Over the last two decades there has been an alarming rise in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, asthma and respiratory diseases and cancers in India, especially among the urban population. According to statistics, every year, roughly 5.8 million Indians die from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Around 50.8 million population are affected by diabetes alone, as per WHO records. Another 15 per cent suffers from arthritis, as per statistics.
Healthcare ecosystem in India is still evolving. Considering the diverse landscape in India, various technologies have been considered for increasing access and improving the care outcomes. In this context Telemedicine continues to be a relevant discussion and one that many feel will ultimately solve our issues with care specially in the rural parts of the country. But has Medicine delivered on its potential? Or does more need to be done to harness the benefits of this technology. To get the answers for these questions we spoke to Dr Harsha Rajaram, Vice President, Telemedicine, Columbia Asia Hospitals Pvt. Ltd. Below are some snippets from the discussion.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus to be a Public Health Emergency of International concern, last year. Sometime ago we had covered how the US had dealt with the last few carriers of the virus by spraying the Miami-Dade county aerially with the insecticides.
Now, Zika is in India with three cases between November 2016 and February 2017, in Gujarat, coming to light, it is high time that people are aware of this disease.Moreover, the fact that none of the Zika infected patients, their spouses or relatives had traveled to any country with Zika virus transmission, is making it more of a cause of concern. That may mean someone with the virus had traveled to India and was not detected at emigration.
Florence Nightingale was a key figure in the transformation of the Nursing profession. Before her hospitals were essentially run by religious institutions where people were cared for in their last days, essentially palliative in nature. During the heights of the Crimean war, Florence Nightingale with a lamp in hand started the beginning of what we call modern nursing care and established nurses as the corner stone of modern healthcare.
Today nursing in India is at another cross roads. While digital and technology have empowered patients to seek the best in care, nurses in India struggle daily against rising stress levels, lower pay and unending demands of the modern healthcare system. Attrition among nursing staff is around 40- 60%. And each day nurses migrate from India to countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland and Middle East.
The number of vehicles that ply on the roads of Bangalore are increasing by the day, and so is the vehicular noise pollution. 26th April is celebrated as International Noise Awareness Day, Bangalore observed a No Horn Day. Keeping this in mind, doctors from the city are of the opinion that with the increase in traffic, it is high time that we consciously make efforts to avoid vehicular noise pollution.
Long exposure to loud traffic can lead to noise induced hearing loss in some cases. “A constant noise of more than 90 decibels can lead to hearing loss. Traffic police are the worst affected. It can also lead to developing of tinnitus (buzzing sound in the ear). Tinnitus can further lead to psychological problems and the person may suffer from disturbed sleep, irregular blood pressure and sugar levels,” pointed out Dr. Santosh S, Consultant-ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal.
“Excessive loud honking has long-term effects on people. Apart from issues with hearing, other problems like constant headaches, mood disturbance, anger, irritability is also seen among patients. These issues can further affect other organs and lead to issues like fluctuating blood pressure, hypertension, etc.,” said Dr. Santosh. It’s important for people to realize that they should only honk when it’s extremely necessary. Also, a little patience while driving can go a long way in avoiding noise pollution. People should follow lane driving and this should be an onus of the people giving driving licences. Ear marking is another solution, for example, heavy motor vehicles should not be allowed in residential zones especially with a high geriatric population, pointed out Dr Santosh. “People travelling on 2-wheelers can use earplugs and helmets to help reduce the noise pollution to a certain extent. Also, one should try to avoid heavy traffic zones as much as possible to stay safe from noise pollution,” he added.
The traffic department can put up signboards on ‘No honking’ around the city. Also, proper regulation of traffic will make people avoid honking too much. It is also important to create awareness among the people about the side effects of excessive honking. At an individual level, traffic cops can use ear plugs that reduces the noise by 10 decibels. It may be uncomfortable to wear them all the time; however, the traffic cops should make sure they use it at least in the heavy traffic time zones – morning and evening, said Dr Santosh.
Vehicular noise can have multiple effects on the ear and hence it’s important to generate awareness in order to reduce vehicular noise pollution as much as possible.
But our question is, those who don’t follow the regular more serious traffic rules, how are they going to see a sign board for no honking? Is there something we can do to tackle this situation by using principles of design thinking? We would love to hear your perspective.