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Vision Problems Affect 2.2 Billion People Worldwide, Warns WHO

According to WHO experts, the organization wants the document to serve as a guideline for the next decade

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The World Health Organization’s (WHO) first report on vision warns that the excessive time children spend indoors is linked to an increase in eye conditions such as myopia.

The report published on Tuesday has not linked these increasing problems directly to the use of smartphones or any other kind of screen, the Efe news reported.

The document, presented by Spanish doctor Alarcos Cieza, WHO coordinator of blindness and deafness prevention, revealed that 2.2 billion people around the world suffer from some kind of eye problem.

Ageing populations in many countries and inadequate access to ophthalmological care, especially in low-income countries, partly explain these numbers, but the increase has also been influenced by lifestyle changes like sedentarism.

“We must encourage children to spend more time outdoors, because this is not only associated with preventing obesity but also myopia,” Dr. Cieza told Efe.

However, neither she nor the report directly advised spending less time on computers, televisions, mobiles or other devices. The focus was put on “exercising more” and outdoor activities.

The report, Cieza said, was prepared as a response to the increase in the number of people with visual impairment, including those suffering from glaucoma, which nowadays affects 76 million people, a number that could increase to 95 million by 2030.

WHO also revealed that almost half of current vision problems could have been prevented and urged countries to include ophthalmological care within health care systems.

Libya, Italy, Who, Health, Medicines
Logo of World Health Organization (WHO). Wikimedia Commons

“It is unacceptable that 65 million people are blind or have impaired sight when their vision could have been corrected overnight with a cataract operation, or that over 800 million struggle in everyday activities because they lack access to a pair of glasses,” WHO director-general, Thedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.

According to the organization, a $14.3 billion investment in ophthalmological care is needed, especially in middle and low-income countries, a move that would end avoidable eye problems that affect one in seven people around the world.

The report emphasizes that vision problems are four times more likely to happen in developing countries in comparison to richer nations.

It also said that blindness reaches rates up to eight times higher in poor regions of the world.

Eating habits are also a factor, since, in type 2 diabetes, the number of retinopathy cases increases.

Also Read: Micro-blogging Site Twitter Admits Privacy Breach on its Platform

With age, the possibilities of eyesight worsening increase, but WHO warned that these should not be seen as irreparable old age problems.

“It is not necessary to accept the loss of vision as a natural consequence or part of the aging process, because with the appropriate treatment, there is no reason to develop a visual impairment,” Cieza said.

The report has been published ahead of World Vision Day on 10 October.

According to WHO experts, the organization wants the document to serve as a guideline for the next decade. (IANS)

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Try These Refereshing Summer Coolers At Home

You can now enjoy your favorite thirst-quenching summer coolers and beverages without compromising on the taste or on your health

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mango drinks
Try these great tasting and refreshing summer beverages. Pixabay

We are facing one of the hottest summers every recorded in the country. With these kind of temperature, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain health and stay fit. Staying hydrated is the most important factor to deal with the blistering heat. Enjoying your favourite beverages to beat the heat and proper hydration to the body sounds like a great idea. But these beverage delights come loaded with sugar and calories. Sugary beverage intake is significantly associated with a number of health issues.

Even WHO guideline recommend adults and children should reduce their daily intake of free sugar to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 percent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

“Believe it or not but you can now enjoy your favourite thirst quenching summer coolers and beverages without compromising on the taste or on your health. It is time to replace sugar with a natural, zero calorie and great tasting sweetener such as Stevia to make your favourite beverages healthy, hydrating and refreshing. It can be part of a healthy lifestyle when it comes to looking for ways to reduce sugar and calories for your family,” says Navneet Singh, VP Asia Pacific and Head of South Asia region at PureCircle.

Try these great tasting and refreshing summer beverages sweetened with Stevia to beat the blistering heat and enjoy summer.

Summer coolers
Make your favourite summer coolers healthy, hydrating and refreshing. Pixabay

 

GINGER MINT LEMONADE

Ingredient (1 Serving)

Water 1cup (2000ml)

Lemon -1 tablespoon

Mint -15-20 leaves

Ginger- 1 teaspoon

Sugar free green 2 e scoops

Recipe

Take a cup of water in a pan and add 1 tsp fresh ginger.

Simmer for 10 minutes at low heat then keep aside and steep for another 30 minutes.

After 30 min strain the ginger extract in a bowl.

Lightly Crush mint leaves in another bowl with help of rolling pin or in pestle mortar.

Add lemon juice, ginger extract, sugar free green & remaining water (cold).

Mix all ingredients, remove mint leaves.

Pour the mixture into glasses and garnish with a slice of lemon.

MANGO LASSI

Ingredient (1 Serving)

Mango pulp/mango slice-1cup (100g)

Curd-1/2 cup (50g)

Water-1cup (100g)

Cardamom powder-1 teaspoon (0.5g)

Sugar free green- 3 scoops

Recipe

Pour mango pulp in a blender and add curd,

cardamom powder, water & sugar free green.

Blend it for 2 min or until it form a smooth blend.

Pour blend in a glass, garnish with few mango cube shape pieces.

MANGO GINGER LEMONADE

Ingredient (1 serving)

Mango puree -1/2 cup(50ml)

Water -2cup (250ml)

Ginger shredded -1 teaspoon

Sugar free green- 3 scoops

Lemon juice -2 Table spoon

Recipe

Take half cup of water in a pan and add 1 tsp fresh ginger.

Simmer for 10 minutes at low heat then keep aside and steep for another 30 minutes.

After 30 min strain the ginger extract in a bowl.

Add lemon juice to it, then add mango puree, 3 scoop sugar free green & remaining water (cold).

Mix all ingredients with hand or blend for 10-20 sec.

Pour the mixture into glasses and garnish with mango slice.

Summer coolers
Staying hydrated is the most important factor to deal with the blistering heat. Pixabay

MANGO SHAKE

Ingredient (1 serving)

Milk 1cup (125ml)

Mango slices 3/4cup (100ml)

Sugar free green 3 scoops

Almond 2 pieces

Raisins 4 pieces

Recipe

Chopped mango slice into small pieces.

Add mango pieces, 3 scoop of sugar free green & milk into the blender.

Blend until everything mix uniformly.

Pour shake into the glass and garnish with chopped almonds and raisins.

Also Read: On World No Tobacco Day, Experts Advice To Use Lockdown To Quit Smoking

NIMBU PANI

Ingredient (1 serving)

Lemon- 1 medium size

Chilled Water- 2 glass (400ml)

Rock salt- as preferred

Mint leaves-8 leaves

Sugar free green – 4 scoop

Cumin powder- optional

Chat masala- optional

Recipe

Take chilled water in a vessel.

Slice lemon & squeeze the juice with squeezer. Discard the seed.

Add black salt, mint leaves & sugar free green.

Mix all ingredients.

Serve chilled (IANS)

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WHO Accuses Tobacco Industry of Luring Children Into Usage of Tobacco By Marketing Practices

WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices

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Children wear strings of cigarette and chewable tobacco and rehearse for a play on World No Tobacco Day in Gauhati, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

The World Health Organization accuses the tobacco industry of devious tactics to get children and young people hooked on their deadly tobacco and nicotine products.  In advance of World No Tobacco Day (May 31), the WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices.

More than 40 million young people aged 13 to 15 smoke and use other tobacco products. The World Health Organization says the tobacco industry tries to get children and young people hooked on tobacco early in life, knowing this will turn them into life-long smokers. Unfortunately, WHO says many smokers do not live very long.  Every year, it notes millions of people have their lives cut short because of cancers, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses.

Coordinator of WHO’s No Tobacco Unit, Vinayak Prasad, says the tobacco industry invests more than $9 billion a year to advertise its products.  He says much of this huge budget targets young people with attractive promotional campaigns. “At the moment, they are spending a million dollars an hour, which is by the time we finish our press conference, that is a million dollars spent,” said Prasad.  “And, why are they doing it?  They are doing it to find replacements users.  Eight million premature deaths every year.  So, they need to find new replacements.”

WHO says the industry sets its sights on the next generation of users by targeting children and young people in markets where tobacco products are not regulated and they can be manipulated easily. WHO is launching a new kit for school students aged 13 to 17 to protect them from the tobacco industry’s exploitative practices.  WHO Director of Health Promotion, Ruediger Krech says the kit alerts young people to the industry’s devious tactics and teaches them to say no.

Smoking Tobacco
WHO tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries. Pixabay

“The tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth in like bubble-gum and candy, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools, and product placement in popular youth streaming shows,” said Krech.

WHO is calling on all sectors of society to prevent the tobacco industry from preying on youth.  To reach a young audience, the agency is spreading its no tobacco message on  TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media. Health officials urge schools, celebrities and influencers to reject all offers of sponsorship from the industry.  They call on TV and streaming services to stop showing tobacco or e-cigarette use on screen.

Also Read: Read PM Modi’s Letter To Indians amid COVID war

They say governments should ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship and should enact strict tobacco control laws. (VOA)

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COVID-19 Restrictions Cause Disruption in Vaccination Programs: WHO, Other Organisations

Vaccination Programes have been disrupted because of the restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

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Vaccination
A health worker injects a man with Ebola vaccine in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Aug. 5, 2019. VOA

Nearly 80 million children under age 1 are at higher risk of preventable diseases such as measles, cholera and polio because of the disruption of routine vaccination programs, according to a report released Friday by the World Health Organization and other global organizations.

Immunization campaigns have been disrupted in half of the 129 countries surveyed around the world in March and April, according to data produced by the WHO, UNICEF, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Of the 68 countries, 27 have suspended their measles initiatives. Thirty-eight countries have suspended campaigns to vaccinate children against polio.

The COVID-19 pandemic is “walking back progress” that was made in vaccinating children around the world, putting children and their families at greater risk of diseases that routine vaccinations can prevent, Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, said.

“More children in more countries are now protected against more vaccine-preventable diseases than at any point in history,” Berkley said in a statement. “Due to COVID-19, this immense progress is now under threat, risking the resurgence of diseases like measles and polio. Not only will maintaining immunization programs prevent more outbreaks, but it will also ensure we have the infrastructure we need to roll out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine on a global scale.”

vaccination
Experts said a decline in vaccinations in one country could have consequences for other countries.VOA

Fearing doctor visits

Routine immunization has been hindered for many reasons.

Some parents are no longer taking their children to clinics and hospitals out of fear of exposure to the virus, while others are unable to do so because of lockdowns.

The delivery of vaccines and required protective equipment has been delayed in many countries because of a cutback in commercial flights and chartered plane availability.

Health care workers also have been relocated to help fight the pandemic, leaving fewer to administer vaccinations.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that to combat this decline in immunizations, countries need to intensify efforts to find and track unvaccinated children, address gaps in delivery and develop innovative solutions.

The consequences if countries are unable to give routine immunizations, “can be deadly,” Fore said.

Also Read: National Capital Delhi Makes a Gradual Comeback

Experts are concerned that deaths from normally preventable diseases could surpass coronavirus deaths if vaccination efforts are not reinstated.

Berkley, of Gavi, requested $7.4 billion for vaccination efforts over the next five years.

Experts said a decline in vaccinations in one country could have consequences for other countries.

Dr. Kate O’Brien, director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, said inoculation efforts should be viewed as a “global public good” because “pathogens do not recognize borders,” and if one country is at risk of an outbreak, all countries are at risk. (VOA)