Health First – Caring for Rural Poor

HERD Foundation regularly organizes health camps in rural areas where it has been proactively working with tribal and rural populations. The objective is not simply providing health services but also creating locales where entire communities are sensitized to the dire importance of staying healthy. Camps draw out sick and infirm men, women, children and elderly in need of medical help. These camps have the benign presence of generous doctors who offer their services wholeheartedly.

The good doctors are instrumental in demonstrating to the associated medical team staffers how health issues may be dealt with rural communities in an empathetic and interactive manner. Camps are usually well attended as a result of pre-publicity that is done to mobilize patients, whose names, and follow-up details are duly registered. The camp activities usually also include sharing information about preventive measures and awareness on issues of health and hygiene.

As a well-known NGO in these parts run by Dr Amol Deshmukh, HERD Foundation recently organized two special, almost-free medical heath check-up camps for tribal people at Pauni in Ramtek Tehsil and for townspeople of Saoner. Held on January 10 and 12 respectively the camps had 180 patients at Pauni and 175 patients at Saoner to benefit from the care provided by the medical team. Each and every patient was given a personal health card; their details recorded and were offered counseling on the need to stay fit.

The health camps were for the benefit of rural and tribal populations living in Saoner town and Pench forest areas. They were intimated about the health camp through distribution of leaflets giving relevant information and by word of mouth publicity. The camps held from 10:00 AM until 02:00 PM extended well over the stipulated time as patients kept arriving steadily. A token fee of Rs 10 at Pauni and Rs 20 at Saoner was charged for offering a range of services.

As patients lined up before meeting the specialist doctors, they were taken care of by a medical team that recorded their history and basic profile – blood pressure, weight, physical examination by stethoscope and so on were all recorded in their health card file. Medicines were also prescribed and provided to patients who were diagnosed and were advised with due follow up to their ailments with HERD Foundation doctors visiting Pauni and Saoner.

The Pauni camp was monitored by Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta Deshmukh – both co-founders of HERD Foundation. Dr Anuprita Bhadage and Dr Hemlata Kashyap, doctors devoted to Pauni Tribal clinic attended to the patients. In time Dr Suchika Gupta also undertook diagnosis and counseling for the benefit of the tribal patients. The range of afflictions included blood pressure, infections, skin disorders, diabetes, asthma, orthopedic injuries, abdominal pain, back pain and seasonal disorders.

The Saoner camp with a focus on orthopedics had the benefit of the presence of Dr Kuldeep Deshpande, orthopedic doctor from Sancheti Hospital, Pune who offered his services in the camp. Along with him Dr Sushma Gupta, Dr Kanchan as general physicians were examining and prescribing treatments to the patients. Dr Suchika Gupta present at the camp keenly observed the activities of the medical camp. Of the total number of 175 patients visiting the Saoner health camp 60% were for orthopedics, 25% for skin ailments and nearly 15% for general and pediatrics.

Dr Amol Deshmukh has been organizing these health camps under the auspices of “Doctor Aaple Daari” or “Doctor At Your Doorstep” consistently over the past three years, benefitting countless poor villagers in the region. HERD Foundation promotes such health camps with the aim to provide healthcare and awareness on fitness by rural populations. Follow ups are important to maintain quality of health camps and they also help to retain the faith of the people on the diligent treatments.

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HERD Foundation Celebrates Kite Flying Festivities For Makar Sankranti

January 14 is celebrated as Makar Sankranti Festival each year all over India. It is said to be one of the most ancient of Hindu festivals. Devoted to the Sun God the day heralds the change of seasons and welcomes the soon-to-come spring time. The festival is associated with communities cutting across the country who all follow diverse traditions with great enthusiasm. The one tradition in common above all, all over, is that of flying kites!!

HERD Foundation HR unit had the staff celebrating the kite flying festivities with great fanfare. Members were invited to go up on the office terrace to enjoy flying of colourful kites.  Soon everyone was busy drawing strings on the paper kites and attempting to get them up in the air to adorn the sky. Colourful kites were to waft amid music and cheers from the staff members.

Wondering why the tradition of flying kites is associated with Sankranti, soon many thoughts began floating around. Some had been taught traditionally that since winters brought in the cold along with illness, the sun offered relief. While it is common to lounge in the warmth of the winter sun to be rid of the chill and disease causing germs, kite flying added a new dimension to enjoying the sun. In fact the act of flying kites is said to be a more proactive way of enjoying the sun.

A yet more symbolic reason on offer is that flying kites up in the high skies is to reach up to the heavens on Makar Sankranti day to offer obeisance and thankfulness to the gods. It is also seen to be a signal to help awaken the Gods who as per mythology go to sleep for six months. Makar Sankranti is the day they wake up and the blue skies are dotted with colourful kites to welcome them.

Taking these reasons with a pinch of salt, the fact remains that all across the country kites fly high on this day. Regarded as the first big festival of the calendar year, (the Hindu New Year is in March on Gudi Padwa day), young and old people participate with great fervor for this annual ritual. Preparations for the celebrations begin days in advance to stock up kites, strings and all other needed paraphernalia.

Makar Sankranti festival is celebrated with great joy by rich and poor alike. The festival marks the onset of spring and thereafter summer after the cold winter which makes it’s a harbinger of good times ahead. The festival in particular gets everyone out in the sun offering health benefits and enjoying special treats prepares especially for the day. The sun offers medicinal support, exposing people with good doses of Vitamin D.

HERD Foundation staff enjoyed the day amid gaiety, laughter and music in the sun, enjoying fun, special fare and togetherness in a spirit of bonhomie offered by the Human Resources unit. Special thanks are due to Nisha Mishra, HR Manager and Latika Vadher, HR Executive for contributing to the success of the event.

Importance of Modern Medicine

For all our bonhomie, congeniality and carry-on-living lifestyles, the fact remains that majority of the people around the world are ailing. Statistics as per a new analysis tells us that just one in twenty are healthy in any given year! This new analysis based on the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study finds that more than 95 per cent of the world’s population is ill. Alarmingly, over a third suffers from more than five chronic illnesses.

These findings while certainly very distressing should be taken with some equanimity. The availability of modern medicines provides health care by offering ease to help people recover and experience wellness again. The importance of medicines cannot be discounted nor disregarded in coping with infection or disease so widely rampant among human beings. The past century has seen modern medicine increasingly provide respite and succor to mankind. Allopathic medicines have truly proved to be a boon for human health.

The very word medicine is derived from the Latin word ‘ ars medicina’ that means ‘the art of healing’. The middle of the 20th century saw real advancement in medical science. Ever since then to this day research and developments have continuously advanced the medicinal field. It is absolutely true that human knowledge has accelerated the study of medicine making it one of the most important areas in safeguarding human health. Modern scientific medical drugs help in properly assisting patients to recover from their sickness.

Modern medicines remain a reliable source for treating human diseases. Alongside, the availability of advanced diagnostic technology has been a value-added facet to medical science. With state of art medical equipment that can probe and gauge disorders in the human body, it is only a matter of time that appropriate medication helps in healing the body. Another wonderful dimension of modern medicine is the way it helps in prevention of diseases. Maladies are prevented by ingesting or injecting proper medicines and inoculations.

Since detection of disease has become so much easier and less time consuming, proper dosage of necessary medicines assist in fighting diseases to offer complete treatment. Doctors now do not have to go by trial and error since human body diagnosis and profiling by modern methods help in identifying the exact ailment or syndrome. With cutting edge tools and technologies available today for detection of diseases, precise medications help in curing a patient quickly, even before the problem can grow bigger.

It is all thanks to medical science that we are treating patients so much more successfully than before. With treatments available for most diseases today, medications offer respite for health issues ranging from physical, mental to psychosomatic. With medicines offering healing opportunity to patients, people feel more secure because they know that the treatments are available. Pharmaceutical companies ensure that medicines and drugs are always available on a large scale and can be provided to people at low costs.

Pharmacology science has actually revolutionized the medical world. Medications now offer cures for common illnesses and also for critical diseases giving better health benefits to people everywhere. Pharmaceutical medicine is the medical scientific discipline concerned with the discovery, development, evaluation, registration, monitoring and medical aspects of marketing of medicines for the benefit of patients and public health.

HERD Pharmacy medical stores salute to this indefatigable spirit of Pharmacology in rendering yeoman service to people in need of modern medicines to reclaim their good health.

Good Start – Good Deeds

How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.

‘As one lamp lights another, nor grows less, So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.’ Basic Life Support (BLS) is a vision to which Dr Suchika Deshmukh connects to and contributes consistently for its realization. Adhering to this universal vision, it is her belief and credo that the vision can only be affirmed by undertaking continuous, positive steps for BLS training. It is her chosen area of affirmation for her country, for which she takes proactive stance through her words, feelings and actions.

Putting together all positive energy to connect the people who value human lives, she is the driving force behind HERD Foundation for sharing and enlarging the scope of BLS. Never one to lose an opportunity to extend her mission she puts together all like-minded individuals and agencies to actively participate in widening the BLS training programmes. She works on the simple idea that every person must know how to save a human life. And so the New Year begins on a high note of learning to do good deeds for the benefit of other human beings.

Her commitment to the cause comes from an inner conviction that she needs to spread the message that every person can save a human life. Basic life support or BLS comprises of primary level medical care that can be used for victims of life-threatening injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital. BLS can be provided by trained medical personnel, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and by ‘qualified’ bystanders. BLS training therefore aims at educating the first responders.

HERD Foundation, through the efforts of Dr Suchika Deshmukh, has brought BLS and ACLS Training to Nagpur city in a big way since 2015. Under her guidance NKPSIMS and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital have set up the International Training Centre that is accredited by American Heart Association. Tuesday, January 2, 2018 saw a record of sorts through the combined efforts of Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) when as many as 3,000 persons including 300 hearing and speech impaired schoolchildren were trained in basic life support (BLS) or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at Suresh Bhat auditorium.

The day-long workshop was inaugurated by the city mayor Nanda Jichkar, who termed the BLS training endeavour as Social Learning module with immense importance and opportunity to save lives. A team of specialists led by Dr Meenakshi Girish, Dr Pravin Dahake and Dr Rajkumar Kiratkar trained the participants in CPR. Dr Girish explained the basics of the technique with the help of a video presentation and mannequins. Director of HERD Foundation and LSTS Dr Suchika Deshmukh underlined the importance of the technique.

The team provided the training in which participants were encouraged to continue to practice the technique and use it when needed. Present on this occasion were Dr Vinky Rughvani, member Maharashtra Medical Council, Dr R.G. Patil, Dr Sanjay Marathe, Dr Girish Charde. Dr Kritish Balpande, Dr Vasant Khalatkar, Dr Jayant Upadhye, Dr Uday Bodhankar and Dr Avinash Gawande from Government Medical College and Hospital were also present.

Studies reveal that only 50-55% affected victims get proper medical attention. Also, lack of first-responder support turn out fatalities in nearly 90% cases. Lack of CPR care has victims dying when studies clearly underline that during first few minutes if proper CPR is given chances of survival improve dramatically. CPR provided to victims early on increases the time available for experts to provide ALS care and save patients. BLS skills are therefore much needed and can be provided to non-medics too, to save human lives. It is Dr Suchika Deshmukh’s vision that everyone must be taught to be proficient in BLS skills.

HERD Pharmacy Medication Tips

 

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HERD Pharmacy is gradually coming up on the city healthcare scenario as a professional company offering medicines and health products readily accessible for the public. HERD Mart makes available medicines in accordance to prescriptions brought by people so as to make them legally permitted to obtain the same. A large number of health products are sold for which prescriptions are not required. In addition the professional activities of the trained pharmacists include counseling with regard to use of medication.

The art of conversation becomes useful in the dispensing of both prescription drugs and non-prescription healthcare products. It is a great way to glean in new customers especially when we create stores in new locations. It makes for a great pitch to share information and participate in health-promotion programmes like the recent health camp undertaken at Kharbi, our newest medical store. It also helps us maintain links with the public at large in a given area as well as with doctors in the vicinity.

In present times a medical store verily shelves an increasingly wide range of new healthcare products besides medicines. Stores are also equipped with Ayurveda medicines aside from allopathic medicines as also with health boosters, tonics and supplements. Alongside we make available medical devices and analogous medicines to make sure people can get whatever it is that they come looking for.

HERD pharmacists ensure good care to confirm the quality of the products being dispensed besides making sure that all medicines are sold ahead of expiry dates. Also the managers make sure that the quality of all other healthcare products is up to the mark. Prescription drugs that are generally more potent than those sold over-the-counter may have more serious side effects if inappropriately used. Therefore we explain the proper usage and dosage of medications sold by HERD Pharmacy.

Our aim is to make certain that we are able to retain customer loyalty and that they eventually learn to come to only HERD pharmacy to buy their prescriptions. It is for this reason that we make all efforts that they have a single, complete source for all of their needs. Our pharmacists are therefore encouraged to pick up potential interactions with customers and we even make contacts with doctors in the area when needed.

As far as possible we try and inculcate in them to share the same information that any doctor may be giving with regard to particular medications. They are also asked to advice customers of possible reactions and to be aware of reporting the same to their doctor. We also instruct customers about correct dosage, especially for liquid medications that should be ingested using a proper measuring cap or spoon. Customers are also told to store medicines safely, out of reach of children.

Pharmacy Front-End Operations

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Pharmacy operations management takes into count the running of a business enterprise along with being part of the healthcare system and services. Thus pharmacy operations include both tangible and intangible characteristics. Healthcare pharmacy services are knowledge-based and require continuous customer-interaction and that makes for its intangible component in operations. The logistics and supply of services that form the crux of the functions in operations management remain the evident and tangible features of the pharmacy business.

It is the human workforce of a pharmacy that actually forms the interface between the customers and the management. There is little doubt that this is the most significant part of the pharmacy operations. It is the workforce that represents the organisation to the customers. It is this end of the business force that must remain responsible for the pharmacy to be seen as functioning in an optimal manner. It is imperative to have technically trained personnel who facilitate smooth operations management in synchronization with the realities of human behavior.

To keep the team well informed and keyed to their roles, management should follow on all inputs necessary for their peak performances. In this connection it would do well to be constantly reinforcing the Pharmacy Practice Regulations. The PPR-2015 that has been enforced by Pharmacy Council of India is meant to regulate pharmacy practice in India. Here are a few pointers that may always be kept in mind. As per the rules,

  • Dispensing of drugs should be carried by the qualified registered pharmacists only.
  • Renting of registration certificated to pharmacy owners is strictly prohibited.
  • Pharmacists who rented their registration certificates without attending dispensing services considered as misconduct and subjected for cancellation of their registration certificates permanently.
  • Pharmacists during working times should wear a white clean apron, black badge plate with name and registration number of pharmacists.
  • Registration certificates should be displayed visible to the public.
  • Along with dispensing services pharmacists should provide their professional services like patients counseling, adverse drug reactions reporting, and primary care to all uncomplicated simple illnesses. For this purpose a separate cell may be arranged within the pharmacy.
  • If any case of drugs dispensing carried by unqualified persons instead of qualified pharmacist, public may lodge their complaints against pharmacist directly to the registrar state or central pharmacy council.

For a while after this notification was introduced, social media went mistakenly rife with comments that pharmacists were empowered to open pharma clinics to diagnose disease and prescribe medicines. However no such provision is mentioned in Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015. A registered pharmacist is required only to dispense medicines on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner and can only counsel patients or care-givers on medicine to enhance or optimize drug therapy.

Patient counseling usually includes the following features:

  • Name and description of the drugs
  • Dosage form, dose, route of administration, and duration of drug therapy
  • Intended use of the drug and expected action
  • Special directions and precautions for the drug
  • Common severe side effects, adverse effects, interactions, therapeutic contraindications that may occur, including their avoidance and action required if they occur
  • Techniques for self-monitoring drug therapy
  • Proper storage of the drugs
  • Prescription refill information
  • Action to be taken in the event of a missed dose
  • To ensure rational use of drugs

In view of above it then becomes clear that under no circumstances may a registered pharmacist consider himself empowered under the Pharmacy Act, 1948 and Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015 to practice medicines or open clinics to provide medical care. Rigorous training is therefore part of HERD Pharmacy management procedure to keep pharmacists aware of their essential roles and responsibilities.

Pesticide Deaths – Deathly Enterprises

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Social media is aghast at the deathly footage of the New York killings yesterday in Manhattan when eight people were killed and more injured after an attack. It made for grisly news and everyone’s attention was caught at these senseless deaths. Yet, close at hand when Yavatmal District in Vidarbha region lost 21 farmers just about three weeks back to ignominious deaths, not many were affected in their worlds nor shaken out of their stupor.

The media is going gaga today about the World Bank assessment about India scaling up in rankings for its ease of doing business and thereby attracting foreign investments. However media correspondent Prashant Kadamb’s tweet remains a lone voice wondering if somebody will ever assess India’s ranking for ease of farming. And he quizzes  “अशी कुठली देशांची क्रमवारी काढली जात नाही का जगात? की उद्योग म्हणजेच विकास अशी सर्वमान्य कल्पना आहे?”

Stating with a satirical bent he wants to know if anyone creates similar rankings for countries of the world involved in agriculture. Or is industrialization the only indicator for assessing development. His agony perhaps stems from the fact that Yavatmal lost 21 farmers, the highest toll thus far. Actually at least about 34 farmers from Vidarbha have died of poisoning. Deaths have also been registered in Akola, Amravati, Buldhana, Nagpur and Bhandara!

Three pesticide companies have been booked and the Maharashtra government has registered police complaints against them. Cases have been registered against the companies and the distributors. The Krishi Seva Kendras or agro-input centers have been prohibited from selling pesticides not recommended for the region.

The agriculture department reports that highly toxic and expensive pesticide was sold to unsuspecting farmers simply to make sales and earn profits. They found that a pesticide named ‘Profex Super” locally dubbed as ‘Police’ recommended only for the sole use of sugarcane crop was made available for farmers in Yavatmal which primarily grows cotton in the region. It therefore becomes very important to educate farmers with regard to pesticides that they will be using for their crops.

Profex is an expensive and highly toxic pesticide. The farmers were misguided and told that it will be very effective for their crop and they could make more money by using it. Cases have been registered against the manufacturing companies since the uninformed farmers were for taken for a deathly ride. Even the Krishi Seva Kendras that distributed the un-recommended pesticides have been booked.

Agriculture Department officials have taken up enquiry and are also taking into account the stocking of highly toxic pesticides in the area. They have seized pesticides worth Rs 12 crores thus far. It is sad to note that in Vidarbha 32 farmers have died so far and about 800 farmers admitted to state-run hospitals for complaints of dizziness, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach-ache and blurred vision. In a bid to contain the situation the government announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the family of the deceased that they may still be struggling to obtain.

The legal wrangling will now run its course with the State being taken on by Agriculture Department. Subsequently the National Human Rights Commission taking suo moto cognisance of media reports of deaths of farmers due to pesticides has sent notices to the Maharashtra government and Central Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. The commission has directed the state government to provide free treatment to people suffering from infections.

These unfair and unwarranted deaths in our rural hinterlands bring more discomfiture to the people eking out uncertain livelihoods from an ever-declining agrarian business. Companies responsible for producing such poisonous pesticides and everybody involved around them will remain guilty of these deaths. There is need to educate farmers on proper cultivation methods. We can only hope that our fellow citizens in rural areas are offered real help and not just one time sops.