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< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
PARAMARIBO–Suriname’s tobacco legislation took effect as of Friday June 7th. As of now anyone caught smoking in public, selling cigarettes to minors or importing excessive amounts of cigarettes, faces jail time and stiff fines. The Ministry of Health jump started the new law with speeches and the start of its anti-smoking campaign.
The National Assembly passed the Anti-Tobacco Legislation last February, with 39 votes in favor and 13 against. The law virtually only allows people to smoke at home, in their cars or other private places. Violation is punishable with jail time, as is importing excessive amounts of cigarettes. Selling loose cigarettes is also forbidden and advertising banned, while packaging has to carry graphic warnings that smoking kills.
Government said the public smoking ban is intended to discourage the unhealthy habit and to prevent people from inhaling secondhand smoke, which in turn should lead to a healthier community. The new legislation won Suriname praise from health watchdog Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC); ministry officials were lauded last month by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for their roles in the passing of the landmark legislation.
On June 1, the fourth comprehensive health check was offered at pharmacy Karis. People could have their blood pressure and blood glucose level checked. 32 persons had their Body Mass Index (BMI), Body fat percentage and Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) measured. These last 3 measurements show whether some one is overweight and has a risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Not that many diabetics showed up but the ones that came, stated that a diabetic foot screening was not performed at their doctor’s clinic or they hardly ever received information that it was possible to have one. Nowadays, plenty opportunities are available to get health education or at least some information, usually for a small fee. Why it seems to be normal to provide information regarding blood pressure or medicine intake, but seldom about the feet, remains a question.
Of the 32 customers from age 7 -78 years, 71,9% had an elevated BMI and 68,8% a higher than normal body fat percentage. 53,1% had a WHR that was too high. The women scored bad in all these three measurements! They showed up in bigger numbers, 71,8% was female, but as seen before at previous health checks at Karis, this is usually the case. A good 87,5% of the participants did not wear proper footwear including the diabetics!
The health check happened in cooperation with Kendan International, a company that specializes in medical products.
By Tanya Frijmersum (health educator and physiotherapist)
By Dr Cory Couillard
We depend on over the counter pain medications to help ease headaches, achy joints and raging fevers. Conversely, could the side effects of these medications outweigh the benefits? Many trusted over-the-counter pain medications contain acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin that can have deadly side effects if taken in excess. Acetaminophen is one of the most popular over-the-counter painkillers but research has shown that it could be your liver’s worst enemy.
Most documented cases of liver damage are from long-term use but new research is challenging even their short-term use. The latest research shows that taking slightly too much acetaminophen over a period of several days can pose serious threats as well. “Even supposedly safe amounts of acetaminophen — doses close to 4,000 milligrams (mg) per day, the current daily limit — may be quite toxic to the liver in a small number of people,” according to the Harvard Medical School.
Also, you may be getting more acetaminophen than you think. It’s used in more than 600 medications. Initial symptoms of liver toxicity from acetaminophen are often vague — fatigue and nausea — and easily confused with the symptoms associated with the illness attempting to be treated with the drug.
The ministry of health of Suriname held an informational meeting on Wednesday to mark the International day of Action for Women’s Health on May 28.
Dr. Julia Terborg, sociologist and director of the Center for People’s Development, presented data of a study she has conducted for the Ministry of Health. This study looked at to what extent women and families were able to recognize alarm signals during pregnancy and how adequately they could respond to that. The study was held in 5 areas in Suriname and some interesting findings came out of it.
The majority of women mentioned that they preferred to deliver their baby in an outpatient medical practice. 87% of the respondents stated that information should be provided orally by health care staff and only a mere 6% thought folders were sufficient for that matter. 62% didn’t plan their pregnancy. 44% of the women were teenagers when they were pregnant and often their own mother had also been a teenage mother.
By Dr Cory Couillard
World Health Statistics 2013 shows considerable progress has been made in reducing child and maternal deaths, improving nutrition and reducing deaths and illness from HIV infection, tuberculosis and malaria. A dramatic improvement has been seen in the poorest countries as well as narrowing of the gap between countries with the best and worst health.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals that 194 UN Member States have agreed to make strides to achieve by the year 2015. They encompass poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. “Intensive efforts to achieve the MDGs have clearly improved health for people all over the world,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “But with less than 1000 days to go to reach the MDG deadline, it is timely to ask if these efforts have made a difference in reducing the unacceptable inequities between the richest and poorest countries.”
The most impressive improvements are found in the lowest 25 per cent health status category. A good example of the improvement is the narrowed gap in child mortality between the top and bottom countries. Death rates were reduced from 171 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 107 per 1000 live births in 2011.
WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. Diabetes is known to damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure and 50 per cent of diabetics die of cardiovascular diseases. The number of new HIV infections narrowed from 360 to 261 people per 100 000 between 1990 and 2011. Countries with the highest rates of HIV have cut new infections by 27 per cent. “Our statistics show that overall the gaps are closing between the most-advantaged and least-advantaged countries of the world,” said Ties Boerma, Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO. “However, the situation is far from satisfactory as progress is uneven and large gaps persist between and within countries.”
PARAMARIBO–After the many days of rain that soaked Suriname, the sunshine on ‘Challenge Day’ on Wednesday May 29 was certainly welcome! It was the 14th time Suriname participated in this global event organized by numerous organizations involved in ‘Sport for All’.
Challenge Day aims at adapting a new attitude towards active living by stimulating persons to break their daily routine and perform any kind of physical activity for at least 15 minutes. This activity could be anything, ranging from climbing stairs or dancing, to stretching behind your computer or digging holes for your plants. The activity should not only exercise your body, but should also be fun! Organizations could sign up for ‘Challenge Day’ and list how many persons would participate in what kind of activity that could take place from as early as midnight till 9.00pm on May 29.
By Dr Cory Couillard
Nearly 6 million people die every year via cancer, heart disease, lung disease and other chronic, long-term health conditions associated with smoking. Over the course of the 21st century, tobacco use could kill up to a billion people unless urgent action is taken.
“Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless we act, it will kill up to 8 million people by 2030, of which more than 80 per cent will live in low- and middle-income countries,” says the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Upper middle to high-income countries are seeing drops in tobacco consumption but lower-income countries are increasing out of control. These countries are at greatest risk due to lack of education, poor legislative oversight and greed by tobacco companies.
31 May marks World No Tobacco Day. The 2013 theme is “ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship”. Only 6 per cent of the world’s population were protected from exposure to the tobacco industry’s advertising, promotion and sponsorship according to the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic.
The dreary Saturday morning didn’t stop clients to show up for a health check at pharmacy Karis. Kendan International offered this service for the third time this year in cooperation with Karis. The well-known blood pressure and blood glucose measurements were done for about 48 clients.
A comprehensive health check with even more measurements was done by 40 clients, between age 11 and 69 years, of whom 55% were females. The results were showing a picture that is definitely something to worry about!
72,5% of the 40 clients was considered overweight according to their Body Mass Index (BMI). The body fat percentage was too high for 75% and the waist to hip ratio (WHR) too much for 47,5%. The BMI, body fat percentage and WHR show whether someone has a risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
By Dr Cory Couillard
A new study indicates that drinking one or more cans of soda a day can increase one’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. One in five were at elevated risk of diabetes with as little as one can per day according to statistics published in the journal Diabetologia. Soda has also become a well-known cause of weight gain, obesity and heart disease.
The diabetic findings were similar to research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. There study followed 42,833 men’s diet, weight, smoking and exercise patterns for an average of 22 years. The primary finding of the study was men who drank one sugar-sweetened beverage per day had a 20 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
The latest diabetes research was compiled from over 350,000 individuals in the UK, France, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. ”The consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks increases your risk of diabetes – so for every can of soft drinks that you drink per day, the risk is higher,” says lead researcher Dora Romaguera.
DevSur contributor Dr Cory Couillard will guest in The Dr Mol Show on April 26th, to explain the risks associated with excess belly fat, the link to diabetes and will provide exercise and dietary solutions to lose belly fat and keep it off. The Dr Mol Show segment “Waistline Woes” that airs 26 April 2013 on SABC3 will look at the relationship between abdominal fat, abdominal girth and Type 2 diabetes.
Body mass index (BMI) was once used as the gold standard to determine one’s risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries and heart attack. BMI is determined by a ratio of height to weight but this system does not look at where the weight is distributed.New research has showed that BMI is not as reliable as waist to height ratios. Waist circumference measures the amount of belly fat and how it is distributed throughout the body. Excessive abdominal fat is a well-known risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.