Retail Therapy – God is in the Details

HERD Pharmacy division offers a wide range of goods other than medications and health products that are all offered at retail pricing. The expanding workforce is provided with training, business information and advice as to how to go about making sales that hit the roof. The recent Maha Bachat Mela at the pharmacy located at Khamla is a case in point. Newly set up a few months back, the team needed to build up a retail customer base.

We have learned it along the way that retailing cannot be looked upon at, on an as-is-where-is basis. Proactive customer service to create a positive retail customer experience is going to be vital for establishing presence in an open market. And completion is right across the street and everywhere. This is why the focus has always been on a coherent and practical retail service model that would differentiate us from the others.

The sales staff at the front-end and back-end as well as from management level from top to bottom follow the essentials to help deliver exceptional customer service experience. We continuously drill the minds of our sales staff to exert themselves to befriend and convert customers who walk in through the door. Our salespeople have been ingrained to not just inform but also inspire, educate, and instill confidence in them so the next time round they want to walk in for another wonderful shopping experience.

We do not allow disengaged employees because such will become risky propositions. What we aim for is that when a customer walks in our sales staff should push himself/herself out of their comfort level. Whether they want general medicines, cosmetics, or a health product sales staff should be helping them make their purchases in a manner that will make them return back for more shopping later.

So how do they do it? Staff puts on a supportive attitude and encourages shoppers to try out new things apart from what they actually came in to buy. Overtime they have been trained to learn how to form customer-centric relationships. Offering the team members a certain leeway to chat up with clients, we know for sure this little bit of extra time acts as a fillip to approach and engage often times with total strangers!

New shoppers who venture into the store are happy about the exceptional experience. They are instantly at ease with the friendly atmosphere, attitude and manners of the attending staff. Soon in good time we hope to make them regulars. The Maha Bachat Mela held last week brought in very many new customers. The success of the three day event makes us plan for more such events on occasions.

HERD Pharmacy has been offering very simple concessions to drive home the point that we mean business. The one way in which we engage with them is over the counter or through a call to engage with them and assist them make their purchases. Simple gestures and free home delivery is to really attract them to respond to our customer service. We follow the simple dictum – make the customer happy.

Staff has been trained to employ measures that ensure a few norms in place. Like for instance greeting customers in a way that makes them want to buy and keep coming back. We pay attention and let repeat customers know that we recognize them. Anything goes to start a conversation – politics, cricket and the weather! And a bit of conversation is always good to set the ball rolling.

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GENDER APPROACHES – HERD GROUP PHARMACY DIVISION

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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

Truth About Cholesterol Medication

One keeps reading about the side effects of medications for high cholesterol and that it may not be good to take Statins that are meant to control cholesterol discrepancy. The fact is that any medication can and often does produce side effects. The truth is also that most people do not experience negative effects from taking medication for high cholesterol. But then there are those who do feel the side effects too.

There are a few of us who get worried upon experiencing side effects. Even if the side effects may be low. It always makes good sense to talk over the side effects with your doctor who prescribes the medication in the first place, based on the blood assessment of your cardiovascular condition. He alone is best qualified to evaluate outcomes of the medication. Perhaps he can help choose a medication that works better for you.

Since the effect of Statins on the human body is now being discussed on WhatsApp groups and non-medical open forums it is best to bust the myths surrounding this. It is true that Statins can control the problem, but are not a cure. You need to take it so your total cholesterol stays at a healthy level. It will probably go back up if you stop taking them, unless changes in your diet and exercise can keep it down.

The possibility is that you are on Statins if you have been asked to take pills for controlling cholesterol. It’s a regular treatment option but if it causes side effects you cannot withstand your doctor can prescribe other kinds of medications to help you. So while Statins can stop the liver from creating cholesterol, the other drugs may keep the body from absorbing it thereby raising the level of good HDL cholesterol, or assist the body in clearing bad LDL cholesterol.

Statins medications therefore assist in bringing down cholesterol. The medications work better if one eats plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other heart-friendly food. For cholesterol to remain in good order you should also include a good regimen for exercise especially if you are overweight. Thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise is good enough and brisk walking for even five days a week is great!

Actually the heart needs to be in the best of conditions and this is possible if you can lower level of “bad” LDL in the blood. This is where Statins play a useful role in cutting the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or arterial problems. They are the only cholesterol drugs that do that. They are prescribed to people who could get heart disease even if their cholesterol levels are normal!

It is important to remember that pregnant women or lactating mothers should not be taking Statins. Since these drugs lower cholesterol levels, they can cause birth defects. The medicine also can pass through breast milk and harm your little one. People with certain liver diseases should also not be taking these medications.

And no, Statins do not cause memory problems. If anything at all in this direction they might actually prevent dementia and memory loss according to research studies. Some studies also suggest that grapefruit and pomegranates should be avoided as they may cause problems with some drugs. A doctor may best tell you to either limit their intake or completely stay away from them.

It is best to follow label directions when consuming cholesterol medications. Keep in mind to take medicines at the same time every day. Don’t stop or change without consulting your doctor. In case you forget a dose take it as soon as you remember. It’s okay if you have skipped a day but do not ever take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

Sometimes sore muscles result from taking Statins. Discuss any discomfort with your doctor who would know to either lower your medication dose or suggest you take it less often. He may also ask you to take coenzyme Q10 supplements with your medicine. Bear in mind that you do not have to wait for symptoms. In the final count get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.

Need to Reinvent Institutionally

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One of the most difficult things to do after building a respected organization is to reinvent the institution that may perhaps not be performing to its full potential. The best amongst us often face strange snags – embedded cultures, weighty reputations to live up to and worst of all resistance to change. With passing time, all of this makes it yet harder to transform organizations in order to take them to the heights they deserve to reach.

Apathy, lackluster culture, or vested interests can really put a spanner in the works! The best efforts and an established reputation would not be visible to the outside world, if new, innovative things were not to occur in an institution. We have to therefore continually plan for culling in the state of the art goings-on in the world of medicine so that we can be abreast with modern world of medical education.

‘So what have you done lately’ may well be the question of the brave new modern medical world! ‘So what’s new’ – this oft asked common-place query should really become an impetus for all of us to look for answers that lead us on to explore avenues for expanding our horizons. As affiliates in the management of these medical institutions, the common search in these establishments would help determine and differentiate issues that hamper progress and growth. There is only way for them to go – and that is up!

The need really is to develop and enlarge the framework of these medical institutions so that they outshine and grow alongside world class institutions. This is essential to allow them to emerge as recognized institutions of higher learning across the globe. One cannot afford to sit on past laurels nor allow any kind of complacency to set in. Such might obstruct plans for envisioned transformational processes. In all likelihood these then would be successful steps that will alter the course of these institutions.

When Shri Ranjitbabu Deshmukh and his devoted team took over the reins of NKPS Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, few outside of Nagpur even knew it existed. In no time these coveted institutions had made their mark in Central India, doubled residential students, jumped student enrollment, and now the Medical College and Hospital attract the best talents and students from all over.

So much groundwork and effort has gone into the Institutions to bring them to their present stature. Undoubtedly it has been the vision and vigil of the founding fathers that serves as an inspiration to this day. Putting up the right people together with given responsibility and due authority helped in making everything work and grow. Decisions were made that made things going bigger and better.

And now once again the time has come to strengthen affairs with a plan of action. The present sets of guardians have a vision in place. Added to this, they have the propensity to act, to make decisions, to make things happen. The team is a strong believer in opportunity. And looking into the kind of prospects and targets that appear quite reachable, they sense the time has come to move fast to be at pace with contemporary medical science around the world.

Some of the opportunities that have of late presented themselves make it urgent to move forward for the rapid growth that is for the asking. New joint ventures, new technology and new associations will most certainly offer a lot more opportunities. There is so much ahead going on in the medical world of which we have to become a part. And we have to take advantage of it. It is in this context that both Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta want to reinvent institutionally to be ready for the next level of achievement. With an inherent propensity to get things done, it is time to create the environment to get the faculty involved in this vision to succeed beyond expectations. And that’s the very real transformation through which they want to lead the change.

May 8 – World Ovarian Cancer Day

Ovarian cancer affects about quarter million women all over the world! It kills about 140,000 women annually. Surprisingly it does not distinguish between women of developed or developing countries! Hence it is essential to know all there to know about this dreaded disease. All of us must know the symptoms, risk factors, family history regarding ovarian cancer.

Sadly, ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate among all gynecologic cancers. Also it is characterized by lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis. This is why May 8 got marked out in 2013 to observe World Ovarian Cancer Day. The day focuses on ovarian cancer and many of us educate communities about ovarian cancer. It is also a day to build solidarity for women fighting the disease.

Largely overlooked in terms of awareness creation and funding, it is time to tell all about it. Ovarian cancer symptoms are quite similar to other less serious conditions. Further absence of early detection tests results in late diagnosis, often leading to few survivors who may advocate or draw attention to the disease. It was therefore decided to draw worldwide attention and gladly the idea was accepted by participating countries that now offer good momentum.

It is really important to spread awareness about the disease, especially about its symptoms that often get confused with less serious conditions like gastrointestinal disorders! Most victims are identified only in advanced stages when the disease becomes difficult to treat. Hence it is critical to create awareness about the risk factors, signs and symptoms. Also, family history plays a definite role in identifying the disease.

Experts opine that frequency and combination of symptoms help in identifying ovarian cancer from other conditions. Anybody with the following symptoms on most days within a three week period must consult a doctor immediately:

  • Increased abdominal size / persistent bloating
  • Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Needing to pass urine more urgently or more frequently
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Unexpected weight loss or weight gain around the abdomen
  • Fatigue

Early diagnosis helps in improving chance of survival. When the cancer is confined to the ovary then up to 90% of women are likely to survive for maybe more than five years, under specialized treatment. Women with symptoms of ovarian cancer should find a specialist so that an accurate diagnosis is made. Later they should go to a gynecologic oncologist who would be the best expert to manage the disease.

Most times ovarian cancer gets diagnosed when the cancer is already at an advanced stage. Many women delay seeking help in the false belief that the symptoms are related to their period, menopause or other ailments. With modern day tests and examinations it is possible to arrive at well deduced diagnosis. It is to be remembered that a cervical smear test or Pap test does NOT detect ovarian cancer. It only detects pre-cancerous changes to the cervix that is treated more successfully than ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women, worldwide, and is the most serious gynecological cancer. For women without a family history, the biggest risk factor is age. It therefore becomes essential to talk to doctors to determine personal risks. A family history of breast or ovarian cancer requires genetic counseling. This is really important and we can show our love, support to women we cherish in our homes – mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends.

Every woman in the world is at risk of developing ovarian cancer, the most serious gynecologic cancer. May 8 is therefore the day to spread the word on World Ovarian Cancer Day to provide an opportunity to raise awareness of this disease. HERD Foundation joins in this global movement to ensure all the women know about ovarian cancer.

 

NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences & Lata Mangeshkar Hospital

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Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta Deshmukh are both alumni and custodians of NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences & Lata Mangeshkar Hospital – the well known medical college and hospital located at Nagpur. As Managing Directors of HERD Foundation they undertake all healthcare delivery commitment to the very end because of their close affiliation to the mother-body.

Begun under the VSPM banner, the trusteeship under the reigns and guidance of Shri Ranjeetbabu Deshmukh continues to be invaluable. The genesis of the institution created for ‘social’-izing education, founded this medical center in 1971, and brings back a feeling of déjà vu even as the present custodians visualize the need for its transformation into a futuristic healthcare facility.

Spread over a campus of 68 acres it houses a medical college, dental college, physiotherapy college, nursing institutes, a hospital and much more. Lata Mangeshkar Hospital (LMH) was inaugurated in the year 1990 and is attached to NKP Salve Institute of Medical Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre as its tertiary care hospital. With excellent facilities for out-door (OPD) and in-door patients (IPD) at affordable and subsidized rates, it continues in the best traditions of a charitable hospital.

The specialty units and departments of the hospital are patronized by people of all walks of life. The affordable charges and quality care have made it a favored destination since the last 25 years of its existence.  Offering excellent infrastructure, renowned faculty and the best facilities it also has all modern amenities. The steady patient influx offers a great learning curve for students.

In line with its past history, the present team of custodians is keen to define its futuristic ambitions. The visionary members managing the workings of the hospital system are seeking ways and means to come up with newfound vision for patients, physicians and the facilities. Essentially the hospital flourishes because of its inherent good faith and trust. Urged on by medical advancement and aspirations it will soon culminate into a world class establishment.

With the introduction of more efficient hospital management systems in line with modern day traditions, the institution is poised to benefit by the introduction of entrepreneurial skills of the healthcare industry. This would encourage growth and create an environment for promotion of feasible modern ways of alleviating diseases. To this end the aim is to set up the highest standard of care along with world class futuristic facilities.

The primary interest of the trust managing the hospital is now taking off into another trajectory to champion the cause of quality service and building world-class functioning. Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta Deshmukh along with their team members are all set to change the landscape of healthcare delivery at the Institute. They visualize a thriving center of prudent and cost-effective medical facility that thinks of solutions beyond the present.

International Midwives’ Day 2017

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May 5 is celebrated as International Midwives Day. The day was marked out by the International Confederation of Midwives in 1980. However it took time for the concept to take off and it was finally formally launched in 1992. Celebrated all over the world, this year’s theme is “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!”

As we all probably are aware a professional in midwifery is known as a midwife. Midwifery is really only what is commonly understood as obstetrics that is the health science profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care including care of the new-born. Midwifery deals with continuity of care with the primary responsibility of care and well being of childbearing women.

In our country too we have always had the traditional Dai who actually took on the responsibility much like the trained midwife in assisting pregnant women with the birthing process. Aside from this they also offer due support to the women when needed. Many government and non-governmental programmes of late have focused on enhancing the role of dais to make them take on a more educated role.

The dai turned midwife has a critical task in health counseling and education of pregnant ladies. Especially in rural areas and remote locations lacking hospital facilities, the midwife may be the only recourse for families and communities for assisting with childbirth. Therefore looking into the essential role played by the midwives in India, several innovative training programmes have come up that involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood for new mothers.

The midwives role aside from assisting expecting mothers also extends to sexual reproductive health and child care. With increased esteem and regard given to the midwives role they are now increasingly practicing in all kinds of settings besides the home. Adapting to their new found status they are playing an integral part in communities, hospitals, clinics and health units. Trained Dais with demonstrated competencies are being registered as legally licensed to practice midwifery.

Today’s midwife in India is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with government or non-governmental agencies in giving necessary support and care during pregnancy, labour and postpartum period, along with providing care for the newborn infant. Such care includes preventative measures, promotion of normal birth, detection of complications in mother and child, accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.

HERD Foundation offers salutations to midwives on this International Midwives Day knowing full well that they play a unique role, especially in rural settings. Rural communities are grateful for their partnership in promoting health-care for mothers, infants, and families. They remain culturally sensitive to their job working with families and healthcare givers. HERD Foundation joins in to commend their essential role on this International Midwives Day!

Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) 2017

The Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) is an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery and birth-related matters on IDM.  This year sees the 9th annual conference and is organized by individuals having backgrounds in midwifery, education and online facilitation. The committee gives their time voluntarily and is proud to offer this conference entirely free of charge in order to enable midwives, and others interested in the birthing process, to network and participate in continuing professional development. Here is the link to get access to the VIDM 2017:

https://vidofmid.wordpress.com/vidm-2017/vidm-2017-programme/