National Girl Child Day

India celebrates January 24 as National Girl Child Day. The day is marked out to observe and do away with inequalities faced by girl children in Indian society. It is a day that is meant to raise citizen’s conscientiousness with regard to sub-human treatment meted out to little girls, right from even before they are born! While the country has officially banned sex determination tests to terminate pregnancies if the foetus is a female, yet a good number still find devious ways to find out the sex of their unborn child.

National Girl Child Day therefore focuses on drawing attention to improving the status of the girl child in our society. It is time we made certain that girls get proper reverence and are not only valued as human beings but are ensured of their human rights. We still have a long way to go in maintaining the correct child sex ratio for which we have to work towards changing the warped mindsets with regard to the birth of girls.

The National Girl Child Day should focus on couples to increase their understanding that girls are important and have a definite role to play in society. Demographically and in every other sense to make the world a more balanced and harmonious place to live in.  And for doing this we need to facilitate the issues that are considered a burden in raising girls. We have to give them equal opportunities in provision of the fundamental needs of a child – health, education, nutrition and individual choices.

India is still caught up with patriarchal thinking and it is now up to the new generation to initiate and propagate gender equality among its peoples. National Girl Child Day needs to filter down to every warp and weft of our society to offer every support and opportunity to girls everywhere – urban-rural or rich-poor. Increased awareness will lead to lesser inequalities and give more chances for education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, job opportunities and decision making.

Apart from these basic needs girls upon attaining maturity need to be given freedom for personal choices like employment, marriage and rights over resources and property. It is therefore important to formulate this day in a manner of mission for creating vital changes for the girl child. Mothers and fathers have to learn to make meaningful contributions in the lives of girl children so that they are given proactive support to live their full lives.

This special day therefore hopes to promote the girls significance and status to make way for a more just and gender equal society. This is extremely important to do away with the rigid social biases that we exercise on them throughout their lives. We need to speak up from every platform – civic, social and political about the urgent need to reform the status of the girl child and pave the path for her to be free from discrimination and exploitation.

Let us all mark this day as a starting point to offer opportunities to girls to gain their full potential in a secure and facilitative setting. Let us offer them good education, nutrition and health care rights. Let us educate them regarding their physiology and reproductive health. Let us take part in this mission to fight all backward thinking and social stigma attached to the birth of a girl child. HERD Foundation looks ahead to a day in the near future when we witness pomp and music at the birth of girls.

(Images – Courtesy Google)

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Basant Panchami & Spring Again

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Images Courtesy Google 

‘Basant Panchami’ is a very popular festival in India celebrating the approaching of the coming spring. Also known as Shree Panchami, Basant or Vasant means Spring and this special event falls on the fifth day of the Indian month of Magh of the spring season. Of particular significance is the worship of Goddess Saraswati – the deity of learning, music and wisdom.  As one of the powerful triumvirate Goddesses along with Durga and Laxmi, children are especially encouraged to pay obeisance to Saraswati – Goddess of Learning on this day.

Many schools, colleges and institutions of learning therefore celebrate Vasant Panchami with great fervor. Besides being the harbinger of clement times ahead the festival is enjoyed by people across the land in their own diverse ways. Apart from being celebrated in India it is also enthusiastically fêted in neighboring countries including Pakistan, Nepal as also in Indonesia and Malaysia! The festival is celebrated in various ways depending on the region.

The reverence offered to goddess Saraswati has folks visiting temples or performing sacred rituals in their shrines at home. Many enjoy the tradition of playing traditional music too. An essential ritual awaited for this occasion is when parents invite a sage or pundit to initiate their little ones into learning to write letters of the alphabet. It is commonly known as ‘Patti Pooja’ that is observed on this day.

The young ones mark out the day as a celebration to Lord Kama – the deity of love. It is said to be the equivalent of Valentine’s Day that has eager ones offering their spouses or special loved ones with offerings of flowers of the season. Market places are flooded with traditional bouquets of marigold flowers and mango leaves festooned in small clay pots. Also people largely wear yellow clothes on this day turning the outdoors a riot of yellow colors. In rural areas the mustard fields naturally turn the ambience in hues of ochre and yellow.

Often, food too takes on yellow and saffron colors. Women prepare traditional yellow curries, yellow vegetables and in particular sweet yellow rice to emulate the predominantly yellow mustard flowers growing abundantly everywhere on all sides around them. Children also like to fly kites and are keen to buy yellow kites. In all senses it’s a day that celebrates the color yellow. It is the day that marks the turn in season and generally the harsh winters in northern parts of the country give way to softer weather whereas in central and western parts it is spring already.

Need to Bridge Skill-Gaps for Rural Income Generation Activities

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The rural area around Nagpur where HERD Foundation works needs to be developed to rejuvenate its dwindling economy. Much needs to be undertaken for poverty alleviation and creation of suitable livelihood options. Comprising of tribal populations subsisting primarily on agriculture it has never appeared more important than now to create avenues for income generation. Aside from agriculture the region remains sadly bereft of any traditional skills or rural enterprises that may augment living conditions.

HERD Foundation is exploring approaches to generate fresh perspectives through people’s participation in planning their resurgence. Our initial steps in these directions have led us to probe a variety of opportune ideas. However for lack of any traditional expertise that usually offers a way out, we are left high and dry with this aboriginal population who are largely forest dwelling inhabitants. Having given up their nomadic existence both men and a segment of women simply carry on by tilling the land to make ends meet.

HERD Foundation is of the view that we need to create pathways for appropriating skills that could offer a way out. But bridging the skill deficiency gap is a huge challenge. The majority of house bound women although interested in investing their time for income generating activities remain confounded by the lack of opportunities. Many of these women are members of self-help groups but their activities are restricted to pooling bits of their money for sharing small loans to tide over economic adversity.

They have never ever attempted at using their funds for productive purposes. However with limited access to opportunities for skill building it appears an uphill task to offer them access to sustainable livelihoods. One of the reasons for this is lack of access to any sort of skill training. Relying largely on agriculture and farm based livelihood opportunities, a greater majority remain unemployed. This unskilled or untrained mass of women can be taught to imbibe certain skills for prospective enterprises.

HERD Foundation looks at these gaps in abilities as an opportunity to set up training programs in appropriate skills that may help them set up suitable ventures. Through purposeful examination we intend to establish fitting vocational training that could lead to sustainable forms of employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship. However we are well aware that any skill building program would have to be a long term project to make it viable and workable.

This then means that skill building trainings would have to be targeted towards turning rural unskilled women to be befittingly trained to be work-ready and employable. By the end of such trainings they ought to be effectively ready to be linked with self-employment opportunities. Through these skills building programs interested women could take on enterprises that have the possibility of fruition. One can even think of adopting an ‘Employer-Payer’ model in which an external entrepreneur supports training-needs by mobilizing and training the women who later become ready to be absorbed in any given enterprise.

However the most important factor here would be the interest and proficiency of the rural women in becoming an intrinsic part of the efforts. They need to be made aware of the importance of their skills, outlook, attitude and focus for continued improvement and development. HERD Foundation is looking ahead to take on tasks for appropriate skill-building and livelihood creation for employability and entrepreneurship through interventions and partnerships with government and corporate agencies who share similar futuristic plans.

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.

The Winter Blues

For some of us winters are a sad time. Literally! Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a condition that surfaces when the chill sets in and the sun loses its sheen. It is more commonly known as winter depression, seasonal depression or whimsically the winter blues. The phase is actually a mood disorder for some people who enjoy absolutely normal mental health otherwise. But come winters and they begin to exhibit symptoms of depression.

This distinctive mood disorder recurs like clockwork in colder months for persons affected by the syndrome. They are usually in great condition for the rest of the year. Recognized as a specific disorder, this condition was earlier overlooked due to uncertainty and doubts. But now SAD is identified as a major depressive disorder. People suffering from it exhibit feelings of hopelessness, disinterest and withdrawal from social interaction. Sleep patterns and eating habits get affected making them feel lethargic and agitated.

It is normal for SAD people to over-sleep, over-eat or not eat at all. Waking up in the morning is difficult and they may experience a craving for carbohydrates. However every individual case may be different but insomnia and weight gain or conversely weight loss appears to add to their anxiety. Very often listlessness sweeps down making them averse to activity. The reduction of sunlight also adds to their difficulties to deal with themselves in the cold weather.

Some of us tend to feel low during the winter months but not all of us may be affected by SAD. It is believed that SAD is related to a lack of serotonin that plays its part in the disruptive malady. Serotonin in the brain regulates anxiety, happiness, and mood. Low levels of the chemical are associated with depression-like behavior. Another view is that lack of melatonin production in dim winter light affects the body’s control over the inherent circadian clock resulting in a slowdown or disturbed psyches.

People susceptible to SAD may therefore suffer from personality related afflictions. Correlations have been found between winter depression and personality traits like neuroticism, inability to cope and avoidance of normal living. Winter blues are now clearly associated with these four specific patterns:

  • Depressive episodes occurring at a particular time of year.
  • Remissions or mania/hypomania at the same characteristic time year.
  • Patterns last beyond couple of years with no non-seasonal depressive episodes.
  • Seasonal depressive episodes outnumber other depressive episodes in a lifetime.

Cloud cover contributes to negative effects of SAD. Seasonal mood variations related to light or rather lack of light are effectively rectified by using bright-light therapy. With clear evidence that SAD patients are affected by delay in their circadian rhythm, bright light treatment corrects such conditions. Also, winter blues may not have people feeling terribly depressed but perhaps simply experiencing lack of energy in performing everyday activities. Such blue feelings can be extinguished by exercise and increased outdoor activity.

People need to take advantage of sunny days to improve their mood and energy levels. When the sun is not out then indoor bright-light therapy can be made use of.   Light therapy can also consist of exposure to sunlight by spending more time outside when the sun is out. For more troubled patients antidepressants are effective. Depending on the patient’s condition light treatment or anti-depressants may be used alternately to improve the disorder.

In winters people also suffer from low vitamin D levels as they do not get enough ultraviolet-B on their skin. An alternative to using bright lights is to take vitamin D supplements. However, studies do not show a link between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms. Physical exercise is effective for containing depression. Patients exposed to exercise along with bright light therapy whether natural or otherwise seem to make quick recovery. So chalk out your winter exercise schedule outdoors or indoors in brightly lit gyms and see your blues disappear.

HERD Pharmacy Medication Tips

 

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Images Courtesy Google

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.