate enough information for all of the country. However detailed information has been gathered in certain areas through research studies by concerned eyecare agencies. All such studies have shown that prevalence of cataract as the most common cause of blindness. Up until quite recently prevention of blindness was therefore largely cataract-focused.

Of late now ophthalmologists are being trained to increase emphasis on focusing on other critical causes of blindness like refractive errors, childhood blindness, corneal blindness and glaucoma. An ophthalmic workforce and infrastructure survey was undertaken to provide a valid evidence base for human resource and infrastructure requirements for elimination of avoidable blindness. This was the first time that such an extensive survey has been undertaken.

The study was conducted by Ophthalmology Cell, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India from April 2002 to March 2003. Pre-tested questionnaires were administered to all district-level blindness officials and ophthalmology training institutions and supplementary data sources were used too. Data analysis and projections of existing ophthalmologists and dedicated eye beds were made for the entire country using the mean, median and range for each individual state.

The study ascertained that more than half the eye care facilities were located in the private sector. Sixty-nine per cent of the ophthalmologists were employed in the private and non-governmental sectors. 71.5% of all dedicated eye beds were managed by these two sectors. Five states -Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu had half the practicing ophthalmologists in India. There was a wide disparity in access to ophthalmologists and dedicated eye beds across the country.

In order to meet these requirements India will have to work hard to achieve the goals of Vision 2020. Some states and certain regions will be needing special attention. Instead of an across-the-board increase in ophthalmologists and eye beds, regions which are deficient will need to be prioritized and concerted action initiated to achieve an equitable distribution of available resources.

Shockingly, as per this study an estimated 9031 ophthalmologists worked in eye care facilities in our country. Of these 69% (6235) worked in the private sector and 31% (2796) worked in government sector. This clearly shows the disparity in availability of ophthalmologists. We need to increase the efficiency of eye care system in India by increasing the availability of ophthalmologists. Also we need to generate more eye doctors and eye specialists. It is only appropriately skilled ophthalmologists and trained technical staff that can respond to eyecare health in India.

Preventable Child Blindess

Preventable Child Blindness