Medi-snippets: One in four males smoke | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: One in four males smoke

24 March, 2019

Recent statistics have revealed that one in four Lankan men or 26 % of Lankan men smoke, the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol ( NATA) Chairman, Dr Palitha Abeykoon was quoted as saying last week. He was speaking at the launch of the Community Driven Tobacco Surveillance System ( CDTSS) organised by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Office in Sri Lanka and NATA at a press briefing, where he reportedly said the percentage of male smokers was expected to drop to ten percent or less in the next few years.

The Vice Chancellor, Colombo University, Prof.Lakshman Dissanayake was quoted as saying that the University was smoke free and polythene free and reiterated that smoking should be regarded as a social crime. WHO Public Administrator Dr. Olivia Corazon Nieveras also went on record saying that Sri Lanka had done much to control the use of tobacco thereby contributing towards a greater advancement of public health.

Nicotine in cigarettes, most poisonous alkaloid in tobacco plants

A news report from Kurunegala last week underlined the danger of smoking cigarettes quoting Attorney at Law M..B Kohomakadawala as saying that cigarettes contain chemicals including nicotine which is the most poisonous alkaloid found in tobacco plants harming human health. Addressing the monthly meeting of the Sathkorala Community Rights Protection Organisation in Kurunegala, he noted that illicit liquor was the cause for most deaths and diseases and the Government should discourage illicit liquor consumption as most of the victims were from underprivileged classes.

Kidney disease can be prevented and controlled

The Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine has reiterated the importance of controlling one’s diabetes and high blood pressure, cut down on sugar, salt and food with high fat content, and avoid alcohol and smoking to prevent kidney disease. In a message on World Kidney Day ( March 14), the Ministry has recommended the reduction of carbohydrates, to maintain one’s Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 25 , and exercise – brisk walking, running, cycling and swimming for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. Health sources have reminded those already diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure to check their kidney function regularly.

Health sources informed that the causes for Chronic Kidney disease were twofold – 1) Chronic Kidney disease with a known cause 2) Chronic Kidney Disease with an unknown cause ( CKDu).

The former was due to uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure , other diseases affecting the kidney and certain drugs including some categories of anti inflammatory drugs. The latter was due to agro chemicals, chemicals such as floride in water, heavy metals like arsenic ad cadmium and other causes. It is common in the North Central Province and surrounding areas.

Around 28,000 patients have reportedly been identified in 11 districts where screening has been carried out. Providing dialysis facilities, screening and other facilities are available in many state hospitals in high risk areas and awareness programs were being conducted for the public. The Ministry has urged those living in high risk areas to use their services.

Health Ministry to provide 200,000 eye lenses

The Health Ministry has provided 100,000 eye lenses and is expected to double the number to 200,000 by the end of the year, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneratne reportedly said at a ceremony to mark the provision of 100,000 free eye lenses, at the National Eye Hospital, recently.

According to the Minister, in 2017, 67,00 eye surgeries had been conducted at the National Eye Hospital with the minimum of germ infection, which he said was a significant achievement due to the dedication of the doctors. He reportedly said that 95% of Consultant Eye Surgeons supported the program to provide free lenses to patients seeking treatment in state hospitals. A survey in 2014 by the Health Ministry had revealed that one million people suffered from some sort of eye problems, and 1.2 million Lankans were gradually becoming blind.

Heat weather advisory

A health advisory has been issued to the public cautioning them to take precautions to avoid health issues related to the prevailing heat in the country. Health officials have asked them to stay indoors at noon, take frequent showers and plenty of liquid to replace fluids lost by excessive sweating.

Walk to prevent blindness from Glaucoma

Glaucoma which is caused by an increase in eye pressure can cause blindness and it was important that all persons above 40 years undergo screening for glaucoma to prevent them from going blind, Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr. Dilruwani Ariyasinghe was quoted as saying at a press briefing held at the National Eye Hospital auditorium last week.

It was noted that screening for Glaucoma was essential if the person had a family history of diabetes and glaucoma which put him/her at high risk, or had an eye injury in the past or had used steroids and was farsighted. A Glaucoma Walk was held last week to create awareness of this issue and an eye clinic for the public was conducted opposite the Borella cemetery a the CMC Polyclinic as well.

Workshop on health food focuses on NCDs

A workshop conducted by the Nintavur Government Ayurvedic Research (NCD) Hospital recently underlined the importance of giving healthy food to schoolchildren. The workshop which was part of the non communicable prevention program held at schools under the guidance of the Karathivu Divisional Secretary V.Jegatheesan, highlighted the values of eating five kinds of fruits and vegetables in one’s daily diet. Speakers also noted that most people who now suffer from non communicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases was because they lacked physical exercise.

Oluvil District Hospital upgraded

A special program implemented by the Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne will use funds obtained from the World Bank to equip the hospital with a medical laboratory and X-ray unit. State Minister of Health Faizal Cassim has also set aside Rs 2 million to construct a parapet wall around the hospital, informed sources said. The Health Minister and State Minister of Health recently conducted an inspection tour of the Oluvil District hospital to evaluate its progress.

Hospital X-ray unit idle

Patients and doctors have complained that the X ray unit at the Hingurakgoda District Hospital, although constructed at a high cost, has been a white elephant due to the negligence of the authorities. They have reportedly alleged that although the X ray unit was opened on August 1, 2018 by the President, patients who needed X rays were being sent to the Medirigiriya Base Hospital about 15-20 kms away or the Polonnaruwa Hospital. District Medical Officer of the Hingurakgoda District Hospital has reportedly said that the amount of electricity provided to the X-ray unit was insufficient to operate the machines resulting in the closure of the unit, despite the matter being brought to the notice of higher ranking officers. A shortage of technical officers to operate the machine was cited as another reason.