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EXCLUSIVE: US-based Neonatologist Dr Omprakash Jha Tells Us ‘Why Taking Care of Child is Purest form of Love’!
June 29, 2017: In the sea of life, we, humans have been gifted with some incredible abilities that can make the world a beautiful abode for our race. One of the best gifts that mankind cherishes is the gift of nourishment; one’s ability to nourish and enrich another on this earth.
Nourishing an infant and taking care of a child is the purest form of love. It can be the best offering in one’s entire life. The Hollis J. Wiseman Neonatal Intensive Care unit at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital (NICU), has dedicated itself on providing that offering to premature babies, which is one commendable service!
At present, the unit is in dire need of upgraded tools and equipment to provide advanced care to the most fragile form of human life. Hence, a new donation campaign has been initiated and everyone is urged to spread awareness about the unit and join hands to help their cause.
On the occasion of acknowledging, applauding and most importantly spreading awareness about the initiative of NICU at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital; I (Reporter Antara Kumar of NewsGram) engaged in a discussion with Dr. Om Prakash Jha, a Neonatologist in the hospital, where he enlightens us about his perspectives and the functions of NICU.
AK: What causes a premature birth?
OJ: The survival of a baby developing inside mother depends on oxygen and nutrients supplied through the placenta. The placenta acts like a vacuum, soaking up everything the baby needs. This process should ideally go on for 40 weeks allowing appropriate growth of all the organ systems in the baby. Significant compromise to the function of the placenta any time before 40 weeks causes the baby to go into distressed needing them to be brought out either spontaneously or by C-section.
AK: What kind of major intensive medical care does a premature baby, born 4 months early, require?
OJ: When babies are born three or four months early, there are multiple organ systems at risk including brain, lungs, heart, intestines and, the largest organ in human body, the skin. These infants need to be kept on ventilator machines to help them breathe, and inside temperature controlled boxes effectively ‘incubating’ them outside of mother. Feeding is a major issue either they don’t feed altogether or if attempted they feed into their lungs, also their intestines have a tendency to abruptly die out because they might not be ready to handle feeds. Spontaneous bleeding in the brains is also a major concern.
” For obvious reasons taking care of preemies is heavily dependent on expensive infrastructure and specialized equipment “
AK: What are the aspects that make NICU at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, a unique facility for Neonatal care?
OJ: Our NICU at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is a huge unit with capacity to accommodate 100 sick neonates with an average census in the 80’s. This unit has two decades of experience with saving infants born 4 months early or at 22 weeks gestational age. The survival of infants treated in our NICU rates in the top 10th centile nationally.
AK: In the service that NICU provides, what are the challenges that are faced regularly?
OJ: The personnel and passion to save these fragile babies is there, but equipment and resources become the limiting factor for the quality of care that we can provide. Looking at the bigger picture there is still a lot of research that needs to be done to improve the outcomes with regard to preventing and treating brain bleeds and lung failures.
AK: How do you deal with those challenges?
OJ: At the local level we setup awareness camps and walks, to raise funds for improving services to the premature infants both during the hospital stay and following discharge. Advent of social media has created a platform to help spread awareness to the masses at a scale previously unimaginable. It was purely by chance that we stumbled upon the ‘Hair Raising Challenge’.
One day during the course of routine work in the NICU, a couple of nurses dressed their hair like trolls. Seeing beyond what was visible, it got me thinking that there is a deeper meaning to what they did with their hair. A little historical context to understand why we chose ‘hair raising’ , in ancient times many cultures would place babies born 3-4 month early on the ground, knowing that Nature’s default for them is inevitable death. In the last few decades, NICU personnel everywhere have ‘raised them up’ and fought against Natures default to save these fragile lives.
In an attempt for regular people to appreciate the work of NICU personnel and the grit of preemie’s themselves, we created a challenge for everyone to counter another law of Nature, the law of gravity and raise their hair up. We also request that they make a donation to our hospital or any hospital of their choice that provides care to premature babies. These donations would firstly help us provide the best possible care and secondly provide funding for research to improve the outcome in premature babies.
AK: How long have you been connected to NICU at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital? Could you brief your experience a bit?
OJ: I have been with USA C&W NICU for close to 2 years and I have seen firsthand, the camaraderie among staff members, and their passion for saving preemie babies is second to none.
” We request that they make a donation to our hospital or any hospital of their choice that provides care to premature babies”
AK: What are the ways to improve the service?
OJ: For obvious reasons taking care of preemies is heavily dependent on expensive infrastructure and specialized equipment, and with changing technologies it needs to be changed or replenished often.
AK: What are the tools and techniques and machines required for improvement?
OJ: The usual equipment needed for basic care on extremely premature babies are Incubator, Neonatal Ventilator, Transport Isolette, an array of monitoring devices and infusion pumps, and consumables like central line sets, lumbar puncture trays just to name a few.
AK: How successful has the fundraising been till date?
OJ: In the first few days of starting the challenge, we have had overwhelming participation from families and friends of NICU “graduates” in the southern Alabama and southern Mississippi region.
Let us come forward and make the mission of NICU, a successful and glorious one!
– reported by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC
Diwali is arguably one of the most auspicious and celebrated holidays in South Asia. It is celebrated over the span of five days, where the third is considered most important and known as Diwali. During Diwali people come together to light, lamps, and diyas, savour sweet delicacies and pray to the lord. The day has various origin stories with the main them being the victory of good over evil. While the North celebrates the return of Lord Rama and Devi Sita to Ayodhya, the South rejoices in the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over evil Narakasura.
Narakasura- The great mythical demon King
Naraka or Narakasur was the son of Bhudevi (Goddess Earth) and fathered either by the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu or Hiranyaksha. He grew to be a powerful demon king and became the legendary progenitor of all three dynasties of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa, and the founding ruler of the legendary Bhauma dynasty of Pragjyotisha.
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Narakasura was created, grew up to be strong and powerful but he was not satisfied with it, so he decided that he would worship Lord Brahma. He performed severe penance and was driven by the power of his penance; Lord Brahma appeared before him. Narakasura knew his mother loved him dearly so he asked Lord Brahma to grant him a boon that he would only die by the hands of his mother, Bhumidevi. Lord Brahma smile and ultimately granted him the boon.
Narakasura burst out laughing as Lord Brahma vanished. He thought no mother would kill their child so Lord Brahma had made him immortal. Drunk and maddened by his own power Narakasura brought all the kingdoms under his control and targeted Swargalok (Heaven). Even Indra (King of Gods) and demi-gods had to retreat in front of Narakasura. He kidnapped and took 16,000 women from the palaces as prisoners. Troubled by Naraksura's deeds the gods rushed to Lord Vishnu for a solution.
Lord Krishna and Devi Satyabhama were born to kill Narakasura
Lord Vishnu was born as Lord Krishna and Narakasura's mother Bhumidevi took the avatar of Krishna's wife Satyabhama. As Satyabhama, Bhumidevi was unaware of the knowledge of Naraksura being her son. Aditi the mother of all gods approached Satyabhama crying for help with bloodied ears as Narakasura had torn off the glowing earrings from the ears of Aditi.
Satyabhama was furious on gaining the knowledge of Narakasura's atrocities she asked Krishna to fight the demon king while she fights alongside him. Krishna agreed and they attacked the great fortress of Narakasura, riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama.
The furious battle unleashed. Krishna defeated Narakasura's general Mura and came to be known as Murari (the killer of Mura). Narakasura used several divine weapons against Krishna, but Krishna slew all those weapons effortlessly. The demon hurled a shakti towards Krishna, which mildly hurt Krishna and he fell unconscious. Upon this sight Satyabhama was enraged, she furiously pulled out a weapon of her own and hurled it at Narakasura's chest. Anxious Satyabhama turned to her fallen Lord, Krishna got up with a smile and he was completely fine. He was only playing his part. It was Satyabhama who was an incarnation of Bhoomidevi, whose hands were destined to slay Narakasura.
ALSO READ: Choosing Environment-Friendly Diwali
Lord Krishna and Goddess Satyabhama had put an end to the Narakasura's kingdom of evil. As Narakasura lay on his deathbed he realised that Satyabhama was no one but an avatar of his own mother. He requested a boon from his mother, for no one to mourn his death. Instead, he wished for people to celebrate it with light and colours. They freed the 16,000 women who later married Lord Krishna to restore them of their honour in society, retrieved Mother goddess's earrings. This day is celebrated as 'Naraka Chaturdashi' popularly known as Choti Diwali - the day before Diwali as the triumph of good over evil.
Keywords: Diwali festival, goddess Laxmi, demon king, Lord Krishna, Satyabhama, the festival of light, Naraksura, Narak Chaturdashi
For all the great inventions that we have at hand, it is amazing how we keep going back to the safety pin every single time to fix everything. Be it tears in our clothes, to fix our broken things, to clean our teeth and nails when toothpicks are unavailable, to accessorize our clothes, and of course, as an integral part of the Indian saree. Safety pins are a must-have in our homes. But how did they come about at all?
The safety pin was invented at a time when brooches existed. They were used by the Greeks and Romans quite extensively. A man named Walter Hunt picked up a piece of brass and coiled it into the safety pin we know today. He did it just to pay off his debt. He even sold the patent rights of this seemingly insignificant invention just so that his debtors would leave him alone.
Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement in the 70s. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Later, he even invented the sewing needles and a couple of other important inventions but never kept any of the patent rights.
When the punk rock tradition took over in the seventies, safety pins became a fashion rage. They were used as piercings and to patch clothes together. Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement. In some cultures, the safety pins have become symbols of good luck.
Keywords: Safety-pins, Punk Rock, Brass, Accessories, Walter Hunt
In South India, Deepavali marks the end of the monsoon and heralds the start of winter. The festival is usually observed in the weeks following heavy rain, and just before the first cold spell in the peninsula. The light and laughter that comes with the almost week-long celebration are certainly warm to the bones, but there is still a tradition that the South Indians follow to ease their transition from humidity to the cold.
Just before the main festival, the family bathes in sesame oil. This tradition is called 'yellu yennai snaana' in Kannada, or 'ennai kuliyal' in Tamil, which translates to 'sesame oil bath'. The eldest member of the family applies three drops of heated oil on each member's head. They must massage this oil into their hair and body. The oil is allowed to soak in for a while, anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. After this, they must wash with warm water before sunrise.
Women applying oil to the heads of men Photo credit: Indians in Kuwait
In some parts of the peninsula, soap is not used to wash off the oil because it nullifies its effects. Some cultures who do not like the oil to remain in any way on their skin wash it off with shikakai and herbs, which is a paste that is traditionally used as a substitute for soap. Sometimes, the oil is heated with flowers and spices as well and is less sticky than in its pure form.
The purpose of this ritual is to cleanse the body, detoxify it, and produce heat in it. Sesame is a very heaty substance and tends to heat up the body. This heat, or 'usshna' in Kannada, prepares the body to face the sudden cold that comes to the peninsula immediately after Diwali. South India has no smooth transition weather-wise from monsoon to winter. There are a few days of stable, rainless weather, and suddenly the cold winds descend.
In many ways, the celebration of Diwali is centered around preparing for winter, considering the amount of heat and light the rituals consist of – lighting lamps, bursting crackers, and consuming warm treats. Those who practice these rituals earnestly find the shift in seasons and weather quite pleasant.
Keyboards: Sesame Oil Bath, Diwali Ritual, Traditional Sesame Oil Bath