Friday February 23, 2018

Bangladesh Government Responds to UNICEF Report on Infant Mortality

Bangladesh believes comparatively the country is more advanced than other countries regarding reducing child mortality rate

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Bangladesh
Children in Bangladesh. Wikimedia
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  • The study, “Narrowing the Gaps, The Power of Investing in the Poorest Children,” found that for every U.S. $1 million spent, the number of deaths averted was 168, compared to 92 in non-poor groups
  • Over a 25-year period beginning in 1990, Bangladesh saw its infant mortality rate fall from 144 per 1,000 to 38 per 1,000, according to UNICEF figures released in 2015
  • The UNICEF report said most deaths could have been prevented with practical low-cost interventions

Dhaka, June 30, 2017: A Bangladesh government official and a physician said the country was cutting its infant mortality rate, but better programs and hospital services were needed to see even lower numbers.

The two spoke in response to a report of 51 countries released Wednesday by UNICEF that supports its prediction seven years ago that investing properly in poor children can save lives.

“Children growing up in poverty are nearly twice as likely to die before reaching their fifth birthday as children growing up in better circumstances,” the report said.

The study, “Narrowing the Gaps, The Power of Investing in the Poorest Children,” found that for every U.S. $1 million spent, the number of deaths averted was 168, compared to 92 in non-poor groups.

Over a 25-year period beginning in 1990, Bangladesh saw its infant mortality rate fall from 144 per 1,000 to 38 per 1,000, according to UNICEF figures released in 2015. This represents a 74 percent drop in infant mortality among Bangladeshi children aged five years and under.

Dr. Md. Jahangir Alam Sarker, director of primary health care at the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said he expected to see more improvements.

“Comparatively Bangladesh is more advanced than other countries regarding reducing child mortality rate. We are on the right track,” Sarker told BenarNews. “But we could not spread-out nationwide programs yet. For example, we could not start special-care units for infants in all hospitals.”

“We have undertaken many programs to reduce child mortality, but we could not reach many at the grassroots level,” he said. “Those programs are spreading out. We will get results soon.”

ALSO READAround 100,000 Children in peril in Mosul due to fight between ISIS and Iraqi Forces: UN

Preventable deaths

The UNICEF report said most deaths could have been prevented with practical low-cost interventions including: oral rehydration salts to treat diarrhea; early immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases; primary and community-based health services such as skilled birth attendants to reduce complications during labor and delivery; and care-seeking by parents of young children to treat illness.

It praised the Bangladesh government for setting up community clinics at the village level to provide free routine health services while improving water, sanitation and hygiene.

Pediatrician Kaniz Hasina Sheuli, who also is a professor at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, said more can be done to save sick children, pointing out that not all Bangladesh hospitals are equipped properly to help them and more skilled nurses are needed.

“We could manage to control child diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea, but still death rate of the children with birth defects is 4 percent,” she said.

“Usually we operate surgery immediately after the birth of those infants with defects. Intensive care units (ICU) are required for these of surgeries, but public hospitals lack this support,” Sheuli said. “Available ICUs are not sufficient. As a result, everybody doesn’t get this benefit.” (Benar News)

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Air Pollution And Its Effects On Our Heath

Man is not just affected physically but his mental peace takes a toll too due to the increasing air pollution

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Stubble burning is one of the main reason behind heavy pollution in the Delhi and NCR region. Wikimedia Commons
  • Air pollution is a major concern nowadays and has major effects on one’s health
  • There are many toxic air pollutants in our environment which can cause severe health hazards
  • Health-related problems like asthma, headaches, nausea, etc. can be caused as an effect of air pollution

Air Pollution and their dreadful consequences are not some newly found phenomena of the new-found world. There have been instances of hazardous effects even in the past. The three major historic documentation, dating back to the middle of the 20th century, happened at Meuse Valley in Belgium, Donora in Pennsylvania, and London. The most gruesome of the three is the well-known London mishap that claimed over 4000 lives during the episode, due to temperature inversion and associated elevated levels of Air Pollution, and over 8000 lives in the subsequent period.

Air pollution can have severe effects on one's health.
Air pollution can have severe effects on one’s health.

Mankind is in a fast-paced race, always in the process of trying to outwit each other. The numerous developments born out of this race have brought along with them dreadful health consequences. Air Pollution is one such inadvertent yet a disregardful act by humans. The pollution does not begin only when you step out of your homes but is present within your safety havens itself.

According to the World Health Organization report in 2014, 92% of the world population was living in places where the air quality guidelines levels were not met. Outdoor Air Pollution was cited to be the cause of  3.7 million premature deaths in both cities and rural areas. Around 80% of those deaths were due to heart diseases and stroke, and the rest were due to respiratory illnesses and cancers due to exposure to fine particulate matter.

Air pollution can even cause risk of life.
Air pollution can even cause risk of life.
Air pollutants categories:

Air pollutants are categorized into two groups based on their impact, Criteria pollutants and Toxic air pollutants. Criteria pollutants include particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and lead (Pb). (defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the Clean Air Act). These pollutants are present everywhere and cause health issues when present at significant ambient levels. In general, the criteria pollutants are regarded as the cause of most respiratory and cardiac issues.

Also Read: How exposure to air pollution in womb may shorten lifespan

Toxic air pollutants are also known as “hazardous air pollutants,” are substances that cause cancer or lead to other potential non-cancerous effects on the reproductive and neurological systems and have disastrous consequences in the development process. It is also assumed that there is no threshold level of exposure required to cause cancer. Meaning any amount of exposure to these toxic pollutants can lead to cancer.

At risk Populations:

In any geography, the already ailing and sick (pre-existing medical condition) population is more at risk for suffering from the ill effects of air pollution. Apart from this category, young children are the next at risk.

The reason for children being affected more is that they have higher breathing rates than adults. Therefore, they unknowingly inhale a lot more pollutants than an average adult. The potential for exposure is also increased with increased amount of time spent outdoors. The developing lungs of the young people have a limited metabolic capacity to placate toxicity.

Exposure to air pollutants can case cancer as well.
Exposure to air pollutants can cause cancer as well.

 

Air Pollution Respiratory Diseases:

The small particulate matter of the criteria pollutants has the capacity to reach the lowest portion of the lungs, where the gaseous exchange occurs. The larger particles get trapped in the nose and the medium- sized ones settle in the tracheobronchial region.

The effects of the settlement of these particles are upper and lower respiratory symptoms, asthma attacks, loss of quality living days, and restricted activities. Chronic exposure to particulate matter has also been associated with the development of chronic bronchitis- inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. This condition presents as a cough with mucus.

Also Read: Neurologists say rising air pollution can cause stroke among adults

Lung Cancer:

It is a commonly known fact and an “ought to be stressed upon” fact that chronic exposure to polluted air can also lead to the cancer of the lungs.

Ozone’s effect:

Ozone, an oxidant gas that is poorly water-soluble, travels throughout the respiratory tract due to its nature of solubility. It reacts with the molecules on the surface of the lung and leads to pulmonary oedema, inflammation, and the destruction of epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. Children who stay outdoors in high Ozone areas develop asthma. Some of the disastrous effects are permanent in nature.

Air pollution can harm you even when you are inside your own houses.
Air pollution can harm you even when you are inside your own houses.
Some more Criteria air pollutants:

When Carbon monoxide reacts with blood haemoglobin, it reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood and hence can cause damage to the nervous system. It causes a headache, fatigue, dizziness, coma, respiratory failure, and eventually death.

Nitrogen dioxide is mostly an indoor air pollutant released due to the increasing use of gas stoves. Exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can lead to respiratory distress with symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.

Air Pollution Cardiovascular Effects:

The above-mentioned actions of air pollutants in the respiratory tract can also affect the cardiovascular system. The inflammation in the breathing tract induces transient hypercoagulability (abnormal blood clotting), the progression of atherosclerosis, and propensity to plaque rupture, especially in people with coronary atheroma. Long-term exposure to Air Pollution can also speed up the atherogenesis process, heart rate invariability, and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Some recent studies have also found a significant relationship between heart attack (Myocardial infarction) and exposure to polluted air.

Air Pollution in Reproductive and Child Health:

Long-term exposure to the air pollutants poses risks even to an unborn child. It causes Intrauterine growth restriction -low birth weight at term, intrauterine growth retardation, smaller fetus for gestational age etc.

Indoor Air Pollution :

Some of the major causes of indoor air pollution are indoor smoking and burning of fuels for cooking purposes, especially in the second and third world countries. The people in these countries cook and heat their homes with biomass fuels and coal. Thus the main noxious gas released is sulfur dioxide, that causes respiratory issues and eye irritation

 

In Delhi, air pollution is a major concern.
In Delhi, air pollution is a major concern.
Quality of life:

Man is not just affected physically but his mental peace takes a toll too when the feelings of insecurity and the perception of having to live in a hazardous environment take over. Severe annoyance, sleep disturbances, reduced the ability to concentrate, communicate or perform normal daily tasks also accompany the psychological stress issues.

Some of the issues are too massive to be controlled at an individual level but a resolution to change can, of course, make a significant impact. Individually we are just one drop of water but together we can make a big ocean.

Simple steps involve following the government regulations in your state regarding the upkeep of your vehicles, carpooling, avoiding the burning of coal, adequate ventilation of your homes to dilute the effect of indoor air pollutants among others.

Wish for a change? Be the change! Same Condition

Air Pollution Health Effects