Medi snips | Sunday Observer

Medi snips

New YouTube Channel empowers disabled

A disability channel offering free information for parents and caregivers of children with Cebrebral Palsy (CP) , Down Syndrome ( DS) Autism and other Childhood disabilities by experienced medical officers in the field, was launched for the first time in Sri Lanka last week.

The innovative Channel aptly named, DisAbility was launched by the Merril J Fernando Charitable Foundation in association with the National Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy and other Development Disorders ( NCCCPDD). It is the first of its kind and is in all three languages , Sinhala, Tamil and English, to benefit all carers of children with disabilities , and dispel myths on disabilities,” NCCCPDD founder and Chairman Dr Gopi Kitnasamy told the Sunday Observer in a telephone interview .

The main goal of the new Channel is to “dispel common misconceptions and highlight the ABILITY in each child and young adult”, he said.

“Disability in childhood can have a lifelong impact on a person’s physical, mental and emotional health, as well as their social situation.Children with a disability may have special needs, particularly regarding health and education, and may need to negotiate significant social and environmental barriers to fully participate in everyday life,” he pointed out.

Responding to our question on the disabilities he was referring to, and at what age they could be identified he said, “Developmental disabilities include a complex group of disorders that cause physical impairments, intellectual disabilities, speech disorders and medical conditions. Developmental disabilities are sometimes diagnosed at birth, but more often, are not easily identified until age three to six. Developmental disabilities may range from mild to severe. Some of the more common developmental disabilities include Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome and Intellectual disabilities.”

Early identification, key to success

He reiterated that early identification and intervention were key to success in childhood disabilities. “It’s about recognising difficulties quickly, identifying and making a prompt intervention to support children and their families so that issues are tackled before they become more ingrained problems.”

The new YouTube Channel besides sharing information, access and practical guidance for the care of children with disabilities also aims at supporting families, care givers and medical practitioners in rural Sri Lanka and South India.

Commenting on the kind of interventions the Channel will focus on, Dr Kitnasamy said most children and people with disability require holistic interventions . The Channel breaks the sessions down into five categories: Family Resources, Therapy, Education and Lifestyle, General Health and Advocacy.””

Stigma one of the greatest barriers

He emphasised that social stigma was one of the biggest barriers that prevented children with disability problems from getting maximum benefits from existing services. “” Even today, disability remains a social stigma and its impact on the individual and their entire family are not discussed openly. We hope to dispel common misconceptions and highlight the ability in each child and young adult,” he told the paper.

Health officials sound Hepatitis alert

Epidemiology Unit officials have sounded a Hepatitis alert urging people to watch out for symptoms and take preventive measures following simple hygienic rules, issued by the Ministry of Health .

Responding to questions by the Sunday Observer Consultant Epidemiologist ,Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine , Dr Thilangar Ruwan Pathirana said in a telephone interview that while there were many causes for hepatitis, it was mainly due to viruses globally. Nevertheless, in Sri Lanka, liver diseases are mainly due to alcohol and non-alcoholic fatty liver. It has a wide range of clinical outcomes.” he said.

Asked to explain what Hepatitis was as many people who had the disease were not even aware they had it, he said, “Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver which is the second largest organ in the body. Liver has many functions and among them filtering (detoxify or neutralize) the blood coming from the digestive tract before going into the rest of the body could be considered as the main. Hepatitis either temporarily or permanently disable this function which leads to many symptoms, signs and long term complications. ”

Replying to our query as to whether there were different types of Hepatitis, he said, “There are five types. Hepatitis A is a short-term disease with no long-term effects. Hepatitis B and C may be short-term or can progress into a long-term disease. Hepatitis D has long-term sequelae. Hepatitis E is a rare condition and long-term cases have been reported in immune-suppressed patients.” He said each was spread in different ways:

Hepatitis A and E are spread by ingestion of infected food or water (Faeco-oral route). In other words, when a healthy person consumes food or water contaminated with stools of an infected person.

Replying to our question on how to recognise symptoms of viral hepatitis, he said, “Yellow discolouration of the body which is one of the main features seen in viral hepatitis. Especially, this can be seen in eyes, palms and fingernails. The disease usually starts with symptoms like fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. With its progression, dark coloured urine, light coloured stools and yellow colour discolouration may appear.”

Asked if there was a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis virus infection, he said there are vaccines for Hepatitis A and B. However, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C in the world.

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