Swine Flu panic in India!

Last week, I returned from a week long vacation with my family to Mumbai, away from work pressure. Instead of cherishing the memories of a week long break I was quarreling within with “Emotional Flu”. Yes, I was down with fever and did have a travel history but were those symptoms enough to prove I had contacted Swine Flu. For my family they were more than enough to arrive at a conclusion that I had to visit the government hospital for screening.

My mother went a step ahead to buy the masks for family. And yes masks were distributed according to the need as enough N95 were not available for our joint family. My cousin who is four and I get N95’s, the only two masks which she managed to buy in black from the chemist. My pregnant Bhabhi and grand mom get a three layered mask which she managed to buy from other chemist and the rest of the members manage with masks bought at the traffic signal when my mom waited there for lights to turn green. But is my family to be blamed for there over precautious behavior? I believe they reacted in a very normal way considering the hype of “The Swine Flu” that was created by all forms of media. Any parent or in that matter any human would react this way if they see a new “Breaking News” every ten minutes on the news channels.

I wonder why the media doesn’t make 572 deaths a day due to normal flu, and large number of deaths due to Tuberculosis, Malaria, Dengue and other diseases an equally important “Breaking News”. Why doesn’t our Health minister call an urgent meeting to discuss diseases like malaria which takes a huge toll of human lives too? May be malaria patients can wait for some time longer as most of them are neither NRI’s nor they belong to elite group who can afford a vacation abroad. With Swine Flu thoughts occupying my house and slowly spreading to my neighborhood I called up my very good friend and a doctor by profession asking him how would I discriminate whether its “The Swine Flu” or normal flu. He explained to me that the Swine Flu symptoms could be towards pneumonia side and with just fever and normal cold like symptoms I should not conclude that I have contacted it. He told me to wait till two days and take normal medicines prescribed to treat normal flu as going to the hospital at the shot to screen myself would be more dangerous. There were chances I would catch the virus if I wouldn’t have till then. Luckily my phone was on loudspeaker then so my parents got some gyaan too. Two days from the whole panicky episode I have normal body temperature and am all energetically penning my experiences of the false panic we underwent. But this whole episode, taught us to stay composed as fright created was spreading faster than the Flu itself. We did not give in to false media panicky and heard the doctor treating Swine Flu, which I feel proved a boon to us.

I urge the media to give neutral reactions to the issue and not to blow the matter out of proportion as not everybody would be as lucky as I to get a doctor friend nor would every parent wait for two days as my parents did on the doctor’s advice. And for the rest of you Swine flu is not that a dreaded disease and has a death rate of seven in thousands much less compared to Normal flu, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Also the Swine flu deaths recorded so far have not been only because of the H1N1 virus but due to some other complications intermingling too. So just take normal precautions like washing your hands, drinking plenty of water, exercising and you should be away from the virus.

And my dear elected government, there was no point keeping the theatres, schools and colleges shut as this was more of emotional response from your side than on medical grounds. Your decision of shutting of schools did no good to millions of children as they enjoyed days off from school playing in the societies, as my cousin did and the college going crowd enjoyed shopping and hanging out as they had all the time in the world. Did it actually act as the isolation you had thought of? We just need better medical facilities to treat the pandemic and more awareness regarding it. Try spreading the correct word in your families, societies and we shall be better able to fight the H1N1 virus.
Prevention is better but panic is not!

Sex education for Children, education for Politicians.

I still feel dazzled by the recent drive of politicians across all spectrums, stuck in an age when the change of thoughts could be near impossible, to ban sex education in schools. Even the likes of Baba Ramdev speak boastfully about the need to have yoga than sex education in schools. But Mr. Baba is almost 50 years old, went to school till 8th and then to ‘Gurukul’. He doesn’t even have the slightest of idea of the s**t going on in schools today and speaks like a top-level marketing man on a role to promote his product/service. Sure yoga is great for an individual. But letting it be a substitute for sex education is like trying hitting a six with a plastic bat.

Just the thought of not having sex education in schools in this age, filled with negativity in the digital air and one click access to mind corrupting pleasure moments on the Internet, sends me in the state of excessive jadedness and paramount tension. India, with people high on the thought of sex and eve-teasing (not all), cannot be safe or even think of reducing the rise in no of cases of molestation, rapes (indignity towards women) or in young (below 16) people indulging in sexual encounters (a view supported by the SC).

Over the past 5 years, with the high intensity in the sales of video and camera enabled devices, there has been a huge surge in the exposure of privately held sexual proceedings, watched by millions worldwide quite to the embarrassment of the victims and their families. Curbing these exposures has been almost impossible for mostly it’s the victims themselves taping the exotic times, sure to be leaked. But the waves of curiousness generated to watch this brain triggering moments has seemingly surpassed the encouragement to be morally educated and professionally thoughtful. Sex, as a thought if imbibed in a child at a young age, could hamper his growth in being socially matured and his stance in differentiating when placed with options.

The stand that these politicians take to ban sex education is first that it will teach and encourage students to have sex when they are in schools. Gosh! I had sex education in my school when I was in the 10th grade. All we boys in that grade were simply bored by the biological terms that the educators were using. The reason! We all knew what sex was. It just shows the degree to which these politicians are ill-informed and are going ahead and ill-informing the society. The only good thing that apparently happened, is that we actually happened to see a condom and know the importance of it. Imagine. You are high in those last 3-4 years of your school with the thought of girls & sex and you do not know what a condom is. During my time (I graduated from school in 2002), sex was known to most of the boys right from the 6th grade. When I say sex was known, I do not mean all the technicalities and all the right-wrong stuff, but sex in its basic sense is. It was a knowledge shared even amongst the girls. And today in this high bit-rate internet generation, we are talking about introducing it in 8th grade. More than 90% (could be an understatement) of the students in that age would know what sex is. The only thing remains is to tell them whether their full knowledge about it is factual or not.

World Health Organization(WHO), way back in 1993, had carried a survey in which it found that the people who have been imparted with sex education in the school are more likely to delay the indulgence in sex compared to those not given sex education in schools.It also found that it reduces sexual activity among  young people and encourages the one who have already indulged in sex to have safer sex.Researchers found “no support for the contention that sex education encourages sexual experimentation or increased activity. If any effect is observed, almost without exception, it is in the direction of postponed initiation of sexual intercourse and/or effective use of contraception.” Failure to provide appropriate and timely information “misses the opportunity of reducing the unwanted outcomes of unintended pregnancy and transmission of STDs, and is, therefore, in the disservice of our youth,” the report called Effects of Sex Education on Young People’s Sexual Behavior says. This report was commissioned by the Youth and General Public Unit, Office of Intervention and Development and Support, Global Program on AIDS, and the WHO.

So the basic argument about sex education through this political mindset tends to be so misguided.

The other argument they make is that our cultural values and heritage cannot allow sex education to be part of the curriculum. Let me get this straight. So according to these politicians, killing people on the basis of religion, hating people on the basis of caste and differentiating them on the basis of region and language fits our culture, but educating the kids of this nation with proper knowledge so as not to allow them to be victims of HIV and STD’s is disgraceful to this culture,especially in this land of ‘Kamasutra’, whose drawings and sculptures one would find around the caves and temples in India. The height of narrow-mindedness of these politicians is evident and as much as I hate saying this, I do not think I would even respect such a ‘Indian culture’, described by these politicians, let alone follow it, which puts the life of its own kids on the edge, especially being in a society where sex is given such a negative posture and sex talk is avoided as much as one would avoid standing on the edge of a 1000 ft cliff. Even the rape victims here are blamed for being raped, rather than the person who raped her and socially isolated(in a way tortured), not able to find a husband (those bloody man’s always want a virgin,no matter how much they f**k other women before marriage) and physologically disturbed(they have to accept  rape as an unfortunate event instead of a crime). I still do not know what ‘Indian Society’ these politicians keep babbling about.

“Message should appropriately be given to school children that there should be no sex before marriage which is immoral, unethical and unhealthy,” said the parliamentary committee report. So having sex before marriage is immoral and unethical? Who are these politicians to decide what’s immoral and unethical. These are the same group of corrupted, extremist, vote-bank gamers who have made the culture of Divide and Rule thrive. Morality is an individual’s virtue and not a guideline to be labourously followed. And talking about health, I have never heard the issue of hygiene being raised and pushed by these politicos in this land where diseases flow as easily as a fly by the wind of a storm. This should not be a country where everything has to be decided by ethics, morality and traditional thoughts. The moral police that guard’s the behaviour of people are the same that takes bribe in huge amount. Rather truth needs to have a dictatorial stand. Truth needs to be embraced and put into effect. Only than can we expect desired positive results.

Whether sex education is important or not is not a debate which should involve the politicians or their survey,but the youngsters and their experiences (there are issues the youth can address better and clearly). Its the youth which has to address this issue,while the media being responsible and approaching and addressing their concerns.I am a youth and I know the importance of sex education,something which i have tried to express in this article. I can just hope that reality makes its present felt, and our kids would have a better and healthy life in the coming times.

H1N1 Flu

As we are all aware the WHO has confirmed that H1N1 (swine)  flu has moved to stage 5, out of a possible 6 stages, on its international alert status indicating human-to-human transmission in at least two countries in the same region. However there are no cases of H1N1 flu are reported in India citizens are recommended to take following precautionary steps ensure your health safety.

Protect yourself and prevent illness

  • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and have fever and cough.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often.
  • Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.
  • Avoid travelling the infected countries, If necessary take the following precautions while travelling
    Cover your nose and mouth during travel in the affected countries.
  • Avoid crowded places. Stay more than one arm’s length distance from persons sick with flu.
  • If you are sick, PLEASE
  • Stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible
  • Drink plenty of liquid  and eat nutritious food
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze

If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:

  • Stay at home and keep away from work or crowds.
  • Rest and take plenty of fluids.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when coughing and sneezing, and dispose of the used tissues properly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often and thoroughly, especially after coughing or sneezing.

Take a extra care about safer food

  • Keep clean
  • Separate raw and cooked food
  • Cook thoroughly
  • Keep food at safe temperatures
  • Ensure your non vegetarian food is cooked at a minimum temperature of 1600F/ 700C (Especially pork related products).
  • Use safe water and raw materials

General information about H1N1 Flu

Signs and symptoms of infection
Early signs of influenza A(H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea

Is an effective vaccine already available against the new influenza A(H1N1) virus?
No, but work is already under way to develop such a vaccine. Influenza vaccines generally contain a dead or weakened form of a circulating virus. The vaccine prepares the body’s immune system to defend against a true infection. For the vaccine to protect as well as possible, the virus in it should match the circulating “wild-type” virus relatively closely. Since this H1N1 virus is new, there is no vaccine currently available made with this particular virus. Making a completely new influenza vaccine can take five to six months

To which antiviral drugs does this influenza virus respond?
There are two classes of antiviral drugs for influenza: inhibitors of neuraminidase such as oseltamivir and zanamivir; and adamantanes, such as amantadine and rimantadine. Tests on viruses obtained from patients in Mexico and the United States have indicated that current new H1N1 viruses are sensitive to neuraminidase inhibitors, but that the viruses are resistant to the other class, the adamantanes

Source: Intranet of Mastek

The IIT incident: A result of persistent blind eyes

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur which is a premier institute of India is again in news but for wrong reasons this time. The death of the institute’s third-year electrical engineering student, Rohit Kumar, last Sunday, has rattled the students of the institute. According to first-hand account of students, Rohit had been visiting the hospital since Friday, March 20, complaining of headaches. On Sunday, the headaches became increasingly painful and he was on his way back from the doctor when he fainted and fell from the rickshaw, resulting in major injuries.

Following this, he was taken to BC Roy Hospital by two students of Lala Lajpat Rai Hostel. The doctor on duty (who was present at the time when Rohit was taken to the hospital), Dr NK Som, recommended that he be taken to the Apollo Hospital, Kolkata and shown to a neuro-surgeon. He said that BC Roy Hospital did not have facilities to handle such cases and that it was best to take him to Kolkata as soon as possible. However, problems such as filling of petrol and the extensive paperwork involved in arranging an ambulance caused a delay of two hours during the course of which nothing much could be done. He was finally sent to Kolkata with two students for company and an untrained attendant. En route it was found that though the oxygen mask had been placed over his mouth, the tank had not been turned on. Soon after this, Rohit started coughing blood.

The students who accompanied him had the attendant call up Dr Som and the students followed his instructions; pumping out blood without any help from the attendant. At that time, it was decided to take Rohit to the Spandan Hospital in Midnapore since his condition was deteriorating rapidly. In spite of asking the BC Roy Hospital officials to inform Spandan authorities of the impending arrival, there was no one there to receive them. By the time a doctor was available, Rohit had passed away and the hospital declared him dead on arrival.
The above account is on the basis of the report filed in the online newspaper written by IITKGP students.(http://scholarsavenue.blogspot.com)

The news of Rohit’s death spread like wildfire and students gathered outside the director’s (Damodar Acharya’s) residence demanding some response from him. A callous answer of “looking into the matter” and his attitude made matters worse. As tempers ran high and numbers swelled, students resorted to destruction of property, in a bid to demonstrate their anger. They ransacked the director’s bungalow, smashing his car and forcing him to resign on Sunday.

In a democratic set up, one is free to protest. There have been numerous cases in the recent past where people have been forced to be violent and aggressive. It is very disheartening but true to a great extent that authorities just turn a blind eye to peaceful protests. Barring the stir by students against reservation in 2006, all the subsequent protests have been violent in nature. Be it Gujjar protest, Gorkhaland, Amarnath Yatra land row, Khairlanji incident, Nandigram etc. But only such protests were able to move the authorities.

In this case too, the students are justified in their protest. The reason being many such cases of medical negligence have been reported on the campus in the past few months. Given below are a few of them:

Gaurav Tomar, a fifth-year student was suffering from very high fever before Holi. He was admitted to the BC Roy Technology Hospital and treated for jaundice and typhoid. Later, in Delhi’s Apollo Hospital, Gaurav was diagnosed with malignant malaria, the actual reason behind high fever. The wrong treatment allegedly damaged his kidneys.

In December, a second-year student suffered cardiac arrest while attending an NSS camp outside the IIT campus.

He was rushed to the institute’s hospital, but doctors could not even administer oxygen, as there was reportedly no mask at hand. The student died shortly.

A few days ago, a fourth-year student had fractured his arms while playing football. It took five hours for the hospital to organise an ambulance to transport him to Kolkata.

Considering the series of the negligence cases and repeated requests from the students falling to deaf ears the students took such an action. If the authorities had taken the issue being raised seriously, a life could have been saved. Moreover, such violence would not have occurred in the campus of an IIT. But as Bhagat Singh said: “To make deaf hear, a blast is required.” Perhaps, this is the tragedy of this democratic nation. Bhagat Singh used these words for British Government which was neglecting the concerns of people. The concerns of people are still being neglected by our very own people. If the issues concerning people are not heard by the administration and government, then the meaning of democracy ceases to exist.

This incident was very visibly a result of the blinded deaf authorities. It had an implied reaction from the students in the form of very violent protests which led to self-resignations of the Director & the Dean. This and whatever post-incident action that is going to be delivered are very obvious reactive actions from the authorities, but a question that still finds an answer for itself is that when will the authorities of premier institutes and organisations take proactive measures towards the safety and well-being of their members?

Need to enhance medical competence to handle crisis

Ever since Mumbai was hit by terrorists on November 26 last year, there have been many steps taken to improve the security and to counter similar situation in the future in a better way. There has been no denying that there was security lapse due to which terrorists were able to create mayhem in the city. But, it is the time to introspect the weaknesses in our system and try to plug the same to avoid such occurrence again in any part of the country.

This post is basically to attract the attention of readers and administrators on the incapability of our medical staff during such hour of crisis. There is a report that 70 people died in the carnage at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Out of these 70 people, 30 who were hit on hands or legs lost their lives due to non-availability of treatment at the right time. So, we should learn some lessons and try to step up the emergency handling capability of the administration.

It is thus very essential that our administration tries to ponder on the following points which I and few of my doctor friends felt should be implemented:

  • We need to have concept of ‘triage’ in this country. This concept needs to start from the place of disaster itself. Triage is a process of prioritising patients based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. The term comes from the French verb trier, meaning to separate, sort, sift or select.
  • Then we need to place ambulances at the strategic locations throughout the city. The staff with the ambulance should be well trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is an emergency medical procedure for a victim of cardiac arrest or, in some circumstances, respiratory arrest. These are the two commonest complications which person injured in such strike undergoes. There should be training of civilians as well in CPR. The situation in our country is such that even medical professionals don’t have any experience in this. Right now, staff in ambulance is just not capable to do this simplest procedure which is taught in school in many of the Western countries.
  • The infrastructure in hospitals in current scenario is not up to the standards. There are very less number of beds in casualty and operation theatre. A hospital was just a few metres away from CST station and if it was better equipped, then few more lives probably could have been saved. Hence, it is very important to have separate wards/beds to handle any emergency situation.
  • The biggest problem then faced is shortage of blood. The blood bank and hospital coordination is also poor in our country. It takes much time for a relative of injured or a hospital staff to collect blood and then give it to the wounded. Therefore, it is essential that our blood-banks and hospitals work in tandem.
  • According to a few medical students, there should be especial training given to doctors as well. It is just because under normal circumstances, a doctor hardly treats the bullet injury.Few of them were of view that this training should be done by the army doctors, who are quite familiar with the treatment during bullet injury. There can also be the proposal of setting a separate unit of trained doctors like we have National Security Guard (NSG) or something. These doctors can be flown in the minimum time period to the place of casualty. They can work in aggregation with the regular staff of hospitals and also this can overcome the shortage of and burden on regular doctors. There is a fact that the doctors are overburdened in regular days and during emergency situation the condition gets even worse.
If there is proper team of trained medical and paramedical staff to handle any crisis then the number of deaths can be brought down. Whether the points mentioned above are feasible or not is to be decided by decision making bodies. But, I have felt that the current medical facilities are just not enough. It is thus of utmost importance that the administration thinks over this aspect as well.

Urban youth most vulnerable to HIV & AIDS

AIDS Ribbon
AIDS Ribbon

The epidemic of HIV/AIDS in India has reached to a figure close to 2-3 million. The government and various other NGOs are trying their best to control the numbers. But a gloomy picture has been emerging from the IT/BPO sectors of India. Call centers where an estimated 1.3 million youth – mostly fresh out of college – are currently employed, are now said to be the new high risk areas of HIV and AIDS. Though data is still being collected – many activists agree that HIV infection is increasing steadily among the IT, BT, call centre and BPO employees.

I was doing some research and reading articles on internet on the same topic for last few days when I came across few real accounts. I was perplexed by the same.

“I did make out initially with one of my male colleagues. Sex, for all its overtones, was a great stress buster, nothing more and definitely not for money. After a few months, having a guy to go out with became one of those things on my ‘must do’ lists. But somewhere along the line, the line stressed out, perhaps more because of my financial weakness. Today, if someone’s willing to pay me well for something, I might not decline the offer! Who knows when I’ll lose my job! My friends already have. But with my ’part time’ job, I’m saving at least a lakh every month,” says a BPO employee.

Dr Suniti Solomon, credited with the first HIV case in India in 1986, in an interview to a magazine TSI (The Sunday Indian) says that around five call centre/BPO employees from Chennai visit her every week to undergo HIV tests.

The Wall Street Journal had warned of Indian call centres and BPOs becoming HIV risk areas back in 2006 itself! It referred to a study conducted in February 2006, which found that 11 per cent of the 1,100 workers at a particular call centre and outsourcing business in Noida have had more than five sexual partners. (By contrast, a separate study found that only seven per cent of 1,300 adults across the country said they had more than five sexual partners.)

So what are the reasons that this section of youth is so vulnerable to the infection?

Call centres and BPOs are the sectors that accommodate the highest number of youth. They are sexually active and the lifestyle, odd working hours may contribute to it. Men and women live alone and work in close quarters. Indian call centre industry is waking up to this new BPO-bonding. BPO units are turning into hubs where inter-personal bonding takes place. And often, this bonding takes a sexual turn. There is reason to believe that their vulnerability to AIDS is genuine.

A Telegraph-MODE survey conducted in Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore some time back demonstrates that call centre employees let off steam by holding wild parties and seek physical comfort with the opposite sex. In Mumbai, 89 per cent people polled said they regularly attend wild parties and 74 per cent (55 per cent in Bangalore) said they seek the company of the opposite sex.

A BPO employee based in Pune in an interview to TSI told that they devote weekends for exciting experiments. “Having multiple sex partners has existed for some time now. But now, even group sex is gaining popularity. Weekends are devoted to such ‘experiments’ by promiscuous people, both married and single.

An unofficial swapping club exists in one of the well known MNC where the members meet once a month, usually on Fridays, in resorts in the city outskirts. After cocktails, the game starts. All the wives sit in their respective cars; the cars are locked and the keys are put in a basket. Then, the blindfolded husbands pick the car keys. Which lady they take home for the night depends on the keys they get. After a night of fun, they return the cars and wives to their respective owners.”

Dr Satish who was invited to hold talks on HIV and AIDS during an awareness programme for IT, BT sector four years ago says “But everyone present there were well aware of the modes of HIV transmission and its consequences. The company had called me because their toilets used to get clogged with condoms!” During his interaction with the participants, he found out that while 10 per cent of the male employees preferred their spouse to be a virgin, virginity was not really an issue with 80 per cent of the female employees who felt ‘that’ could be easily fixed with Hymenoplasty, a hymen reconstruction surgery.

The increasing number of HIV cases among urban, well educated and financially stable people debunks the myth of illiteracy and poverty being the greatest hurdles in our war against HIV and AIDS. It will be hard to believe that they dont know about HIV/AIDS. But sadly their chalta hai attitude and easy access of everything is the reason that drives these people to risky behaviour. Youth are part of our system and future of this country but they are themselves indulging in the self-damaging activities. You can not blame the western culture either because the today’s youth is well aware of pros and cons of everything. Probably, the lack of morality, the proper mindset and abstinence will soon make India country with highest number of HIV infected people.

The government must ensure that more concrete steps are taken and companies should also try to educate their employees and this should not be mere tokenism. HIV and AIDS awareness programmes should not be restricted only to rural areas; it should also encompass the ‘literate uneducated’ sections of the urban society.

Obesity Epidemic in India

OBESITY IS a condition in which there is excessive accumulation of the fat in the body. Some years back it was restricted to affluent countries where per capita income was high, physical activity was low and and foods high in saturated fat and sugar were freely available. But with the dynamic growth in last decade or so obesity has now reached epidemic proportions in prosperous, urban India.
Both overweight and obesity are defined in terms of body mass index or BMI- the ratio of your weight to your height that is calculated by dividing your weight in kg by your height in meters squared. The doctors say that the changes in diet coupled with increasing inactive lifestyles have sparked the obesity epidemic in urban India.
Because of urbanisation and moderniaation, our lives are becoming more sedentary and less physically active than it was before. People are spending most of their leisure time in front of television. Household durable goods like washing machines, cooking gas and electric ovens etc, again reduce the physical activity. Application of transportation even for shorter distance is increasing. All these prevent the people from physical activity and leads to overweight and obesity. At the same time, consumption of oily and junk food is responsible for overweight and obesity.
According to Dr Umesh Kapil of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, “The risk of obesity in India is highest in the 20 per cent of the population that consumes 80 per cent of visible dietary fat.” Obesity is largely seen among adults but is growing in incidence among children mainly because they pick up unhealthy lifestyle patterns from there parents. Kapil said that school surveys in Indian cities show that 30 per cent of adolescents from India’s higher economic groups are overweight. Though the obesity is starting scene in India compared to western countries, it is very essential to tackle the same before it becomes epidemic.
With such high rate of globalisation and industrialisation, more and more people are settling in urban areas and their lifestyle is also changing at great pace. All this is having an effect on human body and people are becoming obese. Obesity is related to various other diseases as well. There is an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallstone disease and cancer of breast, prostate and colon. In fact, there are 30 medical conditions which are directly related to obesity.
Apart from this many psychological problems are related to the obesity. Emotional suffering may be one of the most painful parts of obesity. Many people think that obese individuals are gluttonous, lazy, or both, even though this is not true. As a result, obese people often face prejudice or discrimination in the job market, at school, and in social situations.
It is very sure that in coming time, obesity will emerge as challenge for India and therefore this is the right time to throw attention on the problem, as prevention is always better than cure.

Welcome to a smoke free world

The Health ministry’s decision to ban smoking in public places comes into effect from today. The law is simple, you may buy cigarettes but you can not light them up in any public place else you will have to cough up a Rs. 200 fine.
Welcome to a smoke and tobacco free atmosphere. This Gandhi Jayanti, there will be less smokers out in the open. And for all those who were looking at quitting the habit, there is no better time to do it. Considering the fact that almost a million people die in India every year due to smoking it is indeed a good decision. The law has specially come into being for the passive smokers. Thirty percent is the rise in the percent of non smokers getting lung diseases due to the smoke from other smokers.
Now lets look at what the implications of the law are. You can not smoke at any public place. Now that includes your office, auditoriums, malls, theatres, shops, bus stops, rickshaws, hotels, pubs, discos, restaurants, market places, railway stations, airports- list is endless. Thus it would be easier to focus on the places where smokers can smoke.
For starters you may smoke in the privacy of your home. But if the atmosphere gets too clogged inside your house, you may light up in a public park where there is enough greenery around but there shouldn’t be people around. You may also get to smoke in the ‘smoking zones’ any where either in your office, restaurants, pubs, hotels as long as you are permitted to do so. You may even light up in the comfort of your car provided you are not the one on the wheel. Today is the first day that the new law will come into effect but things will definitely get simpler in the days to come.
But how will this law be implemented? Will there be policemen every where to fine you if got caught smoking? Not necessarily. Traffic policemen, beat constables, Municipality corperators, government officers to even school teachers can all make you cough up the fine if you are caught smoking. The Health Minister Ramadoss has also said that the implementation of the law may not be too easy and hence the general public should make an effort to dissuade people from smoking in public as well. Thus even if there is no government officer around, you will always be under the watchful eyes of the general public, who may not necessarily be able to make you pay a fine but will definitely get you to stop smoking.
India is not the first country in the world to have an aversion towards smokers. In 2007, Germany had banned smoking all hotels, pubs, restaurants and discotheques. In the United Kingdom as well there was a similar ban implemented. In Ireland there was a ban on smoking at the work place and even at New York there is a tough ban on smoking in restaurants, hotels and pubs. Several other countries have gone on to ban smoking hence forth.
It is often said, that there is so much smoke and pollution in the air, that if it wernt for our lungs there would be no other place for it to go. The move to ban smoking in public places comes as a balm of sympathy for all non smokers who had to consume that smoke even if they didn’t wish to. So, next time you get that urge to take a puff, atleast you wont give in to it till you get to a smoking zone. The move is great for the non smokers and will also act as a moral and legal deterrent for active smokers.

Government says its criminal to be Gay

The decision taken by the union government of not to scrap the Section 377 of the Indian Penal code which considers homosexuality to be a criminal offense has come as a huge setback to the Gay community and the human rights groups supporting their cause.
The law against homosexuals in India states,
“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine”
Homosexuals have always been discriminated against in our country and have found no political backing whatsoever. No political party has ever come in support of them and it has only been the Indian Film Industry and some NGO’s that have been fighting for their rights.
Meanwhile, the government has put an end to the debate where the century old laws relating to homosexuals be changed by categorically denying that such a change is needed. The law as it stands has not served any purpose for barely have any homosexuals been convicted in the last few years but they have always been discriminated against ad even blackmailed for their sexual orientation.
What is ironical is that the law against homosexuals in India has been present from the time of the colonial rule when India were under the British rule. The British for that matter themselves realized their folly and changed the law way back in 1967 and even went on to allow gay marriages in the UK from the year 2005 onwards. The move created a rage of gay marriages in the UK with more than five thousand gay couples getting married on the made the new law came into effect. The law in UK made in the year 1967 goes on to say,
(a) a homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of sixteen years
(b) A homosexual act by any person shall not be an offence if he is under the age of sixteen years and the other party has attained that age.
But the Indian government has yet restrained from changing the laws though the british woke up to their mistake more than forty years back. Prime minister Manmohan Singh was once asked by a journalist as to what he thought of the new law in Canada to allow Gay marriages, tow hich the Indian prime minister said, “there would not be much appreciation for a law like that in India”
The Ministry of Health under Ambumani Ramadoss has also come out in support of the Gay groups by stating that with the present laws there are more chances of people catching the AIDS virus. The National AIDS control in a report filed to the government stated that in the case of homosexuals, the chances of AIDS are higher because they are reluctant to accept this is front of society and hence such discussions are always pushed below the carpet. The report also stated that almost seventy percent of homosexuals know about the dangers of AIDS but yet only thirty six percent use condoms.
On one side the Indian government is hell bent on reducing the chances of people contracting AIDS by their condom campaign, but on the other side they do not want to change the present laws. When in June this year, there were Gay parades in the Indian capital several anti gay groups had tried to get that scrapped as well but the parades went on as planned. The gay community has been begging and protesting against the present laws for they are not only discriminatory but are against the rules of any civilized society. For the time being the gay community will have to keep pushing until their demands get met.

Keeping heart diseases at bay on World Heart Day

On 28th September, the World Heart Day let us understand the symptoms and the causes of all Heart diseases that affect more than a million people in India every year and accounts for almost twenty million deaths every year all over the world.
The theme of the World Heart federation for the year 2008 is “World Heart Day: Know your risks”. Heart diseases or heart attacks are the cause for almost one third of the deaths taking place in the world every year. It is also predicted by the World Health Organization that in the next 3-4 years, it will be responsible for the largest number of deaths around the world, bigger than AIDS or Cancer. As per the American health association more than a million people get a heart attack every year, and about half of those die. These figures are said to rise in the years to come and that is why it is essential to have knowledge of the risks involved and the factors that lead to heart problems so that they can be avoided from the beginning.
The World Health Organization has also predicted that by the year 2010, sixty percent of the world’s cardiac patients will be in India. A common misconception is that heart problems affect only the aged people, but even youngsters can fall prey to these diseases though cardiac problems are more commonly observed in males above the age of forty five and females above the age of fifty five. There are some factors which are referred to as irreversible factors like your Age, Gender and heredity. These factors are something that you can not change. A male at the age of sixty will be more prone to heart problems than one at the age of twenty. It is also observed that males are at a higher risk than females though the risk of heart disease increases in women after menopause. And if your parents have a history of heart problems then your chances of being affected will also be higher.
But apart from these, almost all the causes of cardiac problems can be controlled but people are generally less informed about these factors. To begin with you should be able to control and treat your blood pressure. High blood pressure may arise due to several factors but there is medication easily available to keep it under limits. High blood pressure can also be the cause of several other diseases like diabetes, kidney problems etc. To keep your blood pressure under bay you need to reduce your salt intake, smoking as well as alcohol consumption. Frequent exercise and training will also do wonders for your body.
High cholesterol in your blood can also increase your chances of heart problems and thus by reducing the intake of fats and exercising regularly you can moderate the cholesterol. Other factors that increase chances of cardiac problems are Obesity, Homocysteine levels, hypertension, smoking, alcohol and tobacco consumption and diabetes. The general body mass index of the individual should be less than twenty five.
In this fast paced world, the best way of keeping heart problems at bay is by making frequent visits to the doctor. Specially for people above the age of forty, annual heart check ups may act as great preventive measures to be able to curb these problems right in their inception stages. Heart problems could occur to any of us and we should devote time to having regular heart check ups conducted. To keep your heart beating well, remember to exercise well, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and get regular heart check ups done.