Monday February 19, 2018

World Health Organization (WHO) says Time to Stop Deaths of Young Children through Immunization and Programs

Dr. Anthony Costello, director of WHO's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health told VOA, "We’re finding 1.2 million (adolescents) die each year. That’s 3,000 deaths a day. That’s 10 jumbo jets."

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FILE - Ana Garcia, center, fills out a form for her 13-year-old son, Jose Hernandez, before getting a Tdap shot outside Tustin High School in Tustin, Calif. Source-VOA
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Washington, May 20, 2017: The World Health Organization has delivered dramatic news about the causes of death for young people the world over. Governments and health agencies have made great strides in reducing deaths of young children through immunization and programs that address maternal and infant care. But adolescents have somehow fallen through the cracks.

Dr. Anthony Costello, director of WHO’s Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health told VOA, “We’re finding 1.2 million (adolescents) die each year. That’s 3,000 deaths a day. That’s 10 jumbo jets.” What’s more, Costello says these deaths are largely preventable.

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The study shows traffic injuries are the top cause of death among adolescents, those between 10 and 19. In most cases, the adolescent is struck by a car while walking or riding a bicycle.

Other leading causes of death include lower respiratory infections and suicide, the report found. The causes differ by gender, age and region. Boys between 15 and 19 years old are more likely to die from traffic injuries than girls or than younger boys. In sub-Saharan Africa, children are more likely to contract HIV.

Girls between 10 and 14 are at risk for getting respiratory infections from indoor air pollution and from breathing in fumes from cooking fuels. Older girls, between 15 and 19, had a greater risk of death from pregnancy complications, childbirth or unsafe abortions. Teenage girls generally have small pelvises which lead to difficult labor.

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Costello said pregnant adolescent girls are also “more likely to get high blood pressure; they may be more vulnerable to bleeding, they may be more anemic. They may be in situations more vulnerable to malaria, to HIV.”

The point of the study that was conducted by the WHO and partners at other U.N. agencies and the World Bank.

Head of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at the World Health Organization(WHO) Dr Anthony Costello attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 2, 2016.

Head of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at the World Health Organization(WHO) Dr Anthony Costello attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 2, 2016.

Looking forward

While the study focuses on the causes of death, Costello said the point was to help develop a framework and a plan to improve the health of adolescents. If adolescents had access to good health services, education and social support, fewer young people would die. In the case of traffic related deaths, he said better traffic laws, speed limits, the use of seatbelts could save lives in countries that don’t have strict driving safety laws. Costello pointed out that “In India, for example, there are 90,000 deaths on the road each year; many of those are adolescents and children.”

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, the assistant director-general at WHO, said, “Adolescents have been entirely absent from national health plans for decades.” The report proposes changing these plans and trying to help adolescents develop healthy lifestyle habits.

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Costello said, “The roots of diabetes, of heart attacks, of strokes, of lung cancer, the root of that lies in the adolescent years, how the adolescents approach nutrition, and diet and exercise, whether they start to smoke or not, or abuse other substances.

Concept shift

Costello said countries need to create more adolescent friendly cities so adolescents have places to play, gather together safely and avoid gang violence.

“Governments have got to invest in young people,” Costello said, because “they’re the future. We mustn’t be afraid to involve children in designing their own environments, in coming up with creative ideas, in working with peer groups, and investing in things that will give them an exciting life without exposing them to long term risks that could be avoidable.”

A study published in The Lancet in April shows that improving the physical, mental and sexual health of adolescents could result in significant economic returns. The study contends that an investment of about $4.60 per person per year would yield more than 10 times as much in benefits to society. This study was conducted by researchers from Victoria University and the University of Melbourne along with the United Nations Populations Fund.

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IIT-Delhi Collaborates With Indiana University To Help Visually Impaired

The new approach can be used for exploring semantic communication, developing fun tactile game, educational pedagogy, retention and memory

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the collaboration is taking place to develop the tactile graphics. Wikimedia Commons
  • IIT-Delhi and indiana University collaborates to help the visually impaired
  • The collaboration has taken place for the developement of tactile graphics
  • India has largest number of visually impaired people in the world

A three-year collaborative research by IIT-Delhi and Indiana University in the US has led the team to new technologies and cognitive strategies that could improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired (BVI).

The collaboration has resulted in research for the development of a novel new design approach to tactile graphics.

IIT Delhi and Indiana university collaborate to help visually impaired. Pixabay
IIT Delhi and Indiana university collaborate to help visually impaired. Pixabay

“Tactile graphics” — sometimes called as raised line drawings — are two-dimensional images composed of linear and textured design elements raised very slightly above a flat surrounding surface.

“It’s not that what we are doing is attempted for the first time in the world, there are people who have formed similar solutions in the US, Europe, Britain, Japan etc. But the key challenge was to make it cost-efficient for developing countries like India,” M. Balakrishnan, Professor at IIT Delhi, told reporters.

“Tactile diagrams have been here for a long time. While the US-based tactile diagrams cost more than $2 per page, we have produced it for 25 cents and we hope to go further down to 5-7 cents over a period of time,” he added.

According to World Health Organisation estimates, there are 38 million visually impaired people of which 90 per cent of them live in the developing world.

As per 2011 census, India has more than five million visually impaired people – largest for any country.

Out of all the visually impaired people in the world, 90% are in sync with the technicalities of the world. Pixabay
Out of all the visually impaired people in the world, 90% are in sync with the technicalities of the world. Pixabay

Books for visually impaired people are normally completely in Braille text with no accompanying graphical images.

Introduction of low-cost Tactile Graphics will create a noticeable improvement in the quality of education of visually impaired people.

Tactile Graphics generally use a design strategy that distills pictures of objects or scenes into simple contour line drawings.

Also Read: Visually Challenged, yet a Printing Expert: Meet Kalim Iftikar Shaikh of Mumbai

It then translates these into raised lines that blind and visually impaired students trace with their fingers, much as they read Braille.

The new approach can be used for exploring semantic communication, developing fun tactile game, educational pedagogy, retention and memory. IANS