Saturday October 21, 2017

Malaria-free Zone: Sri Lanka’s victory over the disease is remarkable

Sri Lanka's road to eliminating malaria was tough and demanded well-calibrated responsive policies but it stands as a malaria-free island country today

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Mosquito on human skin. Image Source: Wikimedia commons

Sri Lanka,Aug 5, 2016: In a remarkable public health achievement, Sri Lanka has been certified as malaria-free island country by World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Sri Lanka’s achievement is truly remarkable. In the mid-20th century it was among the most malaria-affected countries, but now it is malaria-free. This is testament to the courage and vision of its leaders, and signifies the great leaps that can be made when targeted action is taken.

It also demonstrates the importance of grass-roots community engagement and a whole-of-society approach when it comes to making dramatic public health gains, “WHO Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said here.

Sri Lanka’s road to eliminating the mosquitoes was tough, and demanded well-calibrated, responsive policies. After malaria cases soared in the 1970s and 80s, the country’s anti-malaria campaign in the 1990s adjusted its strategy to intensively target the parasite in addition to targeting the mosquito. The change in strategy was unorthodox, but highly effective.

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Mobile malaria clinics in high transmission areas meant that prompt and effective treatment could reduce the parasite reservoir and the possibility of further transmission. Effective surveillance, community engagement and health education, meanwhile, enhanced the ability of authorities to respond, and mobilised popular support for the campaign. The adaptation and flexibility of strategies and support from key partners such as WHO and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria fast-tracked success.

Fighting Malaria. Image source: Wikimedia commin
Fighting Malaria. Image source: Wikimedia commin

By 2006, the country recorded less than 1 000 cases of malaria per year, and since October 2012, the indigenous cases were down to zero. For the past three-and-a-half years, no locally transmitted cases have been recorded. To maintain elimination and ensure the parasite is not reintroduced to the country, the anti-malaria campaign is working closely with local authorities and international partners to maintain surveillance and response capacity and to screen high-risk populations entering the country.
Sri Lanka is the second country in the WHO South-East Asia Region to eliminate malaria after Maldives. The announcement of Sri Lanka’s victory over malaria was made at the WHO South-East Asia Region’s annual Regional Committee meeting in the presence of health ministers and senior health officials from all 11 Member States.

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The Regional Director said WHO will continue to support the efforts of Sri Lanka’s health authorities as they relate to malaria, as well as the country’s wider public health mission. This outstanding achievement should be a springboard to further public health gains in the country and the South-East Asia Region as a whole. (IANS)

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WHO Releases New Guidelines to Fight Global Childhood Obesity

India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot

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OBESITY
Obesity exposes an individual to multiple health problems. VOA

New Delhi, October 12, 2017:  In 2016, an Official data in had revealed that over 41 million children below the age of 5 were affected by obesity. Without due attention and efficient treatment, they are likely to remain obese throughout their lives, with an increased risk of developing a host of diseases and physical and psychological consequences like anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even premature death.

In view of an escalating number of people constantly coming under the ambush of obesity, and with childhood obesity becoming a cause of worry globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines on October 4, emphasizing the growing importance of healthcare experts and professionals, underlining their positive role in helping kids and teenagers fight the global menace.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is defined as ‘excess adipose tissue’. In other words, it is a body-weight disorder involving excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems.  In case a person’s body-weight is nearly 20 per cent higher than it should be, he is considered obese.

obesity
Excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems. Pixabay

There are different ways to calculate excess adipose tissue, the most common one being the Body Mass Index.

Index :

Overweight – BMI greater than or equal to 25

Obesity – BMI greater than or equal to 30

Global Data

According to data obtained by WHO, one half of all overweight children or obese children lived in Asia, and one-quarter of the total obese children lived in Africa.

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June, India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot.

The global menace continues to rise rapidly in low and middle-income countries.

Also Read: Obesity leads to 13 types of Cancer, including that of Pancreas and Esophagus: Study

WHO Guidelines

The new report released by WHO on October 4 is titled ‘Assessing and Managing Children at Primary Healthcare Facilities to Prevent Overweight and Obesity in the Context of the Double Burden of Malnutrition’.

The report provides guidelines and updates for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). The guidelines attempt to confine the spread of childhood obesity from expanding further, and prescribe undertaking proper assessment of dietary habits along with weight and height measurements. It also recommends dieting and proper counseling by healthcare experts.

Recommendations by WHO

  • WHO has recommended that primary healthcare facilities should be made available to all children below the age of 5 years and infants. These should include measurement of both weight and height of the children to determine their weight-for height and nutritional status as previously defined by WHO child growth standards.
  • For children and infants identified as overweight, healthcare experts should provide counseling to parents and caregivers on nutrition and physical activity, which includes creating awareness about healthy practices like exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and continuing the practice until 2 years or more.
  • WHO also prescribes that an appropriate management plan should be devised to counter the menace in obese children. This can be developed by a trained health worker at primary healthcare facilities, or local hospitals.

Healthy Eating Tips to Fight Obesity

Here are a few healthy eating tips that will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but will also prove be be beneficial for your metabolism, physical strength and general well-being,

  • Refrain from unnecessary indulgences or random snacking and encourage healthy snacking choices like popcorns, yogurt, fruits, etc.
  • Reduce your sugar intake to less than 10 per cent of the total calories for an individual with normal weight.

obesity
Obese and binge eating junk food? Red Flag! Pixabay

  • Consume a gracious serving of seasonal vegetables and fruits everyday that are rich in soluble and insoluble fibres, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make healthy food selections- include whole grain products, avoid excessive use of oil and salt and refrain from processed or packaged food.
  • A balanced diet must be complimented with regular exercise to counter unnecessary weight gain

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

 

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World Heart Day 2017: 6 Simple Tips to Keep your Heart Healthy | NewsGram

How strong are your ABCDEF’s? Let’s find out!

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September 29 is World Heart Day. Here is how you can care for your heart! Pixabay

New Delhi, September 29, 2017 : World Heart Day is here, and that gives us another reason to reiterate why you should be going an extra step to care for your heart. India accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s burden of heart diseases. This risk in Indians is almost double than their western counterparts and can be mainly attributed to genetics, diet and lifestyle.

An Increasing Trend of Heart Diseases

According to a WHO report released in mid-September, it was revealed that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer are an increasing cause of premature deaths all around the world, taking as many as 30 million lives annually. These diseases cause self-inflicted damage and trace their roots to individual lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, drugs and unhealthy or unbalanced diet.

ALSO READ Even less physically fit people can help themselves to prevent risk of Heart related Diseases: Study

Common Causes of Cardiovascular Diseases

Heart diseases are primarily caused because of accumulation of fats, cholesterol and other substances within and on the walls of the arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis.

This build-up begins from a young age and ultimately results in blockage of the arteries, which disabled the heart from pumping necessary quantity of blood. This, in turns, results in various disorders of the heart and the blood vessels.

Symptoms of Cardiovascular Diseases

Typical symptoms when your heart’s health is fluctuating will include chest pain or angina, breathlessness, sweating, palpitations and gastric pain. Some people may even complain of bloating or abdomen fullness.

Your heart is the reason your body is doing everything it can. So why not do something special for your heart on this World Heart Day?

World Heart Day 2017

World Heart Day is celebrated on September 29 and focuses on a holistic approach to generate awareness about cardiovascular disease.

A truly global initiative, World Heart Day is aimed to unite people from all corners of the world in the fight against cardiovascular diseases and encourage healthy hearts and healthy lifestyles across the world.

Heart diseases are the biggest man-made killer in India and the world. So what should be done on this World Heart Day to address the problem? All you have to do is keep your ABCDEF in check.

But how strong are your ABCDEF’s? Let’s find out!

6 Simple Tips To Keep your Heart Healthy Forever:

  • ABC: “A1c, Blood Sugar & Cholesterol” :

ABC remains for A1C, Blood Sugar, and Cholesterol individually. A1C is a test to check for glycated hemoglobin; it is fundamental to hold ABC levels in line for a more beneficial heart. You must also make it a habit to monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol levels and endeavor to keep the levels inside the recommended confines.

  • D : Diet  “Eat Heart Healthy Diet” :

You must consume a heart healthy diet that includes supplement-rich foods: Nutrition is critical to general well-being. As indicated by several nourishment researchers, a diet healthy for the heart, comprising of nutritious foods, for example, 1.5 servings (43 grams) of almonds may decrease levels of heart harming inflammation and additionally bring down aggregate and LDL cholesterol. Consumption of fish or salmon is also good for the heart as they are a rich source of Omega-3.

E : Exercise “Maintain a Healthy Waistline” :

It is a well established fact that a healthy waistline directly corresponds to cardiovascular well-being. Accumulation of fat on the stomach is directly proportional to rising blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and soaring triglycerides level which are significant hazard factors for heart ailments. As previously revealed, consumption of 42 grams of almonds every day reduces belly fat and waist circumference- and increase in both of which are well-established coronary illness risk factors.

F : Fit Lifestyle “Fitness begins with an active lifestyle” :

As indicated by the American Heart Association, 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week is prescribed for development in heart-health. Alternatively, you can also undertake 75 minutes of energetic or high-force exercise.

Physical activity is a boon for your heart; no amounts of healthy or controlled diet will prove beneficial unless complimented with a fit lifestyle.

Additionally, if your heart’s health is on your mind, then you must quit smoking.

Smoking harms the inner lining of the arteries and further deposits fat, thereby resulting in clogging. A cigarette may seem small, but its effect can be long lasting and ultimately result in death. These include a stroke, angina or a heart attack.

ALSO READ Worried About Your Heart’s Health? Make These 5 Spices a Part of Your Diet and See the Benefits Yourself!

These activities must not only be taken into account to celebrate World Health Day. Instead, aim to make them a part of every routine and witness how life changes for the better!

A little effort today will go a long way to keep you healthy and ready for all that life has to offer. On this World Heart Day, if you take a pledge to keep your ABCDEF’s under check, a healthy heart and a fit lifestyle are sure to follow!

 

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Do You Know Which is the Unhealthiest Country in the World?

Are you living in the most unhealthy country in the world?

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Unhealthiest country in the world
Did you think you were living in one of the world's healthiest country? Think again! VOA

Geneva, September 28, 2017 : Do you know which is the unhealthiest country in the world? If you think it is some region from the African continent, you are mistaken.

According to a new study by Clinic Compare, the Czech Republic has been recognized as the unhealthiest country in the world.

Drawing upon data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO), CIA World Factbook and the World Lung Association, 179 countries around the world were assessed on three key factors,

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco consumption
  • Prevalence of obesity

The study thus revealed the most unhealthy country in the world – Czech Republic, and highlighted the need for citizens to change their lifestyle in order to combat life-threatening illnesses and maintain and enjoy a healthy life.

ALSO READ Live Healthy Lifestyle with these Diet Hacks

World’s most unhealthy countries

 

1. Czech Republic
2. Russia
3. Slovenia
4. Belarus
5. Slovakia
6. Hungary
7. Croatia
8. Poland
9. Luxembourg
10. Lithuania and the United States

 

As per the examination, the residents of Czech Republic positioned as the world’s greatest liquor consumers, with every individual expending 13.7 liters of liquor for each annum (around 1.5 shots per day). They additionally ranked eleventh on the list of the highest tobacco customers.

This comes as a surprise as poverty-stricken countries of Africa were instead found to be among the healthiest countries in the world.

According to the research, Eastern Europe emerged as the unhealthiest region in the world, occupying nine out of the best 10 top spots in the list.

41 per cent of the population in Samoa was further revealed to have a BMI over 30, making Oceania the world’s fattest region. Also included in the top 10 list of the fattest regions were Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati.

Healthiest Country in the World

The findings revealed that the healthiest country was Afghanistan with merely 2.7 per cent of the population having a BMI over 30. This places the country on the world’s second lowest rate of obesity.

It was further revealed that the citizens of Afghanistan consume the least recorded quantity of alcohol and smoke 83 cigarettes a year. This can be largely attributed to the nation’s laws that forbid the possession and consumption of alcohol.

The research placed Guinea as the second healthiest country, closely followed by Niger and Nepal.

ALSO READ WHO says Millions of People are Dying Pre-mature Deaths Due to Non-Communicable Diseases

World’s healthiest countries

 

1. Afghanistan

2. Guinea

3. Niger

4. Nepal

5. DR Congo

6. Eritrea

7. Malawi

8. Somalia

9. Mozambique

10. Ethiopia

 

Eight Countries from Africa made it to the list of the healthiest countries in the world, which comes as a pleasant surprise for all.

According to a WHO report released in mid-September, it was revealed that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardio-vascular diseases are an increasing cause of premature deaths all around the world, taking as many as 30 million lives annually.

These diseases cause self-inflicted damage and trace their roots to individual lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, drugs and unhealthy or unbalanced diet.

The new findings put greater pressure on the countries that have made it to the list of unhealthy countries, thereby urging them to undertake stronger measures.