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The COVID-19 Crisis in India: How You Can Help

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While Americans are being vaccinated, COVID-19 is on the rise in India. Inequality is at work.

“I will bear the burden forever.”

These are the words of Avatans Kumar who failed to perform the final burial rites for his father who died of COVID-19 complications in the summer of 2020 in Mumbai, India.

As the eldest of four children, Kumar would have been responsible for performing these final rites. But with global lockdowns, neither he nor any of his siblings could be with their father when he died.

“Who can take? [that burden] from me? It will stay on my soul, ”says Kumar. “He had a good life. He did not deserve that.”

Performing the final rites, known as antyesti or antim sanskar, is a sacred practice in Hinduism.

It’s been 15 months that we remember a time before COVID-19. Any other year travelers could easily have visited India, but not this year.

Many Indian expats feel trapped and helpless, unable to visit sick or aging parents in their home country. They are unable to remotely coordinate care efforts or, as in Kumar’s case, perform final rites for a parent.

Atlanta-based journalist Archith Sheshadri had a different experience. His family was visiting India when the pandemic first started in 2020, but they managed to return to the United States safely.

Since then, Sheshadri has been actively reporting on the impact of the pandemic on both sides of the world, observing the stark contrast between the US and India.

“In April 2021, while most Americans were eligible or already vaccinated (around 40 percent), India only had a vaccination rate of 2 percent,” he says. “How ironic that the United States has an abundance of vaccines and a large group is still reluctant to take the dose.”

Akashi Sahasrabuddhe’s (name changed) bedridden 84-year-old mother contracted COVID-19 despite around-the-clock care. The infection revealed a number of previously undiagnosed health complications.

Although the elderly Sahasrabuddhe has now recovered from COVID-19, her life is still at risk due to her health complications.

Sahasrabuddhe asked for anonymity to protect her siblings and extended family from this reality, fearing they might make dangerous travel plans to visit the sick matriarch if nothing can be done.

In India, access to medical care varies greatly from region to region. It is also influenced by social and political influence.

Shanti Rao (name changed) from Bangalore, India recently learned that her father tested positive for COVID-19. Her local hospital had a 1 nurse to 8 patient ratio, and the overwhelmed doctors couldn’t visit every patient.

Rao’s family arranged the expensive home intensive care unit (ICU) option with routine telemedicine services from the local health department. Rao admitted that her family’s financial situation made this possible.

But in some cases it is not easy to find care.

When Ajay Samant became infected with COVID-19, the Samant family found a bed for him in an intensive care unit 300 kilometers away.

As a middle-class family, they could not find local care and had to be temporarily evicted so Samant could get the care he needed. The rest of the family lived in makeshift accommodation nearby while he recovered.

Kumar, a Chicago-based columnist, remains particularly critical of the socio-economic inequalities that exacerbated the crisis.

“The rich can cross the line and have the means to talk about their illness, while the poor have no one to speak for them,” he says.

The crisis has also revealed a severe shortage of trained staff and reliable medical infrastructure. In a country of 1.3 billion people, this is a health crisis.

According to a report by the Migration Policy Institute, India is the world’s premier source for some of the best medically trained workers such as doctors, doctors and nurses.

In a health crisis of this magnitude, India simply doesn’t have enough trained medical staff to cope with it.

The irony has not escaped most of the Indians.

Rao, Sheshadri, and Kumar’s observations reveal the inequalities in access to medical care – not just in terms of trained doctors or better-equipped facilities, but also in terms of a fundamental inequality in relation to the affordability of any medical care.

During a panel at the virtual Jaipur Literary Festival, Yamini Aiyar, President of the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, criticized both local and international responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

She pointed out that grassroots help is most needed.

While vaccines are urgently needed in many countries, such as India, citizens of other countries have hesitant vaccination. According to Aiyar, this amounts to hoarding vaccines.

It encourages world leaders to consider coordinated efforts to provide an equitable response to the pandemic’s humanitarian crisis.

Many interviewees asked for anonymity.

Some didn’t want their families to know about it. Others didn’t want their friends and neighbors to know they had experienced COVID-19 for fear of stigma.

However, others believed that their privileged positions in their communities would be frowned upon in a country with severe imbalances.

Kumar cautiously noted that aid for some is conditional. This contributed to an atmosphere of suspicion, especially among those at the deepest depths.

Another Indian expat, Devangi Samarth (name changed), notes that while many organizations do a good job, a lack of transparency has left people unsure of whom to trust.

Ordinary people in India are banding together to address the humanitarian aspects of the crisis.

Apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Skype have become the lifelines of connection and information exchange.

You have enabled grassroots efforts to mobilize resources, organize blood donations, arrange financial aid, and remotely care for loved ones. Efforts have been made to make beds for the sick and to obtain bottles and oxygen concentrators.

While the shortage of care persists, local initiatives like Find A Bed also connect patients to beds. Large companies like Honeywell, Texas Instruments, Twitter and others are raising and donating funds and care units to hospitals across India.

Home cooking

In some cases, volunteer chefs prepare homemade meals for entire families with COVID-19 for free or at low cost.

Many cooks raise money to provide meals to people who feel sick, as well as medical professionals who care for COVID-19 patients.

Minneapolis-based chef and author Raghavan Iyer believes that the convenience of traditional Indian foods, many of which are based on the Ayurvedic tradition, can help the sick to heal.

“The power of the food we grow up with shapes our psyche, especially when we are confronted with an illness,” says Iyer.

For medical care

Aiyar also points out that in many remote communities, women’s groups provide primary care when institutional care is not readily available.

In a small village in central India, Nandurbar, a local doctor developed infrastructure to deal with a COVID-19 surge even before the surge occurred in September 2020.

Kumar noted that some doctors in rural areas offer telemedicine services or treat patients for free.

Groups of Indian expats have taken the lead in fundraising for the procurement and shipping of oxygen concentrators, liquid oxygen, PPE masks and protective gear.

Still, so much more is needed.

“At the end of the day we certainly don’t want to be complacent and think, ‘Yes, I am vaccinated’ or ‘Yes, I can lower my mask’ while people all over the world struggle to breathe,” says Sheshadri. “We have to address the human problem.”

COVID-19 has affected everyone, but no two experiences are the same.

In India, COVID-19 has worsened income inequalities, created food insecurity and exacerbated mental health problems. Medical care, relief supplies and humanitarian aid are urgently needed.

At a time when we may not be able to offer physical support, Mother Teresa’s words provide guidance: “Charity has nothing to do with compassion. It’s about love. “

Nandita Godbole is an Atlanta-based food writer of Indian origin and author of several cookbooks, including her latest “Seven Pots of Tea: An Ayurvedic Approach to Sips & Nosh”. Find her books in places that have great cookbooks and follow her on @currycravings on any social media platform of your choice.

Women’s Health

Your Community: Health and wellness resources

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Taking care of your health, both body and mind, plays an important role in determining your quality of life. When you are so busy taking care of others it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. This can happen gradually, and you may not even realize that there is a problem until you reach a breaking point. You may have chosen to just “live with it” and let the problem persist even though treatment options are available. However, this is not always a choice as ignorance of who to turn to or the cost of treatment could be a major obstacle for many. Fortunately, the Johnson County Library has compiled health and wellness resources that will connect you with information and guidance to help you perform at your best.

These health-related and medical resources offer a variety of perspectives on complementary, holistic, and integrated approaches to health care and wellness presented in understandable language. Discover authoritative medical information on medicines, nursing, dentistry, the healthcare system, preclinical science, even veterinary medicine, and more. The resources also cover topics such as cancer, diabetes, drug and alcohol addiction, fitness, nutrition and dietetics, child health, aging, and men’s and women’s health. Find and browse medical encyclopedias, popular reference books, and magazine articles. You will find articles with detailed background guidance on diagnoses and treatments that have helpful descriptive images.

For those seeking healthcare help, resources are available to help the uninsured and underinsured. Find local, affordable health services, including primary care, emergency care, dental care, prescription help, and free helplines. Search a directory that enables caregivers in the greater Kansas City area to find resources for the elderly, including financial assistance, nutrition, legal assistance, health care providers, housing options such as assisted living facilities, and mental health services.

Discover, challenge and train your mind with articles and courses online. Access the world’s largest full-text database on psychology, with full articles from nearly 400 journals. Topics include emotional and behavioral traits, psychiatry and psychology, philosophy, theology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational and experimental methods. There are also convenient online courses. Explore the course catalog to see all the offers and to register for a course. With over 500 online courses on topics such as alternative medicine, health & medicine, personality development, psychology, and self-help, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest and occupies you.

Take care of your mind and body with resources designed for you. Check out the health and wellness resources at jocolibrary.org today.

Johnson County Library – Promoting the community’s collective wisdom

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Women’s Health

Medical failure with painful women

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I got sick 10 years ago. In October 2010, the cause of the strange pain that had plagued me for many years was finally revealed and I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. .. 90 percent of the estimated 3.5 million people who have it are women. Like many other autoimmune and chronic diseases that affect woman’s imbalance, such as polysclerosis, Graves disease, myasthenia gravis, rheumatoid arthritis, and endometriosis, SLE is incurable. The cause is not fully understood.

For years after being diagnosed, I learned to live with a mysterious and unpredictable disease, so I dug up my medical history for an answer. Like many Russian nest dolls, sick women appeared from the medical chronicles. Their medical history often followed a similar pattern: teething, years of pain and mysterious symptoms, and repeated misdiagnosis. These women were part of my story. However, observations of her disability and symptoms in clinical trials have told only a small part of her story. The records of their fall gave clues about their bodies but said nothing about the meaning of life within them.

I tried to imagine what it would feel like when a sick woman had a disease that was beyond medical understanding at these different points in history. I felt a close relationship. We shared the same basic biology. What has changed over time is that medicine understands him, not the female body.

The author, who suffers from the most common form of lupus, took a photo at her home on June 8th.

Photo:
The Wall Street Journal Dylan Thomas

Since ancient Greece, spirits of suspicion and discrimination have been plagued by medical treatises on women’s health. The author of Hippocrates Corpus, a seminal article on Western medical practice, spoke about “inexperience and ignorance” of female physical and disease problems. In the 17th century, hysteria emerged as an explanation for the various symptoms and diseases in women. Derived from the ancient Greek hysteria, hysteria, which means uterus, was originally derived from the reproductive organs, which have been the cause of many women’s diseases since the Hippocratic era.

In the 19th century, especially when the cause of the disease could not be identified immediately, female hysteria moved “to the center of the stage” and “became a clear topic in numerous medical texts,” said the British medical historian Roy. Porter writes in “Hysteria Beyond Freud”. .. As the cultural critic Elaine Showalter has shown in her influential story The Female Malady, prominent doctors and psychiatrists at the time were aware of the perception of women who create symptoms of hysteria for attention and empathy. Connected to trends.

Prejudices against the body, mind and life of women cast a long shadow over modern clinical and biomedical knowledge. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune thyroid disease that affects 70-80% of women more than men, was first described in 1835 as “female nervousness” and in 1956 as an autoimmune causal link. Was called psychosomatic after the discovery. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease first mentioned in 1877, was misdiagnosed as mentally ill and rejected as a psychosomatic disease in the 20th century. Multiple sclerosis has been known to be more common in women since the 1940s, but this prevalence has long been obscured by the assumption that female neuropathy and movement disorders are neuropathy or hysteria. Was there.

In 1955, Johns Hopkins’ chronic disease expert found that over the past decade, several women who were eventually diagnosed with lupus after a doctor misdiagnosed chronic physical pain had been treated with electroshock therapy, insulin. He revealed that he had tolerated unnecessary psychiatric and surgical procedures such as coma and hysterectomy. As a symptomatism of emotional instability. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic bowel disease that affects women’s reproductive and sexual functions in ways that are not well understood and that have historically been attributed to psychological distress. The recommended treatment for female patients in the 1950s was prefrontal lobotomy.

“”
It was only a generation ago that a groundbreaking study from 2001 created widespread awareness of the “gender pain gap”.

Until the late 20th century, clinical studies and biomedical research relied heavily on male subjects and male laboratory animal models. US law of 1993 required the appropriate involvement of women and minority members in projects funded by the National Institutes of Health. This led, for example, to the first large-scale study on the preventive effects of aspirin on cardiovascular disease in women. In previous exams only men were enrolled.

A widespread awareness of the “gender pain gap” arose only a generation ago as a result of a groundbreaking study from 2001 entitled “Girls Who Cry Pain: Prejudice against Women in the Treatment of Pain”. Using clinical data and social research collected since the 1970s, authors Diane Hoffman and Anita Talzian, medical ethics and law scholars at the University of Maryland, found that women were more comforting than stated they were more likely to be prescribed antidepressants. They considered this inequality to be “unreliable because it is more emotionally based on the pain of women”.

Recently, a Swedish team analyzed gender and pain studies published in the US, UK and Europe since 2001, and pain in women is more often “psychological” than men. It’s not taken very seriously. “

A 2019 and 2020 report by two related teams based in Toronto analyzed studies on the treatment of heart disease and depression and found that women had fewer referrals and procedures than men. Women also tended to declare poor communication with doctors. The report can change the dynamics by developing specific “patient-centered” treatment regimens in treating women, including training doctors to “listen actively” and “question”. It has been suggested that few practical studies have been found to initiate such practices.

One of the bright spots is that the number of women doctors is increasing. Women themselves report better diagnosis and treatment results when they are treated by a doctor. According to a 2018 report by the National Academy of Sciences, female patients are more likely to survive a heart attack if their doctor is a woman. Men still outnumber active U.S. doctors, but in 2019 women made up 36.6% of the field, 8 points more than in 2007.

Share your thoughts

Have you or your family and friends found that women are more likely to dismiss health problems than men? Join the conversation below.

Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of integrating gender differences into medical research. Studies have shown that women, especially women over 55, are more likely to experience long-term post-viral symptoms such as shortness of breath, malaise, and brain fog. Women also seem to have more side effects after vaccination, including life-threatening ones, but the extent and severity of possible risks are not yet understood.

Today researchers have realized that the exact reason for the gender differences in the incidence of my disease, SLE, was prevalent in women over a century ago, but it remains largely a mystery. More research is urgently needed to understand how and why far more women are affected by complex chronic and immunological diseases, but women also experience their own pain and illness experiences. Must be valued more as an accurate reporter. Many of the answers lie in the female body, which has been written by the female body for centuries.

Copyright © 2020 DowJones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Women’s Health

Medicine’s Failure With Women in Pain

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I became a sick woman 10 years ago. In October 2010, the cause of the strange pain that had haunted me for years was finally uncovered and I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic autoimmune disease that is the most common form of lupus. Ninety percent of the estimated 3.5 million people who have it are women. Like many other autoimmune and chronic diseases that disproportionately affect women – including multiple sclerosis, Graves’ disease, myasthenia gravis, rheumatoid arthritis, and endometriosis – SLE is incurable and its cause is not fully understood.

In the years since my diagnosis, as I learned to live with my mysterious, unpredictable disease, I looked for answers through my medical history. Unwell women, like so many Russian nesting dolls, emerged from the annals of medicine. Their medical histories often followed similar patterns: childhood illnesses, years of pain and mysterious symptoms, and repeated misdiagnosis. These women were part of my story. But the observations of their disorders and symptoms in clinical trials told only a fraction of their stories. Notes on their cases gave clues about their bodies but said nothing about what it meant to live in them.

I tried to imagine what it felt like to be a sick woman struggling with an illness that defied medical understanding at these different points in history. I felt a close relationship; we shared the same basic biology. What has changed over time is not the female body, but medicine ‘s understanding of it.

The author, who suffers from the most common form of lupus, was photographed at her home on June 8th.


Photo:

Dylan Thomas for the Wall Street Journal

Specters of doubt and discrimination have haunted medical treatises on women’s health since ancient Greece. The authors of the Hippocratic Corpus, the fundamental treatise on Western medical practice, spoke of the “inexperience and ignorance” of women about their bodies and their diseases. In the 17th century, hysteria emerged as an explanation for a variety of symptoms and illnesses in women. Derived from the ancient Greek word hystera, which means uterus, it was originally believed that hysteria originated from the reproductive organs, which have been considered the source of many female diseases since the Hippocratic era.

In the 19th century, female hysteria “took center stage” and “became the explicit topic of numerous medical texts”, especially when the cause of an illness was not immediately apparent, wrote the British medical historian Roy Porter in “Hysteria Beyond Freud”. . “As the cultural critic Elaine Showalter has shown in her influential story“ The Female Malady ”, well-known doctors and psychiatrists of the time linked hysteria with the perceived tendency of women to fabricate symptoms for attention and sympathy.

Prejudices about the body, mind and life of women have cast a long shadow over modern clinical and biomedical knowledge. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune thyroid disease that affects 70-80% more women than men, had “female nervousness” in its earliest descriptions in 1835 and was even labeled psychosomatic, even after its autoimmune causality was discovered in 1956. Many women with myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease first mentioned in 1877, were diagnosed as mentally ill and dismissed as hypochondriac until the 20th century. Multiple sclerosis has been known to be more common in women since the 1940s, but this prevalence has long been obscured by the assumption that the neurological and motor disorders in women are nervous or hysterical.

In 1955, chronic disease specialists at Johns Hopkins revealed that over the past decade, several women who were eventually diagnosed with lupus had undergone unnecessary psychiatric and surgical procedures – including electroshock therapy, insulin coma, and hysterectomy – after doctors misdiagnosed their chronic physical pain diagnosed as a symptom of emotional instability. Ulcerative colitis, a chronic bowel disease that affects the reproductive and sexual functions of women in poorly understood ways, has historically been considered to be caused by psychological distress. The recommended treatment for patients in the 1950s was prefrontal lobotomy.


As a result of a groundbreaking study in 2001, the gender pain gap was widely recognized only a generation ago.

Until almost the end of the 20th century, clinical studies and biomedical research relied disproportionately on male subjects and male laboratory animal models. US law of 1993 required the appropriate involvement of women and minority members in projects funded by the National Institutes of Health. This led, for example, to the first large-scale research on the preventive effects of aspirin on cardiovascular disease in women; previous studies had only men enrolled.

As a result of the groundbreaking 2001 study, “The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain,” the gender pain gap was generally recognized only a generation ago. Authors Diane Hoffmann and Anita Tarzian, academics in medical ethics and health law at the University of Maryland, showed, based on clinical data and sociological research collected since the 1970s, that women were more likely to be prescribed sedatives and antidepressants than referred to diagnostic tests Chronic Pain Self-Assessment. They attributed this inequality to the fact that female pain is “more emotional and therefore less believable”.

Recently, a Swedish team analyzed research on gender and pain published in the US, UK and Europe since 2001 and concluded that women are still more “psychologized” and “taken less seriously” than men’s pain .

Reports from 2019 and 2020 from two related teams based in Toronto analyzed studies on the treatment of heart disease and depression and found that women received fewer referrals and procedures than men. Women were also more likely to describe poor communication with their doctors. The reports suggested that the development of specific “patient-centered” treatment regimens in treating women, including training clinicians in “active listening” and “asking questions”, may change the dynamics, but there has been little practical research into introducing them Practices.

One ray of hope is the increasing number of female doctors. Women themselves report better outcomes in diagnosis and treatment when they are cared for by female doctors, and female patients are more likely to survive a heart attack if their doctors are female, according to a 2018 report by the National Academy of Sciences. Although the number of men among active US doctors is still higher than that of women, women made up 36.6% of the field in 2019, an 8 percentage point increase from 2007.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Have you, family or friends seen that health problems are too easily dismissed by women compared to men? Join the conversation below.

Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of integrating gender differences into medical research. Studies show that women, especially over 55, are more likely to experience persistent post-viral symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and brain fog. Women also seem to experience more side effects after vaccination, including some that are life-threatening, but the extent and severity of possible risks are not yet understood.

Today, the exact reasons for the gender inequality in the incidence of my disease, SLE, are still largely mysterious, although researchers recognized its prevalence in women more than a century ago. More research is urgently needed to understand how and why confusing chronic and immune-mediated diseases and conditions affect women in far greater numbers, but women also need to be valued more as accurate reporters of their own experiences of pain and illness. Many of the answers lie in the bodies of women and in the stories their bodies have been writing for centuries.

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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