Stories about world health organisation

The curse of the green passport

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently recommended travel restrictions on Pakistanis travelling abroad to prevent the spread of the polio virus, as Pakistan continues to be one of the few remaining countries where polio is still considered a threat. This aforementioned restrictions seem to be a last ditch effort by the public health agency to curb the spread of the virus from a country that has been unable to run a sustained inoculation campaign due to a variety of reasons which are better left unsaid. However, what I am concerned about more is the effect that these travel restrictions will have on Pakistani travellers who are already ...

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Here is why breastfeeding your child is important

Hooray! The Balochistan Assembly finally enacted the Balochistan Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Bill 2014 on January 18, 2014. This is truly a progressive step towards a healthier province and a healthier Pakistan. However, the real test for the provincial government will be to effectively implement this bill, in letter and in spirit. I say this because, even though the Protection of Breastfeeding and Young Child Nutrition Ordinance 2002 is very much present on the statute books since its approval, its implementation  continues to remain a distant dream. As most of us know, Pakistan is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal ...

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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 ...

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Being hooked on anti-depressants is no cure!

I was completing an internship program at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), where I came across numerous people suffering from various behavioural and mental illnesses. Their visits to the doctor revolved around getting a prescription of anti-depressants or relaxants to calm themselves until their next visit. I always wondered how a mere pill could treat a state of mind or a repressed emotion so easily. If you ask me, it seems quite odd. However, once I started practicing myself, it made sense — but only in the short term. Many clients came up to me with low levels of energy, poor self-esteem, obesity, hair loss, ...

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Yes, depression can kill you

In accordance with World Health Organization (WHO), depression is all set to become the second most fatal disease by 2020 with only coronary heart problems preceding it. These figures are alarming as they warn us about a disease of which little is known. In addition, it is not even acknowledged as a proper ailment in many quarters of our society. The truth of the matter is that depression is a debilitating disease that sucks pleasure out of the lives of its sufferers and shrinks their self-esteem to almost nothing. Going about a daily routine turns into a draining struggle, and hopelessness ...

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Every blood donor is a hero, are you?

June 14 is the day the world celebrates ‘World Blood Donor Day’ to honour and encourage those individuals who selflessly donate their blood with no expectations in return. Today, we commemorate this noble cause that helps save millions of lives around the globe. World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) was first observed on June 14, 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa as a tribute Karl Landsteiner. Landsteiner is a Nobel Prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system and so we celebrate the WBDD on his birthday to honour his work. The theme of the 2012 WBDD campaign is ‘Every blood donor is ...

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Don’t chew on this

There are many forms of Smokeless Tobacco (ST) available in the Pakistani market, the most common ones being ‘naswar’, ‘gutka’, ‘mainpuri’ and crushed tobacco taken with paan. Harmful effects of using ST include mouth and throat cancer, cancer of the food pipe, cancer of the stomach and pancreas, increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, as well as several gum and tooth diseases. It is a common perception  that smokeless tobacco products are less harmful than cigarettes. The fact is that the type of smokeless tobacco available in Southeast Asia is far more dangerous than smoking. An average dose of nicotine from chewing tobacco ...

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The air we breathe

On June 27, this paper ran a story on International Drugs Day that reported that Pakistan has one of the highest rates of narcotics seizure in the world. The news made me very happy, especially since the last top ten that Pakistan made to was for “failed” states. But what caught my eye was the photograph printed with the story: that of a drug burning ceremony held in Rawalpindi under the watchful eye of the police. According to the article, Pakistan has seized narcotics worth more than 50 million rupees this year and all of that (or at least most ...

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