Thursday, 16 January 2014

[] Meet an Extraordinary Indian: Dr Vijaykumar Pannikar, who has battled leprosy worldwide for nearly 40 years.


Meet an Extraordinary Indian: Dr Vijaykumar Pannikar, who has battled leprosy worldwide for nearly 40 years.
There is an imbalance in the way WHO thinks as well.
Diseases that affect the rich are given priority. If five people die of H1N1 in the USA, it's an emergency.
Every day millions of children die of diarrhoea in Africa, but it's not high priority.
Every day 100,000 children die of TB in Africa, but it's not a priority.
So many children die before they are a year old, but nobody is bothered.
Unfortunately, money, which should go to the poor is diverted for the rich man's disease.Dr Vijaykumar
Pannikar won the 2009 International Gandhi Award for his work on leprosy.

Dr Vijaykumar Pannikar A team leader of the World Health Organisation's Global Leprosy Programme from March 2005 to November 2009, Dr Pannikar worked with WHO on leprosy-related programmes for 20 years.

Up for retirement next month, Dr Pannikar now divides his time between a small village in Karnataka near Hosur, and New Delhi.
You wanted to be a space scientist or a physicist, but went on to study medicine. Why?

In my time, medicine was the most sought after course. My parents wanted me to study medicine and become a doctor. They said if you can't get into medicine, do whatever you want.

I got admission to many medical colleges, but joined the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune. My parents were not very well off, so I chose AFMC as it offered free education for all the five years.

As my father was in the army and had to move to many locations, we were stationed at Pune. So I did my schooling and college in Pune as well.

In the final year, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary problem, so I was not allowed to work in the army. So I joined AFMC as a lecturer for undergraduates in anatomy.

How did you move from being a lecturer at AFMC to treating leprosy patients?

In 1972, my professor at AFMC asked me to meet the chief trustee of an NGO that was running the Dr Bandorawalla Leprosy Hospital in Pune. He desperately needed a doctor to take care of the 600-odd leprosy patients at the hospital.

And here's an aside -- patients murdered the earlier doctor apparently because he was unkind!

And you were not frightened?

No, I honestly wasn't. I just wanted to do something different. I had visited the hospital as a student, and it had left an impression on my mind. I don't know what it was.

That's why I decided to take it up when my professor asked me to. Sure, my family was worried in the beginning.

Were the patients hostile?

No, they were not and basically, they just wanted someone to take care of them. Within a few minutes of meeting them, they accepted me.

There were about 600 patients, some there throughout their life; some for a short duration, some very old and some, children.

At the time, the only treatment available was Dapsone. All the patients queued up in the morning before food and the tablet was put in their mouth. Thereafter, breakfast was served.

If any one of them did not queue up for the tablet, they were not served medicine that day. I thought it was like a prison.

I decided to make their lives a little bit better. I wanted the administration to change their attitude to the patients; I wanted them to respect the patients and I did not want them treated so shabbily.
Full article in the link below.

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[] symptoms


Cancer Symptoms You Are Most Likely to Ignore

Chest discomfort (ThinkStock)
Chest pain doesn't necessarily mean cancer, but it's an early sign for some patients

Routine tests and checkups, like pap smears and colonoscopies, are important -- but don't rely on tests alone to protect you from cancer. It's just as important to listen to your body and notice anything that's different, odd, or unexplainable. Although many of these symptoms could be caused by less serious conditions, they're worth getting checked out if they persist. You don't want to join the ranks of cancer patients who realize too late that symptoms they'd noticed for a long time could have sounded the alarm earlier, when cancer was easier to cure.
For Both Men and Women

Wheezing or Shortness of Breath
One of the first signs lung cancer patients remember noticing when they look back is the inability to catch their breath. "I couldn't even walk across the yard without wheezing. I thought I had asthma, but how come I didn't have it before?" is how one woman described it. Thyroid cancer can also cause breathing problems if a nodule or tumor begins to press on the trachea, or windpipe. Any breathing difficulties that persist are reason to visit the doctor.
Swallowing Problems or Hoarseness
Most commonly associated with esophageal or throat cancer, difficulty swallowing is sometimes one of the first signs of lung cancer, too. A hoarse or low, husky voice or the feeling of something pressing on the throat can be an early indicator of thyroid cancer or a precancerous thyroid nodule, as can the feeling of having something stuck in your windpipe.

Frequent Fevers or Infections
These can be signs of leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells that starts in the bone marrow. Leukemia causes the marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells, which crowd out healthy white cells, sapping the body's infection-fighting capabilities. Often, doctors diagnose leukemia only after the patient has been in a number of times complaining of fever, achiness, and flu-like symptoms over an extended period of time.
Upset Stomach
As simple as it sounds, a good old-fashioned bellyache is what tipped off a number of lucky folks, whose doctors ordered ultrasounds and discovered early that they had tumors on their livers. Stomach cramps or frequent upset stomachs may indicate colorectal cancer; many cancer patients say their doctors thought they had ulcers.

Weakness and Fatigue
"I kept having to sit down at work, and one night I was too tired to drive home," said one woman in describing the fatigue that led her to discover she had leukemia. Generalized fatigue and weakness is a symptom of so many different kinds of cancer that you'll need to look at it in combination with other symptoms. But any time you feel exhausted without explanation and it doesn't respond to getting more sleep, talk to your doctor.
Unexplained Weight Loss
If you notice the pounds coming off and you haven't made changes to your diet or exercise regime, you need to ask why. Weight loss is an early sign of colon and other digestive cancers; it's also a sign of cancer that's spread to the liver, affecting your appetite and the ability of your body to rid itself of wastes.
Changes in Fingernails
Unexplained changes to the fingernails can be a sign of several types of cancer. A brown or black streak or dot under the nail can indicate skin cancer, while newly discovered "clubbing" -- enlargement of the ends of the fingers, with nails that curve down over the tips -- can be a sign of lung cancer. Pale or white nails can be an indication that your liver is not functioning properly, sometimes a sign of liver cancer.

Chronic "Acid Stomach" or Feeling Full After a Small Meal
The most common early sign of stomach cancer is pain in the upper or middle abdomen that feels like gas or heartburn. It may be aggravated by eating, so that you feel full when you haven't actually eaten much. What's particularly confusing is that the pain can be relieved by antacids, falsely confirming your conclusion that it was caused by acid in the stomach, when it's more than that. If you have frequent bouts of acid stomach, an unexplained abdominal ache, or a full feeling after meals even when you're eating less than normal, call your doctor.

Chronic Heartburn
If you just ate half a pizza, heartburn is expected. But if you have frequent episodes of heartburn or a constant low-level feeling of pain in the chest after eating, call your doctor and ask about screening for esophageal cancer. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) -- a condition in which stomach acid rises into the esophagus, causing heartburn and an acidic taste in the throat -- can trigger a condition called Barrett's esophagus, which can be a precursor of esophageal cancer.
Bowel Problems
Constipation, diarrhea, and changes in stools can all be signs of cancer. As with many other cancer symptoms, the way to tell if this is cause for concern is if it goes on for more than a few days without a clear cause, such as flu or food poisoning. People diagnosed with colon cancer say they noticed more frequent stools, as well as a feeling that their bowels weren't emptying completely. One of the early signs of pancreatic cancer is fatty stools, which can be recognized as frequent, large stools that are paler than normal and smelly. This is a sign that your body's not absorbing your food normally, and it should be brought to your doctor's attention.
About the Author behind this Article : 
Melanie Haiken, Senior Editor who is responsible for Caring website's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions when she was health editor of Parenting magazine. She has written about health and family-related issues for magazines such as Health , Real Simple , Woman's Day , Yoga Journal , and websites such as, WebMD, and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield websites (, managed by Consumer Health Interactive. Melanie has held positions as Executive Editor at the Industry Standard and , and Managing Editor at San Francisco magazine. She has also worked for San Francisco's renowned Center for Investigative Reporting. She has a master's degree in Journalism and a B.A. in English, both from the University of California at Berkeley.   
Melanie cared for her father while he battled esophageal cancer, which ended his life much too soon. She currently cares for her mother, who has multiple health problems including low vision. Melanie is a single mother of two daughters, so she understands the complicated pressures on the so-called "sandwich generation."   

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