In the midst of this world, do seva.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
The United States currently faces a shortage of primary care professionals that threatens to develop into a major crisis if not addressed. Primary care comprises four main features:
- A first contact for any new health issue or need
- Long-term, person-focused care
- Comprehensive care for most health needs
- Coordination of care when it must be received elsewhere (i.e. with a specialist)
General practitioners, general internal medicine practitioners, family physicians, and sometimes general pediatricians are considered primary care physicians. Other health care providers, such as physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), nurses, and health coaches or care coordinators, may also provide primary care. Care delivered with an orientation toward primary care has been found to be associated with more effective, equitable, and efficient health services; residents of countries more oriented to primary care report better health at lower costs.
60 million Americans, or nearly one in five, lack adequate access to primary care due to a shortage of primary care physicians in their communities. Very few new physicians today are choosing to enter primary care: whereas fifty years ago, half of U.S. doctors practiced primary care, just over 30% do today, and just 8% of the nation’s medical school graduates enter family medicine compared to 14% as recently as 2000. People who are uninsured, low-income, members of racial and ethnic minority groups, or living in rural or inner-city areas are disproportionately likely to lack a usual source of care (USC)—a key indicator of access to a primary care provider.
Many experts believe that this skewed distribution contributes to overspecialization of care and fragmentation and inefficiency in the health system; for example, more than half of specialist visits are for routine follow-up, a misuse of expensive care. Furthermore, a higher ratio of primary care physicians to population is associated with lower mortality rates while a higher ratio of specialists to population has been correlated with higher mortality rates, perhaps because patients with a usual source of primary care tend to use more preventive health care and have health problems treated at a less advanced stage.
Friday, September 25, 2009
We are looking for knitters to help us put a warm beanie cap on every baby born in Burer--as is done in American hospitals. The Burera District Hospital welcomes about 100 new babies into the world each month, so our current goal is to provide 100 caps per month.
All beanie styles and colors are welcome. Hats can be made to fit either premature babies (head about the size of an orange) or full-term babies (head about the size of a grapefruit). We will arrange shipping from Boston to northern Rwanda.
Hats and donations may be sent to:
Partners In Health, Attn: Baby hats
888 Commonwealth Ave, 3rd floor
Boston, MA 02215
More information about this initiative and pattern samples can be found at: http://hotheadknitters.
Monday, September 14, 2009
In the Faridkot centre… Harmanbir Kaur, 15, was rocking gently backwards and forwards. When her test results came back, they showed she had 10 times the safe limit of uranium in her body. Her brother, Naunihal Singh, six, has double the safe level.An article in The Observer discusses the link between the dramatic rise in birth defects in Punjab and pollution from coal-fired power stations. Many of the children are being treated in Faridkot and at the Baba Farid centers for special children in Bathinda, where there are two coal-fired thermal plants. Staff at these clinics had noticed an increase in the incidence of severely handicapped children who were born with hydroencephaly, microencephaly, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and other complications. They suspected environmental poisoning.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
"As for gastroenteritis, illegal water connections in vehras of various areas of the city inhabited mainly by migrant population are the root cause of the outbreaks. It has been taking a toll on the lives of migrant population who live in poor hygienic conditions prevailing in their surroundings," says Dr SS Dhir, district health officer... "We have filed cases against six persons in connection with illegal water connections in the vehras of Punjabi Bagh where habitants fell sick with gastro. Besides, we have constituted a 40-member team which would be responsible for creating awareness in four MC zones and will conduct house to house visits in the disease-prone areas," Dr Charanjeet said.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A Birth PillHappy Mothers Day!
An inexpensive medicine could save lives.
A Dose of Care
Counseling should be an important part of food aid programs.
Make going to school affordable.
A Safer Labor
Provide clinics with the basics to preform Caesarean deliveries.
A Custom Drug
Research to better medicate mothers-to-be.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
The organization’s goal is to replicate the Peru mission to Panjab where the need is also great (some of which can be attributed to the chemical farming of the Green Revolution).
The goal is to learn the ropes and move on to Punjab, Harpal Singh said. “It’s done more than cross my mind.” To coordinate a trip to India would require an extra week’s stay and extra money for cargo, lodging and food. He was initially ready to go to Punjab this year, but when it came time to select a location last November, the Mumbai bombings scared many of the volunteers. Some of them had not been outside of the state of Maryland before the trip to Peru. Perhaps they needed one more trip under their belt, and wait another year to go to Punjab, Harpal Singh said.Read more at The Langar Hall.
“Our community is very eager to have this done in their own area,” he said. “In some respect, a group of sardars or Sikhs doing seva outside Punjab is more of an education.”
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Think of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance. They are less likely to receive flu vaccines (which might or might not help), less likely to receive prompt care when they get sick, and less able financially to stay home from work — and thus they are more likely both to die and to spread the virus inadvertently.Read the entire piece here.
The larger problem is that we over-invest in clinical care like CAT scans and underinvest in public health. There should be a Nobel Prize for Public Health, so that we might get more great minds wrestling with nonmedical pieces of the health puzzle, like industrial hog farms that can serve as breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria, from swine flu to MRSA.
“If a severe pandemic materializes,” Dr. Redlener said, “all of society could pay a heavy price for decades of failing to create a rational system of health care that works for all of us.”
Their research team, led by J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., Ph.D., sifted through medical data for 6,000 people ages 40 to 85 with diabetes or cardiovascular disease. They tracked their conditions from 1999 to 2006.Read more here.
The researchers found that despite overall improvements in controlling the diseases, black, Hispanic and poor patients under 65 -- those not yet old enough for Medicare -- fared no better, or got worse.
However, at age 65, when people become eligible for Medicare coverage, the differences in health by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status declined significantly.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Mandip Kaur, a 29-year-old housewife from a farming family in southern Punjab, guards her husband round the clock. "I fear he may commit suicide," she says... Almost every village in Punjab has witnessed a suicide in their once-prosperous farming families and it is a major issue in the general election.As a friend recently noted, it is women who often bear the burden of their husband's death. The impact that farmer suicides is having on wives, children, and entire communities cannot be understated.
National Crime Records Bureau statistics say close to 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997. Punjab, responsible for producing nearly two-thirds of the grain in India, has faced many economic crises since the the mid-1990s. No comprehensive official figures on farmer suicides in the area are available. But a report commissioned by the government of Punjab this week estimated that there had been "close to 3,000 suicides" among farmers and farm labourers in just two of Punjab's 20 districts in recent years, agriculture ministry sources told the BBC.There are several issues which have caused the increase in farmer suicides over the last number of years. The Punjab government's website proclaims that "India has gone from a food-deficit to a food-surplus country" largely because of the Green Revolution of Punjab. Is the Punjab we envisioned? Read more about this article here.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
A little bit about Purple Day...
Founded in 2008, by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada, Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26, people from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy.
Why? Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide. That's more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.
Why purple? Lavender is the international colour for epilepsy.
The National Walk for Epilepsy will occur on Saturday March 28th 2009.
Each year more and more people gather in D.C. to bring awareness to the third most common neurological disorder in the United States—epilepsy. The National Walk for Epilepsy has grown to an event with 8,000 participants and, over the span of two years, has raised more than $2 million dollars.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Small, sick, listless children have long been India’s scourge — “a national shame,” in the words of its prime minister, Manmohan Singh. But even after a decade of galloping economic growth, child malnutrition rates are worse here than in many sub-Saharan African countries, and they stand out as a paradox in a proud democracy.I was shocked to read that while China reduced child malnutrition to 7% (of its children under 5 years old are underweight), India's comparable number was 42.5%!
There are no simple explanations. Economists and public health experts say stubborn malnutrition rates point to a central failing in this democracy of the poor. Amartya Sen, the Nobel prize-winning economist, lamented that hunger was not enough of a political priority here. India’s public expenditure on health remains low, and in some places, financing for child nutrition programs remains unspent.India does run the largest child feeding program in the world, however it is inadequately designed with poor infrastructure and has barely made a dent in the ranks of sick children in the past 10 years.
[M]ost experts agree that providing adequate nutrition to pregnant women and children under 2 years old is crucial — and the Indian program has not homed in on them adequately. Nor has it succeeded in sufficiently changing child feeding and hygiene practices. Many women here remain in ill health and are ill fed; they are prone to giving birth to low-weight babies and tend not to be aware of how best to feed them.The article reports that while hunger persists in destitute states across India, the more "serious" rates of hunger exist in states of great economic growth.
Hat tip to KS for the article.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Nearly half of Indian brides wed before they are 18-years-old, the legal age for marriage since 1978, a survey by the Lancet medical magazine says.A recent BBC article discusses how child marriage continues to be a problem for rural, poor and less educated girls living in India. Dr. Anita Raj (a fellowship advisor of mine from grad school) led the study which discusses the adverse health consequences of child marriages.
"Child marriage has serious consequences for national development, stunting education and vocational opportunities for a large sector of the population," says the paper, led by Anita Raj, a doctor at Boston University School of Public Health in Massachusetts.Even with regard to India's existing policies against such practices and the country's economic development, child marriage has failed to be eradicated from rural and poor populations. India first introduced laws against child marriage in 1929 and set the legal age for marriage at 12 years. The legal age for marriage was increased to 18 in 1978.
The survey says:The reason why there are such high levels of sterilization among young brides is because they have had their desired number of children at an earlier age. Researchers warned that this could reduce condom use in such couples, which would heighten the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
*Child brides are 37% more likely not to have used contraception before their first child was born
*Seven times likelier to have three or more births
*Three times likelier to have a repeat childbirth in less than 24 months
*Fifty percent likelier to have an abortion
*Six times likelier to seek sterilisation
Hat tip to KS for the article.
For years we’ve been dreaming of joining Relief Workers International on its medical trips through India. The work: helping doctors provide medical care to hundreds of people in several different villages. The rest: Accommodations are comfy tents in breathtaking surroundings with visits to ancient towns and old forts. The site will soon list upcoming trips; in the meantime, reading about the work is singularly inspiring.HumaniTourism states that it
aims to develop new models of ethical global tourism by combining travel with community development, entrepreneurial education, and environmental stewardship to foster sustainable, community-based economic development while preserving cultural integrity.Sounds like a great way to participate in social development, contribute to the local economy, and actually made a difference on a community.
Friday, March 06, 2009
The event was sponsored by CARE, an organization focused on fighting global poverty by putting women at the center of the effort to improve the quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities.
The film profiled three women who personify the belief that, in developing nations, it is women who hold the keys to fighting poverty, improving economic circumstances, and real community activism.
To learn more about the documentary, click here.
To learn more about CARE, click here.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Young Indian women are more than three times as likely to killed by fire as their male compatriots, according to an article published on the Web site of the British medical journal, The Lancet. The victims largely fell within a 15 to 34-year age group.You can read more about this article here.
Domestic abuse is a serious problem in India. Women are sometimes killed in disputes over dowries; often in such disputes the victims are doused with gasoline and set ablaze, and their deaths are claimed as kitchen accidents.
In the first study of its kind and using the most recent data available, The Lancet analyzed death registrations, official questionnaires in rural areas and census figures to arrive at an estimate of 163,000 fire-related deaths in 2001, or 2 percent of all deaths. That number is six times higher than the number of such deaths reported by police. More than 106,000 of those, or 65 percent, were women.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The question is: why is our Desi community not using social services offered within the Malton community?
Open Forum on Mental health and addictions needs in Malton. It’s time to help make things work better for members of the Malton community who have mental health and addictions needs.
We need to hear from you about:
• How to make sure people with mental health and addictions issues can find the services they need
• What kind of mental health and addictions services need to be available
• What special concerns there might be in Malton because of the diversity of the community
• How to build on the strengths of the Malton community and the services that are already here
• What people need to stay healthy!
Hope To See You There!
Where: Hall B at the Malton Community Centre
3540 Morningstar Drive,
When: Wednesday, February 25th
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
If you have any questions, or special needs (e.g. transportation) please contact Randip Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 647.286.4323 or Jenny Carver at 905.836.2032
Sponsored by the Central West LHIN and the Malton Mental Health and Addictions Integrated Planning Project
Monday, February 16, 2009
Being born female is dangerous to your health. This reality may not be true for many readers, but for most women living in poorer countries around the globe, it is devastating.
The dangers start before birth. Sex-selective abortion is widespread, as parents decide for various reasons that they cannot bring another girl into the world. Hundreds of thousands of girls have "disappeared," unbalancing sex ratios in countries like China, India, and Korea. Every person in poverty is at a disadvantage, but the gender differences are staggering. Ninety million girls worldwide, compared with twenty-five million boys, do not go to school... More than half a million women die each year from almost completely preventable childbirth-related injuries and illnesses. One fourth to one half of women worldwide suffer violence at the hands of an infinite partner.
Women's health is so much more than a medical issue; it is cultural, political, economic, and - above all - an issue of social justice.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Noting that the United States spends on prevention only a very small amount of its annual $2 trillion dollars in total health care spending, Woolf presents convincing reasons for policy-makers, health care providers and the public health community to recognize both the cost-effectiveness and health benefits of proven prevention measures such as screening tests, smoking cessation programs, immunizations and physical activity. With so much riding on our economic and personal health, Woolf persuasively argues that we should invest in these preventive services that are shown to reduce health care costs and improve health.
"Our health care system is geared to treating the sick with expensive tests and procedures. But what we ultimately need is to foster a culture of wellness by stopping bad health before it happens," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Congress and the President have made health reform a top priority. It is imperative that prevention be an integral part of any reform plan."
Saturday, January 10, 2009
The article notes that insurers expect to spend a collective $25 million to comply with the new law. However, patients' rights advocates praised the law, saying it will help reduce care quality disparities stemming from miscommunication. California plans to launch a publicity drive in the coming weeks to raise awareness of the new law. Meanwhile, noting that the new law stipulates only that interpreters demonstrate proficiency in interpretation, the California Healthcare Interpreting Association is recommending a certification program to ensure that the interpreters used by health plans are familiar with medical language and how to accurately translate medical terms.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
A Sikh health expert has been awarded £130,000 for a two-year research project which could prove vital in efforts to increase the number of UK organ donations from south Asian and black ethnic groups. NHS Blood and Transport has awarded the funding to Professor Gurch Randhawa, Director of the Institute for Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire. It is hoped his findings will inform strategies for future organ donation appeals. Changing perceptions about organ donation among south Asian and black groups is already part of a campaign to increase donations by 50 per cent in the next five years.Dr. Randhawa states that the need for organ donors was three or four times higher among black and Asian people than among the general population, but donation rates were relatively low among those groups and this impacts directly upon those communities. His project has the backing of a Sikh family in Luton, close to the Bedfordshire university. In January 2001, Mandip Mudhar, a 20-year-old student, died in London’s Royal Free Hospital six days after suffering severe head injuries in a road accident. Told that he would not recover consciousness, his parents decided to donate Mandip’s heart and two kidneys. The Mandip Mudhar Memorial Foundation was started by Mandip’s family.
Among potential donors the refusal rate for non-white groups is 69 per cent, according to Professor Randhawa, compared with 35 per cent for potential white donors. “Community leaders and religious groups need to engage with their local community to encourage organ donation and we need to identify what would make the gifting of organs relevant to a multi-ethnic and multi-faith society,” said the professor.The Sikh perspective on organ translation is addressed on a leaflet available at the UK Transplant website. It reads: “Sikh philosophy and teachings place great emphasis on the importance of giving and putting others before oneself” It also stresses “the importance of performing noble deeds and there are many examples of selfless giving and sacrifice in Sikh teachings by the ten Gurus and other Sikhs. Sikhs believe life after death is a continuous cycle of rebirth but the physical body is not needed in this cycle – a person’s soul is their real essence.” (The dead sustain their bond with the living through virtuous deed.” Guru Nanak, Guru Granth Sahib, p 143) Dr Indarjit Singh, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations UK has stated that: “The Sikh religion teaches that life after death continues after death in the soul, and not the physical body. The last act of giving and helping others through organ donation is both consistent with, and in the spirit, of Sikh teachings.” [link]