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Tribal Healthcare – Links to Malnutrition

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Despite factors such as nutritional deficiencies, seasonal migration, erratic meal timings and a myriad of other factors elucidated in my earlier blogs that result in the proliferation of malnutrition in the tribal villages and districts, the issue of malnutrition can relatively be easily controlled to a great extent with adequate delivery of healthcare services and provision of affordable and accessible healthcare in the tribal areas. I will touch upon the major aspects of tribal healthcare services, its links with the issue of malnutrition and inherent limitations of the same to counter the issue. In the process, I have also made an attempt to make some suggestions with respect to each of these factors that contribute in the spreading of malnutrition.

Tribal Hospitals – Links to nutrition

Most tribal hospitals can prove to be lifesavers with respect to the life threatening health problems faced by tribals in the villages in Maharashtra and elsewhere in India. The single biggest factor that leads to malnutrition is the lack of proper food and nutrition. Part of the problem is also the lack of awareness regarding the importance of balanced diet and other daily dietary and nutritional requirements. For this, perhaps, if the tribal hospitals in these regions can be equipped with a nutrition rehabilitation unit, then a very critical source of this life threatening issue can be curbed. The nutrition rehabilitation units could help address the nutritional imbalances in the daily food intake of the tribal population suffering from malnourishment. The purpose of these nutrition units could be to dole out special therapeutic foods that contain macronutrients such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates and also very important micronutrients such as the essential vitamins and minerals. The therapeutic food can be made from local food sources and using local manpower itself. In addition to this, the primary health centre (PHC) too must be equipped with specialised child healthcare treatment centres that provide this essential therapeutic diet to the malnourished (target) population.

Paucity of Primary Health Centres

Primary health centre (PHC) or public health centre is the backbone of healthcare service delivery in India, especially urban slums and rural areas. PHCs are the basic structural and functional unit of public health services. The main objective behind a PHC is to provide accessible, affordable and available primary healthcare to the rural population. The numbers of PHCs in rural India and especially in tribal areas are themselves not adequate. At present, there is only one PHC serving approximately 35,000 tribals, on an average. The lack of adequate number of PHCs relative to the tribal population in these areas is quite alarming. In an ideal situation, one PHC can serve a population of around 10,000 people only and covering an area of 5-8 kilometres, at most. However, at present, a tribal has to travel up to 20-25 kilometres to reach the nearest PHC.

The State government must ensure adequate number of PHCs at an approximate 8-10 kilometre radius of the tribal village. CHCs (Community Health Centre) and PHCs need to be made more accessible for the villagers. In case a specialised CHC and PHC cannot be erected at all the required locations, then the Government must ensure at least one health sub-centre in all the tribal villages.

Non-availability of Doctors and Nutrition experts

Even with these PHCs in place, healthcare service delivery in tribal areas faces other major problems. That is, extreme shortage of medical personnel. Medical doctors, nurses, nutrition experts and other medical personnel are unwilling to relocate to tribal areas in order to practice medicine and serve the tribals. In the tribal belt of Maharashtra, the doctors are not ready to go and work in the hospitals in these areas. So, most of the hospitals in the tribal areas remain under-staffed most of the times. There is particular scarcity of maternal and child health (MCH) specialists and other medical specialists such as paediatrician, nutritionists, anaesthetics, among others, in the tribal hospitals. Further, due to severe lack of paediatricians in government hospitals and PHCs in such tribal areas, if the infant/child is suffering from chronic malnutrition, the risk of the child succumbing to death during the first 1,000 days (of birth) increases manifold. Thus, there is definitely a strong correlation between lack of trained medical specialists and malnutrition deaths.

We are well aware of one of the age-old superstitions related to pregnancy and food intake. That is, the tribal women follow the practice of low food intake during pregnancy for easy and comfortable delivery of the newborn (resulting in anaemia among mothers and malnourishment among the infants). The intake of nutritious diet is the least among women when they actually need the most!

Another critical hurdle that healthcare faces are that the local population usually don’t want to admit their children to hospitals due to superstition, cultural barriers and various other socio-economic factors. Since these tribals often don’t admit their malnourished children to hospital, children are dying at home.

The state governments can perhaps start a home based ‘Child Healthcare Program’. For instance, I think the government of Delhi has done well by introducing Mohalla clinics. This is a very clear signal of why primary healthcare must be delivered as close to home as possible.

In such aforementioned programs, the respective malnutrition cases can be treated in the comforts of their home and village by a trained female health worker. This female health worker could focus on special healthcare needs of a pregnant woman; help provide ante-natal care (ANC), post-natal care (PNC), provide guidance and assistance to young mothers, newborn and infants. Perhaps, the Maharashtra Government can start such a program wherein all the underserved rural areas, especially the tribal areas, are provided essential maternal and child health care facilities. Here, government health officials and staff such as the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers, Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) scheme workers, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM), among others, can be roped in to provide such dedicated and specialised care to the focus groups.

Furthermore, health counsellors can be roped in to advocate and promote the provision of institutional deliveries. The counsellors can ensure 24 hour care and counselling services, especially in the most underserved tribal regions. The state governments can invest and develop such ‘Health Counselling Programs’ via the support of local Non-Governmental Organisations, etc. This will further ensure affordable, accessible and equitable health care delivery among the rural and tribal populace.

Government Failures – Under-reporting of malnutrition cases

Under reporting of malnutrition and child deaths is a very big issue. The average Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), that is, the number of child deaths per thousand live-births, is close to around 60 in all tribal areas. But this is reported as less than 40. Similar condition is for reporting of the severe acute malnutrition (SAM) cases. The prevalence of SAM is approximately 20% of the total malnourished children, which is very high. But as per government figures, it is regularly reported as less than 10%! In essence, suppose there are 1000 children who are severely malnourished, but only half of them are reported as SAM cases. The remaining (estimated around 50 percent) children suffering from SAM thus get excluded from specialised care and treatment, if any. These are essentially the ‘missing SAM’ cases. These excluded/missing/neglected children are thus more prone to succumbing to death in the absence of the much needed care.

Thus, correct statistics, correct recording of the facts and figures and correct reporting can go a long way to at least move in the right direction and thereby to solve the severe malnutrition prevalent in these tribal areas. This will ensure proper planning, implementation and execution of targeted treatment and care for both the severely and moderately acute malnutrition cases in the tribal villages.

In conclusion, I would like to lay greater emphasis on the present health systems in place at the central, state, village, and district and block level to work in tandem rather than independently. There is a dire need to strengthen the linkages and synergies of all the major stakeholders of heath care in India, especially in the most underserved rural and tribal regions of our country. The State government needs to commit greater investments towards the tribal healthcare ecosystem. Tribal hospitals need to be equipped with state of the art facilities, focussing especially on the most vulnerable sections of the society such as the young mothers, pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and newborn and infants and children below the age of 5 years. Furthermore, there is an urgent and persistent need to devise formal behaviour change communication (BCC) and community mobilisation (CM) strategies by the CHC, PHC and health sub-centres to comprehensively address the cultural barriers prevalent among the tribal population.

Lastly, relationships between tribal cultures, behaviours, government interventions (such as subsidies), health system and policies and malnutrition need to be studied in detail. The solution to address such a huge problem like malnutrition cannot be generalised. That is because the demographics of the tribal community very dynamic and varies region wise. Thus, focussed ingenuous interventions need to be carried out at the micro level, specific to that very district, that very block and that very village or hamlet.

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A Patient Guide To Get Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma

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How To Get Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma

 Even though medical marijuana is legal in many states, there are set laws on how to obtain it legally. Read along to learn how to get medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

On May 18, 2021, the Gov. of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, House Bill 2272 into law. The law changed a few things in the medical marijuana sector in Oklahoma. The changes that took effect were meant to address the following concerns in the medical cannabis sector:

  • How foreigners should operate cannabis businesses in Oklahoma. 
  • How the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) should conduct compliance checks online 
  • Inspections to confirm if the licenses were operating actively or not

Since these changes are meant to remove a couple of bad actors in the Oklahoma medical marijuana sector, it is clear that the Oklahoma medical sector is taking the right path. The law was also put in place to ensure that all competitors get a fair deal regardless of where they came from. 

The Previous Version of the Act 

An earlier version of the law that the House passed in March. Looking carefully at how it was drafted, it was pretty different from the final version. The artificial caps in the law were more stringent as an oversight, and the number of business licenses was limited. The final version was meant to scrutinize the licenses issued by OMMA and how they were all maintained. Limits are now put in place to control the oversaturated market. That said, let’s look at what a patient needs to do to obtain medical marijuana in Oklahoma. 

How to Get Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma 

The procedure of acquiring medical marijuana in Oklahoma is almost the same in other states in America that have legalized medical marijuana. 

  • Get recommended by a licensed practicing doctor

The first thing you need to do as a patient seeking to get medical marijuana is looking for a physician in the state of Oklahoma who advocates for medical marijuana. The doctors need to confirm that you are suffering from any of the qualifying medical conditions. To do this, you need to present your medical history and other medical information that the doctor may need to recommend to you. 

Once the doctor has confirmed that you are suffering from any qualifying medical conditions, they will have to present the document himself in the Department of Health together with the patient’s filled out forms. The patient is not allowed to present the recommendation to the DOH. 

  • Application of the Medical Marijuana Card 

The second step in obtaining a medical marijuana card is sending an application to the State Department of Health. Once they have received your application, they will have to review it for a couple of days. After a few days, you will get feedback on whether they accepted or denied your application. If the application is accepted, you will be issued a medical marijuana card. 

Learning how to get medical marijuana in Oklahoma offers you a legal way to acquire cannabis. You can do this by providing copies of a state-issued identification card. You also need to present several documents that prove that you are a resident of Oklahoma. Once you are approved and have gotten the medical marijuana card, you can start going to medical marijuana dispensaries to purchase medical cannabis. 

Conclusion 

Getting a medical marijuana card in Oklahoma is as easy as that, and you don’t need to struggle so much. Remember that medical marijuana is legal in many states; you need to follow due process. You don’t need to suffer in silence while you can get medical cannabis to relieve the pain that comes with these dilapidating medical conditions. 

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What is the Best Air Purifier for Cough Symptoms?

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Best Air Purifier
Best Air Purifiers

The rapid industrial growth brought many conveniences to our urban lives. But, along with those comforts, it also brought morbid health issues. The primary and most persistent problem in our modern lives is the problem of air pollution. Air contaminants and allergens are the main reason for our allergy, which causes cough problems in an allergic individual. If you live in an urban environment where you get surrounded by allergens, viruses and other pathogens, the chances are that you may be looking for the best air purifier to get help with your cough. Coughing can severely slow down you and your kids and hinder productivity. We will provide you with some best air purifier models and tips to choose a Daikin air purifier yourself. 

How do Air Purifiers Help with Coughs?

If you are coughing uncontrollably, you must look for the best air purifier because it surely can help you with your cough problem. But the question is how? Air purifiers use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing) filter to isolate the contaminants suspended in the air and keep them trapped in the system until you clean and change filters.

What Should You Look for When Buying an Air Purifier?

  • Filters: Filters are the primary organ of any best air purifier. Know which filters are there on your device. Here are some of the generally used filters for you to check:
  1. Pure HEPA filter
  2. Activated Charcoal Filter
  3. UV-C filter
  4. Pre-filter and
  5. Ozone free Ionizer 
  • Warranty period: Most air purifier models come with 1 to 2 years of warranty. Know which parts the company covers in the warranty paper.
  • Easy set-up: Modern air purifier models are mostly touch-controlled and have a simple button layout. Avoid any complications in the set-up, and filter changing process.
  • Room size: Check the rated size for an air purifier to know if it suits your room size.

What is the Number One Air Purifier?

These brands produce one of the top-selling air purifier models available in the Indian market.

  1. Daikin
  2. LG
  3. Eureka Forbes
  4. Panasonic
  5. Phillips
  6. BlueStar

Among them, Daikin is making one of the most affordable air purifiers.

Top Three Best Air Purifier Models are – 

  1. Daikin MC55XVM6 Air Purifier:
  • Streamer Discharge: This Daikin air purifier, besides the HEPA filter, uses the streamer discharge function to quickly remove odours and allergens with high-speed electrons with the oxidizing property.
  • Turbo mode: The Turbo mode in the Daikin air purifier provides a high-power operation to clean the air fast.
  • Deodorising Filter: Some Daikin air purifier models, including the MC55 model, utilize streamers to decompose the foul odours and assist the filter.

 

  1. Eureka Forbes 56-watt AeroGuard mist Air Purifier: 
  • HEPA filter: It uses advanced HEPA technology to remove 99% of suspended particles of 0.3 microns. 
  • UV Lamp: A UV lamp helps reduce volatile organic compounds, parasites and mites in the indoor air.
  • 10X filter technology: It uses the Active 10X filter technology to purify the air in your house and eliminate dust, dander and germs.
  1. Daikin MC40XVM6 Air Purifier:
  • Electrostatic HEPA filter: This Daikin air purifier has a high-performance filter that catches 99.97% of 0.3μm* fine particles.
  • Anti-pollen mode: When you switch between “standard” and “low” modes in this Daikin air purifier, it creates a gentle whirlwind to catch suspended pollen in the air.
  • Deodorising Filter: Odours are caught on this Daikin air purifier using the deodorizing filter. 

Shop from the Bajaj Finserv EMI Store for affordable pricing and enjoy pre-approved offers. Get hold of your Bajaj Finserv EMI Network Card to purchase eureka forbes air purifier on No-cost EMI.

Conclusion:

In times of the global pandemic, your home is the only place where you spend the most time in the day. Although, it is no more a haven for you with a plethora of allergens, pathogens, viruses and other invisible germs floating in the indoor air. The Daikin air purifier uses the streamer discharge method, active plasma Ion and cutting-edge Electrostatic HEPA Filter to protect you against many dangerous disease-causing pathogens and improve the overall air quality. Do not compromise on the health of your family, and buy the best air purifier today. Enjoy a no-cost EMI using the Bajaj Finserv EMI network card for your purchases.

 

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Neurological Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

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In 2017, almost half of the Australian population was prevalent for neurological disorders. This is a worrying piece of information. Neurological disorders can sneak up and they can take a toll on your health without you even noticing it. You may have a headache from time to time and think it’s not a big deal. However, it can be a pretty big deal. Some of these symptoms may seem harmless or irrelevant, but the trust is that they can damage your well-being in many ways. Here are the symptoms that should alert you that it’s time you saw a neurologist. 

Chronic headaches 

We all experience headaches – nothing new about that. However, it’s not the same when you have a headache once in four months and when you have one-two times a week. The latter should be a reason for concern. Especially if the headaches are strong and disruptive, you shouldn’t ignore them. Chronic migraines are also worrisome. 

A good way to determine whether you see a neurologist is by measuring the times you take pain relievers for headaches in a month. If the number goes over five, you should definitely consult a professional. When fever, stiff neck, and light sensitivity accompany a headache, they might point to an underlying issue such as meningitis. 

Frequent dizziness 

While dizziness is usually something benign, it can also become a sign of a serious health problem. If you feel dizzy once in six months due to fatigue, you shouldn’t worry too much – you should get some rest. On the other hand, if you experience bouts of dizziness all of the time, you shouldn’t just wait for the next one to start. 

There are several types of dizziness. For instance, syncope causes light-headedness and makes you feel like you’re going to faint while vertigo makes you feel like you’re spinning or swaying even when you’re standing still. Recognising this as a potential problem could help you treat a neurological disorder on time (if you have one).

Persistent pain 

Another thing that accompanies underlying neurological conditions is persistent pain. If you’ve suffered from constant pain for over six months, you should make an appointment with a neurologist as soon as possible. This is especially important if the pain is followed by sensations such as numbness, weakness, and tingling. You could also experience bladder or bowel control issues. 

All of these could be the symptoms of conditions such as neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases. Luckily, you could get a life-changing brain surgery in Brisbane and improve your health and life significantly. You could even prevent a stroke. Sudden numbness affecting only one side of your body could be a sign of stroke. 

Sleep problems

Sleep is an essential part of the life of any functional being. You simply cannot go on with your life properly if you’re experiencing some serious trouble sleeping well. Insomnia and hypersomnia are just two of the sleep-related diseases you might have in this case. You could have narcolepsy, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome. 

All of these can make it difficult for you to remain focused and present at the moment. Furthermore, they could make it difficult for you to stay sane. If you’re unable to get a good night sleep for any reason, you should definitely head to a neurologist. Even if the problem isn’t neurological in nature, solving it will improve your life in many ways. 

Memory loss 

Finally, if you have trouble remembering things, you should check your neurological health. Of course, you could forget to switch off the lights sometimes – that isn’t a cause for concern. However, if you’re unable to focus on what people are telling you if you have trouble processing information, and if you can’t recall important pieces of information, you might have an issue. 

Especially if this becomes a constant in your life, you should seek help. Even if you constantly feel confused, you could be experiencing some symptoms of dementia. If that’s true, you could slow down this disease simply because you’ve noticed it on time. Once the treatment begins, you could improve the quality of your life in numerous ways.

Conclusion 

Some of the things we consider ordinary or normal might be signs of serious health conditions. If you experience any of this often, make sure to check your health with a professional. Most health issues can be treated as long as they are noticed on time!

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