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Tobacco addiction claims 2,500 lives a day
in India: study
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 10
Nearly 47 per cent of the adult population and adolescents in India use tobacco in one form or the other while more than 20 million children are addicted to ‘gutkha’ (smokeless tobacco mixed with other ingredients), or ‘pan masala’.

India is currently in the grip of a silent epidemic of oral submucous fibrosis, primarily caused by use of ‘gutkha’. The tobacco addiction claims some 2,500 human lives a day, according to a study.

These observations were made by Dr Vinay K. Hazarey, Dean, Professor and Head, Department of Oral Pathology at the Government Dental College and Hospital, Nagpur, while delivering an oration on ‘Holistic Approach to Tobacco Control (oral pre-cancer and cancer prevention policy)’ at Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Hospital and Research Institute here.

Dr Hazarey, a specialist in the field of dentistry and in particular oral pathology and histology, is a pioneer in the field of pre-cancer and cancer detection and his major work is on submucous fibrosis and tobacco-related oral lesions.

He said oral submucous fibrosis was a disease of slow onset and gradual progression, characterised by blanching and stiffness of oral mucosa, difficulty in opening mouth and inability to tolerate spicy food.

“The oral health effects of tobacco are still largely ignored, ranging from harmless staining of teeth to more severe periodontal disease or even life-threatening oral cancer, which has become a leading cause of death in some Southeast Asian countries, including India.”

Dr Hazarey said tobacco- related diseases had shown that oral and general health could not and should not be separated. They influenced each other and had serious impact on the well-being of patients.

He stressed that Indian tobacco addiction scene demanded attention and required a holistic approach. The spiritual connectivity to dynamics of tobacco-control leadership would be more effective when combined with scientific efforts.

Dr Hazarey cautioned that consumption of tobacco in all forms caused serious mouth, lung and other incurable diseases, created dirtiness and polluted environment in addition to annoying and causing damage to passive smokers.

“Tobacco control is not simply a health problem, but it has major implications in the spheres of economics, agriculture, law and social behavior. It must involve multidimensional and multi-disciplinary approach.

The highlight of the occasion, which invited appreciation from one and all, was the most innovative and creative poster-making competition, involving dental students.

A number of interactive themes right from Bollywood to web of death were used to depict the fatal effects of tobacco abuse.

Jasdeep, a final-year student, was adjudged the winner, followed by Deepti (intern) as the first runner-up and Supesha Khanna (first-year) as the second runner-up. Rohit was given a consolation prize.



Need to spread information on organ
donation: Oxford Prof
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 10
Renal transplantation offers patients with end-stage kidney disease a new life, both by way of quality and quantity as the kidney donor makes a lifetime contribution for the renal transplant recipient, said Sir Peter Morris, a Nuffield Professor of Surgery Emeritus at the University of Oxford, while delivering a guest lecture at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here last evening.

He said the need of the hour was to spread information about organ donation in India and how exactly a person could go about pledging his or her organs after death.

“We should harness the strength of celebrities, philanthropists, social workers, politicians and the media to endorse organ donation. Media is very powerful in India and it should be used to spread the message of organ donation to the masses,” he said.

Sir Morris congratulated the related donor kidney transplantation programme at CMCH, started in 1992, while recalling that the then transplant team at the institution had also performed the Punjab’s first successful cadaver renal transplantation in January, 1997, a week before his previous visit to the CMCH.

A former president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, International Transplantation Society, the British Transplantation Society, the International Surgical Society and the European Surgical Association, Sir Peter Morris is presently the Director of the Center for Evidence in Transplantation (CET) in London, which is working to provide high quality, evidence-based information on all aspects of solid organ transplantation.

Terming the renal transplant scenario in the country as rather grim, Dr Kim Mammen, Professor and Head of the Department of Urology at the CMCH, revealed that in India there were about 3 million patients with end-stage renal disease, requiring renal replacement therapy.

However, only 25,000 patients were lucky enough to get access to hemodialysis and only 2,500 of them were even luckier to have a renal transplant done every year.

“The Transplantation of Human Organs Act was implemented in 1994 and so far, only 500 cadaver transplants have been done in our country. Therefore, till such time as we have a well-organised and popular cadaver renal transplantation programme running in our country, we will have to depend on live donors,” Dr Kim added.

Dr Basant Pawar, Head of the Department of Nephrology, pointed out that diabetes, hypertension and kidney stone disease were the most common causes of kidney failure. The condition could be diagnosed early and treated effectively with medications, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. The quality of life for patients with end-stage kidney disease improved dramatically after renal transplantation.

Giving details of the renal transplantation programme, the CMCH Director, Dr John Pramod, reiterated that the hospital had been doing “living related kidney transplant” operations since 1992 and had thus given a new lease of life to many patients with last-stage kidney disease.

“The CMCH is also making efforts to propagate cadaver organ donation more popular. The renal transplant unit has performed four cadaver renal transplant operations since the implementation of the Organ Transplantation Act of 1994,” he added.

Later, Sir Peter Morris interacted and shared the recent advances in renal transplantation with the professionals in the Urology and Nephrology Departments as well as other transplant surgeons and members of medical fraternity in the city.

The visiting dignitary also met all renal transplant patients who had been operated at the CMCH since 1992 and discussed with them their experiences after their renal transplant surgery.



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