World Trauma Day 2017

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Image – Courtesy Google 

Each year October 17 is observed as World Trauma Day. The day reminds us all regarding the rising number of accidents and injuries that cause death and disability across the world and how we may prevent the same. Trauma refers to “any injury caused to the body” physical or mental. Injuries may be due to road accidents, fires, burns, falls, or acts of violence.

Surprisingly in all these causes it is road accidents that remain the number one reason for trauma all over the world. Road accidents often lead to temporary or permanent disability of victims and may even be fatal. It is estimated that every year nearly 5 million people die from injuries across the world.

In our own country statistics reveal that every year about a million people die while 20 million get hospitalized due to serious injuries. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) states that nearly 1, 40,000 people die in road accidents in India on an average in any given year. In reality the numbers may be even more since these would probably be the numbers of reported cases.

The fact is that road accidents keep occurring all the time that also increases the morbidity and mortality rate. It is therefore very important to take all required precautions and steps to contain both accidents and injuries. Since as we all know prevention is always better than cure, people, especially the young ones should be taking care. Authorities should stay alert towards imposing restrictions on speed, wearing of helmets and act responsibly in traffic regulation.

Road accidents are the scourge of modern times. These deaths and disabilities can be prevented if proper training is imparted to the common man on how to handle emergency care in accident cases. For, apart from causing deaths in a largely young population, trauma will, by 2020, be ranked third for causing disabilities among the Indian population. Trauma can therefore be looked upon as an epidemic.

It is for this reason that HERD Foundation has been promoting Basic Life Saving Skills Training and advocating emergency medicine courses for not only medical people but for lay persons as well. If life sustaining help is not provided by first responders within minutes of an accident, then chances are we may be left counting more fatality statistics. We also need to impose strict rules for vehicle drivers to be careful and observe safety and wear helmets.

In line with our role as health care providers, HERD Foundation is committed to saving lives of critical patients. We urge every person working in healthcare sector and even laypersons to gain essential knowledge of life support skills. We know that early recognition and immediate life support intervention saves lives. It has therefore become a life’s mission for us to undertake Life Support Training Skills programme and to make them as widespread as possible.

In most trauma cases where deaths occur before medical help arrives, there is nobody who knows what to do. Precious minutes are lost. It is for this reason that we have undertaken training in basic life-saving skills. If a person is not given help within three minutes of an accident then we can lose a person. Today, on October 17 2017, we once again reiterate our mission and also raise awareness about the World Trauma Day.  Here are some do’s and don’ts to remember and follow to avoid accidents:

Do’s

  • Follow road safety rules carefully.
  • Always fasten seat belts and child care safety seats.
  • Pay attention to warning signs and traffic signals.
  • Always wear a helmet while riding a two-wheeler.
  • Avoid distractions like mobile phones and loud music.
  • Take short breaks in case of long distance driving.
  • Keep children away from electric switches and wires.
  • Carry a first aid safety kit at your home and in your vehicle.
  • Learn basic life support techniques and help the injured.

Don’ts

  • Do not drive when you are tired, sleepy or drunk.
  • Do not drive rashly when in a hurry.
  • In case of a head/spinal injury do not move victim from accident site without professional help.
  • Do not give fluids to any unconscious or semi-conscious traumatized person.

 

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International Day of the Girl

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The world observes International Day Of The Girl today on October 11. International Day of the Girl Child or Day of the Girl is an annual event that highlights issues concerning the gender inequality facing young girls. This year’s theme is “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.” The focus is on addressing the needs and challenges that girls face and to ensure that we all promote girls’ empowerment.

Designated by the UN, October 11 is the day that reminds us all to invest in adolescent girls. A united effort in this direction will create a formidable ripple effect to create a better world by 2030. That is the idea. On this International Day of the Girl, all countries join in to highlight the unique challenges and potential of adolescent girls. With nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today, one can only imagine the limitless individual potential they have to offer.

UN Women rightly feels that focus on girls is disappearing from public awareness and the international development agenda. It is a sad fact that girls all over the world face inequity issues, protection issues, and inability to complete secondary education. Adolescent girls everywhere are uniquely impacted and this ought to be corrected by offering benefits by targeted investments and programmes that address their distinct needs.

There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future. They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all. Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises suffer even more. Therefore this year pays special attention to the theme – “Empower girls: Before, during and after conflict”.

Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking. Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults.

Throughout 2017 we have seen growing conflict, instability and inequality, with 128.6 million people this year expected to need humanitarian assistance due to security threats, climate change and poverty. More than three-quarters of those who have become refugees or who are displaced from their homes are women and children. Among these, women and girls are among the most vulnerable in times of crisis.

Displaced and vulnerable women and girls face higher risks of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as damage to their livelihoods; girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to miss school during disasters; and displaced girls are often married off as children in an effort to ensure their security. Across the world, empowered girls are raising their voices to fight for their rights and protection in all contexts. They are working to end violence against women and girls, to recognize indigenous rights, and to build peaceful and cohesive communities.

Let this day be a pledge to ensure that girls are offered positive options that allow them to grow and develop social and economic skills. Let ngo’s and civil society organizations boost civic engagement and leadership for girls by advocating their social participation and resurgence. Let nations turn adverse situations into opportunities of empowerment for girls and young women.

On this International Day of the Girl Child let us all commit to investing in skills training and education for girls and livelihood activities for young women. We are well aware of the plight of young girls in our own country. Let us not be passive any more but address the issues affecting the girl child and help to rebuild our communities to create a better future for all of us.

Unemployment Today

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Images – Courtesy Google

Increasing unemployment in India is creating serious threats to social equanimity, if this is not already been disrupted. With reports of Indians featuring on the list of richest men in the world, coupled with the fact that the rich are getting richer and poor are turning poorer in our country, the divide between the haves and the have-nots emerges as a critical social issue. It is time to be wary of fallouts of social disparity and look for ways to create employment opportunities.

Unemployment records in India are kept by Ministry of Labour and Employment of India. Even the UN keeps tabs on this issue and as per the UN Labour Report unemployment is projected to witness marginal increase between 2017 and 2018 signaling stagnation in job creation in India. The United Nations International Labour Organisation released its 2017 World Employment and Social Outlook report early this year. It projects economic growth trends lagging behind employment needs. It also predicts rising unemployment and worsening social inequality throughout 2017.

In the present socio-economic scenario in our country it appears difficult to expect that employment options for the needy will pick up pace, anytime soon – either in what is left of the year or even in coming 2018. As job scarcity rises, what it really represents is a sad stagnation in percentage of people unable to remain gainfully employed. According to the UN report: “Unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million last year to 17.8 million in 2017 and 18 million next year. In percentage terms, unemployment rate will remain at 3.4 per cent in 2017-18”.

This is a dismal forecast, that in the same report makes projections stating that global unemployment levels and rates were expected to remain high in the short term! So even as the global labour force continues to grow, unemployment for our country shows that more unemployed people will be facing challenges to make a living. This will significantly affect inequality in incomes and wealth creation, thereby creating further disparities.

As we well know that the employment structure of an economy is the normal instrument that may cause changes in inequality, often for the worse. Since the government functions within its administrative and fiscal constraints, targeted programmes for employment generation only marginally impact income redistribution. Income flow on a larger scale can be influenced only when assets are made available along with promotion of new modes of employment opportunities.

In India, unemployed persons are individuals who are without income generating activities and who actively attempt to being gainfully employed. According to the India Skills Report launched in the 3rd CII National Conference on Skill Development only about 3.4% were found employable out of about 1, 00,000 candidates! This report not only captured the real skill levels of the talent pool that was created but also laid out the hiring estimates across major Industry sectors in the country.

It is clear that skills development is an area requiring urgent attention. A general trend seen to be readily acceptable by employers today is that they look for skills rather than qualifications, broadly speaking. Even so, despite having several sectors available – BFSI, BPO/ITES, manufacturing and so on, these do not bring on the expected changes in hiring patterns. Engineering, Hospitality and Travel have emerged as sectors with probable increase in the hiring numbers. What is then clear is that we need to develop a skilled employable pool (based on gender, age-group, identified domain, and so on) to facilitate entry as per industry needs.

HERD Foundation runs projects that help to homogenize society and that builds awareness on the need for economic well-being. Our development plans take on interventions that widen the scope for the poorest and marginalized people. We know for sure that skills development will be conducive for their betterment, besides creating a cadre of skilled workers. We are very keen to transform the existing unemployment scenario by provide employment-oriented education. The development of manpower for employment opportunities is a strategic necessity for accelerating economic growth. We are open to partnerships in this area, and seek hand-holding and support for such initiatives.

World Ozone Day

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September 16 is observed as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The ozone layer or ozone shield is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It contains high concentrations of ozone in relation to other parts of the atmosphere, although still small in relation to other gases in the stratosphere.

This layer in the stratosphere contains relatively high concentration of ozone. The earth’s atmosphere divided into several layers has each layer playing a role. The first region extends to about 10km up from the earth’s surface and is called the troposphere. Ozone depletion occurs when chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons or gases formerly found in aerosol spray cans and refrigerants get released into the atmosphere. CFCs and halons cause chemical reactions breaking down ozone molecules to reduce ozone’s ultraviolet radiation-absorbing capacity.

It is very essential to keep a control on fossil fuels that cause huge amounts of damage to the ozone layer which is depleting quickly. The ozone layer gets depleted by chemicals and air pollution caused by human activities. This is why September 16th is marked out since 1987 after the Montreal Protocol as World Ozone Day. A number of special events such as talks and seminars are held on this day. World Ozone Day is officially been celebrated since 1994 after being established by United Nations General Assembly. The day is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it.

People from all over the world are made aware of the need to protect the ozone layer. Talks and seminars are held widely by academics and concerned agencies. Celebrated all around the world schools and colleges have educators setting aside the day to instruct students about the Ozone layer. Many educational institutions organize special events and activities to raise awareness on the need to conserve the ozone layer.

September 16 is the designated day as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This designation had been made on December 19, 1995, in commemoration of the date, in 1987, on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The closure of the hole in the ozone layer was observed 30 years after the protocol was signed. Due to the nature of the gases responsible for ozone depletion their chemical effects are expected to continue for between 50 to 100 years.

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. The phase out of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change. Also it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Ozone Secretariat has launched a communication campaign ahead of World Ozone Day. The #OzoneHeroes campaign launched on 14 September will seek to celebrate the major accomplishments of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the ozone layer and the climate, to increase public recognition of the success and impact of the Protocol.

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.

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

Vulnerability of Religiosity

The long arm of the law finally caught up with the so called god-man of Sirsa in Haryana. Fifteen long years of struggle since incrimination, this morning saw newspaper headlines emblazoning his 20 years imprisonment for brutal crimes. Social media is awash with more skeletons as victims come out with his strange ‘maafi’ (forgiveness) rituals for women and stories of men being castrated. It was truly all horrific! The cult-following enjoyed by this god-man can only be gauged by his Facebook page claiming – ‘more than 50 million people around the world as faithful followers’.

Even as we fail to understand such horrendous acts, so also we fail to understand the multitudes that throng such organizations. It is a despairing feature of our country that countless people become devotees of these self-proclaimed god-men. It is time we begin to question the rationality of these practices and look deeper inside to try and understand why they get so enamored. What is it that creates unflinching loyalty to these louts who get offered all the ill-founded veneration?

These bizarre figure-heads continue to draw vulnerable people in the name of religion.  Much like the axiomatic Pied Piper, be it the aged dhoti-clad reader-of-scriptures or the bling-appareled, gem-studded glib talker – hundreds of thousands of followers began to look upon them as saviors. Riddled with personal woes and copious troubles people flocked to them in hope of psychological respite and mystical ways out. They even end up offering their willing suspension of (dis)belief.  Who are these people that find time for these tricksters who soon enough begin to exercise abysmal control over them?

If you look closely it is certain classes of people who largely become followers. They are caught on by religiosity, caste-folds, paucity, and backwardness and are keen to don new identities. In the case of Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insaan, sentenced today, it was the Mazhabi or out-caste Sikhs that became firmly entrenched into the cult. Thousands and thousands of people from villages, towns, and bastis of Haryana began to find new-found dignity and social come-uppance as members of the Dera.

And the Dera was rich. As are other such ashrams providing alternate ways of life. Importantly they provide medical support, food security and psychological well-being to an otherwise neglected strata of society. The Dera in particular is quite modern in outlook. With malls and other facilities women particularly found it convenient as it afforded them a wonderful escape from ordinary humdrum lives. Not to speak of spiritual succor – the ultimate opium of the masses along with a sense of righteousness. In fact it offered all of which that should rightly be coming from the government.

It ought to be the government’s job to deliver succor, relief, fulfillment to its people. But it is the portals of such organizations that draw the multitudes seeking it there. And the government just plays the shut eye. Despite suspicions of wrong doings the powers-that-be know full-well that these god-men offer a vote bank. Electoral outcomes matter and officials do not hesitate to kow-tow to these feigning god-men. After all, their nod could mean tacit support for vote margins. The highest in the land have not hesitated to bestow patronage.

Women are willy-nilly drawn into the fold. Lower middle class vulnerable women more so. A sense of freedom, alternate lifestyle, peace of mind and most important food in their bellies are some of the alluring reasons that draw them over. But when they come to learn that gender disparity and exploitation raises its ugly head in these fiefdoms in graver and more insidious ways – often it becomes too late for a turnabout. Unfortunately young women and even young men have suffered most grievously at such places.

We can now but suggest that nobody ought to follow such god-men blindly. It becomes the responsibility of civic institutions to caution people about dangers of following cults. We should assist people to question themselves about what they do and why.  Let religion be in the private domain, within homes and reserved for inner contemplation and personal wellbeing. Let the sacrosanctity of religiosity be a matter of personal spiritualism and not become an opportunity in the hands of such culprits. Let us no longer be duped in the name of our religious vulnerability nor allow self-seeking god men to lay hand on ill-gotten gains, exploitations and our personal dignity.