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.

OF HUMAN BONDING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Tanha Pola : On Uncertain Notes

 

307913As rural hinterlands celebrate Tanha Pola today, it would perhaps be in a precarious state of mind. Pola is a rustic festival bestowing gratitude to hardy bullocks that assist farmers in accomplishing their tilling and other farm-related occupations. It is enjoyed fervently in Vidarbha and other parts of Maharashtra. These meek beasts of burden play a crucial role and the day is earmarked since times immemorial to venerate their silent role in the well-being of rural lives. The faltering monsoon situation however lends an air of uncertainty to the festivities.

Pithori Amavasya (new moon) in Shravana month sees farmers celebrating the festival with much enthusiasm and gaiety as they deck up their partners in toil. They pay homage to their bullocks for their enduring support in their cultivation efforts. Pola day begins with bulls being bathed, decorated with ornaments and shawls, horns painted and necks adorned with garlands, festoons and beads. And they are lovingly fed with special offerings made for the occasion.

Given a day to rest from their weary workload, the evening sees them being paraded in a procession. Farmers celebrate along the way accompanied by music and dancing. The event starts with an aging bullock leading ahead with a wooden frame (makhar) tied on its horns to break a string of mango leaves stretched between two posts. Once this is done all other decorated bulls join in the procession around the village.

Although the past week has seen a smattering of showers but there is still no rain as such worth the mention. The prolonged dry spell in and around Nagpur is a cause for worry, as rural hopes appear downcast, fearing crop loss. If a good spell of rain is not in the offing in the next fortnight and beyond the situation will have to be reviewed for suitable measures to save the fate of crops trying to come up in our parts.

For sure the rainfall in the districts of Vidarbha has been poor, compared to last year’s average. As per the agriculture department’s report, crops in many districts had begun to wilt while many appeared to be under threat of pest attacks. However the intermittent rains of the past week have revived the hopes of farmers. Even so the prediction is that productivity may likely be hit by 40%. Naturally in this state of affairs Tanha Pola celebrations are likely to be affected.

Ostensibly, the past two days have brought about a revival of the monsoon and despite the stress on crops due to dry spells; signs of traditional festivities is showing up in rural market places. The customary decorative items are on display and there’s a hustle and bustle in village bazaars. Women are preparing for the traditional meals, men are contemplating about tasks to be done and children are excited. Most especially for the ‘Chota Pola’ that follows the next day, when they will run around with wooden bullock replicas on wheels that will keep them amused endlessly.

Nonetheless today Bail Pola is certainly seeing bullocks being revered and farmers celebrating everywhere, despite uncertainty about the rains. As evening draws closer celebrations are marked with decorated bulls in sparkling ornaments ready to be paraded. Even the usual rope harness on them gets un-tethered today, while cows too are made part of the ritual festivities. Rural families prepare delicious traditional food and visit friends and relatives. The elderly explain the traditions and history behind Pola celebrations and feel happy that traditions are being kept alive. Rains or no rains harried peasants will not let the day go by un-celebrated.

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.

Clean India – Green India

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The Clean India Mission launched by the government is a laudable mission. Although begun with zest and passion with suitably amended systems of efficient garbage disposal, we still fail to keep our environs spick and span. For one, we have loads of natural debris free-flying all over and second, lack of civic sense makes matters worse. We Indians may be the cleanest of people within our homes but when it comes to keeping public spaces clean and spruced up we fail in every sense of the word. No brand ambassador can possibly get us to take up the cudgels unless we have been prepared for the task early-on.

Cleanliness and hands-on cleaning lessons should be made mandatory for children in school so that a whole new generation imbibes the importance of spotless surroundings. Both The USA and Japan teach young children in school to work at keeping sanitized bathrooms, ready for subsequent use by fellow classmates. Kids there feel no shame or repugnance in rolling up their sleeves, donning gloves and cleaning up toilets. It is our predispositions and learned susceptibilities that stop us from doing the same. Plus we have the luxury of cheap labour available to do these jobs.

Waste management of odds and ends in India has always run systemically through recycling, making it a sustainable business. We are again fortunate for having the ubiquitous ‘raddiwallahs’ doing the rounds and helping us get rid of clutter of all kind – old newspapers, old clothes, used bottles, tins and everything in between. Along with municipalities getting into the act for garbage disposal these ‘raddiwallahs’ too assist in restoring cleanliness in our homes. However present day over consumerist societies are losing the balance and disrupting these trends with the new culture of everything-throwaway. From plastic bags to online merchandise packing we are throwing paper, cardboard and plastics out the doors for someone else to collect.

The ever increasing waste materials have become a by-product of modern living. Despite norms and legislation for regulating disposal of waste, the unsightly heaps of overflowing rubbish mounds continue to abound. Even with licensed outsourcing of tasks and civic rules in place, compliance appears to be lax. This is especially dangerous during monsoons leading to clogged drains, gutters and nullahs, as well as posing serious threats for foraging animals and rag pickers alike. The recent shocking deaths of gutter-cleaners raised a big hue and cry on following days but ended a natural death. After all today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s rubbish!

As India celebrates 70 years of Independence, it is time to take stock of the rapid urbanization in our country that is making waste management to be such a big challenge. “Over 377 million urban people live in 7,935 towns and cities and generate 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per annum. Only 43 million tonnes (MT) of the waste is collected, 11.9 MT is treated and 31 MT is dumped in landfill sites”. These statistics are as per Down To earth environmental magazine. Solid Waste Management is still one of the most basic and essential services devised to keep our cities clean.  Yet the truth is that municipalities simply dump garbage outside city limits. There are no checks and balances on proper disposal.

Of late some cursory measures that are still to be followed systematically have begun to ensure due segregation of waste at source. Again here the people have to make sure that they do this conscientiously.  Since we already sell ‘raddi’ to the recycling industry it should not be an unusual task to segregate waste on a daily basis. This will ensure less waste reaching landfills. It should be the responsibility of the municipalities that just as they have set up a system for collection and transportation, like wise they should have good follow up mechanisms for processing and proper disposal.

With nearly 100 cities slated to be converted into smart cities, the first smart move should be implement effective waste management strategies and challenge people to adapt lifestyles accordingly. Aside from municipalities, schools, colleges, hospitals, corporate houses, government institutions should be made the first line of hand-holders.  A good move planned is to do away with landfill sites and replace them with compost pits for organic waste. Community participation will be crucial and they will have to be made aware of other kinds of waste like e-waste, bio-medical waste and so on. The way forward would certainly be to go full scale with Clean India and Green India as we step into the 71st year of our Independence.

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“Adding Scholarship to Teaching”

 

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Sunday, August 6, 2017 saw HERD Foundation attending the Annual Conclave organized by The Hitawada – a leading newspaper of Nagpur. The media-house has been organizing the event for almost a decade in a bid to head-start advancement and progression in the field of higher learning. Entitled “Adding Scholarship to Teaching” the convention included the upper echelons of the teaching fraternity of Nagpur and few surrounding towns of Vidarbha.

The Hitavada is the largest selling English daily newspaper in Central India. It was founded in 1911 by freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale, whose portrait took center stage at the dais.  Sitting down to hear the speakers spell out their views on how teaching could be enhanced to indoctrinate and instill scholarship in students, the fairly full gathering appeared keen on the offerings that were to follow.

The erudite crowd gave their ear to the submissions of the five speakers invited to share their opinions and insights. Aside from the Chairman, Shiksha Mandal who provided some general interpretations about what it meant to add scholarship to teaching, the remaining four eminent speakers (Amravati University, IGNOU Nagpur, Institute of Science and RTMNU) were actually mulling about teaching-learning methodologies coupled with thoughts on scholarship norms.

A visibly disheartened Chief Editor of the newspaper attempted to salvage and reconstruct the theme for the benefit of the audience. His focused interpretation of scholarship in terms of erudition, knowledge, learning, literacy, education soon made it clear that what was expected of the speakers was to chart out ways to inspire and motivate academic attainments from students. As also, to enumerate the role of teachers in doing so. Sharing influences of teachers of yore, on minds of students, he went on to elaborate how present day teachers could begin to tap the minds of young academicians to bring out enquiry and original thinking.

Apparently the invited speakers had been caught up with their interpretation of the term ‘scholarship’. The first known use of the word scholarship in circa 1536 had of course meant serious, detailed study for academic achievement. Synonymously, it is now understood to pertain to learning of a high order for attaining the character, qualities, and activities of a scholar. The current meaning of scholarship is more commonly understood as an amount of money or grant given by a school to a student to help for the student’s education. Somewhere between these two definitions the convention took off at tandem to make it all inclusive. Of course they did elaborate on the subject in its entirety by adding practical and experiential dimensions to explain teh finer nuances of teaching.

Had it not been for the chief editor’s elucidation, the conclave would have been bereft of the serious nature of the thematic issue at hand. It was his inferences on how a fund of knowledge or learning could help draw out the scholarship (read scholarly quests) of an avid student that lent the right context to the pursuit of this intellectual enquiry. Hopefully the understanding of the theme filtered down to the audience after his simplified description on this serious question of notching up scales in teaching to inculcate scholarship.

“Adding Scholarship to Teaching” was a first-rate attempt at reviewing and making projections for best practices in assessing the teachers role in value-addition to the student’s learning. The goal appears to be refining active learning. Let us work together to ingrain enhanced features that will inspire research and contemporary designs to foster systematic, intentional changes in teaching and learning outcomes. The mission here could be to leverage research among university educators to create appropriate value addition in order to provide orientation for original thinking in students.

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