Archive for the ‘World Health Organization’ Category

My friend a private medical practitioner in Kota Kinabalu, who was one time before, Head of a government hospital in the interiors of Sabah, has been diagnosed for Tuberculosis (TB) and is undergoing treatment now.

I feel so sorry for him, he is so thin and half the size he use to be.

I ask him, how come you are doctor and you of all persons has got TB? His reply, bulk of his patients are illegals from Philippines and most of them got TB and he probably picked it up from them when they came for treatment in his clinic.

Wah!, so frightening!

So, I decided to do some homework on Tuberculosis (TB) and wanted to write a little about it. Not to put fear but to highlight to Premier Najib that there is serious diseases being brought into our shores in Sabah by illegals which numbers in millions.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the biggest threats to public health according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). It seems that South-East Asia Region has one death a minute because of TB. WHO says that although the total number of people affected by the disease has steadily declined in the last decade, there are five million people living with TB in the region — a third of the global burden — and more than 3 million are affected every year.

This Thursday is World Tuberculosis Day. World Health Organisation, has emphasised the need for greater innovation for strategy, diagnostics and new drugs, and universal access to health services to successfully fight tuberculosis. With resistance to current drugs being a persistent threat, new and effective drugs for TB are urgently needed as there are large numbers of transient population moving from one country to another without proper medical checks.

“There have been significant achievements in the past decade, according to WHO. However they say, globally we have a limited number of options to seriously tackle TB. Our best available strategy, and one that must be strengthened further if we are to have a chance of achieving our goals, is basic directly observed treatment, short course (DOTS),” said Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

Expansion and strengthening of DOTS in the South East Asia region has resulted in over two million people with TB being successfully treated every year. As a result, the proportion of the region’s population becoming affected with TB has been declining each year and is now a quarter less than the 1990 levels, while the number of deaths has reduced by 44 per cent.

Good performance of DOTS in the region has lowered multi-drug resistance (MDR-TB) among newly detected cases of TB. However, given the large number of TB cases in the Region, this translates to 1,30,000 people MDR-TB, accounting for a third of all the world’s MDR-TB cases. Costs of treating MDR-TB are high — nearly 100 times a normal case of TB, requiring high resource inputs and mobilisation by the governments, which would mean approximately $ 400 million each year for emerging cases in the Region.

In Malaysia, health care services in TB must be expanded to include providers outside the purview of the Ministry of Health, such as town councils, Rela, police, immigration, military and prison health services and private providers.

There are many such institutions across Malaysia, such as medical colleges, private practitioners, large public and private hospitals, corporate institutions, non-governmental organisations, faith-based Christian organisations including my church Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB), who are now working with national TB programmes. In addition, an increasing number of private laboratories have been included in national diagnostic networks, and this is good and need to praise our Director of Health Services Malaysia, as, he is putting serious initiatives and have contributed to the improved detection and treatment of the disease in Malaysia, nevertheless.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had mental illness in 2009. No wonder, I always thought that the Americans were a little strange compared with people any where else. It was the Americans in high places whom I always thought was a little different and it worried me if they were mentally OK. People like George Bush, Al Gore and Rumsfeld and many others for example.

Read here story from CNBC
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had mental illness in 2009

CHICAGO – More than 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of U.S. adults, had some form of mental illness last year, and 11 million had a serious illness, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday.

Young adults aged 18 to 25 had the highest level of mental illness at 30 percent, while those aged 50 and older had the lowest, with 13.7 percent, said the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.

The rate, slightly higher than last year’s 19.5 percent figure, reflected increasing depression, especially among the unemployed, SAMHSA, part of the National Institutes of Health, said.

“Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed,” Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA’s administrator, said in a statement.

“The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating. If left untreated mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity, and family discord.”

The 2009 mental health survey hints at the impact of record unemployment rates, which last year hit a 25-year high as struggling employers slashed jobs to cope with a weak economy.

For many, lost employment meant loss of health insurance, leaving many of the nation’s mentally ill unable to get treatment.

According to the survey, 6.1 million adults last year had a mental health need that went untreated, and 42.5 percent said it was because they could not afford it.

It found 14.8 million Americans had major depression last year, and 10 percent of the jobless did, compared with 7.5 of retired people or those not in the job force, 7.3 percent who worked part time and 5.4 percent who worked full time.

Only 64 percent of adults aged 18 or older with major depression were treated last year, compared with 71 percent a year ago.

Being jobless also increased the risk of suicide.

Adults who were unemployed last year were twice as likely to have serious thoughts of suicide as people who were fully employed, with 6.6 percent of the unemployed considering suicide, compared with 3.1 percent of those who were working.

The survey also found that 23.8 percent of women had some form of mental illness, compared with 15.6 percent of men.

Copyright 2010 Reuters

Read here : Are We Going Mad


Are we going bonkers !? Is it just me or are we all going CRAZY !?

A friend of mine says he hear voices all the time in his head and he says GOD is talking to him. He tells me he cannot sleep. He tells me he had just gone for psychological evaluation. When he told me I was a little shocked but I chose not to ask any questions. I figure if he has something to open up about, then probably best to just let him talk. But I was also bugging a little bit because I too was curious.

He said there wasn’t anything wrong with him and he just wanted to get some answers from me regarding the voices in his head. Maybe he just wanted to hear something else from some outside entity with no personal involvement whatsoever.

Either way it struck me as little odd. I couldn’t help but to think the work place may have gotten to him a bit or even his family or it could be a love affair which turn sour.

But he has just turned 25.

I couldn’t really understand why a 25 year old is going through this.

I mean he is so young, yes life just started and he does not have many problems but for some reasons he felt he needed psychological evaluation because of the voices he keeps hearing.

Then there is this 20-something year old girl who walks up to me while I’m having coffee with my friend Alex, somewhere in Kota Kinabalu, and tells me “Abang, I wanna kiss you now and if you don’t allow I’m going to strip here, you have been smiling at me and I cannot take it anymore”. I don’t even know this cute little thing, never saw her before, but she seems to know me. I was so shocked and so was my friend Alex. Never have I encountered anything like this in my entire life. Something very new.

I asked “Are we going crazy?” This is bananas!

I meant are we all just going crazy and we don’t know it?

I meant I want some answers too (but to what?)

Where do i start?

I can’t lie that sometimes I too feel crazy, wacky and weird.

But when I look and listen to my friend and the girl who came up to me, I just cant help but to think: “what if we cant pull it together and we just snap?”

Will we be able to prevent it?

Will we be able to pinpoint it?

Will we be able to express it in a positive way?

When I look around today I cant help but to take notice to the fact that there are more and more sadistic crimes being committed as well as more desperation, depression, scandals to say the least.

I don’t know if I am watching TV3 or reading the news or a tabloid sometimes. I watch the news and they are reporting on the death of Teoh Beng Hock while being interrogated by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) in their custody…shit! I also hear in the same news a Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu @ Aminah who had a secret relationship with Prime Minister was brutally murdered and her remains destroyed with C-4 explosives in a deserted area in Shah Alam, by some cops linked to the Prime Minister himself. Then there is a story all over the internet saying young Indian boys beaten to pulp by cops, in police stations, and a number of them even killed in police custody, like the poor chap Kugan, who was foaming in his mouth before death. I guess that’s news also. Just like how Anwar Ibrahim got his famous black eye from the Inspector General of Police himself.

When I think about the day to day it worries me and I become overwhelmed. Then when I think about the countless amount of folks who continue to go on each day, we are survivors of some of the most cataclysmic occurrences in history to date. Yet we are victims and very well may be perpetrators of even more indescribable events that have shaped our very way of living.

Its hard not to feel a little crazy sometimes or to feel like you are going to snap any minute because of all these stories and these happening right in front of us.

I mean whom of us is really exempt?

It could be because of an annoying boss or crappy job, a nagging wife or husband, kids, girlfriend drama, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, $$$, bills, health or sheer bad luck or whatever or maybe just the day to day hustle and bustle of trying to be progressive and productive and forward our career or improve our life, or maybe we are just fed up.

That’s when the pressure builds up, and at that point, or at any given moment any one of us could snap.

Its been said that many of our political leaders may have been a little nuts or ultimately driven mad. And if we look today we can see living testaments to that in some of our leaders, to say the least.

I look out my window and I see Pulau Gaya, I watch the television, listen to the radio, read the paper and I find more than enough evidence to support the theory that we’re going mad. “Man kills wife, wife kills husband, lover kills lover, man jumps down from high-rise building, drug overdose, Mongolian model C4ed, law maker breaks the law and all these sounds like “THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END” to me.

The thought alone is enough to drive me to say “What the Fucks!

I mean its all enough to drive any “sane” person over the edge. But for us who think we are the “sane” ones I ask “Are we really crazy and just don’t know it?, how do we know, do we know our breaking point, will we be able to prevent it, curtail or direct it in a positive fashion? Will it bend or snap?

So will we resort to psychopathic drugs like ECSTASY…”K”…LSD..COCAINE, which is so easily available and which is the obvious choice?

THAT’S CRAZY! WHAT MADNESS…..360 degrees of Insanity

But funny it seems that it may be this same madness that drives us to succeed and pushes us to new limits and bounds that show the continuous evolution of human in society as a whole.

As my Late DAD use to tell me ” son, you got to be a little crazy to deal with this or put up with that”.

So am I the crazy one here?

Guys this is interesting, most of my family members and friends just love to pop VITAMINS. And I’m afraid that really would push me over the edge whenever I tell them not to overindulge in VITAMINS..

So, that’s that. I’ll keep exercising, of course. I’ll eat a reasonably healthy diet, mutton curry including some grilled meat (carcinogen! probably!) here and there. I’ll enjoy a few beers, laugh whenever possible, and plenty of sex and — yes — smoke my daily THC.

Wish me luck. A close friend once told me “I’ve heard that life can result in death. Better watch out for that one”

All those who want to live long here is the new study….

A new study by Catherine Fields the Professor of Nutrition from the University of Alberta say that eating food rich in nutrients is more than enough to boost our immunity against colds and flu instead of just popping too many vitamins.

The good Professor Catherine a dietitian, in her study say “almost all vitamins and minerals play some role in ensuring an optimal immune response…but high doses do not help and may do harm,.”

Here are the vitamins and minerals to fight viruses, and in which food they are found, most, based on the evidence provided by Professor Catherine.

Vitamin C: Optimal vitamin C status has been identified as important for the immune cells involved in defence against viruses.

The main function of vitamin C is to help heal cuts and wounds; keep gum, teeth, and bones healthy; keep blood vessel walls strong and help absorb iron from the foods we eat.

Despite being studied for over 40 years, there is insufficient evidence to advise taking more vitamin C to prevent colds or the flu. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men (an additional 35 mg should be added for smokers).

This is easily obtained by having one to two servings of vitamin C rich citrus fruits (such as oranges), or vegetables like sweet peppers and broccoli.

A higher dose of vitamin C is not without side effects such as causing digestive problems.

Zinc: Zinc is important for the cells involved in defence against viruses. Zinc is also involved in many bodily functions. It supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.

It is also required for a proper sense of smell and taste so that low zinc status can influence your appetite and enjoyment of food.

The current RDA for zinc is eight mg for women and 11 mg for men. The best sources of zinc are seafood, meat, seeds, cooked dried beans, peas and lentils.

A serving of lentils (3/4 cup) provides almost two mg of zinc. Plant sources are less reliable as the level of zinc in plants depends on the content in the soil.

As a result, vegetarians who mainly depend on plant sources of nutrients are advised to consult a dietitian to ensure their needs are being met.

Selenium: Although selenium is important for a healthy immune system, there is little evidence that consuming selenium supplements will reduce the risk of viral infections.

Recommended amounts are small, only 55 micrograms daily for adults, readily obtained from nuts, seafood, organ meat, pork and whole grains. Half a cup of cooked brown rice provides eight to 10 micrograms of selenium and a serving of mixed nuts (or 1/4th cup) has about 150 micrograms of selenium.

Viral infections, such as the flu, are often associated with a fever. However, there is no evidence that “starving a fever” by reducing the amount of food eaten will reduce a fever, says the University of Alberta statement.

In fact, a fever is a helpful means used by our own immune system in order to fight off the viral infection. If we stop eating, the immune system doesn’t work as well and all of the nutrients mentioned above, as well as many others, are important to the immune system.

The bottom line is “the key to good health is eating a well-planned balanced diet that focuses on variety”, concludes Professor Catherine.

An average Malaysian eats the equivalent of 26 teaspoons of sugar a day. Doctors say this is leading to a rise in the number of diabetics in the country.

This is worrying health planners who want the government to discourage advertising of food products, particularly those aimed at children.

Health officials believe the sugar content in a product should be mentioned on the label in red, orange or green.

Early this year, the country was ranked the world’s eighth highest sugar user. According to a 2005 survey, Malaysians consumed 17 teaspoons of sugar per person per day in the 1970s. But Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris says the consumption might have increased further by now.

Former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad confirmed that Malaysia is the eighth highest sugar user in the world.

Malaysians consume sugar in the form of soft drinks, condensed milk, flavoured drinks, junk food and even breakfast cereals.

Production is geared to the Malaysian sweet tooth.

A CAP survey revealed that some drinks and food contained 10 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving.

Idris said a brand of orange juice contained 40.8 teaspoons of sugar in a two-litre pack, while a brand of cordial syrup had 200 teaspoons in a two-litre bottle.

As a result, Idris said the International Diabetes Institute recorded Malaysia as having the fourth highest number of diabetics in Asia with 800,000 cases in 2007, which is expected to increase to 1.3 million in 2010.

“Sugar is linked to over 60 ailments such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, osteoporosis, kidney problems, asthma and allergies.”

According to the health ministry’s statistics, 11.6 million of the 16 million adults nationwide are sick with a non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension or cancer.

“Malaysia has the most overweight and obese people in Asia with 54 percent of the adult population either being obese or overweight,” Idris said.

“CAP calls on the government to work with food manufacturers to avoid sugar in their products,” he added.

“The government should also stop advertisements of highly-sugared drinks and food during children’s television viewing hours, and educate school children and the public on the dangers of excessive sugar intake,” Idris said.

Long-term consumption of soy products dramatically cuts down the risk of ischemic stroke, according to new research.

Ischemic stroke is the most common kind of stroke, caused by an interruption of the blood flow to the brain.

The research found people who consumed 50 grams of soy products a week reduced stroke risk. Those who ate between 50 to 300 grams of soy had a greater drop still, while those consuming 300 grams or more a week had the most health benefits.

As stroke is a major public health problem worldwide, Colin Binns, professor at Curtin University of Technology (CUT), who led the research, said the study could have important international outcomes.

“Stroke kills about five million people a year as well as causing considerable disability so these research findings will have long range health and financial consequences for individuals and governments,” he said.

“This research shows that long-term consumption of soy products can dramatically reduce the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, accounting for 70 percent of all strokes that occur.

“We found that soybean and soy milk had the biggest benefit on stroke reduction over products like tofu, though consuming any one of these products will be beneficial.”

The research was conducted in 2007-08 in southern China where there was a large, fairly homogenous population that had similar diets and lifestyles and a relatively high stroke rate.

“Even though the study was carried out in southern China, we believe that eating soy products will have the same effect on western diets,” Binns said.

The study was published in Neuroepidemiology.

A total of 816 people died of swine flu/H1N1 worldwide, with most of the deaths occurring in South America, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.

So far, 707 people have died in the Americas, 44 in South-East Asia, 34 in Europe, 30 in the Western Pacific region and one in the Eastern Mediterranean region, the UN agency said.

In addition, more than 20 countries such as Afghanistan, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Haiti, Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Solomon Islands, among others, have confirmed swine flu cases since July 6.

A total of 134,503 people worldwide have been affected by the influenza A(H1N1) virus, also called swine flu, so far. The actual figure may be much higher, as countries are no longer required to report swine flu cases, WHO said

Want to retain your sight as you age? Well, eat a diet full of fruit and vegetables daily, say researchers.

A new study, led by Indian-origin scientist Usha Chakravarthy of Queen’s University in Belfast, has revealed that antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables may slow down sight loss in many elderly people.

Age-related muscular regeneration (AMD), an incurable eye disease which causes blurring of central vision, affect a number of aged people across the world.

For their study, the researchers developed a new antioxidant supplement and tested it on more than 400 people across Ireland to check whether nutritional supplements helped sharpen vision.

The subjects, with an average age of 77, took part in clinical trials investigating whether rich antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables could prevent progression to the more serious late AMD.

The study showed the intake of high levels preserved the muscular pigments, slowing down the progression from early AMD to late AMD. In contrast, muscular pigments of participants in a group given placebos declined steadily.

“These findings are important as this is the first randomised controlled clinical trial to document a beneficial effect via improved function and maintained muscular pigment.

“Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to identify the numbers needed to treat to prevent one case from progressing from early to late AMD,” Chakravarthy was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying.

Want to know the secret to longevity? Just rev up your diet with fresh fruits, green tea, fish and red wine

“Breast milk is responsible for higher IQ and leads to lesser chances of having diabetes, hypertension and asthma. It has long term advantages even when the baby grows up into an adult and therefore ensures longevity,” says Dr. Arun Soni, consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s Department of Neonatology.

“It is a complete food for babies. It is hygienic. It gives extra immunity to the body of the baby and protects them from illnesses,” he says.

Dr. Seema Puri of Department of Nutrition at Institute of Home Economics says dietary adjustments may not only influence present health but may determine whether or not an individual will develop diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes much later in life.

Dr. Puri recommends a high intake of vegetables (particularly wild plants), fruits, nuts and cereals mostly in the form of sourdough bread rather than pasta, more olives and olive oil, less milk more cheese, more fish and less meat.

Consumption of specific foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits, fish, green tea, red wine, soy, nuts and seeds, garlic and turmeric may also have a beneficial effect on health.

“Scientific evidence increasingly supports the view that alterations in the diet have strong effects both positive and negative on health throughout life,” she says.

Constituents like fibre and several phytochemicals in these foods bestow antioxidant, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and immuno-enhancing properties – all contribute to lowered disease risk and hence increased longevity, experts say.

High fruit and vegetable consumption has been consistently associated with protection against muscular degeneration, visual loss, cataracts, respiratory disease, and breast, stomach and colorectal cancer.

Shashi Mathur, principal dietitian at Ganga Ram hospital cites the Japanese saying they have the world’s longest life expectancy, which has been attributed in part to their increased intake of fruit and fat and reduced intake of salty traditional dishes.

With the number of old in the world increasing due to better living conditions, scientists are renewing their research into what is essential for a long life.

Nutrition is coming to the fore as a major modifiable determinant of chronic disease and age-related decline.

The process of determining the lifeline of an individual in fact begins right after birth with breast milk being touted as the best and complete food which provides an early immunity to the body.

Malaysia’s first case of swine flu infection or also known as  A(H1N1) infection has been just confirmed by The Health Ministry. A 21 year old Malaysian student who had just returned from the United States of America has been confirmed as Malaysia’s first case of A(H1N1) infection.

In a statement today, Health Department director-general Dr Ismail Merican said that the 21-year-old youth was warded in the Sungai Buloh Hospital on May 14 after suffering fever, sore throat and body aches, after returning from the United States a day before.

However, Dr Merican said that the public has no reason to panic as his department was collaborating with all relevant agencies to ensure that monitoring works were intensified and other proactive measures were taken to protect public health.

The Director General of Health Dr Merican also assured that the situation is under control and there is no need to panic

In PENANG, a fellow from Bukit Mertajam on the mainland, who was held a few days under observation at the isolation ward of the Penang Hospital has been declared free of swine flu.

A test on a sample of his blood sent to Kuala Lumpur was confirmed negative.

Two weeks ago, a New Zealand tourist was also admitted to the isolation ward of the Penang GH hospital for suspected swine flu /Influenza A (H1N1) but a blood test also showed up negative.