Stories about diseases

Ignorance is bliss!

My friend, I do not wish to know, And I’m in no mood, To think of global warming, Or pesticides in food.   Hardwood forests in decline, Endangered pink frogs. Salt or freshwater wetlands, Fast vanishing bogs. Illiteracy, hunger, AIDS, Tsunami, hurricane. Inflation or unemployment, Worrying is in vain.   Dwindling water resources, Or poaching elephants. By God, I’ve no patience for, Futile raves and rants. Let others lead the world from front, For admirable feat. I’ll lead the horde from behind, To a hasty retreat!   I love my unawareness, Ah! Ignorance is bliss! Don’t interrupt my cricket game, I don’t want to ...

Read Full Post

Does Islam prevent AIDS?

Maps have many fathers. One of them is the genie of omission. So beware of the map that is too straightforward and simple. It may very well be obscuring something. For also in cartography, this general rule applies: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. An interesting point in case are the twin maps of Africa shown below, one of the spread of Islam, the other the spread of AIDS. The contrast is striking – where one occurs, the other is absent. Is this proof of Islam’s salutary effects? Or do the maps merely demonstrate the power of map-based ...

Read Full Post

World Environment Day: Are Pakistanis dirty or simply lazy?

Imagine driving through the busiest street of a major metropolitan city in Pakistan. What would you see? Buildings, vehicles, street vendors, a crowd of people? Obviously. But alongside this, you would also be welcomed by a heap of filthy, smelly garbage simple lying around the pavements. And ironically, this view is not unique to one street; almost every street in all major areas of Pakistan has the same scene welcoming those who travel through them. If ones environment signifies ones psyche, then we Pakistanis indeed have very dirty minds. But, as most would argue, this isn’t our fault… right? I mean, is it ...

Read Full Post

Militancy does not hamper vaccinations in Pakistan – our negligence does!

In a country already strife with political, economic and social malaises, it is truly heart-breaking to see the gross negligence and inadequacy of the government costing the country millions of dollars and, more importantly, millions of lives. Pakistan just wasted 1.3 million doses of vaccine worth $3.7 million donated by UNICEF to protect children from deadly diseases. The vaccines had to be stored in cold temperatures to remain effective but, according to a Health Ministry official, the frequent power outage was the main cause of the loss, as top management failed to address the problem despite complaints by lower staff. Two officials have been suspended over ...

Read Full Post

Breast cancer: Pakistan’s most common cancer

It was the summer of 1999, when a bunch of us, final year medical students, were attending to patients in the crowded outpatient department at the Mayo Hospital in Lahore. Our professor had called us to come see a patient in one of the consultation rooms. The patient was a young woman, no more than 35 years of age. She had come to the hospital with a large breast mass. She said that she had first felt the mass more than a year ago. After ignoring it for months, she had finally mustered the courage to talk to her husband about it. ...

Read Full Post

Stop criticising the Ice Bucket Challenge!

My advice, to those criticising the Ice Bucket Challenge for being a waste of water, is stop! Stop criticising long enough to understand the rare disease community and their struggles. The kind of awareness ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), has gotten over the past few weeks is the kind of well-deserved attention, I as someone who saw those closest to me suffer with a disease nobody knew off, could diagnose or had even heard off, wish and hope one day all rare diseases receive. People from all over the world have taken part in the campaign that has spread like wild fire. Celebrities ...

Read Full Post

Don’t ignore your IDPs, Pakistan!

The military operation in Swat five-years-ago led to the displacement of approximately two million Pakistanis, who had to abandon their homes, commodities and lives overnight to a bleak and uncertain future. Facing obscurity, these two million refugees trekked to safer locales with infants and elderly in tow. According to United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) statistics, released as of September 11, 2012, there were 160,063 families still resigned to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status, of which 12% (18,783 families) were still residing in camps and 88% (141,280 families) were residing in host communities two years back. Though the World Food Programme (WFP) assisted ...

Read Full Post

What makes Pakistan a great country

Flip through our TV channels, skim through our newspapers and scan through a dozen latest international reports on indicators of some sort and they will all give you only a few reasons to be happy about our country. In fact, if you do this long enough, you’ll probably start noticing initial symptoms of prolonged depression. Are there any problems of the world that this nation has been spared off? Floods, drought, earthquakes, terrorism, corruption, infant mortality, diseases, illiteracy, sectarian conflicts, ethnic disputes, border disputes, domestic violence, water scarcity, electricity shortages, gang wars and what not. It’s tragic and scary. But there is a flip ...

Read Full Post

#WearThatYouCare: Put on those blue denims and support Rare Disease Day today!

My mother passed away exactly seven years ago. She had Huntington’s chorea which she fought for 15 years and it eventually took over her ability to talk, walk, speak and breathe. Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline. The disorder affects the brain and eventually damages mental and motor function and control. The word ‘chorea’ is a Greek word meaning dance since quick movements of the feet or hands are comparable to dancing. Disorders such as these are genetic which means that the patient’s offsprings have a 50% chance of inheriting them. For children of ...

Read Full Post

10 situations which highlight why educating women is vital in Pakistan

Being the daughter of a surgeon, and being a lawyer myself, I hear and read stories everyday about how certain mishaps which have occurred could have been avoided with the simple proviso: education.  The government needs to encourage the right of women to be educated. Listed below are 10 real-life situations where education would have prevented unfortunate outcomes. 1)  A woman who is encouraged to abort a daughter or is killed or divorced upon producing daughters. If she was educated, the woman would know that the gender of a baby is decided by the male sperm and not by a woman’s eggs. This is basic ...

Read Full Post