Category Archives: Health and Well-being

In Layers of Gears, Offering Healing Hand to Ebola Patients in Liberia

Ebola protective gear

This blog was researched from several  online Journals, including The New York Times’s article; “In Layers of Gear, Offering Healing Hand to Ebola Patients in Liberia,” originally written by Sheri Fink. In here I chronicled some of the terrible agonies the Ebola Virus is capable of causing. This version however, is an excerpt from a paper I wrote during the summer, in which I shed light upon the great sacrifices of aid workers and international volunteers who rushed over to Africa to help save those dying from the Ebola disease. The original version from which this article draws heavily upon, is itself among a chain of several works I did that involved lab experiments, including real-time handling with different types of microbes. In some cases, I had to use several Petri dishes taken from campus to culture microbes and then incubate them under different types of temperatures. I had to use my refrigerator to culture  certain samples swabbed from inside my mouth and my nose.  Many other microbes were simply captured just by leaving the Petri dishes opened for as little as 10 minutes, and with in several hours, the microbe had already formed colonies that became visible to the naked eye.

I did my best however, to describe in here some of the deadly symptoms of Ebola, after the virus takes hold of its victims.  As a matter of fact, I only followed the New York Times’ author’s original description by listing the types of precautions that volunteers and Medical Aid Workers, including ordinary local citizens living in Liberia, put in place to make sure that the deadly disease didn’t spread any further. In conclusion, I briefly reinforced the main objective which was to educate more people about the disease. While doing this, I managed to delve into the morbid interactions between the disease and those it infects in those final days of death and recovery.

The Virus

ebola

Image Credit:/ Getty’s

The Ebola Virus overtakes its host by disarming the immune responses, leading to whole range of symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle pain, sore throat, fever and eventually dehydration.  But according to the article, majority of the survivors were among those receiving supportive care, including oral or intravenous re-hydration, which helped delay the disease long enough for the body to fight off the infection. In one particular case, according to the article, which involved a sick man who lived outside the city.  The man began sweating profusely before collapsing, and according to one eyewitness, health workers imagined “every inch of his body was covered with billions of Ebola particles, a remark, I supposed, helped kept emergency medical workers on high alert.

Typically when a person is affected by the Ebola virus, it takes up to a couple of weeks before symptoms start showing themselves.  Treating the disease at this early stage is imperative but difficult. In Emergency: Mass Casualty: Ebola, Anna Easter explains why: “Early diagnosis is difficult because the presenting symptoms include those evident in differential diagnoses such as influenza and sepsis. Differential diagnosis is time consuming and extremely costly”.

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Health workers had to rely on bleach solutions and chlorinated water throughout the outbreak in Liberia, to combat the spread of the disease, and it worked.   The methods used for precautions are straight, plain and simple. For those at the full-front; zip-up in a special suit made of rubber that contains layers upon layers of protective material from feet to head, equipped with goggle, gloves and face-mask. Even after this measure of care, one had to still be sprayed with the bleach solution before actually entering the contaminated zone. On your return trip from the contaminated zone, you go through an equally thorough decontamination face before leaving the facility.

Using bleach solution for disinfection, played a very important role combating the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and this aspect of the article enriched my own understanding about the effect of bleach as a powerful disinfectant chemical cleaning agent even in our homes. For instance, when I used the household bleach with active yeast during one of my labs, I noticed that the result was almost immediate. The process of life seemed to had ceased entirely. The budding process of yeast-cells that at first was going on rapidly seemed to had been interrupted when the bleach was introduced. What was going on here inside the experimental container became quite obvious to me; the bleach was inhabiting and destroying the yeast-cells. This powerful illustration, for instance, shows how extremely potent a chemical cleansing agent bleach is.

The importance of the Ebola story cannot be over-exaggerated since it involves several people with different backgrounds who have had first-hand experience of the deadly disease while living and breathing among those infected with it. It shows us, for example, the level of bravery and sacrificed of the men and women who were there in the heavily impacted zones of the Ebola outbreak to help those awaiting death.  Their stern determination in the face of danger to risk their own lives must have revealed again the indomitable nature of the human spirit. The willingness of volunteers to intervene and wrestle with death to help other men, indicates that man– for the most part– is good-by nature. It clarifies the point that the soul in man is infinitely compassionate, and that nothing can ever stand  before the soul in its onward path to altruism—Indeed I am convinced that all men are helpers, they are Visible Helpers.

Perhaps more than anything else, their story set a plain guideline about how to protect oneself and those we love from most disease outbreaks like the Ebola virus. Following the simple but effective methods that those health-workers put in place to ensure their own safety, is something that’s worth remembering in any viral disease outbreak.

In a split-second, the article shows readers that in the final days of the outbreak, those that survived, for the first time, began to see a glimmer of hope again, and for those who died, for them, their agony was greatly lessened with the help of hundreds of empathetic health workers—further proof that man’s only hope is in man.

 

 

India’s Water Crisis

India's Water Crisis

 

By degrees, water is increasingly becoming one of the scarce resources in some parts of the world. The government of India and many other Asian countries have begun finding ways to circumvent the pending water crisis in their countries, while some remained desperate. But it’s in India, a country that seems to have several uses for water than perhaps any other country in the world, where water shortage is  more pressing. The tens of millions of Temples, spread out all over India, depend on the use of groundwater. Each major Temple in India must have its own man-made lake or resevoir which it uses for many things, including for purification during ceremonies and rituals, and this is just one of many ways that Indians have involved over the centuries with the use of water. But part of the blame is on India for its ambition to become a major economic power, thereby welcoming the influence of globalization, and the result is that; more and more Indians are now using efficient means to exploit more groundwater in a short period of time than they did in the past, which helps exacerbates the water crisis.

The last two decades of the twentieth century helped propelled India well up the rank of an industrial giant on the Indian subcontinent.  With the impact of open-market economics, fair-trade deals and booming domestic high-power manufacturing plants tconstantly dumping capital goods on local markets, for the first time, more and more Indians are investing in capital, and millions of people are taking the leap from a relatively small subsistant farmings to large scale commercial farming.  Because more and more farmers are upgrading their farming capacity by drawing upon ideas of agribusiness and other Western methods– all of which in some form, needs more and more water to grow crops–  by the time the last quarter of the 20st century could see itself through, India had started to notice changes within its groundwater systems.

Much more than this, India is home to a whopping 17% of the world’s total population, and majority of the population are people who still live off the land. Most villages in India depend on groundwater to grow their own food and to feed their animals. Proper sanitation continued to be rare in India, and many homes lack indoor toilets, so  It’s very common to see people attending to nature in open spaces. Whole rivers have turned into debris of soups, filled with human remains and all sort of unimaginable filth. These elements along with poor management by local government officials, guaranteed a sustaining water problem for the country, and is surely a serious economic barrier for this emerging economy.

In 2012, India sent a special delegation to Israel, to gather information from the Israelites; about the way they have been able to successfully manage their own water crisis. India and Israel, before that year, signed an agreement to support cooperation on urban water system.  But at home in India, other steps have been put into practice in big cities, some in the form of public restrictions on water usage, but also the use of state-of-the-art technologies that can monitor and record where and how the water is being used at any given location, are at the moment under consideration.

In the meantime, according to Parthasarathy, in the New York Times, even “the Mullapreriyar Dam, a 112- year-old reservoir, located on the Periyar River in Kerala, is no different. The dispute over the dam, distinct as it may be in its historic makings, is ultimately symptomatic of a festering federalist crisis.” The mention of this truely historical Indian landmark, explains a lot more than it seems. The water crisis has sprout into a dispute between two major southern states; Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and then to the federal government. It has now become an issue of whether federal officials would consider the eminent domain clause as an option.

You often hear people refer to India as a Sub-continent, or the Indian subcontinent, but what they are referring to is a southern region of Asia that is situated on the Indian plate, and extends southward into the India Ocean from the Himalayas. The country India, is in southern Asia, and it borders the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan. The country also ranks 7th in the world in terms of size, and second, in terms of population. Indian borders six countries, China, Burma, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Both Nepal and Pakistan are in the northern part of the country. The Bay of Bengal, where Kolkata lies, is the part of India that borders the four other countries, including Bangladesh. The entire northern part of the country is home to the great Himalayas mountain ranges.

India is perhaps the most religious country in the world today. For thousands of years, religion has continued to play primary role in the lives of most Indians. Even today in modern day India, almost every home you enter there’s an altar, which is kept sacred, and is approached only for puja, or prayer. Some families set aside a special room in their home for this purpose. When it comes to religion, India has a long history of religious tolerance. For ages, the Hindus live alongside other religious groups peacefully. But there have been cases of violence sparked by religious sentiments. The most recent ones have been between adherents of the Islamic faith and members of the Hindu religion.

More than 79% of the population goes to Hindu Temples.  Islam is only 14% of the population. Christianity makes up little over 2% in this great country, and the most Christians adherents are found in Kerala; India’s southernmost State. City like Punjab and Kashmir are predominantly Muslims. The Sikh and Jain religions are perhaps the smallest religious groups in India. Buddhism is almost missing in the south, but there are few Buddhist Temples in places like Sikkim, Ladakh and Dhamasala, where the Dalai Lama stays. The government of India has no religious restrictions in place in the country, though most politicians, including the current prime minister,  belong to the Hindu faith.