Sunday, April 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Heart patients too can become mothers: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Young women with heart diseases too can become mothers but only after considerable amount of planning. A panel of expert gynaecologists and obstetricians who discussed in detail the management of an unplanned pregnancy in a heart disease patient, stated this during the annual conference of the Northern India Society of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Society of India (FOGSI) held at the PGI here today.

The panel which consisted of Dr Neerja Chawla and Dr Yash Bala, both private practitioners in Chandigarh, Dr Kum Kum Avasthi from Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana and Dr Ritu Sarin from Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, opined that although a heart patient had a high risk pregnancy, yet the use of anti-coagulants all through the pregnancy could increase the chances of the woman to go through the nine months safely. But such a pregnancy should be planned only after consultation with the gynaecologist and serious counselling of the family involved since there was considerable risk of life to both mother and child.

Stating that in most cases, heart patients were told to take precaution and not to go in for children, in cases where the patient was already pregnant both patient and doctor have to keep their fingers crossed till safe delivery. This also required constant monitoring of the patient.

The panelists were of the view that Heparin was indicated for use in the first trimester of such a pregnancy and two weeks prior to the delivery, while in the rest of the pregnancy oral anti-coagulants were to be used. The panelists cautioned that such patients would have to limit the size of their family using some form of barrier contraception or any permanent method which was preferred. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr Neelam Aggarwal of the PGI.

Earlier in a symposium on post-menopausal bleeding, Dr Alka Sehgal talked about the definition and etiology of post-menopausal bleeding. Dr Sushma Chawla talked about how a patient should be approached-the history, examination and investigations needed. Dr Umesh Jindal highlighted the role of hysteroscopy and compared the various techniques of management of post-menopausal bleeding. This session was chaired by Prof A.N. Gupta and Dr Vanita Jain.

Dr J.R. Bapuraj of the Department of Radiology, PGI, spoke on the role of embolization in gynaecological and obstetrical practice. He highlighted the role of this procedure which involves closing of abnormal blood vessels in the uterus in various diseases which cause bleeding. This procedure is useful in managing life-threatening bleeding after delivery and as an alternative form of therapy for uterine fibres.

Organised by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, PGI, Chandigarh, more than 200 gynaecologits from all over the region participated in the one-day conference.


Work on anti-AIDS vaccine begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The process for the development of a vaccine against the type of AIDS virus prevalent in India has started. This was stated by Prof Shobha Sehgal, Professor emeritus, Department of Immunopathology, PGI, at the one-day conference of the North Western chapter of Indian Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists held at the PGI here today.

A special programme to prevent the transmission of HIV virus from mother to child will be started in the city from September 1, 2002. Informing this, Dr N.M. Sharma, Project Director, NACO, UT stated that a team would be formed from the GMCH-32 and the PGI to implement this programme in the city. Every pregnant woman would be screened for the virus after consent and if found positive a single dose of Nevarapin would be given to the patient during labour of the mother and 48 to 72 hours after birth of the child. ‘‘This reduces the chances of the child having AIDS to 8 per cent.’’ he said.

Prof Shobha Sehgal, who was the guest of honour at the conference, informed about the incidence of the disease in the world and the current status of development of a vaccine against AIDS which was on in various countries of the world. She pointed out that some of the third world countries where the incidence of AIDS had been very high like Thailand were already in the third phase of the vaccine trials.

Informing that the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, (IAVI) had signed an MOU with the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to start development of a vaccine against the type C virus prevalent in the country, she stressed that India needed to start working on its vaccination programme fast since India was one of few countries in the world where the incidence of the disease was still rising and had not reached a plateau unlike the western world.

She also focussed on the need to restrict passage of the virus from the mother to the child which was one of the modes of spread of the disease. She explained that since even after having acquired the disease a large number of people enjoyed robust health, the risk of spreading it via pregnancy and sex was rather high.

Dr N.M. Sharma, Project Director, UT State AIDS Control Society, enlightened the audience on the activities of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in the country specially in Chandigarh. NACO had declared a minimum load of 3.97 million cases of HIV till December 2001 out of which 75 per cent were males and 89.4 per cent were estimated to be infected via the sexual route. Prof S. Varma, Head, Department of Internal Medicine, PGI, chaired the session.

Prof Bhushan Kumar, Prof U Datta, Dr Sunil Sethi and Dr Sunil K Arora also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier, the brief inaugural function was followed by a clino-pathological conference convened by Prof A. K. Banerjee. Prof Atul Sachdev, Dr B. Radotra and Prof Harsh Mohan spoke in this session.


For them every day is World Health Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Two decades ago, what started as a one-man NGO, with Dr (Brig) M.L. Kataria in the vanguard, today is a selfless team of 18 devoted senior doctors, about 100 social workers and over a dozen medical technologists. They are quietly engaged in door-delivery of healthcare, through a chain of 16 free healthcare centres, including nine X-ray, lab and ECG units, in urban, rural and slum areas of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Mohali and panchkula and the adjoining districts of Punjab and Haryana, day in and day out, for all the seven days of the week. They, in fact, celebrate World Health Day daily.

This team is operating three health centres exclusively for senior citizens, another three for children, six urban/rural centres and four health units for slums. So far, they have given free healthcare to millions of patients through donations only. No grant has come from the government.

In this endeavour, they are supported by more than a dozen NGOs, including Help-Age India, the Servants of the People Society, the Indian Red Cross Society, Senior Citizens Associations, Freemasons of India, Ramakrishna Mission, Rotary and Lions clubs, managements of gurdwaras and mandirs — and many more.

Their recent achievement was the establishment of the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Free Polyclinic, the only one of its kind in the country in a rural setting, in Perchh village, with The Tribune’s media support, for the benefit of 10 villages in remote foothills of the Shivalik in Ropar district. The polyclinic was inaugurated by the Governor of Punjab last month.

They are now looking for accommodation for yet another similar polyclinic they wish to establish for ex-servicemen, their families and war widows at Mohali. There is no end for this ever-expanding galaxy of healthcare workers!


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