Monday, 22 October 2012

H.E Shri Pranab Mukherjee and healthcare

"Four crore people plunge into poverty every year due to medical expenses" - said our learned PRESIDENT Shri Pranab Mukherjee.

"Almost 80 per cent of the expenditure on healthcare is met by personal, out of pocket, payment. As many as four crore people plunge into poverty each year due to expenses on medical treatment," he said.  He was addressing 40th convocation function of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the Capital. 

The full text of the article can be accessed here

What was immediately heart warming was the following:-

1. Here was a man despite being the President of the Country has his feet firmly on the ground to be connected with the miseries of the common man.

2.He advocated increase in public spending on health to about 2.5% of GDP which may be about 50,000 crores which is a substantial figure.


I went to a reputed hospital in Hyderabad about an year back to visit a relative who was admitted there.  As there were a number of visitors I sat in the waiting area along with my cousin who was also a doctor. Right in front of us was a "Dialysis" room and it was mentioned "Open 24 hours" on the door. "Who would come for Dialysis at night" I casually remarked to my cousin, who to my surprise informed me that all the Dialysis units in the city are operating at full capacity 24*7. "But, what is the need", said I,  at which point he surprised me further by informing that there is a shortage of Dialysis units in the City.  I found myself shaking my head wondering what made this situation come by?!

I read a bit further on this and was further shocked to know the following - India gets 1.5 lakh patients with kidney failures every year and a majority of them die within five years due to the acute shortage of dialysis units in the country, according to Dr D S Rana, secretary, Indian Society of Haemodialysis. “There are only 1,470 haemodialysis units in the whole country, whereas 40,000 of them are immediately required,” Dr Rana said at the fourth Congress of International Society for Haemodialysis held on March 3-5, 2011 in New Delhi. The full text is available here

How are more and more people getting affected? What emerged from my reading sounded scary.  The following  are some of the ingredients found in our daily use products:-

1.   Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is an ingredient used in commercial shampoos, but it's also used in engine degreasers. It can be stored throughout the body including in the eyes, brain, heart, and liver, and can even change genetic information in cells. It can react with other ingredients in shampoos and body cleansers to form carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins. With just one shampooing, large numbers of nitrates can be absorbed by the skin and enter the blood supply.
2.   Propylene glycol. Propylene is a major ingredient in industrial antifreeze as well as brake and hydraulic fluid. In personal care products, it helps retain moisture. It’s used in toothpastes, deodorants, lotions and shampoos, and it can cause kidney and liver damage.
3.   Para-dioxane. Para-dioxane, also known as 1,4-dioxane, is a probable carcinogen that is found in some children’s shampoos at levels above those deemed safe by the FDA. In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned a study of baby-care products that found 1,4-dioxane in 67 percent of products tested. The Environmental Working Group estimates that more than 25 percent of all personal-care products contain the chemical. Personal care products containing para-dioxane have been banned in Europe.
4.   Diethanolamine (DEA). DEA is found in hundreds of personal care products and is probably in your soap and shampoo. It causes cancer in rats when applied to the skin as well as damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs. (full text at

Considering that we are living with such kind of products, high tension jobs, junk foods, TV and a sedenatry lifestyle, there is bound to be an increase in diseases.

(to be continued.....)

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