Public Health

Covid19:A few myths about the virus

The world is grappling with the stark implications stemming out of the uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare infrastructure is under severe stress. Precious lives are being lost in large numbers (over 143k fatalities so far). Economic fragility is peaking, unemployment rate is mounting, and supply chain breakdown is hurting millions across the globe. With no sign of cure or vaccine being available in foreseeable future, nations are deploying strict and discrete measures to arrest the impact of this unprecedented crisis.

In this digital age, populations are benefitting from the constant flow of information related to covid19. Social media and instant messaging platforms are buzzing with videos, memes and trending hashtags, print media is being flooded with opined articles and by-liners from pundits, and news channels inundated with harried correspondents trying to bring every piece of information at your fingertips is quite common.

However, it becomes an arduous task for an individual to sift authentic and trustable information from the copious stream of content. As a result, a myriad of myths related to coronavirus has surrounded all of us. These myths incorporate multitudes of aspects connected to coronavirus – etiology, symptoms, vulnerability, treatment by home remedies, drugs/vaccines available, food habits, immunity boosters, effect of weather on virus potency etc. – which could be equally dangerous as the coronavirus itself. In a recent incident in Iran, more than 600 people died from the consumption of high-concentrated alcohol based on a rumour that it could prevent infection from coronavirus. The severity of these misplaced myths/fake news about the hazardous cures and viral hoaxes can be judged from such unfortunate episodes.

Based on my expertise and knowledge in medicine and healthcare, I have made an earnest attempt to dissect many of these myths in a 2-part video series (links below). The realities busting these fallacies that you see in the videos have been factchecked and corroborated through reliable and bona fide resources like WHO. I firmly believe that we as individuals need to play a much bigger role in this fight against the coronavirus and we can begin by putting a stop to misinformation about the contagion being circulated online.

Links to the ‘Coronavirus-Myths vs Reality’ video series:

Part 1:

Part 2:

About the Author

Dr. Anuj Chawla is one of the leading Orthopedics and Foot & Ankle Surgeon in India. He can be contacted at For consultation with Dr. Anuj, book an appointment by visiting the website:

Twitter: @dranujortho


Healthcare Delivery

Dealing with depression in the digital world

A few days ago a young man committed suicide in India. The reason was a internet game called the “Blue Whale Challenge” that sends the players a set of 50 tasks as the end of which they are asked to commit suicide.

A very obnoxious way to structure a game, nut what struck me was that most of the players were young, loners and odd. They did not have social circles and very quiet. In other words they were displaying some form of sub-clinical or even clinical depression. It is not uncommon to read newspaper reports of students committing suicide during the exams. But while one can understand the affect, no one has really put light on the cause. Indians today are suffering from mental illness like never before.

According to WHO almost 90 million citizens in India suffer from either depression or anxiety disorders. That makes it almost 7.5% of the population. There is still a belief that conditions like depression and anxiety disorders are mostly western in origin. But that is not true. Ayurvedic doctors like Charaka have written in details on the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and have also given the cure.

In most cases anxiety attacks can be managed with some common sense. Easiest way is to breathe deeply and might provide feelings that are better in no time. Sometimes just walking out of situations or walking out of the door is the key step ti manage the anxiety attack. One out of 3 people has experienced a feeling of loneliness and depression, and a few of them can’t even say what’s which makes them feel this way.


The other key factor in the management of mental illnesses is that we need to increase social interactions. There are many ways to chase melancholy and the loneliness away, What matters is removing impulses making them feel low or sad. Feeling lonely could be as simple as not having anyone about them to socialize with on a daily basis. One feel lonely and still can be about people, and so to not feel this way, attempt to learn why.

Depression can happen to anyone, and causes it to be varied from one individual to another. Being lonely might lead to becoming depressed, but they don’t always go hand at hand. Feeling anxious and despondent occurs whenever we can’t deal with things in life at that moment, and we feel that there’s no hope to getting past that. They could begin to find ways to create they feel, when someone has identified a number of reasons why he or she are feeling the way they do. Among the ways people can manage the situation is by taking medication under consult with a physician or Psychiatrist to determine if it’s right, prior to taking any medication.

Using remedies may be an acceptable replacement to using medication. Going to a health shop can offer many excellent choices for currently taking a natural approach to your depressed mind-set. The individuals who work there may be extremely helpful in finding the legal remedies which will work best. Another excellent way of getting rid of the blues is to create an appointment with a few mental wellness specialist in your area. Occasionally talking things out with someone completely distanced from one’s life, can give a chance to work out some of what’s bothering an individual.

So to conclude, it is unwise to deal with depression alone. Always consult a physician or doctor if you feel symptoms of depression. Social Interactions help us manage the condition better. Always avoid stress, look for pleasant interactions to avoid the anxiety attacks. Health is a state of physical and mental well being. Live long and prosper.

(Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash)

Healthcare Delivery

Thoughts to combat Hepatitis on World Hepatitis Day

Viral Hepatitis is a major public health problem in the South-East Asia Region. Each year viral hepatitis infects millions of people across the region, causing the death of around 410 000 persons – more than HIV and malaria combined. It is also a major cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis, contributing to premature morbidity and mortality, and undermining economic growth and the push to achieve health and wellbeing

As per World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, India is among the top 11 countries which carry the global burden of chronic hepatitis. Since, it accounts for a huge burden of illness, outbreaks and epidemic spread, resulting in increased death cases.

Public Health

India has lower bad health years since year 2000: an infographic

Life expectancy has gone up in India. But are people able to live fully functional lives ? Is the quality of life improving as medical technology keeps more Indians alive year after year ?

To answer some of these questions the WHO has started calculating Health Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE), or healthy life expectancy,  to measure the number of years a person can expect to live in good health, taking social and economic factors into account alongside disease and disability rates.

Healthcare consultancy firm Medigo calculated the number of bad years that a person lives through in each country. Bad Years are calculated by subtracting the good years from the average life expectancy from the country.

The good news for India is that on an average the number of “Bad Years” lived by our citizens are coming down. As per the data the number of “Bad Years” have been significantly down since year 2000.

Below is the infographic for the Asian region.


(Source: Medigo)

Interesting China and Khazakhstan is enjoying similar growth in good health years. For details on the other countries in the world please do visit this link.



Public Health

Air pollution affects 92% of the population says WHO report

When I was in school, my good friend Ankur told me something very interesting. He said students in the American School in Delhi had an advisory not to come out in the morning between 8-10 AM and in the evening between 4-6 PM. He remarked that it was because of the pollution on the streets and the school he claimed believed that pollution affected the development of the children. I never went on to verify these claims and accepted them as maybe the norm.