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”:

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

On The Importance of Being Positive

be positive

“I truly believe that everything we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.”

Marla Gibbs

It’s that time of the year again when everyone’s all excited about the advent of a brand new year. However, of late everything has been going down a suck vortex. As if the tragedy of an aircraft disappearing in midflight only to resurface in an ocean with floating bodies and debris was not enough, here comes more awful news of people dying in a stampede while celebrating New Years. Really!!! The world is getting too much for us.

Whither goes’ sanity. How do we deal with such heartbreaking failure that in hindsight could well be due to man-made errors? It’s really time somebody put a handle on error-free lives. Which is why systems, processes, methodologies, procedures, operations, actions, activities, tasks, undertakings, proceedings follow set protocols, conventions, formalities, customs, rules of conduct, rituals, code of behaviour, accepted propriety, civilities should be followed to the tee.

Someone has to ensure the punctilio of imposing the-done-thing. The norm, if you will, has to be followed without question. It will save us all from tremendous backlash. But all too often the person in-charge for imposing rules is looked upon with exasperation. He could very well be the leader, boss, top-man, chief, principal, director, president, chief executive, manager, administrator, master, patron – call him what you will.

Often we tend to look upon this person as a controller – which he actually is. After all it is his job. Maybe, one should see his role in its entirety and as one that safeguards your own back. If only the chain of command would have been followed. If only propriety would have been observed. We would have seen one tragedy, less. One dark night of turmoil, less. Are we not tired of tragedies? Are we not in need of positively taking on the right stance?

Let us then all affirm on this first day of a brand new year. Be positive in doing just what needs to be done. Everything else can wait. Follow the steps. It is really important you follow instructions while paying attention to details. Follow instructions, listen carefully, and execute skillfully. These are important abilities you will need to get through life. One should always take rightful steps to know what you are supposed to do. The world would be in complete chaos if no one ever followed instructions. This is why rules and laws are made, so our world can run smoothly and become a better place. You need to reinforce this lesson only in a positive frame of mind.

On this note let us move on to a growing need to govern your lives with positive self-regulation. HERD FOUNDATION wishes everyone a very positive New Year. Good cheer for 2015!

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” — Elbert Hubbard

Be Positive

Be Positive

Monster of One’s Own Making

Grief Stricken Families

Grief Stricken Families

It is certainly not the time to say – I told you so. But the ghastly tragedy of the merciless killings of school children in Pakistan resonates with Frankenstein-ian horror. The Taliban’s insurgency against Pakistan reverberates with the country’s earlier links to an agency that now works against reformist policies of a pro-democratic Pakistan. Since 2007 the Taliban has mindlessly killed thousands of innocent people.

Despite the Islamist forces to reckon with, the Pakistani people now want democracy. Instead what they are getting is violence in the name of religion. And some like the Taliban even want revenge. Pakistan (coerced by the US) expressed a desire to work towards joining mainstream democratic traditions. However the war from inherent Islamist forces – Taliban included, appears real and deadly.

The question of nurturance of functional polity becomes critical for the country. A lot of rethinking becomes crucial at this point. Pakistan needs to create its world  identity from within its own, to begin to positively influence its state of affairs. The hard-line Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) insidiously fights from within to topple the government hoping to set up a strict Islamic state.

Just some days back Malala Yousafzai, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize created waves by becoming the first Pakistani to be so recognized. In an interview she said that upon return to Pakistan in July 2015 she will build more schools. It was perhaps this statement that irked Tehrik-e-Taliban that threatened to attack all those celebrating Malala’s achievement. It is this very terror group that had shot and wounded her in 2012.

TTP has claimed responsibility for the attack on the school in Peshawar killing innocent children. The assault began with the militants entering the Army Public School  to stage the siege when about 1200 students and teachers were inside. Explosive devices had been planted in school buildings to foil rescue efforts. The attack had 122 people wounded, some critically, as militants entered classrooms to  shoot indiscriminately.

The carnage draws reactions from all over the world. Even as hysterical parents rushed to gather news they went distraught, weeping uncontrollably as they watched in horror the arrival of bodies of the slain victims. What a horrific commotion it must have been to see school uniforms drenched in blood.  It is a bloody carnage of the worst kinds. As world leaders offer support, ordinary people all over the world are flustered at the atrocity. In India schools observed a two-minute silence during morning prayer time to mourn the loss of young lives.

We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.” – Mike Carey

Silence -Remembrance at Prayer Time

School Children in India Offer Silence –      Remembrance at Prayer Time

Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage

                             Universal Health Coverage

On December 12, 2012, a unanimously passed United Nations resolution marked the day for Universal Health Coverage. It has now been two years since the endorsement for universal health coverage, that has since become the pillar for sustainable development and global security. The goal of Universal Health Coverage is to ensure that all people obtain health services they need without financial hardship.This requires a strong, efficient and well-run health system.

Such a system of financing health services includes access to essential medicines, technologies, along with a cadre of well-trained and motivated health workers. India’s efforts in these directions had already begun since 2005 with the advent of the National Rural Health Mission, launched to offer accessible, affordable and quality health care to rural populations. The intent was to cater to the most vulnerable sections. The focus of the Mission is to reduce Maternal Mortality Ratio, Infant Mortality Ratio and Total Fertility Rate.

The United Nations in India supports the Government of India to move forward towards Universal Health Coverage. For this purpose it provides evidence, technical and policy advice on effective interventions as well as mechanisms to monitor all progress. The WHO Country Office in India works in conjunction with ten leading world organizations for the purpose. These are Department for International Development (DFID), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), International Labour Organization (ILO), UNAIDS, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United States Aid for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank.

All these organizations work together to promote better support and commitment to Universal Health Coverage in India. Both the NRHM and the recently launched National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) are now included under the National Health Mission (NHM). Although some progress is made in bits and spurts, especially after formation of NHM there remain widespread challenges that need to be tackled. Some home truths emerge, that need to be taken cognizance of:

  • Inadequacy of availability of health care services (both public and private sectors).
  • Questionable quality of healthcare services (both in public and private sector).
  • Regulatory standards for public /private hospitals are inadequately defined and remain ineffectively enforced.
  • Affordability of health care remains a serious handicap, more so for majority of impoverished populations.
  • Most people incur heavy expenses for medical services purchased from the private sector.
  • The total expenditure on health care (both public and private together) is 3.7 per cent of the GDP.

The first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day was observed in New Delhi to mark the two-year anniversary. The high-level event convened by the Public Health Foundation of India and World Health Organization, was supported by Rockefeller Foundation and Oxfam India as part of a coalition having over 500 health and development organizations. They are all attempting to accelerate reforms that ensure health services be provided to all citizens. The quality of health services, medicines and diagnostics will hopefully be improved, thereby facilitating efficacy of National Health Assurance Mission. For doing this successfully the entire medical fraternity at all levels needs to pitch in to make a go with combined efforts.

Health For All

                                       Health For All

Safety First for Our Women and Girls

Safety First

Safety First

While the state owes responsibility for safety and security of its citizens, looking into the current scenario of crimes against women it now appears we need to instill self protective measures to keep women prepared from nefarious eventualities. The political will to tackle this menace defies explanation. It is beyond comprehension what the government has in mind when it comes to addressing critical safety issues. Stringent capital punishment is the only way to contain this crime. It is mind boggling that the utilization of Rs. 1,000 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund remains untouched! What are we waiting for when every day we witness occurrence of assault and fatalities among women of all ages.

The latest incident involving the rape and victimization of a woman financial analyst by a taxi driver in Delhi brings all the angst and worry back again. Plans to make the One Stop Crisis Centers for women operational have not found their mark. Perhaps the files have not moved. We read reports stating “the various schemes were yet to be finalized”. Does the government still think this is non-serious business and hopes to dust it under the carpet? Or bicker over it during zero-hour? It is time now that women followed some safety precautions to avert and allay these kinds of sinister events.

A planned personal-safety approach would be good for women who have to go outdoors on their own. Women are of course constantly targeted the moment they step out of homes. Be it the domestic help, college student, office worker or tourists – they become the cynosure of molesters and rapists. The incidents of harassment and aggression happen right there on roads, buses, metro trains – in fact everywhere. Precautions may be taken to outwit offenders and to ward off unwanted advances. Safety training should be routinely drummed into minds of young girls.

Women should follow a set of common-sensical tips to train their minds to circumvent such incidents. They should keep family members aware of their activities who should check on them constantly. Next, your demeanor should appear to discourage advances. Always walk with confidence since predators seek out timid and vulnerable looking victims. At all times be aware of immediate surroundings and listen to your gut feeling. Do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself so as to unwittingly attract a predator’s interest. If confronted by a person look him straight in the eye and question his behavior loudly. Most predators avoid public attention. Avoid being alone after dark and stay away from isolated areas. It is a good idea to enroll for personal defense classes to learn basics of hand combat for women. Find out where you can buy personal alarms, protection devices like pepper sprays and mobile phones with emergency apps.

Cell phones today can be used most effectively in case of emergencies. They are helpful for women who have to travel a lot. Safety apps for women reduce the risk of travelling through unfamiliar territories. These applications can be found on smart phone systems. The most common of such apps allows you to alert your family when you are in danger. Just two taps send predetermined messages to six close friends or relatives. They will also convey your exact location and address. Another app allows you to capture a picture of the attacker to a harassment prevention internet site where he is identified. Another smart phone app sends alarms to multiple guardians simultaneously. While one of them would be receiving a phone call, others would be receiving messages.

As they say self help is the best help. So by the time we wait for state systems to become effective let us teach our women and girls to be mindful of their lives.  A well defined safety plan is the best bet. One does have to go out – study, work and earn livings. And so they best know how to take care. Women today must have the strength and determination to fight back violence without fear, embarrassment or guilt.  Be aware, be prepared and be on guard. Finally check out this wonderful American website http://www.justyellfire.com/. Watch especially the 20 minute video that teaches girls how to fight back against sexual assault and abduction. Since 2006 this website has empowered 1 million girls in 44 countries with getaway skills and the right to live without fear of being a victim of sexual assault.

Be Your Own Vigilante

Be Your Own Vigilante

Sushruta – Medical Pioneer of Ancient India

Sushruta – Medical Pioneer of Ancient India

Sushruta – Medical Pioneer of Ancient India

Sushruta is considered one of the earliest surgeons in recorded history and has been the first individual to describe plastic surgery in his famous ancient treatise ‘Sushruta Samhita’. He is said to have lived nearly 150 years before Hippocrates, and his renowned compendium written in 600 B.C. spells out surgical procedures in minutest detail. He is also credited to be the first surgeon to perform plastic surgery!

Many believe plastic surgery to be a new specialty. However its origins are ascertained to have existed over 4000 years back in India. The Vedas compiled in Sanskrit language between 3000 and 1000 B.C. comprise of the oldest sacred books of the Hindu religion. Of the four Vedas – ‘Sushruta Samhita’ is a part of Atharvaveda. The treatise describes ancient Indian tradition of surgery and remains a most brilliant compilation in Indian medical literature.

The treatise contains detailed descriptions of teachings and practice elucidated by this great ancient surgeon said to have been practicing in Varanasi. It also provides surgical knowledge that is of relevance to this day. As a pioneer in the field of surgery, Sushruta expounds prolifically on the healing arts that were grounded on physiology and medicine. He studied human anatomy with the help of dead bodies! Much as in medical colleges today.

The Samhita specifically describes methods for selecting and preserving dead bodies to be studied. Cadavers of elderly or severely diseased were not taken up for purposes of study. Bodies needed to be perfectly clean and were preserved with barks. They were placed in cages, hidden carefully in the river for currents to soften them. After seven days they were retrieved, cleaned with brushes for inner and outer body parts to be seen clearly.

Over 1100 diseases are mentioned in this ancient tome including 26 types of fevers, 8 kinds of jaundice and 20 different urinary disorders. There are 760 plants inclusive of roots, bark, juice, resin, flowers etc. that are described in detail for treatments. These also include common household remedies like cinnamon, sesame, peppers, cardamom, ginger and more. Additionally the treatise offers descriptions of 101 instruments used in surgery.

Sushruta’s greatest contributions were in the fields of plastic surgery and removal of cataracts. In a time when cutting of nose or ears was a common punishment, restoration of these parts and even limbs lost in wars was a common medical practice. There are detailed and accurate step-by-step descriptions of such operations. Strikingly these are the very steps followed by modern surgeons doing plastic surgery even today.

Serious procedures were undertaken like drawing fetuses out of wombs, repairing damaged rectums and removing stones from bladders. Surgical techniques included incisions, probing, extraction of foreign bodies, cauterization, tooth extraction, excisions, draining abscess, draining hydrocele, removal of prostate gland, urethral stricture dilatation, hernia surgery, management of haemorrhoids, fistulae, intestinal obstruction, perforated intestines, and accidental perforation of abdomen. Students were given knowledge of relevant branches of medicine to attain proficiency in allied subjects.

Sushruta Samhita remains an important text on medicine that is also a foundational text for Ayurveda. This seminal text was translated to Arabic as Kitab-i-Susrud in the 8th century. The Arabic translation was received in Europe by the end of the medieval period when Renaissance Italy became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta Samhita. Among other translations since then, more recently in 1999, P. V. Sharma undertook an English translation of this ancient Indian medical treatise.

First Surgeon Performing Plastic Surgery!

First Surgeon Performing Plastic Surgery!