World Health Day – Moving Towards a Healthier and Happier World

world health dayUniversal healthcare is not an issue, it is the ONLY issue, that needs the most attention! WHO understood this fact way back in 1948 when they held the First World Health Assembly. It was this assembly, when 7th April of each year was celebrated as World Health Day. Every year, WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the day related to a particular theme, which is put forward to address the current issues and concerns related to world health. This year’s theme is Universal Health Coverage, which encourages various countries and organisations to make healthcare and basic facilities accessible to everyone, regardless of how rich or poor they may be.
Ponty Chadha Foundation’s ideology resonates with the theme of this year’s World Health Day and it is diligently doing its part in achieving universal health coverage for all. It organises various free health check-up camps for underprivileged people and distributes free medicine. While organisations like WHO and Ponty Chadha Foundation are doing their part for the greater purpose of universal healthcare, it can only be attained with an active participation from everyone.

Here’s how you can help in realising the dream of universal healthcare coverage:

1. Become an aware and responsible citizen
As a responsible citizen, you must be aware of everything your policymakers are up to, especially when it comes to health-related laws and policies. Communicate your needs, opinions, and expectations to local policy-makers, politicians, ministers and other people representatives.

2. Connect with local NGOs/NPOs, SHG, etc. working for the cause
The world is full of people and organisations who are working towards finding a solution for bigger health related issues. All you need to do, is make a little effort in finding and connecting with them. Help them in their efforts and make all the right noise to ensure that your community health is taken into account and addressed.

3. Volunteer
Universal healthcare inclusion is too important a job to be left only for the government. We all must do our part to make this possible. As an individual contributor, you can volunteer at a local health check camp, organise a blood donation camp or even donate a small proportion of your earning to the people who are working towards the same.

4. Engage & encourage others
Engage your neighbours, friends and community members by organising activities like discussion forums, school lectures, debates, marches, concerts, etc. to provide people with an opportunity to make their concerns heard by their chosen representatives. You can also use various social media channels and engage with likeminded people.
Universal healthcare coverage is a mission which ensures that all people get quality health services without any financial hardships. This mission can never be fulfilled until and unless we all understand and bear our responsibility towards the under-privileged sections of society. This World Health Day, let us all take a sincere pledge to do everything in our capacity to make sure that no human remains unhealed, and no soul remains unloved.

Source: Ponty Chadha Website

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Raising Awareness on World Down Syndrome Day and Beyond

downsyndrome

Down syndrome is one of the most common chromosome abnormalities in humans, found in one out of every 1000 newborns each year. However, the society, including most of the parents of babies with Down syndrome, has so much to learn about this, especially in developing countries like India.

Keeping this in mind, World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) was first observed in 2006 in many countries around the world. Acknowledging this, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day – the 21st day of the third month; to signify the triplication of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome. Here, we are trying to simplify the disorder so that everyone knows and understands the fact that children with this condition are not sick or suffering; they just have one extra chromosome.

What is Down syndrome?
To put it simply, Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) is a chromosomal abnormality where a child is born with three copies of the 21st chromosome (as shown in the picture).

When babies are being developed, they receive 23 chromosomes from their mother contained in her egg and 23 chromosomes from their father contained in his sperm, totalling 46 chromosomes. Children with Down syndrome are born with an extra 21st chromosome.

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Characteristics of children with Down syndrome:
While the effect of this disorder may differ from child to child, most of the affected ones are observed with the following physical characteristics:
● Flat facial features
● Small head and ears
● Short neck
● Bulging tongue
● Upward slanted eyes
● Atypically shaped ears
● Poor muscle tone

Children with Down syndrome usually have some degree of developmental disability, but it’s often mild to moderate. If not paid attention to, the children might show behavioural properties like:
● Impulsive behaviour
● Poor judgment
● Short attention span
● Slow learning capabilities

How to raise a kid with Down syndrome:
First thing a parent should do is learn as much as possible about the condition. After that, one can look for help at other support groups, talk to therapists and get in contact with other parents who have already been through this. Apart from this, here are few things that might help such parents:
● Give your child chores around the house. Just break them up into small steps and be patient
● Have your child play with other kids who do and don’t have Down syndrome
● Keep your expectations high as your child tries and learns new things
● Make time to play, read, have fun, and go out together
● Avoid saying “That’s wrong” to correct mistakes. Instead, say, “Try it again”
● As you work with doctors, therapists, and teachers, focus on your child’s needs rather than on the condition
● Look at what your child is learning at school and see if you can work those lessons into your home life

While all these tips will certainly help your children in the longer run, one thing they need the most from you is love. Kids with Down syndrome need and deserve as much love as other kids.

Contributing towards making the society more understanding towards children with special needs like in the case of Down syndrome, The Ponty Chadha Foundation runs Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan, a school for specially-abled kids. MBCN makes sure that these children get a holistic learning experience and a supportive environment, empowering them to achieve maximum independence while defeating their conditions.

On this World Down Syndrome Day, let us all take a pledge to create a society that is more supportive and loving towards the children with special needs.

What you must know this World Cancer Day

cancer dayThe World Cancer Day is observed globally every year on February 4 to unite the world and reflect on & raise awareness about cancer. Promoted under the theme for the year ‘We Can. I Can.’, this life-changing initiative is pivotal in making the world cancer-free.

An abnormal proliferation of cells, cancer can metastasize (spread) in multiple cases and become more difficult to be treated on. Rather than being a disease itself, it is a group of 100+ different diseases. And as opposed to what some may believe, cancer is not contagious.

If we look at the stats in India, it’s staggering that there are over 2.5 million cancer-affected, which is more than enough to stress on the need to make the nation aware about it. Also, about 3,95,400 people have died due to this fatal malady. The deeper we dive into the data, the more astounding it keeps getting. Hence, it’s of paramount importance to take necessary steps in order to curb it.

There are several types of cancers and preventive measures. Some major precautionary means might include regular physical exercise, diet control, a tobacco-free lifestyle, and so on. Although they can enable an individual to keep it at bay, only proper awareness on cancer can help us be cautious against it.

Therefore, this World Cancer Day, let’s pledge to adopt a healthy lifestyle and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from this predicament.

Source: http://www.thepontychadhafoundation.org/blog/health/what-you-must-know-this-world-cancer-day/

World Toilet Day: How long till we take the poo to the loo?

24X7 Radio jingles, major ad campaigns, constant news updates, and hoardings that you can’t ignore. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has certainly swept us off our feet, and how! While several measures have been taken to create a cleaner, more sustainable environment – toilets still remain a bone of contention for India. As of today, over 50% of Indian households still don’t have properly constructed toilets, and that is truly shameful, considering the fact that the mission for proper sanitation started off approximately three years ago.

World Toilet Day is observed on the 19th of November each year, and is a reminder of the importance of hygienic sanitation, which is, needless to say – a necessity. For India, however, World Toilet Day serves as an alert, wherein we take stock of the current critical situation, analyse the progress, and speed up the progress.

892 still practice open defecation, and what may come as a surprise to many, is the fact that this unhygienic practice finds its roots in social evils like untouchability and caste discrimination. According to a lot of Indian villagers, defecating in open spaces is synonymous with being pure. While building toilets is a great initiative, educating the masses and instilling a sense of realisation is even more crucial for the cause. MBCN, through its social platforms, aims to spread the word and enhance people’s knowledge on the importance of toilets and their usage.

We are living in the 21st century, and what should be sorted at the basic level, still remains a big chunk in the road to our overall progress and growth as a nation. While several people are beginning to understand the urgency of the situation, we have a lot of scope, with a lot of action that needs to be taken in improving the sanitation, and overall well being of the citizens.

Source: Ponty Chadha Website

Newborn Care Week – Taking the right measures at the right time

Infant mortality has always been a concern the world over, but more so in India. In 2016, India had an 8% decline in infant mortality, which was an improvement from prior years. In 2017, a number of robust campaigns and thought-provoking advertisements have definitely aided to the cause, and have created positive ripples of hope across India for many families.

Newborn Care Week, which is in sync with this pivotal cause, is celebrated every year, with an aim to generate awareness and suggest the necessary measures to improve health of newborn babies, while boosting child survival rates.

It is extremely sad to see thousands of babies die every year due to sheer negligence or lack of knowledge. What most people don’t realise is that a newborn’s first four weeks are the most crucial.

Some of the most common causes for death among the newborn:

  • Infection
  • Lack of oxygen for the baby
  • Premature birth
  • Delivery complications
  • Birth defects

Observing Newborn Care Week is extremely important in helping curb diseases and disorders in children as well. Speech and hearing impairments are often caused due to careless handling, and irresponsibility on behalf of the parents or caretakers. The right prenatal care is essential for healthy pregnancy and for a healthy newborn.

What are some of the suggestive measures?

  • Educating expectant mothers during pregnancy
  • Basic care during pregnancy, besides nutrition counselling and supplementation of vitamins and iron
  • Institutional/Hospital deliveries to be encouraged
  • Early diagnosis of health issues in newborns and prompt referral to hospitals for the best care and treatment
  • Timely vaccinations for the newborn

Each year, MBCN advocates various important measures around Newborn Care Week, which should not be ignored or left hanging. Ambiguity gives birth to despair, and taking precaution is the way forward, that can help us create a healthier world for our newborns, who have every right to live fit, wholesome lives.

Source: Ponty Chadha

Learning Kindness Through The Children Of Today

With the world that turns colder and harder by the minute, random acts of kindness are what we need to keep our humane spirit alive. These days, with social media gripping every nerve, we scroll through our Facebook and Twitter news feed, only to be saddened by how cruel and inconsiderate people have become. Whether it is towards other people or animals, there is a dearth of compassion and respect on all levels. With that being said, if there is a ray of hope, it is our children, who remain untouched by the brutal ways of the world. Their innocence and open hearts, willing to love and learn, are like a breath of fresh air for our society, and for the stifled environments we create for ourselves.

When we speak of humanity, it is important to stop and think twice about how we treat those who have some form of disability. Do we laugh at them, or do we reach out to them with a non-judgemental hand? Do we ignore them, or do we include them the same way we include other people? Children, with their pure minds, are free of judgements and inhibitions when it comes to loving and accepting others.

At MBCN, we take immense pride in our kids with special abilities, who set beautiful examples of what kindness means. Our teachers don’t just teach a regular school curriculum, but also teach values and the importance of being a good, kind human being to the children, who soak up these attributes like sponges. These special children are a true embodiment of the larger vision we have for our society, which we hope someday will be free of racism, casteism, and narrow mindsets, giving birth to unkind behaviour.

Children are immanently kind. They don’t judge, they don’t get vicious thoughts, they don’t seek revenge, and they don’t let anger or hatred consume them. They act on instinct, without any expectations, and they love, without keeping a score. Whether it’s offering an old person a seat on the bus or helping an old lady with her grocery bags, children may be years apart in age, but they are years beyond us in wisdom and kindness.

This World Kindness Day, let’s take notes from the little ones, who have so much love and kindness to offer, and who can definitely teach us a thing or two, if not more about humanity!

World Cerebral Palsy Day – One Step At A Time In The Right Direction

In case you haven’t heard of the term before, cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder caused by a brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development. Cerebral palsy, or what is commonly referred to as CP, affects body movement and muscle coordination. Treatment for cerebral palsy depends on the patient, and the degree to which it affects him or her. The earlier it gets detected, the better chances one has for improvement.

Each year, October 6th is recognised as World Cerebral Palsy Day. Apart from creating awareness, it is an opportunity for one to celebrate and express pride in the many milestones people with cerebral palsy have achieved, despite their limitations. In addition to this, it is an opportunity for communities across the world to create a strong voice for cerebral palsy patients, which in turn, motivates them to go out and change the world for the better.

As an initiative to create a support group, MBCN recently held a #CerebralPalsyDay interaction session with parents of those affected. It was an open forum where they shared their challenges and feelings. Busting certain myths around CP and addressing pivotal issues, was the crux of this session. The parents were extremely happy with this session, and requested for similar sessions in the future as well. Here are some pictures for you to see:

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Cerebral palsy is a condition that needs to be treated with utmost care and concern. There are 17 million people across the world who live with cerebral palsy, and 35 million are closely connected with either a child or an adult who suffers from this condition. While apathy is necessary, educating the masses and creating a bridge of open communication is just as important.