The Deadly Indian Roads!

WORLD HEALTH Organisation has revealed in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. This has given a dubious distinction for the country.

The report says that in India 13 people die every hour in road accidents. These figures are also backed by the records of National Crime Bureau. It says that in 2007, 1.14 lakh people in India lost their lives in road mishaps. Road deaths in India registered a sharp 6.1 per cent rise between 2006 and 2007. These are the registered cases. The numbers could significantly increase considering the number of cases that go unregistered. 50 per cent of the deaths include pedestrians, cyclists and bikers. The maximum number of casualty is reported from Andhra Pradesh followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The reasons for such figures are also not very difficult to figure out. Most of the deaths can be attributed to speeding, not following traffic rules, no helmets, seat belts and child restraints in vehicles. An increase in average speed is directly related to both the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of crash consequences. Moreover, the traffic management in most of the cities does not function at all. The citizens should also be blamed who hardly follow any rules while driving. They can easily get away by paying paltry sums in case of any traffic law being broken. The law in itself is also not strict to keep checks on the vehicle movements. We don’t have scientific traffic engineering which forms the basis of road safety improvement practiced in the United States and United Kingdom since 1930s.

It is quite ironical that in our country 30 deaths from swine flu has made headlines but the 13 deaths per hour on road hardly find mention in the news. It is very important to set the traffic management right with the latest technologies. The drivers should also take all precautions. These road fatalities can become an ‘epidemic’ and will be the world’s fifth biggest killer by 2030.

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.

Uttar Pradesh: The epicentre of Polio in India

Pulse Polio, an immunization campaign was established by the Government of India in 1994 to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio) in India by vaccinating all children under the age of five, against polio virus. However, a sharp rise in polio cases in India’s largest state has raised fears of the return of a disease that the country was close to wiping out, just three years ago. The health outlook for millions of Indians for 2008 may not be all that bright as experts say that the country will continue battling major diseases like AIDS, polio, malaria and tuberculosis besides concerns like infant and maternal mortality. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Union Health Ministry were optimistic about curbing the polio virus. However, as the year 2007 drew to an end, India continued to be the hot bed for polio, with 590 cases as against 676 cases in 2006. This has dealt another blow to the already crumbling public health infrastructure and delivery. There have been no polio cases reported from Kerala and Punjab in 2007. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar top the list of the polio affected states in India.

PolioThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has described Uttar Pradesh as the “epicenter of the polio epidemic” in the world. As per WHO estimates, the State accounts for 64 per cent of all polio cases reported worldwide. The increase has not just been due to mismanagement at the Government level; there are also other factors responsible for it. One such factor is the people’s apathy to such campaigns, which lack credibility. Besides, lack of information about the polio vaccine being administered and its availability is also greatly responsible for the increase.

An alarming factor is the resistance of people belonging to the minority community, especially those from the lower income groups, to vaccinate their children. Apparently, there is a belief that the polio vaccine causes impotency. Other factors responsible for the resurgence of the epidemic in Uttar Pradesh are the high density of population and the lack of awareness about the pulse polio campaign. Extensive publicity campaigns, involving film and cricket personalities, have mitigated the opposition to a great extent but still the cases are on the rise. It is very important for the Government to now formulate a proper strategy with the political and religious leaders alongside, to counter the rising cases of polio in Uttar Pradesh. Dispelling superstition should be accomplished by roping in local health workers to convince clerics who propagate against the vaccination drive. To control the menace from spreading its tentacles any further, we need to adopt a need-based approach and more scientific methods.

Do we care for our disabled?

It was once said that the moral test of a Society lies in how it treats the sick, the needy and the handicapped. On 3rd December, the United Nations International Day for the Disabled Persons, let us as a society appraise ourselves, Have we really done enough for these people? Continue reading Do we care for our disabled?