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September 17 is commemorated as the World Patient Safety Day, and this year the World Health Organization has come forward with "Safe Maternal & Newborn Care" as the theme to promote better maternity and childcare across the world. Indian healthcare too must take a pledge to overcome this burden and strive towards arresting the problems that cause neonatal mortality, say the healthcare professionals. India contributes to one-fifth of global child births, and the country is also a large contributor to the neonatal deaths. In 2020, infant mortality rate for India was 29.07 deaths per thousand live births, which is considered a quarter of total global fatalities. It is also the highest in absolute numbers for any country in the world, and this depicts a poor image for a nation that intends to emerge into a global superpower.
Dr. Satwinder Singh Sabharwal, COO, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital, believes that availability of better-quality healthcare at affordable rates will ensure reduce neonatal mortality rate in India and around the World. "Proving easy access to best-in-class doctors and super-specialty healthcare is critical for financially backward and less privileged sections of the society will ensure more mothers do not have to face the heartburn of losing their newborn to ill-fate. Multi-specialty hospitals like ours, which offer best-in-class care at affordable rates are providing a possible solution to this problem," he said.
Availability of better-quality healthcare at affordable rates will ensure reduce neonatal mortality rate in India and around the World. | Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Dr. Pradeep Panigrahi, Medical Director, SLG Hospitals pointed out that super specialty or modern healthcare is not just expensive but is also physically located at a distance from the common people. "More multi-specialty healthcare facilities need to come up in non-prime, and semi-urban settings to ensure more and more economically backwards sections take benefit of it. We are a hospital which is not located in the most prime localities, and we are easily accessible to those coming even from far-off locations like other districts and from locations with poor healthcare infrastructure. India needs more hospitals like ours to ensure best-quality treatment is available to all at all times," he said.
According to Gaurav Khurana, CEO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals the first 24 hours is the most critical phase for every child after birth. "Cutting of umbilical cord ends child's dependence on mother (placenta) for oxygen and nutrition; and from this stage to the child turning one year old is the most crucial phase. Ensuring right medical care at child's birth will play a big role in child's long life, and the medical fraternity in our country must take a pledge to make sure neonatal mortality is arrested, thus ensuring more children live-on to make India great," he said.
Ensuring right medical care at child's birth will play a big role in child's long life. | Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India has developed the India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) in response to the global Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) in 2014. INAP aims to significantly reduce preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths and to bring down the neonatal mortality rate and still born rate to 'single digits' by 2030. Focus of INAP is on pre-conception and antenatal care; care during labor and childbirth; immediate newborn care; care of healthy newborn; care of small and sick newborn; and care beyond newborn survival. Indian healthcare fraternity hopes that their effort and the measures taken by the government together will help the country overcome this problem. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Newborn, India, government, INAP, stillbirth, healthcare, neonatal, mortality
As the world adjusts to a post-pandemic reality dominated by technology, public concerns about the dangers of over-consumption are gathering pace. According to a major new survey from Saudi-based cultural institute, Ithra, over one in two (56 per cent) South Asians are worried about the impact of Internet and smartphone use on their health.
According to Ithra's survey, the overwhelming majority (88 per cent) of respondents worldwide agree that technology can be a great force for progress, with the key benefits including access to news, connectivity and freedom. 74 per cent South Asians say technology plays an even more pivotal role as it helps create and generate professional opportunities. The study in partnership with ASDA'A demonstrates tangible wellbeing concerns. Many of these benefits were brought to the fore by the COVID-19 outbreak, with 64 per cent global audiences crediting technology with having helped combat the pandemic. The outcome, however, is that almost everyone (91 per cent) are spending more time online as a result.
According to a major new survey over one in two (56 per cent) South Asians are worried about the impact of Internet and smartphone use on their health. | Photo by Grzegorz Walczak on Unsplash
Despite this underlying positivity, Ithra's findings highlight significant concerns about the damaging effects of unchecked access. In terms of relationships, 42 per cent of respondents believe technology reduces time spent with loved ones, and over a third (37 per cent) blame it for blurring the lines between work and social lives. 55 per cent South Asians state that they would rather live without a close friend than a cell phone. Parenting is also affected, with 44 per cent of people with children admitting to letting them use a computer or smartphone unsupervised, said Ithra.
Turning to technology's impact on health, half (44 per cent) of all people say they are concerned. Respondents in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia appear most worried, with 74 per cent and 56 per cent respectively fearing the negative consequences of the Internet on wellbeing, compared to only 27 per cent in Europe and Central Asia. Consistently with the group's increased device usage, younger people are experiencing more physical symptoms than their elders: 50 per cent of Gen Z respondents complain of tiredness, poor sleep and headaches as a result of digital consumption.
50 per cent of Gen Z respondents complain of tiredness, poor sleep and headaches as a result of digital consumption. | Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash
Close to one third (60 per cent) of South Asian respondents are spending more time online than they would like to. 41 per cent of global respondents admit to getting withdrawal symptoms without access to their devices. Sleep deprivation is also a significant issue, with 51 per cent of respondents skipping sleep every week, and one in four daily, due to use of technology.
(Article originally written by: Siddhi Jain) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Screen time, digital, well being, survey, sleep, tiredness
By Rachel V Thomas
Covid-induced lockdown has been lifted from most regions and various other measures have been eased. But, the very thought that Covid-19 pandemic is still on continues to affect mental health. The uncertain nature of the pandemic, the chaos associated with the same continues to add to mental stress, which manifests as rising cases of depression, anxiety, insomnia, behavioural changes, health anxiety, nightmares, grief, among others, all that can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviour, said mental health experts here on Friday.
September 10 is annually observed as World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death in the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), accounting for one in every 100 deaths. Every 40 seconds there is someone who ends his or her life, as per the WHO data. The theme this year is "creating hope through action".
"A lot of people have gone through economic and financial stresses, some have lost jobs, some are concerned about their future and about their career, some have had loss of their loved ones, some of them had medical problems or going through medical problems right now," Dr Samir Parikh, director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, told IANS.
A study published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems in December last year, showed a 67.7 per cent increase in online news media reports of attempted suicides and deaths by suicide. Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash
"Covid has led to a definite rise in mental health concerns. Factors like grief, loneliness, social isolation, significant depression, financial stress, job loss, marital / family discord, alcohol/ substance dependence, feelings of hopelessness/ loneliness and lack of meaning to one's life, can all contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviour," added Dr Sameer Malhotra, Director and Head, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket. A study published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems in December last year, showed a 67.7 per cent increase in online news media reports of attempted suicides and deaths by suicide.
There were online news media reports of 369 cases of suicides and attempted suicides during Covid lockdown vs 220 reports in 2019, revealed the study by the Indian Law Society, Pune. According to the experts, Covid has contributed to mental health concerns among children, young and old alike. Children face disturbed sleep-wake cycles, irritability, lifestyle issues, loneliness. Many have also indulged in deliberate self-harm behaviour.
Adults are struggling to achieve work-life balance, emotional burnout in efforts to coordinate and fulfil responsibilities, at times marital/ family discord, alcohol/ substance use. Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash
Adults are struggling to achieve work-life balance, emotional burnout in efforts to coordinate and fulfil responsibilities, at times marital/ family discord, alcohol/ substance use. Elderly feel lonely being away from children due to travel restrictions. Due to physical comorbidities, they are not able to connect to friends and family in person.
So how can people come out of the condition?
Seek help when needed. Ensure support and help to people when they express suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. Guide and instill in them a sense of hope, optimism and positivity."There is an increased need to strengthen support systems. We should look at good social-economic support for people who are vulnerable. Organisations need to become very mental health friendly and support their employees. Focus should be made more on lifestyle and mental health outcomes," Parikh said. He also suggested the need for timely intervention, creating helplines in all languages to make it easier for people across the nation to reach out for support if necessary.
(Article originally published at IANSlife) (IANS/SS)
Keywords: covid, lockdown, suicide, health
US researchers have identified an enzyme that may explain the reason why people with diabetes are at especially high risk of developing severe illness or dying from coronavirus infection. The culprit appears to be an enzyme called SETDB2. This same enzyme has been implicated in the non-healing, inflammatory wounds found in people with diabetes. Starting with a mouse model of coronavirus infection, they found that SETDB2 was decreased in immune cells involved in the inflammatory response, called macrophages, of infected mice with diabetes. The same thing was observed in monocyte-macrophages in the blood from people with diabetes and severe Covid-19. "We think we have a reason for why these patients are developing a cytokine storm," said researcher W. James Melvin from University of Michigan.
In the mouse and human models, the team found that as SETDB2 went down, inflammation went up. In addition, a pathway known as JAK1/STAT3 was found to regulate SETDB2 in macrophages during coronavirus infection. Taken together, the results point to a potential therapeutic pathway. Further, previous findings demonstrated that interferon -- a cytokine important for viral immunity -- increased SETDB2 in response to wound healing. In the new study, the team found blood serum from patients in the ICU with diabetes and severe Covid-19 had reduced levels of interferon-beta compared to patients without diabetes.
"Our research is showing that maybe if we are able to target patients with diabetes with interferon, especially early in their infection, that may actually make a big difference," Melvin said. Photo by Diabetesmagazijn.nl on Unsplash
To test this, the study team administered interferon beta to coronavirus-infected diabetic mice and saw that they were able to increase SETDB2 and decrease inflammatory cytokines. "We're trying to home in on what controls SETDB2, which is sort of the master regulator of a lot of these inflammatory cytokines that you hear about as being increased in Covid-19, such as IL-1B, TNFalpha, and IL-6,a explained Katherine Gallagher, from Michigan Medicine. This is important, she added, because identifying the pathway presents other potential ways of targeting the enzyme. "Our research is showing that maybe if we are able to target patients with diabetes with interferon, especially early in their infection, that may actually make a big difference," Melvin said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: diabetes, risk, covid, survey, immunity