Leprosy

Urvishi is unhappy and silent, walks sluggishly. Did ever Sahil before it watch her slothful? No, no, no. Might a humorous girl grow worried? And much distraught too. She is a silly girl. Silly, silly, silly. Sahil announces.

She fears leprosy might swallow Sahil in total. Might God punish her snatching a
loving friend? Oh, no, no, no. God! Why you don’t put sense in Sahil? She has heard from many quarters the tales of leprosy outcasts. It is a horrible disease.
Morning was hateful when Sahil had explained to her the gash over his left hand.

Oh dear Jesus! What an appalling thing going to be happened. Her face nervously went dry and white to ponder about it.
“Are these not the symptoms to leprosy?” She asks to herself then to Sahil.
“No” Sahil answers and explains to Urvishi that the vast majority of healthcare workers who look after leprosy patients commonly do not develop the disease.
“See, how mother Teresa looked after leprosy outcasts?” He praises mother Teresa and assures Urvishi. Worried Urvishi thinks about Belgian priest father Damien who had martyred his life for leprosy patients. Sahil hates to notice sulk on her face.

“Hey, what happened, dear?” He extends his smile.
“Nothing” Says Urvishi taking his hand in her own.
Chilly morning of January month gives them warmth of togetherness. They sit on a cement bench entering the main gate of botanical garden where Sahil clears the fogs before sitting. The golden rays of sun, yawning as if sylph kisses his face as he kisses Urvishi’ hands. But sulk does not disappear. A chirping flock of birds passes flying over their heads but birds’ happiness does not move her.

“I hate you when you worry about me. Do you think I shall die so early?” Sahil nudges her breaking the silence.
“Is that what you want to say and punish me with your ill words?” She is near to crying in frenzy. Sahil hushes apologetically. After a pause, he whispers.
“Urvishi dear- is it really important for you to fly out to Britain this week” He does abruptly change the subject knowing if he does not change, Urvishi might begin to weep cryingly otherwise, he before it, had enquired about it scores of times and her decision was final and unchanged. As well, parents too had approved the decision. Mummy was madly happy to send her daughter to Britain getting further study.

“Yes, yes, yes, everything is ready, daughter” Mummy announces- “Your dresses, magazines, food items and money is also arranged”
“Visa?”
“No problem, within a day or two, we shall get it also” Papa assures her.
Urvishi had completed her M. Phil in Psychology. What is the use of earning Ph. D from India? She reflected. Passionately, she had the long cherished dreams to seek higher education from Europe and cleared the test with higher rank to grab a seat in Cambridge university, England, the second oldest one in Great Britain after Oxford. Now on, many organizations were coming forward sponsoring her higher education. How could she put off the opportunity? She had explained to Sahil that she might stay there three-four years.
“Three four years?” Sahil saddened gloomily.

“Yes, but- if you say no, I shall abandon the idea of going there. It is not important” She says emotionally and holds Sahil’s hand. Sahil knows she is lying to him and herself. Her vivid blue eyes speak what is in her heart.
“No. Never. I would never stop you” Sahil presses her hands- “You must fly out and do what the destiny writes for you” And he gushes.
“Thanks, sweetheart” She smiles winningly and wraps him around waist.
“You take care in my absence” Sahil buzzes.
“Oh, yes, I do. You too take care.” Her eyes glow with tears.
“When will you positively come back?” Sahil mops her teary eyes and thinks why he again and again asking irrelevant questions. Hasn’t she explained to him earlier the all thing? Urvishi studies the curves of his face and utters gravely.
“Immediately after the thesis submission, I would be back, not a day late” She gushes- “I promise” And she touches a soft twig with his lips.
“But, you must consult your family doctor. I am worried about this gash” Then she touches her fingers onto the cut.
“I fear you get infection” At this, Sahil smiles mockingly.
“It is just a cut by knife, dear that I got yesterday night while slicing mangoes”
“Lie, lie, lie” She tosses the twig over him showing anger.

“Promise, it’s not a lie, darling” Sahil says pressing her hands.
After stroll, when they sit on a tea kiosk for tea, Sahil explains that leprosy generally does not spread through merely touching of infected person.
“Did Mother Teresa not touch patients? She touched, touched…again and again touched” But he realises that Urvishi does not seem believing in him. He is greatly puzzled how to convince Urvishi. In fact, Urvishi wants him to discard the mission of serving lepers.
“No, no, no”
“Why no, why no, yaar, there’re so many other spheres you can contribute” She advises him but Sahil only enjoys the company of lepers. For many years, he is doing this job as a duty. Many doctors are his friends who help him eradicating the menace. And from time to time, he keeps on consulting some NRIs also.
“Deadly sure, leprosy is not easily transmitted diseases if proper care be taken” One of the NRI friend doctor concludes.

When the tea arrives, Urvishi chimes in.
“I don’t forbid you for doing this humane service but I am worried you are careless” Her words make Sahil laugh. Careless. He is careless, he laughs….mocks at himself or Urvishi but she dislikes oddity of his behaviour.
“I know- you love your mission with untiring zeal” Thank you, thank you, thank you. His eyes smiles and takes Urvishi’s hands in his and pats warmly. Urvishi continues.
“I understand what you are doing is not easy. Going to slums, looking after lepers, provide them food, treat them medically, give them clothes and moreover organize awareness camps to motivate people about leprosy and spend thousands from own pocket is easy job? No, it’s not. But your mission gives you extreme satisfaction therefore I am happy because you are happy” And she kisses the gash.
“But I’m worried about this cut, darling, take care” With efforts, suppressing his laugh, Sahil changes the subject.
“I hope you must write me a letter everyday?”
“Promise” They clap their hands.
“I must try to rush back after completion the study but don’t mind if I fail to rush back forever” Her glances seem Sahil cold and hostile. Did she really want not to come back forever? Sahil loves her madly. Might he live without her? He feels sharp claws tearing his stomach. Noticing his sadness, Urvishi guffaws with delight.
“I am joking, yaar”
“I don’t like unpleasant jokes” Sahil blubbers.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry” And she cradles him into her bosom as if a loving kid. Putting a kiss onto his cheeks, she gushes.

“Sometimes I think darling, is it anything more important than you in my life? And then I myself find answer from my inner self. No- nothing is important more than you are- nothing. You are my biggest craze, my enormous mania. Without you, I perhaps might be insane. I definitely should not fly away leaving you alone behind. Never. But the second thought would often compel me, it is my duty. Should I not perform my duty honestly? Duty is love and love is everything. Does love ever expect duty not to be performed? Duty is not lower than love and love is not bigger than duty. They are twins. They are made for each other in my life. Just three- four years are not a long time, I sometimes brood, is it not just my lust for you if I decide to stay back with you.

Then, she pauses for a while. She pants. Rush of emotions chocks her. Stop, stop, stop. But Urvishi continues.
“I know your existence without me is of no value as my being without you too. But without performing duty in life for you as well for me-Sahil, why don’t you understand. Could true love ever be bloomed forsaking duty?”
Sahil plucks two bougainvillea flowers, tucks them onto Urvishi’s ear. Cool breeze begins to blow expressing its happiness over Urvishi’s duty-love decision
“What’s the flight time morning” Sahil asks without any burden onto his heart.
“Nine thirty”

Next day morning, they meet again and speed up airport together. Sahil notices Urvishi’s sullenness as if she is forcibly dispatched to London. Then they hear the crooning of a lady announcer- this is the last call for Air India International Boeing, passengers please” Urvishi, all of a sudden, looks up at Sahil up and smiles.

“I might be back with the assigned work submitted” She says and places her hand onto his arms. Sahil tries to embrace her but she sees travellers noticing their activity.

“MummyPapa wants I should get citizenship of that country and settle down there. In India, talents always frustrate but I must come back after the completion of my study, I promise, take care, Sahil” She waves and pours inside the plane
“You too”
“I have knitted a woollen sweater for you, get it from mom” Sahil smiles.
“It is my last present for you in India” She adds.
Thanks”
“Be careful. You have been storming into danger. Your leprosy job always would be frightening me” She then laughs meekly by herself. Within minutes, the plane flies away. But the goodbye hands on both sides are waving until it becomes unseen.

Over a week of her going, he keeps on pondering that he might be mad, cry out wildly and thrash his forehead against the walls. When he again joins his mission. He forgets his meeting with Urvishi. He occasionally rushes to botanical garden where they strolled last day.

Urvishi had promised she would write immediately after she landed there. In initial weeks, then months, he begins to wait getting letter but having got nothing, he phones her MummyPapa home and find Urvishi number deciding he would ring her. When he calls her up she is not at home. A device answers a tape recorder message:-‘Hello, this is Miss Urvishi Sharma. I am sorry I am not at home at the present. If you will leave your name and phone number, I must call you back when I come back. Please wait till you hear the signal. Thank you.’

And after that, Sahil hears a sharp long beep and leaves his name and phone number. To talk to machine is an odd experience. In India, hardly anybody uses the machine for answering. He waits and waits on long but Urvishi ever would bother to call him back? His heart sinks; he leaves the idea of telephoning her again. Why does she behave like this? Sahil feels hurt. He endeavours to forget her. He devotes himself fully into his mission. With the efforts of his organization, some lepers are developed to be cured. Out of zeal to mankind service, unanimously he is appointed the member of International Social Welfare Organisation (ISWO) which headquarter is in New York.

After a year, the esteemed president of India confers him national social service award for his untiring service rendered to society’s outcast class. Besides it, he achieves many appreciation letters from foreign government for his indomitable contribution to society. World Health Organisation (WHO) too is much worried to eradicate the scourge. He is invited to America (New York) to launch a crusade against leprosy eradication. Even some states governments too confers him citations.

In India, he is many times invited by different state governments to motivate other social organisations to curb this menace. He is invited by school, colleges, universities, hospitals, public homes, working women hostels, convents, religious places, monasteries, gurudwaras, churches, temples and other twenties of institutions to motivate the people. And, he has no time for Urvishi or her memories. He is deadly busy man. However, over half and two years, he surprisingly gets a letter from Urvishi.
My soulmate Sahil,

Love you!
Don’t know what you think about me. But I well understand you are not a person of my trust. You promised me to write back. Why you didn’t, dear? I have taken down couples of letters to you but you dislike throwing response any of them. What mistake I have done with you, sweetheart? Now, it is my last letter to you, just informing you that I have read much about you in newspapers. Congrates! Don’t write me back. I’m not expecting now.
Listen, my friend Julia often advises me that generally people with social missions should not be taken as friends or husbands as they are always failed family. Love or passion for them would have no value in their life. Out of your love initially I hated to listen to her advice. Now I think she said right.

Dear, darling, sweetheart Sahil, your demeanour shows me that you don’t love me. Do you? I am maybe not a lady of your choice. Considering about you a lot, now I choose a scientist for me and free you forever. He is an American- Mr. Anderson. Nick name- Andy. He has everything- power, position, fame, money.
Now days, he has toured to West Germany and next month we might be in India. Very shortly, we’re going to be married. Andy has promised me that he would change my name after marriage- Olivia. He would love to shout me Olivia, dear Sahil. However, I must invite you, no matter, either you come or not. Ultimately, you are my old love and first too, darling. I could not stop myself inviting you. Now let me stop to write you. The more I write the more you hurt, sweetheart.

Yours’ Urvishi Sharma
C/o Mr. Pushap Pal Singh
124, Twyford Court
Fortis Green, London, UK

After reading the letter, Sahil smiles and sets it into diary. Words scribbled on aerogramme seem him as if cruel stings of agony. Is she really going to be married with a scientist- Andy? Why she had promised him before going to London that she would not leave him alone. Are social activists really failures in life? Urvishi wrote he had lost the privilege to be annoyed. Should he write a letter to her back? Social activists are failures in life. No, no, no. He decides he would try to stop himself writing back to her.

Then oneday, Urvishi’s mother admonishes him.
“Son, why don’t you answer her letter? You know how desperately she misses you?”
“Sorry, auntie” And he scribbles a letter to her.
Dear Urvishi,
Hope, you would be fine making your life joyful. You’re going to be married to a scientist. Good! Wonderful idea. I think you are a wise lady. In fact, I’m unable to find time for you. Ah, your hand knitted sweater I had donned. Cosy a lot. My all friends praised it. You’re coming to India. I welcome you.
Yours’
Sahil

Within a week, letter reaches to her. She rings up Sahil.
“Arre, night I watched your interview on CNN channel. Congratulations. I think you’re the first one in the state who is recommended for top Magsaysay social service award from US government. Really, a great achievement, yaar”

“I’m thankful to God for this” Sahil humbles. Next, on being asked, Sahil explains that the government of USA is ready providing his organisation fifty thousands dollars to eradicate the scourge- leprosy.
A week later, Urvishi visits India. No phone call. No email. Sahil amazes when he sees her in India, when he sees her into his home. Suddenly, the door of the house bursts open and a lady bounces into it and surprises all. She is Urvishi. Alone.

“Husband?”
“Which husband?” Except Sahil, the other members of the family are unable to recognise her. She is too much weak. She greets Sahil with her kiss. He presses her hands with warmness.
“I’m sorry I could not get to Airport to receive you. Why didn’t you inform me earlier?” Sahil speaks with a mix of apology and complain.
“In fact, I want to surprise you” She jumps at her shoulders and moves closer to him. Sahil notices that she has been wearing an elegantly tailored tight fitting suit. Hands are perfectly manicured and nails sophisticatedly polished.
“How is Mr. Andy?” Sahil gladdens to hug her.
“Who Andy?” She surprises.
“Mr. Anderson, your hubby” Sahil emphasises. Urvishi laughs as if mocking at herself.

“He is bastardly an intelligent man therefore I hate to travel with him, darling” She speaks passionately.
“But I am grateful to being his wife, darling” Darling, darling. Sahil is far much puzzled why she again and again shouts him darling. Might Mr. Andy not be angry with her?
“Your research? Have submitted thesis?” Sahil enquires. She nods and closes her eyes resting her head onto Sahil’ chest as if wanting to listen to the sound of his heart.
“Viva?”
“Maybe, next month?”
“Again, you would visit there?
“No, my guide has instructed me that he would be able to arrange it in India” She says craning his hands to mouth for a kiss.
“I really love your hands, darling. Your hands are truly good; these are really made for the services to poor, the leprosy-ridden patients, the outcasts” Sahil surprises. Why a foreign-returned-married Indian lady lavishes on him?

“I wanted to see your hubby, why didn’t you bring him with you?” Sahil asks. Urvishi laughs and kisses him. It surprises Sahil more.
“I had lied to you, Sahil. I’ve married to none. Do you think could I do? Had I not promised to you I would be back as early as possible?” She surprises into his eyes. Is Urvishi sincere to him? Sahil astonishes. Really, is she married to none?
“Why did you lie?” Sahib mumbles.
“Sweetheart, I wanted to make your personality great. I didn’t want you run after me, my body. So I did. And what I did I wanted to do” She takes a deep breath.

“I did know, the more my separation agonise you the more you serve the society, the lepers, the outcasts. So, I continued trying to agonise you. If I write you more, you engage yourself into writing back to me and forget your mission. I desired to see you a determined social activist” She went on. Sahil amazed… amazed…and amazed. Great lady? Should the award not gone to her credit? Might he ever so much greatness from Urvishi? Really, he is greatly proud of her friendship.

Urvishi meets Sahil’s mother and sister and congratulates them on his achievement. Priyanka- his sister calls Urvishi- the goddess of virtues, the beautiful mind etc.
“Didi, I have done this thing out of a sense of duty rather than love. It was my right (beloved’s right) to make him a gentleman” She beams. Priya is impressed.
“I understand duty is not lower than love and love is not bigger than duty. They are twins. They are made for each other” Sahil muses. Woman is an embodiment of God? But he often thought women- an obstacle in the way to God.

“Hey, where is the gash gone which you had on your left hand?” Urvishi takes his hand into her and scrutinises it. Sahil smiles.
“It has gone to Britain to see up your scientist hubby, Mr. Anderson.” He laughs noisily. Urvishi flamboyantly giggling shakes her neck and begins to hurl her fists over his chest and screams.
“I would kill you, my sweetheart”

A Paperless NHS – Benefits for the Patient, Clinicians, and the Taxpayer

The drive for a paperless NHS is part of a wider Department of Health policy to make the NHS ‘more efficient and less bureaucratic’.

Eliminating paper and removing paper-driven, manual, staff-intensive processing from hospitals, clinics and GPs’ surgeries will certainly help achieve this goal – dealing with paper is time-consuming, reliance on a physical document results in restrictions in its use (it can be in only one place at a time) and staff are involved in document-chasing and form-filling when they should be doing their real job.

In recent months there has been much in the press about how removing paper and this improved efficiency will benefit the patient.

Masood Nazir, GP lead for NHS England′s clinical informatics team recently pointed to ‘lack of communication’ as a major contributing factor in the cases of failure in care at Mid Staffs, saying that information had been available but not shared between those providing care.

A British Journal of Healthcare Computing article cites moving to electronic patient records as key to implementing the proposed plans for providing personal care for the elderly (with the population of those 65+ in the UK set to rise by 65 percent over the next 25 years to 16.4 million, care for the elderly is a growing issue).

And the importance of sharing patient data between care providers – and the improved means of doing so that moving to paperless systems will bring to the NHS – were themes returned to time and again by speakers from the NHS at the Electronic Document Management in Healthcare conference in Manchester earlier this week.

A key element of an efficient outpatient referral management system is that it must give clinicians access to all the data they need to triage an outpatient appointment request – the initial referral request plus any critical supporting documents, such as x-rays.

As Masood Nazir commented at a conference in London, “data is only worth capturing if you can share it.”

In addition to being able to give access to information to all those who need it,removing the risk of losing documents is often cited as a major reason for moving from paper-based to electronic document management systems. In October 2012 Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information, NHS Commissioning Board, said,”I’m pushing for the end of 2015 to eradicate paper from the NHS. No more referral letters or lost records because we won’t have paper anymore in the health service.”

Plus there are the financial benefits eliminating paper-based processing brings to an organisation – reducing the overheads associated with the cost of stationery, postage and storage as well as the labour-intensive physical processing expense.

In his speech of 16 January 2013, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health said that, “the right sort of technology, used in the right way, can release billions of pounds to be re-invested in better, safer care – and millions of hours of staff time for better patient care.”

At the Manchester conference Kay Blencoe, Head of Records Management, South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation, talked about ‘Realising the Clinical Benefits’ of electronic document management in healthcare. She highlighted the critical advantage of being able to share data along with the improvement to the NHS’ carbon footprint, greater efficiency through speed of document retrieval and tracking and audit advantages that electronic document management will bring to the NHS, plus the benefits of reducing cost.

Medical Tourism Another Niche Market In South Africa

South Africa – yet another reason to visit

Medical tourism is not a new concept, however in South Africa’s growing tourism industry it is a popular route entrepreneurial South African’s are using to encourage foreigners to visit their country and grow their economy.

Private healthcare in South Africa has gained international respect and recognition owing to the high standard of medical institutions and the quality of doctors it produces. Dr Chris Barnard performed the worlds first heart transplant, the CAT scan was developed in South Africa.

Another significant achievement is South African owned hospital groups such as Netcare expanding rapidly internationally. In 2006 Netcare was awarded Britain’s largest hospital contract, with UK group GHG, and are now recognized as the largest private hospital group in the southern hemisphere.

Private healthcare is a dramatic contrast to the pubic healthcare system in South Africa. Private hospitals, which cater primarily for the small insurance covered market and those who can afford it, offer state-of-the-art facilities with the latest technology, highly trained staff, private rooms, personal televisions and a la carte menus.

This high standard of private healthcare, coupled with South Africa’s weak currency, encourage medical tourism organizations to promote South Africa with confidence, as a safe and affordable medical destination.

BodyContours Healthcare Group in South Africa actively markets medical tourism and says that clients are more concerned with cost than the standard of care in South Africa.

According to Jacqui Gilchrist, Public Relations Manager, “The high standard of medical treatment and expertise is almost a given when visiting South Africa. Our clients are confident in our specialists and even more impressed when they get here.”

Gilchrist says that the most popular procedures are breast enlargements, tummy tucks, liposuction and nose reshaping. The costs vary for each individual. A breast enlargement costs roughly between ₤1500 – ₤1800, adding on flights and accommodation in South Africa and a client can pay approximately ₤2500 for a package. Clients are expected to stay for a minimum of 10 days in South Africa before returning home.

This differs vastly with the cost of a breast enlargement in the UK. Costs of a breast enlargement in London can be anything from ₤3500 – ₤6000.

Medical tourism has more positive offerings. Clients who choose to have their surgery abroad can recover in privacy, in luxurious settings and most enjoy a holiday in South Africa’s top tourist destinations.

With its opulent hotels and breath taking settings, Cape Town is fast becoming one of the leading medical tourism destinations. Clients can choose to relax in one of the many 5 star hotels which over look pristine beaches or the majestic Table Mountain. Alternatively clients can recover in luxury in the nearby picturesque wine lands or enjoy the ultimate African experience at a nearby malaria free game reserve, which boasts the big five.

BodyContours operates predominantly along the beautiful garden route of South Africa, which stretches between the Mother City of Cape Town to the charming town of Port Elizabeth. Clients choose their medical destination according to their surgery needs and budget.

From quality private facilities and top quality medical specialists, together with breathtaking scenery and a vibrant culture, South Africa is firmly establishing itself as the top medical tourism destination for 2007.

Jacqui Gilchrist joined the BodyContours team in September as their Public Relations Manager. Jacqui worked as the Marketing Manager at Netcare Greenacres Hospital for 3 years. Prior to which she was the PR Practitioner at St George’s Hospital.

What Can Emerging Technologies Offer Our World?

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) has been described as the oldest new technology! It has been around for about fifty years, its value in identifying Aircraft in flight during the Second World War was quickly realised by the British Air force. The following forty years the technology was mainly used in security applications, building access, road tolls and key fobs.

RFID is an infrastructure technology, which will have a impact on almost every business process. However RFID is still a new technology, and thus we are waiting to see where it will lead in many applications. The case for RFID is well documented within specific business scenarios, but the benefit to the consumer are still little known apart from Londoners with their Oyster cards and Parisians with their Navigo cards. However, most people have used RFID without realisation it in their key-fobs, and one or two have found this facility so convenient that their home doors are locked the same way.

What is sure however is that RF is here to stay, with major pilots and positive proofs of concept across many industries: food and drink, aerospace, libraries, government, transport, retail, pharmaceutical, healthcare, logistics, auto industry, security etc. The IT and Building Industry have an enormous opportunity here.

Because of the need to identify vital equipment quickly, the Military were naturally interested in technology that could help take the guesswork out of inventory and logistics. Wars fought in foreign lands create massive logistic problems; soldiers need bullets, food, etc when necessary, regardless of price or location. Battle readiness is key to military success.

RFID use by the US Military was identified quickly by major retailers like Wal Mart, Metro Group, Target and Tesco who felt that the ability to “see” stock in their supply chains would help eliminate delivery error, stock-outs, shrinkage, human error etc and also help in building consumer driven demand chains. Inventory cost money, and uncertainty causes stock build up by all stakeholders in the supply chain. High stock levels, or empty retail shelves simply reflect a lack of knowledge. Awareness of goods flying off the retail shelf by manufacturer is extremely useful when creating production runs. However for now retailers are focusing on the benefits of pallet and case-level tagging. Manufacturers and retailers are working very closely together to remove inefficiencies from their supply chains. This helps consumers by keeping the right stock on the shelf at competitive prices, and in America where item level prescriptions are being rolled out by a major pharmacy group (CVS Pharmacy), it will enable better management and control of drug stocks. Hence if a drug in one pharmacy is within three months of its shelf life it can be dispatched to another pharmacy where demand for that specific drug is greater. Also it will flag up any unusual drug sales or errors.

But to speak only about RFID in terms of supply chain is to miss the point.
Emerging technologies: sensors, (mots or smart dust), Nanotechnology and community-wide wireless broadband, GPS, are changing the landscape for business applications and life style generally. Some argue that this is the biggest technological transformation of the 21st Century. It will transform our Cities, our work processes and our lives.

A number of RFID applications together with innovations such as EPCGlobal and standardisations around wireless spectrums are actually enabling cyberspace to interface with the real world. Concepts such as the expression “Internet of Things” will mean that every object in our physical environment can be identified and its status confirmed in real time. Soon everything that you own including your household assets will be aware that you own it! Theft is going to be difficult!

We are witnessing the rise of “Real World Awareness”, which will have massive implications for us all. This is not just about identifying a packet of frozen peas in a walk-in freezer, but enabling the freezer to tell the operator its status in real time.
Does the freezer need maintenance? Are the doors shut, lights off, stock accounted for. Are there fresh raspberries in that freezer? The ability to flag potential problems, remove errors, cut costs and drive efficiency.

RFID sensors are playing a big part in airline safety. Airbus and Boeing have endorsed RFID wholeheartedly and mandated their supply chains to incorporate this technology into their product offering. If you ever glanced at the first aircraft cockpit you will see a couple of dials on the dashboard. Early pilots required the help of flight engineers, navigators and radio operator to fly. Pilots flew “by the seat of their pants”, using their skill and experience. Look now at the latest Airbus 300 series! Around 600 sensors all automatically working in harmony to insure engines and aircraft are all in good working order. Risk are constantly being reduced. Pilots alone would not be able to deal with all the complexity currently handled by wireless sensors and onboard computers.

To be able to identify a foreign object like a bird caught in an aircraft engine following a successful flight can also save massive amounts of fuel.
Again, to identify a minor fracture on a rotor blade prior to a major crack can prevent a nasty accident. After every flight a full log of the aircraft engine activity is downloaded to a preventive maintenance crews who search for irregularities.
This data is key to safety and efficiency in the airline industry.

These sensor innovations are also happening in Formula 1 racing. McLaren Mercedes have around 50 sensors throughout their car engine and chassis to help them improve performance. Cars racing along at 200 mph plus are giving their mechanics back at the racetrack vital data about their engines performance . Mechanics are even aware that drivers are about to change gear! This new sensor technology works well despite a very difficult environment with massive security challenges.

The British Nuclear Group is deploying Ubisense sensor solution to map and identify radiation levels and the location of each worker to increase employee safety and efficiency.

Metro Group’s Future Store Initiative in Germany is providing a glance of retailing tomorrow. Shoppers do not notice anything unusual except that each shopping trolley has a PDA which can help shoppers find products. Item level tagging is still a bit away, but the ability of the smart shelves at Metro to identify when an item is removed from the shelf is very useful for back-office staff, and the ability to identify goods about to go out of date and reduce their price helps maximise profits. Additionally there is a whole new industry of marketing and promotional ideas coming together as shoppers walk past products for sale.
Replacing inventory with information is key to improved retail efficiency and enhanced client shopping experience.

Around 7000 American gas stations are enabling clients to fast fuel their vehicles by the simple wave of their RFID fob. Simply fill up and go! The fuel fobs have been so successful that their use is now been considered in fast food outlets where convenience and service are key to happy and loyal clients.

With new sensors based in houses, smart kitchens, hospitals, factories, public parks, highways and parking spaces what will this all mean to Society, to our privacy and to sorting out some of our major social and economic problems?
Are we able to pull these emerging technologies together strategically for The London Olympics to show the world that Business UK is fit and ready?

China is currently building fifty smart cities with sensors embedded everywhere. Sensors to help improve traffic flow, bridge structure, water management, and improved transport networks. At micro and macro level where are the benefits for both industry and citizens. If everything is tagged (people and assets) then a building site can become a safer place to work. Project planners can insure at a glance that materials and tools are in place prior to bringing in the builders. Chemicals can flag attention if positioned with dangerous materials or incorrectly positioned. We can control Air, Water and Waste by tiny sensors, or at least remotely monitor public safety in real time. We can perhaps drive better greener strategies and energy improved housing.

Dentalab are making dental molds with radio frequency tags so that dentists can be alerted if an incorrect dental crown is offer to a client. Implicit here are enormous benefits for efficiency and safety. TrentStar, the beer keg asset management company, deploying RFID, made a fivefold decrease in beer kegs maintenance costs. Imagine if every public utility meter was self read? Would that reduce rates? What if parking meters could chat with cars to update parking charges? Singaporeans use their car tags to pay for parking and road use. Big Brother Technology can be convenient if
managed without abuse. Laws are required that protect the public. Would we like to carry a tag with us everywhere which for example enabled our mobiles to be an oyster card or credit card and booted up our PC when we entered the ground entrance of our 15th floor office? Would that increase productivity for employers? What if employers paid our transport fees in recognition?

The American FDA have endorsed the use of RFID for item level prescription use.
Now “Unit of Use” medicine can be automatically matched to patient at POC( point of care).
The ability to insure the correct drug is dispensed to the correct patient is key.
US hospitals record 7000 deaths per year on average because of medication error.
In addition, 750,000 adverse medical events happen each year causing massive suffering and anxiety to citizens and caregivers. Counterfeit drugs are a major concern for everyone. How can technology remove this menace?

There are countless example of positive proof of concepts showing where Broadband, RF and smart dust-sensors can improve the way our healthcare is managed.
According to most press statements, our Hospitals are in serious financial crisis.
But do you know healthcare supply chains are run like businesses in the 60’s!
We have eCommerce and barcode standards, which will soon give way to automatic data-capture for all inventory movement within our complex hospitals, but we are still a long way away from making emerging technology save us money in healthcare.

We have great technology, but sometimes lack wisdom. Globally Healthcare has incredible economies of scale, but with numerous Local Trusts managing from their individual perspectives we will continue to have massive complexity and inefficiency in the foreseeable future. What is required, in my opinion, is a “monopolistic committee” which can mandate some good economic principles to insure long-term patient safety and the adoption of best RFID business practice. RFID healthcare standards will enable a truly efficient medical supply chain, enabling assets, maintenance, resources and people to be better-managed and scarce resources deployed where necessary. The patient will experience a much improved,cost effective and safer service.

Technology however is not separate to Society. No technology exists
outside the influence of people, culture, policy, and economics. Everyone “sees” according to their personal environment, their education, their family values etc. Increased awareness of our cultural mindset is important. We could look at this as a “prison mindset”. A self-locking mindset makes us think a certain way and thus creates our thoughts and confirms our reality. It is a cosy place to be and change is not always invited in!

A friend of a friend once phoned in a panic to request assistance because her car-key fob was flat and she was locked-out of her car. It was explained that the key could be inserted manually in the keyhole of the driver door! She could not believe this and was amazed to find a hole in the door that she had never seen in four years!

The point is our reality is driven by what we do and experience every day; we all have blind spots just like the Ice Merchants of yesteryear who never thought that fringes and freezers would arrive to destroy their business overnight. Anyone hear of innovations where tomorrow’s fridges will be running on sound waves? Goggle thermoacoustic refrigeration!

Smart Granite worktops will soon be in vogue. The granite will carry a number of transponders and a extra large embedded antenna to insure that all food items placed on the worktop will sync with all the other smart utensils, enabling everything in the kitchen to automatically communicate: washing machine, fridge, cooker, extractor, toaster, microwave, radio, lights, central heating, wall tiles, floor, all door locks etc etc. See Do Stone Smart Granite worktops. Nasty bacteria on the cutting board will self clean as will the sink and recycle basket. No child in this kitchen will ever pull a boiling pot of rice upon herself. In-build safety / security will be a standard module in every smart kitchen. Energy efficiency also should save household fuel costs by 20% .

Who in your organisation / company or home are responsible for looking into the horizon to anticipate the changes and innovations coming fast forward? To be able to exploit technology we must be open to the idea of new technologies, new business processes, changing the way we work, think, and live.

People always come first and our perspective will determine how future technology will be adopted. Thus a big RFID / emerging technology debate needs to happen to insure we don’t waste this opportunity before us. I am working with Two Four Productions to bring this debate to our TV screens, so if anyone wants to get involved please do contact me.

We need to discuss the privacy issues much more, the benefits to humanity the trade off between lack of privacy and benefit. No one for sure wants to see George Orwell’s vision become reality, but ubiquitous sensor and emerging technologies have the ability if deployed correctly to make a positive contribution to our lives. And we need to appreciate that other parts of the world, hungry for success are less concerned with privacy issues and are fast exploiting these technologies.

Healthcare absorbs a lot of taxpayer’s money. Globally around 14% GDP!

There is little doubt that healthcare services are moving back to the community where it used to reside. Hospitals will be places for focused operations and all other healthcare issues will be dealt with from the home perspective.
Most elderly people prefer independence and deserve dignity. But it is not always possible for relatives and friends to pop in daily to insure all is well. Imagine if your elderly Grandparents lived hundreds of miles away?

With sensors creating real world awareness, it is possible to have a traffic light system on your PC which will flag up the occasion when Mr X did not get up or make a cup of tea at 7am or any major break to the natural flow of activity in their daily lives. Any change in social interaction, for example, may indicate a change in well being, or impending illness reflected early by failure to eat.
Lights automatically coming on when a elderly person visits the loo at night, for example, can help eradicate the thousand of hip operations required per year in the UK!

Smart packaging can indicate if the correct drug is taken at the correct hour and help people to better manage their medication.
No one will believe in ten years time that mobile phones were used for voice only.
In Sweden, Norway and Denmark RFID mobile phone are becoming an essential tool for the automatic capture of critical medical data in the community. Thus an internal sensor implant could forward key data via your mobile to your doctor.
However, improved national security safeguards are essential.

Sensors in doctor’s surgical gloves can help prevent accidents or assist a surgical procedure. Most operations are carried out in a standard way and the use of sensor networks can reflect the current state of an operation, assist with options, issue reminders, alert other professionals etc. Risk and error can be reduced. Work on this is currently being done at the Danish Centre of Pervasive Healthcare and Intel Research Seattle. This may lead the way to fast track medical training and open up better on-line training to less wealthy nations.

Again in Healthcare the ability of all hospital staff to be aware of impending operations, surgical and post-operational equipment and identify people and assets
quickly is a massive daily task. Time searching for people and assets within hospitals is enormous. Decontamination needs to insure that the correct equipment is at the correct theatre and in fit condition for smooth operational delivery. The reality is that Admissions do not talk with Theatre who do not speak with Decontamination, and cancellation of an operation at around £20K a go is not an infrequent occurrence. No wonder, some Healthcare Organisations has been described as a family of hostile relatives! Against this background stock is hard to identify and some hospitals phone their suppliers to ascertain how much business was initiated the previous month! eCommerce has been around for ages with platforms like UK HealthLogistics ready to deliver value. Surely a modern supermarket approach here to supply chains efficiency is required.
Who in EU Healthcare are authorised to mandate this wisdom? Once this simple decision is mandated who is ready to deliver the first connected hospital?
It will not happen overnight, but problems like hospital cash flow, supply chain efficiency, MRSA, adverse medical events (with their massive liability payouts) may be greatly reduced by sensors and emerging technologies.

Soon we will have free community-wide broadband.
Sweden last month gave free broadband access to all their citizens, with speeds 100 times faster than that available to us in the UK. Recently Milton Keynes followed suit, and The City of London promised free business broadband to everyone within the Square Mile. This emerging infrastructure is important as we start to realise that Broadband is not just a tool for Internet access and free VOIP, but an essential infrastructure for real world awareness.

From an IT perspective one of the most salient facts of these emerging technologies will be the massive amount of additional digital data to collect and the need for new hardware, software and robust standard networks to collectively make it all work.

A whole new infrastructure will be necessary to capture, control, provide consistency, and context to massive amounts of new data flowing faster. Global standards and interoptability of systems and data will be necessary. Again EPCGlobal, Gen2 Tags, improved Readers etc., are making great headway here.

However, we may need to rethink the way we teach our engineering, medical, in fact all students. Ten years ago it was sufficient to teach a civil engineering student about programming in addition to their core subjects. But now with massive technological change and real world awareness how do we insure our professionals are up to speed in the multiplicity of knowledge required to make strategic policy decisions.

We are at the dawn of integrating convergent technologies, and if we get it right we can offer future global cities some great solutions. Emerging environmental problems may be solved by emerging technologies. Let’s just do it!

Dermott Reilly

Strategic RFID Consultant

Do Stone Ltd

London

London Gets Lucky – The World is Not a Safe Place

This morning’s announcement by London Police that their “ordinance division” (bomb squad) had defused a “viable device” near Piccadilly Circus demonstrates yet again that the world is not yet a safe place. While, no organization has claimed responsibility for this bomb, reports indicate that the device was of sufficient sophistication as to include vehicle fuel tanks, propane gas cylinders as part of the incendiary charge as well as nails for shrapnel. All this just 7 days before the second anniversary of the bombing of the London Undergraound and only 2 days after the new Prime Minsiter took office.

Multiple studies, including a June, 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine, have decried the fact that terrorism and national preparedness in general have fallen from the main public debate despite response catastrophes such as Katrina and the recent tornadoes, wildfires, and floods that have plagued various regions of the United States.

Even as the candidates line up in droves for potential presidential consideration, that the public debate centers more on the issue of keeping out individuals on whom our economy relies rather than excluding those who would seek to do us harm.

In the long history of disaster response in the United States, we have been fortunate to have enjoyed great success with a rather haphazard approach to our preparedness and security. Individual portions of the system have worked extremely well, including planning by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its sister departments at the various state and local levels.

Rescue has been well represented by local EMS, Fire Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue, and Coast Guard Units. Medical response for the last two decades has been the purview of the National Disaster Medical System and its various medical venture, veterinary and mortuary response teams. These have been in the recent year been augmented by State Medical Response Teams and the all volunteer Medical Reserve Core. These medical assets served with success and distinction in virtually every declared national disaster since their inception in 1986, providing medical care to survivors and rescuers alike.

Response activities have been augmented by various volunteer and charitable organizations including pay based organization, the American Red Cross we have shelter, clothes and beds for those who have been displaced as well as for those who have come to serve, to assist the survivors. Recovery has been a mutual effort involving various aspects of Federal Government, charitable organizations, local communities, corporations and even individuals. The ad hoc group has clustered around the only organized recovery system that our nation has had for the last 20 years, FEMA. Through it all rescue response and recovery had been augmented by our national guard and in our greatest of tragedies, the men and women of our armed services.

In an era of terrorism, law enforcement has played a critical role in both interdiction and at times capture of those who would attack innocent civilians. Despite the injustice of these acts our society has insisted that our judicial system mete out our just retribution.

Despite the tremendous assets brought to bear, it has only been since 2003 that there has been a National Response Plan and that plan has only had form and framework since 2004. Both healthcare and non-healthcare corporations in this country have failed to take up their mantle of responsibility and even some communities have preferred to believe it could not happen to them… that it could not happened again.

Today’s “near miss” in London, a car bomb left on a busy thorough fare, in front of a popular nightclub, just down the street from 10 Downing street and Buckingham Palace demonstrates how vulnerable we all are. Today Londoners are lucky, how long will the United States rely on luck alone.

Antioxidants May Prevent Bone Loss – Texas Sees New Treatments For Osteoporosis

New research suggests that taking antioxidants may prevent bone loss in menopausal women, one of the primary health concerns associated with this condition.

Every year, 500,000 American women suffer at least one fracture of the vertebrae, and 300,000 sustain hip fractures. Fractures related to osteoporosis, or the thinning and weakening of bones, amounts to $10 billion every year in national healthcare costs, and approximately $977 million in Texas alone. In fact, 1.9 million Texans suffer from osteoporosis or bone loss at any given moment — and they’re not all menopausal women. That means in every city and small town — from Dallas, to Houston, to Austin, to the Eastern plains — someone is significantly affected by weakening bones. The repercussions this has for not only the personal health of these individuals and their families, but also on the health insurance and healthcare industries, are huge.

The past ten years of study have indicated that prevention early on in life is the best medicine. Menopausal women are, indeed, the most affected, and ladies in their premenopausal years do themselves a favor when they watch their calcium and vitamin D intake, as well as their levels of physical exercise and sunlight exposure — all factors believed to affect the formation of bone. Menopausal osteoporosis, then, is the result of bone levels achieved before menopause, and the rate at which bone tissue deteriorates afterwards. The stronger and denser the skeleton becomes in youth, the more material the body has to work with later on in life.

While levels of calcium, vitamin D, exercise, and sunlight exposure are key factors affecting skeletal health, pregnancy, nursing, immobility, and low estrogen levels may also weaken bones. Contrary to appearance, bones are not inanimate structures, but are living tissues, constantly undergoing a cycle of breakdown and regeneration. This process must be balanced; if breakdown of cells occurs at a faster rate than the body can rebuild and replace them, then thinning of the tissues occurs. Therefore, processes to ensure healthy regeneration are essential.

All that hard work shoring up on bone tissue shows its greatest benefit during menopause, when estrogen levels plummet. Estrogen, or oestrogen, appears to inhibit the activity of osteoclasts, cells that reabsorb bone tissue during the process of osteoclasis. Normally, this reabsorption is an essential part of the body’s inner workings. Bones cannot continually generate unchecked, after all, or we would soon literally be swallowed by our own skeletons. But once estrogen levels decrease, and osteoclast activity increases, osteoblasts – cells that develop bone – simply cannot keep pace.

One advantage of estrogen therapies has been to keep the activity of the osteoclasts at bay. Such therapies are controversial, though. While maintaining levels of estrogen may reduce some of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause and decrease chances of heart disease and osteoporosis, they have also been linked with certain cancers. So what if bone loss could be minimized, or better yet halted, by a different method?

The Sir Joseph Hotung Centre for Musculoskeletal Disorders, at St. George’s University of London, believes it may have a way. In other tissues, estrogen “opposes the activity of reactive oxygen species,” or ROS, which, in turn stimulate NfKB — a major intracellular signal that activates osteoclasts. In experimental mice with ovariectomies, antioxidant defenses in bone marrow decreased, while administering estrogen to them increased these defenses. “What,” you say. “Come again?”

The theory states that estrogen may inhibit the activity of the osteoclasts by “opposing” the activity of ROS, which stimulate NfKB, which then activates osteoclasts. By increasing antioxidant defenses in bone marrow (done through estrogen or the administration of certain antioxidants), the degeneration process of bone may be halted or slowed. In other words, antioxidants may, in the end, have the same effect as estrogen therapy. Giving ascorbate or N-acetylcysteine (types of antioxidants) to ovariectomised mice, actually prevented bone loss, a significant finding considering that most treatments can only slow bone loss, at best.

The implication is that bone loss may be treated with antioxidants, versus other synthetic therapies. While further experimentation is needed, it’s a phenomenal breakthrough in Western medicine. Indeed, boneset — a plant believed to be high in antioxidants — has been used by Native American peoples to treat and speed the healing of broken bones. The growing friendship between natural medicine and Western science just may produce treatment options in the coming years we never would have thought possible.

Optimizing bone health in your younger years can have a tremendous affect on you later in life. How you take care of yourself will certainly affect you as you age, and eventually your wallet, as well. If you’re a young individual who tries to keep informed and maintain a healthy condition and lifestyle, you should take a look at the revolutionary, comprehensive and highly-affordable individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for you. Visit our website, [http://www.precedent.com], for more information. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly-competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled “real time” application and acceptance process.

Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) and Its Effects

In recent years there has been considerable discussion and concern about the possible hazards of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), including both RF (Radio Frequency) energy and power frequency (50-60 Hz) electromagnetic fields.

All life on Earth has adapted to survive in an environment of weak, natural low-frequency electromagnetic fields (in addition to the Earth’s static geomagnetic field). Natural low-frequency EM fields come from two main sources: the sun and thunderstorm activity. But in the last 100 years, man-made fields at much higher intensities and with a very different spectral distribution have altered this natural EM background in ways that are not yet fully understood. It has been known since the early days of radio that RF energy can cause interference in most of the wireless operated systems and in devices which process extremely low power signals associated with control systems and in medical equipments. Very high density of Electromagnetic Fields have been known to have resulted in injuries by heating body tissue. These heat-related health hazards are called thermal effects. In addition, there is evidence that magnetic fields may produce biological effects at energy levels too low to cause body heating. The proposition that these thermal effects may produce harmful health consequences has produced a great deal of research. Human body nervous system is also known to work on extremely low intensities of electrical signals. Very little has been done to investigate the effect of Electromagnetic Fields on the human nervous and control system which as such leaves a lot of scope for future research.

Potential Sources of EMR

The list could be endless starting with seemingly harmless AC (alternating current) operating devices to all the intentional and non- intentional transmitters. Appreciable radiation occurs as the size of the components and connecting wires approaches one tenth of the wavelength of the operating frequency. The intensity of the field so radiated also depends on the power handled by the device. To name a few tube lights, spark plugs, washing machines, music systems, power amplifiers, computers, lifts, air conditioners, cable TV, computer screen etc all fall in the category of non-intentional transmitters but can be potential source of Electromagnetic Radiations. All radio and TV broadcasting systems, telecommunication systems and equipments, RADARS, mobile phones etc are intentional transmitters of Electromagnetic Radiations and may result in typical effects on various systems in addition to causing serious interference problems and affecting human body.

With ever increasing use of modern digital technology in almost all the modern processing and communication equipments the threat of unintentional Electromagnetic Radiation is further enhanced. As all digital signals positively have a very large bandwidth, its increasing use will result in Electromagnetic Radiations in almost all the frequency ranges there by leaving a possibility of affecting most of electronic devices and also human beings.

Some Typical Effects of EMR

Electromagnetic Interference: Interference is the energy levels introduced by electronic or communications systems that have a detrimental effect on other systems. Any electronic system is capable of receiving Electromagnetic Radiations if the size of the components or connecting wires approaches one tenth of frequency that may be present in the surrounding environment due to any intentional or unintentional transmitter. Depending on the intensity of this unwanted received radiation there could be instances of malfunctioning of the device receiving this energy. There have been number of instances where such a condition had resulted in catastrophic failure of the equipments. The most famous example is the failure of the Electronic surveillance system installed at one of the ships of United Kingdom Naval forces during Falkland war due to operation of its own Radar system installed on the same warship. As a result of this only one system could be operated at one time resulting in the loss of the ship. Intentional Jamming of the radio receivers by the security and police forces is the utilization of this effect to make the enemies receivers inoperative, however it can also happen due to unwanted and unintentional Radiation of Electromagnetic fields.

Effects on Human Body: Body tissues that are subjected to very high levels of RF energy may suffer serious heat damage. These effects depend upon the frequency of the energy, the power density of the RF field that strikes the body, and even on factors such as the polarization of the wave.

However, additional longitudinal resonances occur at about 1 GHz near the body surface.

Health Care Engineering: Is electromagnetic Interference (EMI) becoming a problem in the healthcare environment? Although electrical interference in hospitals is often regarded as no more than a minor nuisance, there are documented cases in which equipment failures due to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) have lead to injury or death. Some examples fare as follows: –

o In 1992, a patient attached to a monitor-defibrillator in an ambulance died because of interference from the ambulance radio prevented the machine from working (1).

o In 1987, patient monitoring systems failed to sound alarms because of interference; two patients died as a result (2).

o In 1993, a patient fitted with a pacemaker went into ventricular fibrillation shortly after being scanned with a metal detector outside a courtroom (2).

As in many other fields, the amount and complexity of electronics in hospitals and other medical environments is increasing year by year. Despite this, the number of reported incidents of EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) problems fortunately does not appear to be growing. This is probably because most manufacturers and designers of medical electronic products have developed a good awareness of EMC. Pacemakers are typical examples, where their design with respect to compactness and immunity to radio frequency interference has greatly improved over the years. Nowadays, pacemakers are very reliable, but can still fail under extreme conditions. Pacemakers have failed in patients undergoing electro surgery (2) and in other cases where patients kept mobile phones in their chest pockets, a few centimeters from the pacemaker leads (3). The powered Wheelchair is another typical example: there are many stories of radio frequency interference. (RFI) from mobile phones or police ‘walkie-talkies’ causing the wheelchair to drive itself and its occupant into traffic. These stories are based on real occurrences; reports of incidents in the USA in the early 1990s prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the problem and recommend that the manufacturer change the design to give an immunity of at least 20V/m to RFI.

The use of many items of electronics equipment in close proximity in the hospital environment means that the same sort of EMC problems are encountered as with other types of electronic products. However there are some special features of the hospital EM environment:

o Failure of medical devices can lead to injury or death.

o Some equipment found in hospitals is intentionally designed to emit electromagnetic energy, often for therapy. Other equipment, which may be located nearby, is designed to detect very small physiological signals. This combination has the potential to create EMC Problems.

o Also in hospitals, there is the question of whether to ban or restrict the use of mobile phones. They improve communications but can interfere with critical equipment.

o Many medical devices are connected directly to patients. For mains-powered devices, the designer must prevent electric shock as well as ensure EMC. Electronic equipment is constantly evolving, so there is always the possibility of new problems arising, e.g. interference from new types of mobile communications devices.

Some Remedial Measures

Ensuring EMC of the devices/ components: Electromagnetic compatibility describes a state in which the electromagnetic environments produced by natural phenomena and by other electrical and electronic devices do not cause interference in electronic equipment and systems of interest. In order to reach this state, it is necessary to reduce the emissions from sources that are controllable, or to increase the immunity of equipment that may be affected, or to do both.

To try to eliminate all possibility of interference by decreasing emissions and increasing immunity further could incur a high cost to industry and could prevent new technologies from emerging. For example, a restriction lowering the transmitting power of cellular telephones so that consumers could place their cell phones on top of any electronic equipment might compromise the performance and economic viability of such communication systems. On the other hand, a requirement that all commercial electronic equipment perform without malfunction at ambient levels of 50 V/m would place a financial burden on manufacturers of a large range of equipment.

The following are some of the techniques used to counter the effects of EMI:

Source Elimination: An effective technique to eradicate interference is through identification and elimination of the source. In theory, this represents arguably the most effective of any measures, but is not practical in most situations, whereas this would require the source to be periodically or permanently disabled from operation. Grounding a grounding point represents a common reference point for a device or multiple devices that functions to ensure the safety or the equipment and operator, and its effects provide some immunity to noise and interference. Certain transmission and other Electronic equipment require adequate grounding to ensure proper operation. The Conductor used to ground the equipment should be the shortest necessary length to avoid a ground loop condition. This could result in energy transfer through conduction to connected devices.

Filters The use of filters allows selected frequencies to pass through to the connected device, while rejecting or attenuating any frequencies that are outside the filter specifications. Examples of filters include low-pass, band-pass, and high-pass.

Shielding. An effective manner used to minimize, and in some instances eliminate, EMI is to effectively shield components from interaction with electromagnetic energy. This technique is often expensive and causes major design engineering challenges, especially to fully shield a device, which requires that conductive material completely enclose the equipment or circuitry. Any separation in the shielding material reduces the effectiveness of the shielding technique.

Conclusion

With ever increasing use of the spectrum due to modern communication equipments and also use of latest digital processing techniques for most of the devices there is a need for laying down the guidelines for Emission standards. The extent of the spurious radiation by any device should be limited to the extent possible without increasing the cost of the product. Various governmental and nongovernmental agencies must come forward at national and international level to coordinate and standardize the permissible radiation limits

REFERENCES

(1)Banana Skins’, UK EMC Journal, vol. 15, p. 8, February 1998.

(2)Healthcare Engineering: Latest Developments and Applications; I Mech E, London, 25-26 Nov 2003 and Jeffrey L Silberberg, ‘Performance degradation of electronic medical devices due to Electromagnetic Interference Compliance Engineering vol. 10 p. 25 1993.

(3)Medical Devices Agency, Electromagnetic Compatibility of
Medical Devices with Mobile Communications, MDA DB
9702, 1997.

Lt Col A K Nigam is M. Tech from IIT Kanpur and fellow member of IETE. He has Advance Diploma in Management and PG Diploma in Telecommunications He was trained by Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) and Military College of Telecommunication Engineering and has extensively worked in the field of Telecom and Education for over 28 years. He has distinction of being part of a core group for fielding a Packet Switching Network of National Importance on western border covering a span of over 1000 kms which was dedicated to nation by Prime Minister in 1994. He had been head of a task force for provision of communication in Ladakh region during outbreak of hostilities and was actively involved in development & deployment of highly mobile Area Grid Mobile Communication System developed for Indian army involving switching equipments, RR, Radio, Satellites and other diverse media. Currently he is serving as Professor with Institute of Technology and Management at Gurgaon, Haryana (India).

Impact Of Nutrition On The National Education And Healthy Growth

Nutrition is an unavoidable factor in education and health growth of a nation. A healthy student is a productive student. Good nutrition is increasingly perceived as an investment in human capital that yields returns today as well as in the future, while bad nutrition is a treat to the nation. The global loss of social productivity in 1990 is caused by four overlapping types of malnutrition â?? stunting and disorders related to iodine iron and vitamin A deficiency â?? amounted to almost 46 million years of productive disability â?? free life nutrition raises returns on investment in education and health care.

A body of literature observed that there is a heavy decline in knowledge in Nigeria from 1980s unlike the past years. Some attributed this decline to the malnutrition during the past civil war. A researcher noted that in the 1980s Nigeria had the lowest number of indigenous engineers of any Third World country. The teaching of English, which is the language of instruction beyond primary school, had reached such poor levels that university faculty complained their inability to understand the written work of their students due to ineffective communication there is a lot of quack graduates and workers in the country. By 1990 the crisis in education was such that it was predicted that in few decade to come, there would be insufficient personnel to run essential services of the country. This calls for a serious attention before the nation losses all her skilled labour force. I have categories these problems into two major nutritional factors, the problem of undernutrition and malnutrition. The purpose of this write â?? up is to review the impact of nutrition on the present and past and necessary steps taken to arrest the situation. It will also provide some relevant solutions to the problem.

NUTRITIONAL PROBLEMS:

Nigeria as a country is characterized by two major nutritional problems which includes undernutrition and micronutrient. The rest have little impact and may be reserved for now.
Undernutrition is characterized by inadequate intake of macronutrients. It often starts in utero and may extend throughout the life cycle. It also spans generations. Undernutrition occurs during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence, and has a cumulative negative impact on the birthweight of future babies. A baby who has suffered intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) as a fetus is effectively born malnourished, and has a much higher risk of dying in infancy. The consequences of being born malnourished extend into adulthood. During infancy and early childhood, frequent or prolong infections and inadequate intakes of nutrients (particularly energy, iron, protein, vitamin A, and Zinc) may add to the contribution of IUGR to preschool underweight and stunting. In Nigerian situation, infants after period of exclusive breast feeding are followed up with weaning which consist of pap, akamu, ogi, or koko and is made from maize (Zee Mays), millet (pennisetum americanum), or guinea corn (sorghum spp.). People from low income groups seldom feed meat, eggs, or fish to their infants, because of socio-economic factors, taboos, and ignorance.

In Anambra State, Nigeria, Agu observed that pap contained only 0.5% protein and less than 1% fat, as compared with 9% protein and 4% fat in the original corn. This is usually due to poor processing. Akinele and Omotola investigated the energy and protein intake of infants and children of the low income group. They reported that about one-third to one-half of the infants suffered varying degrees of malnutrition and 10% were wasted and stunted. A more recent Nigerian National Survey conducted by the Demographic and health Survey (DHS) in 1990 placed the proportion of underweight children under five years of age (those below â??2SD weight-for-age ) at 36% including 12% severely underweight. (below -3 SD). The prevalence of stunting (below â??2 SD height â?? for â?? age) was 43% including 22% severe stunting (below â?? 3SD) while the levels of wasting and severe wasting were 9% and 2% respectively. In 1986 in Ondo State, Nigeria, DHS Survey of children aged 6 to 36 months is 28% prevalence for underweight, 32% for stunting, and 7% for wasting.
For adults and older children, it is usually possible to achieve an adequate protein â?? energy intake by increasing the daily intake of starchy foods of low nutrient density. For infants and small children, however, the volume of the traditional diets maybe too large to allow the child to ingest all the food necessary to cover his or her energy needs. A baby aged four to six months would need 920g of corn gruel to meet daily needs of energy (740 Kcal) and protein (13g). This is an impossible task, considering the size of an in factâ??s stomach.

President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo rightly observed that almost half of children ages 7-13 in Nigerian are continue underweight. A lot of children and adults go to bed starved and some take one meal a day which mostly consists of carbohydrates.

Micronutrient is another hard nut to break in the area of nutrition. It is the inadequate intake of key vitamins and minerals. It can be observed both among the rural and urban dwellers in Nigeria. The lack of vitamins and minerals result in irreversible impairment to child physical and mental development. Apart from the indirect effects on the mother, micronutrient deficiencies during pregnancy have serious implications for the developing fetus. Iodine deficiency disorders may cause foetal brain damage or still birth (mental retardation, delayed motor development) and stunting. Iodine deficiency in during foetal development and infancy has been shown to depress intelligence quotient levels by 10-15 points. Foliate deficiency may result in neural tube or other birth defects and preterm delivery, and both iron deficiency anemic and vitamin A deficiency may have significant implications for the future infantâ??s morbidity and mortality risk, vision, cognitive development reduce their ability to concentrate and fully participate in school and socially interact and develop. It is on record that 40% of children under 5 years of age suffer vitamin A deficiency. It is the major cause of preventable, severe visual impairment and blindness in children. The most vulnerable is a high percentage of pre-schoolchildren and pregnant women who are anemic. These two nutrition problem are enormous in Nigeria situation have a great impact in the economy and social life of the country.

THE EFFECT OF NUTRITION ON NATIONAL EDUCATION:

Nutrition has a dynamic and synergistic relationship with economic growth through the channel of education. Behrman cites three studies suggesting that, by facilitating cognitive achievement, child nutrition and schooling can significantly increase wages. In utero, infant and child nutrition affects later cognitive achievement and learning capacity during school years, ultimately increasing the quality of education gained as a child, adolescent and adult. Parental education affects in utero, infant and child nutrition directly through the quality of care given (Principally maternal) and indirectly through increased household income. Human capital development, primarily through education, has received merited attention as a key to economic development, but early childhood nutrition has yet to obtain the required emphasis as a necessary facilitator of education and human capital development.

A recent research shows that early childhood nutrition plays a key role in cognitive achievement, leaning capacity and ultimately, household welfare. For example, protein – energy malnutrition (PEM) deficiency, as manifested in stunting is linked to lower cognitive development and education achievement; low birth weight is linked to cognitive deficiencies; iodine deficiency in pregnant mothers negatively affects the mental development of their children can cause delayed maturation and diminished intellectual performance; iron deficiency can result in impaired concurrent and future learning capacity. This goes a long way to prove that nutrition have a great impact to national education as Nigeria is fully experiencing this ugly impact now and in time to come.

THE EFFECT OF NUTRITION ON HEALTH GROWTH:

A health nation is a wealthy nation. Nutrition has a great impact on every nationâ??s growth especially as we can see in Nigeria situation. Inadequate consumption of protein and energy as well as deficiencies in key micronutrient such as iodine, vitamin A and iron are also key factors in the morbidity and mortality of children and adults. Mal-nourished children also have lifetime disabilities and weakened immune systems.

Moreover, malnutrition is associated with disease and poor health, which places a further burden on household as well as health care systems. Disease affects a personâ??s development from a very early age. Gastro-enteritis, respiratory infections and malaria are the most prevalent and serious conditions that can affect development in the first three years of life. In factions affect childrenâ??s development by reducing their dietary intake; causing a loss of nutrients; or increasing nutrient demand as a result of fever.

Malnutrition also plays a significant role in morbidity among adults. The link between morbidity from chronic disease and mortality, on the one side, and a high body mass index (BMI), on the other has been recognized and analyzed in developed countries primarily for the purpose of determining life insurance risk. A study on Nigerian men and women has shown mortality rates, among chronically energy â?? deficient people who are mildly, moderately and severely underweight to be 40, 140 and 150 percent greater than rates among non-chronically energy â?? deficient people.
A lack of micronutrients also contributes significantly to the burden of disease. Iron deficiency is associated with malaria, intestinal parasitic infections and chronic infections. Chronic iodine deficiency causes goiter in adults and Children and also affects mental health. Vitamin A deficiency significantly increases the risk of severe illness and death from common childhood infections, particularly diarrhoeal diseases and measles. In areas where vitamin A deficiency exists, children are on average 50 percent more likely to suffer from acute measles. A UN report states that improvement in vitamin A status have been reduction in mortality among children aged one to five.

EVALUATION OF THE PRESENT AND PAST EFFORTS:

There have been series of bold step toward solution finding by government and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to eradicate mal nutrition and its reacted effect both in the present and past, though some proved abortive due to bad government and economic dwindling which characterized the 1980s, to trace this chronologically. In 1983, the U.S. Agency for international Development (USAID) began providing assistance to the Nigerian Federal and State Ministries of Health to develop and implement programs in family planning and child survival. There focus was in three areas, but especially in the government and social services area. It will also be focused on catalyzing the growth and leverage of NGOs working at the community and national levels in health care support and democratization. The USAID committed and $135 million to bilateral assistance programs for the period of 1986 to 1996 as Nigeria undertook an initially successful structural Adjustment program, but later abandon it. Plans to commit $150 million in assistance from 1993 to 2000 were interrupted by strains in US â??Nigeria relations over human right abuses, the failed transition to democracy, and a lack of cooperation from the Nigerian Government on anti â?? narcotics trafficking issues. By the mid â?? 1990â??s these problems resulted in the curtailment of USA ID activities that might benefit the military government.

In 1987, The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), under the principal Researcher Dr. Kenton Dashiell, Launched an ambitions effort in Nigeria to combat widespread malnutrition. They encourage using nutritious economical soybeans in everyday food. They further said that soybeans are about 40% protein â?? rich than any of the common vegetable or animal food source found in Africa. With the addition of maize, rice and other cereals to the soybeans, the resulting protein meets the standards of the United Nations Food and Agricultural organization (FAO). Soybeans also contain about 20% oil which is 85% unsaturated and Cholesterol free. Though that is nice program for alleviation of malnutrition started at period, a lot of socio economic thorns hindered its proper function during this period.

The world health organization (WHO) in 1987 estimated that there were 3 million cases of guinea worm in Nigeria about 2 percent of the world total of 140 million cases making Nigeria the nation with the highest number of guinea worm cases. In affected areas, guinea worm and related complications were estimated to be the major cause of work and school absenteeism.

In August 1987, the federal government launched its primary Health care plan (PHC), which President Ibrahim Babangida announced as the cornerstone of health policy. Intended to affect the entire national population, its main stated objectives included accelerated health care personnel development; improved collection and monitoring of health data; ensured availability of essential drugs in all areas of the country; implementation an expanded Program on Immunization (EPI); improved â??nutritionâ?? throughout the country; promotion of health awareness development of a national family health program; and widespread promotion of oral dehydration therapy for treatment of diarrheal disease in infant and children.

The president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2002 meeting with the president international Union of Nutritional sciences (IUNS) promised to support a better coordination of nutrition activities and programs in Nigeria, he further said that â??the high prevalence of malnutrition is totally unacceptable to this Government and he assured the IUNS president that he would do everything possible to ensure that resources are available to improve household food security greater access to healthcare services and better caring capacity by mothers including supported for breast feeding promotion.

In the 27th September 2005 Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo Lunched the Nasarawa State School feeding program at the Laminga primary school. The program is fully funded and administrated by the state of Nasarawa, which makes it a unique model in Africa today. The epoch making event is in fulfillment of one of the promises of combating malnutrition especially among children whom he observed that many at the age of 7 â?? 13 years are underweight. He further promises to reach out about 27 million children during the coming 10 years. The NAFDAC are also helping in arresting the issue of malnutrition through making and adequate evaluation of food and drugs used in the country.

Other international bodies and NGO like the World Bank development fund; the world health organization (WHO); the United Nations agencies (UNICEF, UNFPA and UNDP); The African Development Bank; the Ford and Mc Arthur Foundation etc. All of them have contributed their own quarters to the improvement of the nationâ??s health and nutrition.

CONCLUSION:

The greatest Solution to nutrition can be captured in this slogan, â??Catch them youngâ??â??, Children are most vulnerable to malnutrition in Utero and before they reach three years of age, as growth rates are fastest ad they are most dependent on others for care during this period. However, nutrition intervention, such as school feeding program which has started in Nasarawa State among children of school age are also important for strengthening learning capacity. Training and nutrition education is very important. Nutrition education can easily incorporate into primary health care programs. The African Child survival program have reduced the high prevalence of malnutrition in many part of cause and an outcome of under nutrition economic losses from undernutrition includes, as percentages of total losses from all causes: foregone human productivity, 10 â?? 15% ; foregone GDP, % – 10 %.

The government should also use mass media to create necessary attention when needed. The government should also try to reach out to people in the rural areas who have lesser access to variety of government interventions. Moreover, improved nutrition is a particularly powerful antipoverty intervention because it can be achieved at low cost and it has a life long impact. Investment in nutrition is one of the best options for economic growth and better social life.

REFERENCES:

1. King J, Ashworht A changes in infact feeding practices in Nigeria: an historical review. Occasional Paper No. 9. London : Centre for Human Nutrition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medical, 1987.

2. Kazimi J, Kazimi HR. infact feeding practices of the Igbo Ecol Food Nutrition 1979; 8: 111 â?? 6.

3. The United Stated Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. food, the year book of Agriculteur 1959.

4. UNICEF, Strategy for improved Nutrition of Children and women in Developing Countries, New york. 1990

5. ACC/SCN, Fourth Report on the World Nutrition Situation Geneva: ACC / SCN in Collaboration with the International food Policy Research Institute N2000.

6. http ://WWW . UNU. Edu/unupress/food/v191 e/cho 6 . htm

7. http ://WWW. Fao . org / docrep / 033/ x9800e /x9800 e07 . htm.

8. http :// WWW. Online Nigeria. Com/education/ index.asp.

9. Yu xiaodong. Action Neede At the national level, The Chinese experiment SCN News Development In International Nutrition. No. 32, mid – 2006.

10. Armar MA. Maternal energy status lactational capacity and infant growth in rural Ghana: a study of the interaction of cultural and biological Doctoral thesis, University of London, 1989

THIS ARTICLE IS WRITTEN BY:

NZEKWE C. JUSTIN JR.

P. O. BOX 196,

AKOKWA,

IMO STATE.

NIGERIA.

Are People With Mental Illness Getting Proper Treatment?

It would appear that they are not according to the newly appointed president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Professor Simon Wessely of King’s College London in his first interview since taking up the post told the Guardian newspaper that less than a third of people suffering from mental health problems get any treatment at all. This is something the public would not tolerate if the patients concerned had cancer said the professor.

The gap is now so big

Although the current health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has promised to deliver “parity of esteem” for mental health patients, Professor Wessley says the gap is now so big it may not even be possible to close it.

“Parity of Esteem” can be described as valuing mental health equally with physical health. The Royal College of Psychiatrists reckons that this would mean:

Equal access to the most effective and safest treatment options available
Equal effort to improve quality of care
Equal status within healthcare education and practice
Equal status in the measurement of health outcomes
Equally high aspirations for service users
Allocation of time, effort and resources on a basis commensurate with need

However, according to Professor Wesley, people can be routinely waiting for up to 2 years for any sort of treatment in some parts of the country and some children are not getting any treatment at all.

“So although we have the aspiration, the gap is now so big and yet there is no more money,” he said.
What if they were cancer patients?

Professor Wessley highlighted what would happen if these were cancer patients and not mental health patients that didn’t have access to treatment. Imagine if I gave a talk, he told the Guardian, which started like this.

“So, we have a problem in cancer service at the moment. Only 30% of people with cancer are getting treatment, so 70% of them don’t get any treatment for their cancer at all, and it’s not even recognised.”

Right enough, there would be public outrage if that were the case.

There is no more money

When Professor Wessley asked Simon Stevens, the NHS England Chief Executive how the gap between treatment would be closed, Stevens told him that it would involve a “much longer conversation with the public”.

“I think what he means is basically, if people really want true parity in the sense of actual 90% of mental health patients treated within 18 weeks, just like they are for other disorders, that is going to have to mean money will have to move from acute to mental health. Genuine money.

“As there is no more money, that would mean significant losses in other sectors. I think he was saying we would need a pretty good political imperative – we would need to know that people were actually on board for that – and I don’t know the answer.”

More Mental Health Training

Wessley told the Guardian he believes that doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers should have more mental health training for better integration of diagnosis and treatment. This may help prevent patents being referred for suspected heart complaints which turn out to be panic attacks that haven’t been picked up, said Wessley.

So despite the fact that there have been attempts to put mental health care on the same par as physical care but that just isn’t happening, indeed the entire health system is against it according to Wessley.

“The whole of our healthcare system is about separating mental and physical. You couldn’t devise a system better suited to separating the mental and the physical if you tried,” he said.

At Kings Hospital psychiatrists have been working in general medical wards and this has worked well, according to Wessley, patients don’t have any resistance to it.

Is it cost effective?

“Certainly when you look at the cost of investigations, when you look at the cost of treatment that isn’t necessary, when you look at the cost of lost working days, when you look at the cost of additional care, actually it does become cost effective. The problem we always have is those savings are not always made to the health service.

“But we know people with physical health problems who also have mental health problems cost about 45% more than those who don’t. That’s absolutely and unequivocally clear. The cost of their care goes up. They comply less with treatment, they come back more often, they have lower satisfaction and they have more complications.”

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Private Health Insurance – Do You Need It?

In the U.K we are in the privileged position to have free universal healthcare for all residents yet recent reports of superbugs and infestations in NHS hospitals the possibility of private health insurance has never seem so appealing. Yet the big question is do we really need it?

So what can health insurance offer the average man or woman on the street? Norwich union put it into simple terms. They claim that private health insurance is all about quickly finding out what may be wrong with you and getting it fixed as quickle, as well as offering the opportunity to have it all done in the comfort of a private hospity as possiblal at a time and location that is convenient to you.

This all sound ideal yet the NHS can offer all this for free, so why should anyone pay out for something which is readily available for free. The short comings of the NHS are well documented it was only a few days ago a recent report showed that a number of hospitals suffered from infestations of cockroaches and maggots with one patient finding maggots in her slippers. Not only are we having to share hospital beds with creepy crawlies, superbugs are rarely out of the headlines with a new killer bug seemingly discovered every other week.

Yet it’s not an easy job looking after nearly 60 million so we shouldn’t be overly harsh on the NHS, but if you do have private health insurance what can the hospitals offer you. Let say the worse happens and you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, if you are lucky enough to have health insurance then you can be lucky enough to stay in a private hospital.

The BUPA cancer centre at London’s Cromwell hospital boasts that it has recently undergone a 9 million pound upgrade which has included the world’s most advanced radiotherapy treatment claiming it to be the first of its kind in the U.K. As well as this the centre can also boast a powerful image diagnostics system as well as being the first in the U.K to have the latest in gamma knife technology. This all may sound impressive but aftercare and patient wellbeing are just as important and it has to be said these are elements that the NHS seem to lack.

The same hospital also offers its patients rooms that are not a million miles away from a hotel room with on site hairdresser and beautician all these extras you certainly don’t get on the NHS. The hospital also offers discounts at nearby hotels making it easier for relatives to be close by when they are most needed.

All these extras are all very well and good but what is most important is that the patient makes a full recovery and how their hair looks after a visit from the hairdresser. The truth is the NHS has all the facilities to help a patient get better the difference is just how comfortable you want your stay at the hospital to be. It’s like flying economy or first class more often than not the destination is the same, it’s just how comfortable you want your journey to be. Or more often than not its weather you can afford it or not.

So to answer my original question, do we really need private health insurance? The truth is that it all comes down to money and if you can afford the best healthcare money can buy more often than not you will pay the extra for private health insurance.