World Hepatitis Day

 

World-Hepatitis-Day-28th-July-World-Map-In-Background

Photograph – Courtesy Google

All over the globe today World Hepatitis Day is being observed! July 28th was earmarked back in 2011 to dedicate World Hepatitis Day to bring all countries together to work with single minded devotion on the scourge of viral hepatitis. The thematic issue was taken up to raise awareness for the global burden of this disease as also to influence real change. It is also one of the just four disease-specific global awareness days officially endorsed by the World Health Organization.

The day involves stakeholders that include patient organizations, governments, medical professionals, civil society, industry and the general public to work together in order to boost the global profile of viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis remains one of the leading causes of death globally. It accounts for nearly 1.34 million deaths per year. This figure tallies to the total HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria deaths! Additionally hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.

It is interesting to make note that viral hepatitis is not found in any one location or amongst any given set of people. It is actually truly a global epidemic that affects millions of people without them even being aware. Presently 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status! This can result in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.

With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable, but greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is a must, as is access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment. With the recent adoption of the world’s first global hepatitis strategy, we stand at a pivotal moment in time. Besides political commitment, urgent action is needed or deaths will continue to rise and the epidemic will continue to grow.

World Hepatitis Day therefore becomes an opportunity to join together and raise the profile of viral hepatitis among the public. The elimination of viral hepatitis has to be firmly put as a priority agenda. The 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva had 194 governments adopting WHO’s Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis. This included the goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C in the next 13 years. The community responded by launching NOhep, the first ever global movement to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

Today we can all commit to and build on the momentum to accelerate progress towards achieving the goal of elimination by 2030. ELIMINATE HEPATITIS is a simple call to action that involves everyone. Regardless of priorities the theme may be easily adapted for local use to achieve elimination, greater awareness, increased diagnosis and key interventions that include universal vaccination, blood and injection safety, harm reduction and treatment. Every activity that addresses viral hepatitis is a step towards eliminating it.

No matter what your plans are to mark WHD, be it a rally or press briefing or testing events, they can all come under the theme of Eliminate Hepatitis. The elimination of viral hepatitis is not just a public health goal – it is an individual goal for millions of men, women and children across the world. Every single person could be affected by viral hepatitis and we all have a part to play to achieve elimination. HERD Medical Foundation stands up to the challenge and will continue to focus on elimination of this deadly killer.

Advertisements

GENDER APPROACHES – HERD GROUP PHARMACY DIVISION

IMG-20170602-WA0000

Pharmacists, more commonly known as chemists in our country, are healthcare professionals who practice in a pharmacy. It is a field of health sciences that focuses exclusively on the safe and effective usage of medications. As health care team members they are directly involved with patient care. To be able to do this they have to undergo university-level education to understand all about biochemical drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions as well as be cognizant of monitoring factors for using medications.

It appears to be a good idea to staff pharmacies with women team members, particularly at the store counters. This would be especially useful to interact and respond to women customers walking into the medical store. It has been seen observed that women customers are generally more comfortable to talk to women on the workforce team. Such suggestions have been going around in the sector, emanating from several quarters. It’s been given to understand that the presence of a lady makes female customers (already be troubled by disease and patients back home) instantly comfortable.

Aside from it being a great idea to increase the sales process, it would also work for enhancing the much needed gender equity in the pharmacy sector. In our country very often advice is sought from pharmacists regarding medications to be taken for general ill- health conditions. The best of us may have done so at some point. Since most medical stores are run by men there are hardly any women present to quell doubts arising for women customers. So it’s a good idea to have women pharmacists to tackle issues faced by female visitors.

More often than not in case of mild ill-disposition like common fevers, cold, coughs, and headaches, it is quite common for pharmacists to be quizzed for suitable remedies. If a pharmacy is closer at hand than a doctor many people simply walk up to the medical store and seek guidance as to what medicine should be taken. In the case of women customers having female pharmacists across the counter may be a sound idea to counsel such women as to the best course forward.

By and large, although sizeable numbers of females pass out of pharmacy education each year, a pharmacist’s job is not yet considered as an ideal job for women. Such conservative thinking and traditional opinions continue to plague the sector that keeps women largely out of it. HERD Pharmacy plans to recruit women with the aim to induct willing female pharmacy staff to enhance their diverse roles and to make the best use of their skills. We are keen to make our pharmacies women-friendly so that women customers may approach comfortably and be able to share whats on their mind.

“The feminisation of pharmacy is a fascinating insight into the overall make up of the pharmacist workforce…” ~~ Anas Hasan

Litchees on Empty Stomach May Kill Undernourished Children

HERD Foundation

Stay Away from Litchee Orchards on an Empty Stomach

The mysterious deaths of children in Bihar had foxed the medical fraternity for long. For many years doctors were unable to understand about their strange illness resulting in death. It is only now things have come to light after scientists undertook tests on a sample of over 300 children to discover it was low blood-sugar levels causing the illness.

This uncanny disclosure comes after researchers confirmed that a chemical present in litchees had been killing malnourished children in Muzaffarpur for years. The region had been witness to several mysterious deaths from Methylene cyclopropyl-glycine chemicals found in litchees, a summer fruit, causing hypoglycemic encephalopathy when blood sugar levels were low in the body.

Hypoglycemic encephalopathy causes convulsions and coma. To prevent the disease doctors now suggest children in the area be given a full evening meal to reduce risk of disease. National Centre for Disease Control, India and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started an investigation in 2013 about this illness. Cases being reported since early 1995 have now been linked to litchees!

The research reports that the disease appearing similar to Japanese encephalitis would break out every year in mid-May with highest cases getting reported in June. Every year parents and doctors would be grievously perplexed about the resultant deaths of the children. The disease mostly affected poor and undernourished children living near the orchards.

Unexplained illness in children aged 15 years and younger in Muzaffarpur claiming their lives has now been solved. It was found that consumption of litchees and skipping evening meal result in very low blood glucose level (less than 70 mg/dL) and acute encephalopathy including seizures and coma, causing the deaths in many cases.

Dr T Jacob John of Vellore’s Christian Medical College stated “The victims had signs of brain cell damage and seizures, indicating that a toxin and not just undernourishment was causing the disease.” The study shows the mal-effect of skipping the evening meal to impact through these toxins. These results are published in the journal Lancet Global Health.

With infectious causes ruled out and most sick children having low blood glucose levels the team began investigating the role of toxins, exposure to pesticide, insecticide and heavy metals and so on. Following up leads from cases of toxic hypoglycemic syndrome in West Indies caused by hypoglycin A toxin found in ackee fruit, the same family as litchee, was what started off the hypothesis and subsequent investigation.

HERD Foundation

Bizarre Illness