Thursday December 13, 2018
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In need of a spa treatment? Head to this hospital in Kochi

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Kochi: In a bid to provide five-star comforts, a multi-speciality hospital in Kochi took it up a notch when it incorporated a full-service spa in it. The 670-bed Aster Medcity hospital has sure turned eyeballs through such initiative.

The hospital has now become the cynosure of all eyes and the spa’s clients include doctors, nurses, patients and their attendants and even walk-ins.

Popular beauty expert Elizabeth Chacko, with around four decades of experience in running a string of beauty clinics in Kochi, was amused when asked if she would be interested in setting up her beauty spa at the state-of-the-art private hospital.

“Somehow, everything fell into place and the management of the Aster Medcity, where I opened my sixth beauty spa, and myself are now pleased that this new concept has clicked,” Chacko, whose brand is Kalpana Family Salon and Spa, told reporters.

“The 2,000 square-foot spa opened in December and by now, I am happy that things are going well,” added Chacko who was educated outside Kerala and plied her beauty trade in Delhi, where she learned the nuances from a senior air force officer’s wife. Since then, there’s been no looking back.

Set on a beautiful 40-acre waterfront campus, Aster Medcity hospital has as its chairman Azad Moopen, a medical professional and founder of Aster DM Healthcare – the fastest growing healthcare group in the Middle East and Africa which is now worth more than $1.1 billion.

One advantage that this hospital has is that it caters to high profile patients, a huge majority are Keralites from the Middle East, besides nationals from there too.

At the spa, everything from facials to manicure, pedicure, hair treatment and what have you, is available to the clients.

“Of course, nurses and doctors do come, as do walk-ins and patients who come for rest and recuperation at the hospital. I give them a 15 percent discount,” said the ‘beauty clinician’, adding that 50 percent of her clients are neither hospital staff nor patients.

“See, I do run five other similar spas in Kochi and hence, I have a regular clientele,” Chacko said.

Trained in the US in electrolysis and cosmetology, Chacko said that even though she has given thousands of faces a glow-up, she is, however, more pleased that she has empowered many young women by giving them training and hands-on experience for a career of their own.

With her only daughter also now helping her in the business and with the new concept of a beauty spa in a hospital that has apparently clicked beyond expectations, she has now got similar offers not just from India but abroad too.(Sanu George, IANS) (picture courtesy: vattikutitechnologies.com)

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Women Hit Especially Hard In Congo’s Worst Ebola Outbreak

For the afflicted, the road to recovery is long and lonely.

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Ebola, WHO, UNICEF, congo, Uganda, women
Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the throes of its worst-ever Ebola outbreak, with more than 420 cases in the country’s volatile east, and a mortality rate of just under 60 percent. But this outbreak — the nation’s tenth known Ebola epidemic — is unusual because more than 60 percent of patients are women.

Among them is Baby Benedicte. Her short life has already been unimaginably difficult.

At one month old, she is underweight, at 2.9 kilograms. And she is alone. Her mother had Ebola, and died giving birth to her. She’s spent the last three weeks of her life in a plastic isolation cube, cut off from most human contact. She developed a fever at eight days old and was transferred to this hospital in Beni, a town of some half-million people in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 400 people have been diagnosed with Ebola here since the beginning of August, and more than half of them have died in a nation the size of Western Europe that struggles with insecurity and a lack of the most basic infrastructure and services. That makes this the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history, after the hemorrhagic fever killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.

This is 10th outbreak to strike the vast country since 1976, when Ebola was first identified in Congo. And this particular outbreak is further complicated by a simmering civil conflict that has plagued this region for more than two decades.

Guido Cornale, UNICEF’s coordinator in the region, says the scope of this outbreak is clear.

“It has become the worst outbreak in Congo, this is not a mystery,” he said.

What is mysterious, however, is the demographics of this outbreak. This time, more than 60 percent of cases are women, says the government’s regional health coordinator, Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe.

“All the analyses show that this epidemic is feminized. Figures like this are alarming. It’s true that the female cases are more numerous than the male cases,” he said.

Congo, Uganda, ebola, Women
Health workers walk with a boy suspected of having been infected with the Ebola virus, at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, near Congo’s border with Uganda. VOA

Bathe declined to predict when the outbreak might end, though international officials have said it may last another six months. Epidemiologists are still studying why this epidemic is so skewed toward women and children, Cornale said.

“So now we can only guess. And one of the guesses is that woman are the caretakers of sick people at home. So if a family member got sick, who is taking care of him or her? Normally, a woman,” he said.

Or a nurse. Many of those affected are health workers, who are on the front line of battling this epidemic. Nurse Guilaine Mulindwa Masika, spent 16 days in care after a patient transmitted the virus to her. She says it was the fight of her life.

“The pain was enormous, the pain was constant,” she said. “The headache, the diarrhea, the vomiting, and the weakness — it was very, very bad.”

Congo, Ebola, Women
Marie-Roseline Darnycka Belizaire, World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemiology Team Lead, talks to women as part of Ebola contact tracing, in Mangina, Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

For the afflicted, the road to recovery is long and lonely. Masika and her cured colleagues face weeks of leave from work to ensure the risk of infection is gone. In the main hospital in the city of Beni, families who have recovered live together in a large white tent, kept four meters from human contact by a bright orange plastic cordon. They yell hello at their caretakers, who must don protective gear if they want to get any closer.

And for Baby Benedicte, who is tended to constantly by a nurse covered head to toe in protective gear, the future is uncertain. Medical workers aren’t entirely sure where her father is, or if he is going to come for her.

Also Read: Congo Start Trials For Drugs Against Ebola

She sleeps most of the day, the nurse says, untroubled by the goings-on around her. Meanwhile, the death toll rises. (VOA)