It is a great challenge of the 21st century to provide the best possible universal health care at the lowest possible cost. It's in fact a dual challenge. While aging and obesity related diseases are the dominant concern in the West, there is continuing worry about more basic issues of hygiene, vaccination, nutrition and access to health care professionals in the developing world, including South Asia. What is common between these two is the increasing reliance on technology.
Technologies ranging from new toilets, water purification,
bio-fortification, diagnostics and computing and communication to
nano-biotechnology and bioengineering are being developed and deployed
to prevent and fight all kinds of diseases around the world. In the video below I join a discussion of the current state of health care and how to meet the challenges of this century:
Vision 2047 from WBT TV on Vimeo.
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Fixing Sanitation Crisis in India
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Heavy Disease Burdens in South Asia
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India After 63 Years of Independence
Poverty Across India 2011
British Pakistan Wins "Re-invent the Toilet" Contest
Here's a story of how Lahore fought dengue outbreak in 2011:
..“No one expected this kind of political commitment,” said Qutbuddin Kakar, who oversees programmes to combat malaria and dengue in Pakistan for the World Health Organization (WHO). “In this part of the world, at least, we had not seen this kind of response before.”
The anticipated 1,000-plus deaths did not occur, and since then, dengue fever cases have dropped - 200 in the province (Punjab) last year, without any reported deaths.
The results they collect are processed on site by specially-designed Android based applications on their smartphones, and uploaded to a centralized dengue prevention centre.
There, analysts match the entomological data with reports from hospitals showing where dengue patients are being treated. Based on the findings, a team is sent to fumigate areas where aedes mosquitos seem to be breeding and infecting people, or to identify and remove sources of standing water.
The key season for infections comes with monsoon rains, when the aedes aegyptus and aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which can carry the virus, begin to appear.
Chronology of an outbreak
In August 2011 heavy monsoon rain dumped 13 inches in a week, leaving parts of Lahore with large bodies of standing water, and raising immediate concerns about disease.
By mid-October, the provincial government in Punjab reported that more than 11,000 dengue cases were recorded by the provincial government.
“It was an exponential increase in number, and it really frightened the government,” said Faran Naru, a consultant hired by the provincial government to tackle the problem. “And the issue was resonating in the media... so it created a panic in the public which had to be contained.”
Most people infected with dengue recovered on their own, said Naru, but once media outlets began reporting on the extent of the outbreak, thousands showed up at hospitals and laboratories to get tested.
An initial team of 70 entomologists conducted 12,000 spot-checks to track where aedes mosquitos were present. By mid-October, this data had been mapped, along with the locations of 11,000 reported dengue patients.
The results surprised the scientists. The worst affected areas were some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods of Lahore: Model Town, Race Course, Mozang, and Gulberg.
“I saw that in Model Town there is a big park, and in Race Course there are two of Lahore's biggest parks… and I believe lots of breeding was happening there and mosquitoes were leaving from there and infecting people,” said Naru.
The mosquitoes need fresh water to lay their eggs, and the large puddles in Lahore's biggest public parks proved to be ideal homes.
Another hotspot was the Mozang neighbourhood, home to one of Pakistan's largest graveyards. The 150-acre area was found to be a major breeding ground for mosquitos. Gravediggers had dug large pits to hold water, which they used to soften the dirt when digging.
“It's fresh water,” said Naur, “from the tap, and there were 70 pits, and all of those were infected, full of larvae.”
Back in the hospital, dengue patients were separated into special areas for treatment. The home of each dengue patient was fumigated, along with 12 surrounding houses, three in each direction.
Sanitation workers unclogged sewers and drains in an effort to clear areas of rainwater; and parks, gardens, and cemeteries were also sprayed. Thousands of Mosquitofish and Garden Carp - fish species known to attack mosquito larvae - were also released into ponds and ditch canals.
Within a few weeks, entomologists detected far fewer aedes mosquitoes, and the prevalence of dengue cases rapidly decreased.
Dailytimes | #ImranKhan to perform ground-breaking of #Karachi's cancer hospital on Dec 29 - #PTI http://go.shr.lc/2hjSPmp via @Shareaholic
The ground-breaking ceremony of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Karachi would be held on December 29, 2016.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's chairman Imran Khan, who is also Chairman Board of Governors Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust will lay the foundation stone.
In February this year, the then Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Shareef had granted a 20 acre plot for the construction of the cancer hospital in Defence Housing Authority located at the Karachi-Hyderabad Super Highway.
A statement of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust said, "The construction of a comprehensive cancer diagnosis and treatment facility in Karachi will not only provide the most modern cancer treatment to the people of Sindh, but will also help raise healthcare standards and provide training and employment opportunities in the region."
It is Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust's third Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in the country. Trust has already established two hospitals - one in Lahore and the other is in Peshawar.
#UAE to build first ever #medical mall in #Islamabad, #Pakistan. The project will include therapeutic and recreational areas, a regional #Cardiology center, an orthopedic centre and 400-bed #university #hospital. https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/357797-uae-to-build-first-ever-medical-mall-in-pakistan
A prominent UAE-based MBF Group has announced to establish an integrated medical city that will also feature a first-ever medical mall of the country in Islamabad.
The agreement of MBF with Ibchez Housing and Nixon, according to the report, will include the construction of a hospital that will provide medical services at international standards.
The founder and owner of MBF Group Shaikh Mohammad Bin Faisal Al Qasimi ,in an interview with the Gulf news said the project will include a 400-bed university hospital that will offer the most advanced levels of healthcare services.
The medical city will also feature the country’s first medical mall, therapeutic and recreational areas, a regional cardiology centre, and an orthopedic centre, he added.
He noted that the city will include a nursing college and is expected to serve some one million patients and clients on a monthly basis.
There is a need for such advanced hospitals to serve Pakistan’s growing population, he stressed.
Shaikh Mohammad pointed out that the investment provided for the medical city has reached US$970 million (Dh3.52 billion), while noting that its land has been purchased, as well as the desire of all parties to complete the project on time, in a bid to answer the growing demand for medical services in Islamabad and provide specialist health services that are in short supply.
He informed that the group will manage the city’s 1,000 medical, technical and administrative staff, who will all be Pakistanis, and is responsible for providing medical equipment and beds.
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