Op-ed: Why Bangladesh Should Be Concerned About the Emerging COVID Variants

Since January 2021, Bangladesh has confirmed the presence of five COVID-19 variant strains — Alpha (B.1.1.7) (aka the “UK variant”), Beta (B.1.351) (aka the “South Africa variant”), (B.1525), Gamma (P.1) (aka the “Nigeria variant”), and Delta (B.1.617.2) (aka the “India variant”). These variants raise concern because of their high transmissibility and infection potential. Public Health England reports that the Alpha variant, for example, is approximately 25 to 40 percent more transmissible than the first recorded strain of the COVID-19 virus.

Transmission rates are not the only concern regarding these variants— they may also cause more severe disease. Most recently, Public Health England reported that the Delta variant was not only more transmissible among close contacts than the Alpha strain, but was also associated with higher hospitalization rates in England and Scotland. According to sequencing data, the second wave in India was mainly powered by the Alpha and Delta variants, both currently present here in Bangladesh. Scientists use genomic sequencing data to decode genes and unlock information about how viruses function. Sequence data allows scientists to identify SARS-CoV-2 and its mutations, study how it affects the virus’s composition, and understand how it influences human health.  

Praava Health is concerned about the emergence of new variants and their impact on COVID testing and the spread of the disease in Bangladesh and beyond. To date, Bangladesh has contributed over 4,000 samples to global sequencing data – a level of sequencing that is sadly exceptionally low for a population the size of Bangladesh’s. Of the 172 countries that have uploaded sequencing data for 1.2 million cases, many report less than 1% of their cases. Bangladesh’s sequencing is much lower with only .005% of all cases being submitted to GISAID, the global repository for COVID-19 genome sequencing. 

To expand and contribute to our collective knowledge on the circulating variants in Bangladesh, Praava is collaborating with a research foundation, CHRF, to determine which variants are captured in the COVID samples processed by Praava Health and to determine the fidelity of COVID testing in the light of the emerging variations in viral genome and the effect on population health. Data from Praava is contributing to GISAID, a global, open-access repository of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences. 

In Bangladesh, the border areas of Dhaka are now facing the brunt of the rising trend of COVID-19 cases. Khulna Division has emerged as the most impacted, with a test positive rate of 36.05%. On the other hand, Dhaka is so far the least impacted of all the divisions, with an infection rate of 7.02%. As we have witnessed in neighboring India, a catastrophic epidemic can result in tremendous fatalities. To prevent similar outcomes, Bangladesh must act quickly specifically by increasing our vaccination efforts.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Most of the COVID-19 vaccines target the spike protein on the surface of the virus and help your immune system develop neutralizing antibodies that protect you from infection. However, the variants have multiple mutations on this surface spike protein and the impact of these mutations on vaccine effectiveness is a topic of ongoing research. Preliminary unpublished reports from laboratory studies (as well as emerging clinical data) suggest that currently approved vaccines still retain their effectiveness against the variants, though at a lower magnitude of protection. Nonetheless, it appears that vaccines can protect patients from the variants’ severe effects and lower the rates of hospitalization and deaths.

Vaccine supplies must be transferred now to the areas where the crisis is most severe. Although children and young adults are far less likely than adults to be hospitalized with COVID-19, we should begin vaccinating them with the same urgency and large-scale coordination efforts as adults if we want to reduce COVID-19 cases and eventually halt the pandemic.

Half-hearted preventive measures are a major reason behind the worsening COVID situation in the country. While vaccines are important, masks and social distancing are equally effective against variants too. The fastest approach to recover from the pandemic is to combine these mitigation tactics with vaccination. The sooner we act, the likelier we are to return to normalcy. 

World Kidney Cancer Day 2021

Four years ago we celebrated the first World Kidney Cancer Day. The International Kidney Cancer Coalition (IKCC) created an international campaign to increase awareness of the causes, prevention measures, and increasing rates of kidney cancer globally. 

The theme of this year’s campaign, “We need to talk about how we’re feeling,” is targeted to address the psychosocial impact on kidney cancer patients. 

About kidney cancer

Kidney cancer occurs when healthy cells in one or both kidneys alter and expand rapidly and a mass known as a renal cortical tumor forms. A tumor might be malignant, benign, or indolent. Adults with kidney cancer are most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70, and men are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop kidney cancer than women. Approximately 5-8% of kidney cancer cases are linked to family genetics. 

The main types of kidney cancer:

  • Renal cell cancer (RCC): The proximal renal tubules, which make up the kidney’s filtration system, are where this type of cancer arises. RCC makes upto 85% of diagnoses.
  • Transitional cell cancer (TCC) or renal urothelial carcinoma (UC): These two types of cancers are responsible for 5% to 10% of all kidney cancers identified in adults. Urothelial carcinoma originates in the renal pelvis, the part of the kidney where urine accumulates before going to the bladder.
  • Wilms tumor: Wilms tumor is more common in children than in adults, and it is treated differently. Wilms tumors account for around 1% of all kidney cancers.

Risk factors of kidney cancer

Several known factors can contribute to the risk of the disease:

  • Smoking
  • Nutrition and weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease that needs dialysis
  • Long-lasting infection with Hepatitis-C
  • Taking certain pain medicines for a long time
  • Kidney stones
  • Previous treatment for testicular cancer or cervical cancer
  • Family history of kidney cancer

Signs and symptoms of kidney cancer

Early on kidney masses do not typically cause any symptoms and are undetectable on physical examination. As kidney cancer becomes more advanced it classically results in:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Lower back pain or pain in the side (flank) that doesn’t go away
  • A lump or swelling in the kidney area or abdomen 
  • Losing weight for no reason that you know of
  • Anorexia
  • Fever that keeps coming back
  • Night sweats
  • Palpable swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Continuous cough
  • Bilateral lower leg swelling

A person with kidney or renal pelvis cancer may or may not have one or more of the symptoms listed above. The same symptoms may be the result of something else. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor first.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis of kidney cancer is unusual. In fact,  patients do not exhibit signs or symptoms that would prompt them to undergo testing. Because the use of ultrasound and CT imaging for nonspecific abdominal problems are on the rise, kidney masses are commonly discovered coincidentally during medical imaging. Following imaging, a tissue biopsy is taken which confirms the diagnosis. Treatment for kidney cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.

The impact of COVID-19 on kidney cancer patients

The isolation of lockdowns, a lack of social support, greater financial stress, and a heightened sense of vulnerability about one’s health have made this a difficult time for cancer patients. Reflecting on this year’s theme, all patients are encouraged to share their struggles and triumphs, talk to their families, friends, doctors, or even post their stories on social media. 

World Kidney Cancer Day is a day to increase the visibility and awareness of psychosocial problems associated with kidney cancer and begin conversations with loved ones and one’s cancer care team. International Kidney Cancer Coalition’s (IKCC’s) mission is to reduce the global burden of kidney cancer which means lowering incidence rates, increasing access to improved treatments, providing quality information to patients and caregivers, and ensuring people have access to mental health services they need for support.

Importance of Laboratory Accreditation

We all know the importance of diagnostic labs for proper treatment. Without accurate and reliable lab results, patients will not receive appropriate or effective treatment. How do we know which labs are providing accurate reports?

As per International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, many countries rely on a process called Laboratory Accreditation as a means of determining a lab’s technical competence. To gain accreditation, specialist technical assessors conduct a thorough evaluation of a laboratory to ensure they meet international standard criteria. 

World Accreditation Day is observed globally on June 9 but only a few people know about this day or what accreditation really means. This year’s theme focuses on the use of accreditation in supporting the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Accreditation can help countries address health and safety concerns in addition to improving the overall quality of output in an economy. 

The criteria for accreditation are based on the internationally accepted standards, ISO 15189 for medical laboratories, which are used for evaluating laboratories throughout the world. Accreditation bodies use this standard to assess factors relevant to a laboratory’s ability to produce precise, accurate tests and calibration data. These factors include the technical competence of staff, validity, and appropriateness of test methods, traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards, testing environment, and quality assurance of tests.

Therefore, having an accredited lab that gives accurate and reliable results increases the confidence of patients and doctors to trust the lab and its testing. There are many accreditation bodies in the world like CAP (USA), ILAC (International), NABL (India), and BAB (Bangladesh). However, in Bangladesh, only two labs have international accreditation. We need to build more up-to-date and modern labs in our country that comply with standard protocols.

When COVID-19 first hit Bangladesh, there were no high-quality labs for PCR testing in the private sector. But following the rules and guidelines provided by the government, 77 RT-PCR labs have been set up in the private sector in Bangladesh to accommodate more COVID-19 testing. At Praava, we are proud to have quickly developed the capacity to test for COVID-19 to support our communities’ health and safety. We have started the process for CAP accreditation and ISO 15189 to further demonstrate our high-quality laboratory testing practices 

Bangladesh’s response to COVID-19 proves that it is possible to build trustworthy lab facilities in this country if the government sets specific policies for all diagnostic centers and monitors them.

This year, let us understand the importance of accreditation and why it should matter to you and our healthcare workers.

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021

Menstruation – a very uncomfortable word to talk about in Bangladesh, even though menstruation is a normal physiological process. It is approached with hesitance and misinformation because of the deeply-rooted cultural taboo surrounding menstruation. Women’s and teenage girls’ self-esteem, well-being, and education are all affected by the silence surrounding menstruation and a lack of access to sanitation facilities and hygienic absorbents. To break this silence and raise awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene management, Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed on the 28th of May every year. The theme for this year is “More action & investment in menstrual health & hygiene now!

Menstruation is the regular discharge of blood and mucosal tissue from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina which first occurs (menarche) around the age of 11 -13 years. On average the menstrual cycle is 28 days and the menstruation period is 5 days so the date to recognize Menstrual Hygiene Day is 28/5.

The women and teenagers living in disadvantaged areas suffer more because they cannot bear the high prices of sanitary napkins. Initiatives should be taken to make them free of cost or affordable. Women’s deprivation of menstrual hygiene products has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, with most women preferring to use ripped fabric instead of sanitary napkins.

How is menstrual hygiene maintained?

Use sanitary materials:

  • Sanitary pads
  • Tampons 
  • Tissue paper 
  • Cotton wool

Hygiene practices you should follow:

  • Change the pad every 6 hours
  • Avoid douching
  • Wash the genital area after defecation and urination
  • Wash hands every time after changing pads
  • In the case of cloth, it must be washed thoroughly and dried in a sunny place, and ironed
  • The sanitary napkins should be disposed of safely especially in a bin, wrapped in paper

Beware of these gynecological issues arising due to unhygienic habits:

  • Prolong use of unclean pads or cheap alternatives can lead to urinary infections resulting in painful urination, lower abdominal pain, back pain, and fever
  • Infections of the reproductive tract, which may spread to the mucosal layer of the reproductive tract and cause severe harm to the uterine wall, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, may be caused by poor hygiene during periods resulting in lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, and itching 
  • Because of the friction between the thighs, using larger size shapes of fabric can cause rashes
  • Using the same pad for a long time can cause bad odor and vaginal irritation due to old dried blood
  • Many women think that having intercourse during a period may prevent pregnancy. But it is risky because they are highly likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases like Herpes, Hepatitis B, or STD.
  • Not washing hands properly after touching sanitary napkins also leads to infections like Hepatitis B
  • Poor menstrual hygiene can also cause cervical cancer which is caused by Human Papilloma Virus. This virus is transmitted sexually, and unhygienic handling of menstrual waste can spread the infection easily.
  • Using highly absorbent tampons during menstruation can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome
  • Unsafe disposal of used sanitary materials increases the risk of infecting others, especially with Hepatitis B

On this Menstrual Hygiene Day, and amidst the COVID-19 crisis, we should lend a helping hand to underprivileged women and young girls by educating them about proper menstrual hygiene. This will help every woman and girl to securely, hygienically, and without embarrassment manage their menstruation and avoid the medical complications that may arise from poor menstrual hygiene.

World Family Doctor Day 2021

World Family Doctor Day is celebrated on May 19 every year. WONCA first declared this day in 2010, and it has since become a day to recognize the importance of family doctors and primary care teams in healthcare systems all over the world.

We will take this opportunity to recognize the important role of family doctors in providing comprehensive and ongoing healthcare in a personal manner. 

Family doctors specialize in Family Medicine. This is a field of medicine that offers ongoing and comprehensive health services for individuals and families. It is a broad discipline that encompasses biological, clinical, and behavioral sciences. Family practice covers all ages, all sexes, every organ system, and every disease.

The importance of primary healthcare and the critical role played by family doctors while the healthcare systems are put to a tough test has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Family doctors are often the first point of contact for patients and are thus seen as ‘gatekeepers’ in the fight against COVID-19. They are included in the COVID-19 response effort through:

  • Identifying the most vulnerable people – especially elderly and patients with chronic disease and other comorbidities – and advising families on how to support them
  • Teaching home-care guidelines, even for sick patients, to avoid going to the hospital
  • Working together with other healthcare professionals to ensure appropriate actions are taken promptly to reduce risks
  • To prevent hospitalization, a physician is responsible for the whole family in testing and evaluation should someone become ill

Rightfully, this year’s theme was chosen “Building the Future with Family Doctors!” 

WONCA has suggested four pillars to address the future of the healthcare system:

Building the Future with Family Doctors and Primary Care Teams

Family doctors are part of a primary care team that also includes nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and other members of the allied health care team. While family doctors play an important role, a comprehensive service cannot be provided without the help of other members of the team. This COVID-19 pandemic has shown that only a group of primary care professionals working together can provide the most effective treatment.

Building the Future with Family Doctors and Patients

The approach to family medicine has changed dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Face-to-face consultations now are dangerous for both patients and physicians, hence doctors and patients have been connecting over video consultations. A majority of COVID-19 patients do not need to be admitted to the hospital and can be handled at home under the guidance of a family doctor. 

Building the Future with Family Doctors and New Technologies

If we really want to advance in the field of healthcare in the future, we must embrace new technological developments. AI in healthcare, like other essential innovations, is critical to resolving the crisis and spurring future development. 

We are noticing three different technology trends:

  • Telemedicine:  One of the major benefits of telemedicine over in-person alternatives is that it reduces contact between patients, healthcare workers, and other patients.
  • The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): Various devices and smartphone apps have become important in monitoring and preventing chronic illnesses. 
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare: This can increase diagnosis precision, speed, and efficiency, allowing for early treatment through AI-driven analytics that can assist healthcare providers in determining the best approach for a given patient.
Building the Future with Family Doctors and YOU!

Every individual’s interest is critical for better healthcare in the future. All should speak up, engage in events and efforts, and thus help to create a better future for family doctors and their patients.

At Praava Health, we provide a full length of family doctor services. Praava is a network of family health centers where patients always come first. The whole team of Praava is dedicated to building a better patient experience that is enabled by technology. 

You can talk to the family doctors through video consultations. Not only family doctors, Praava’s physiotherapists, dieticians, and the dentist are also available for video consultation. The nursing team and phlebotomists are collecting samples for both COVID and non-COVID patients from home. 

Praava has taken the challenge of this pandemic and survived and will continuously try to provide better health service to a person in need through a holistic approach.

World Hypertension Day 2021: Know About Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure means persistently elevated blood pressure of an individual. According to international statistics, about 26% of the world’s adult population has hypertension, and the prevalence is expected to increase to 29% by 2025. It is also called a ‘Silent Killer’ because it does not cause any symptoms initially and go unnoticed for many years. This is why it’s important to raise hypertension awareness and emphasize the importance of blood pressure control. Hypertension has become one of the most challenging public health issues in the world due to its pivotal role in the growing global burden of illness and disability. 

World Hypertension Day (WHD) is celebrated annually on May 17 which was initiated by the World Hypertension League. The World Hypertension Day (WHD) aims to raise public awareness about hypertension and empower people of all countries to avoid and monitor the modern epidemic, as well as spread knowledge about its complications. The theme for the past years was Know Your Numbers with the aim of raising awareness of high blood pressure (BP). The theme for World Hypertension Day 2021 is Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer

The reading for blood pressure is 120/80mmHg in technical terms. The term “mmHg” stands for millimeters of mercury. The reading is expressed as “120 over 80,” with 120 representing the systolic pressure and 80 representing the diastolic pressure. If your blood pressure readings fall outside of this range, you may need medical help. That’s why World Hypertension Day stresses the importance of understanding your numbers so you can respond quickly if they’re outside of the usual range.

Symptoms

Hypertension usually do not show symptoms, but when symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Early morning headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Vision changes
  • Buzzing in the ears

Severe hypertension can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle tremors.
Risk Factors

High blood pressure can be intensified by your lifestyle choices:

  • Unhealthy diet: High blood pressure can be caused by a diet that is too high in sodium and too low in potassium. 
  • Physical inactivity: Regular exercise can also help you maintain a healthier weight, which can also reduce your blood pressure.
  • Obesity: Obesity can lead to heart disease and diabetes, in addition to high blood pressure. 
  • High alcohol consumption: Too much alcohol will cause your blood pressure to rise.
  • Tobacco: Tobacco consumption of any kind raises nicotine levels, which raises blood pressure.
  • Genetics and family history: High blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions are likely to have a genetic link. 
  • Age and increasing stress: Since your blood pressure continues to rise as you age, your risk of high blood pressure rises as you grow older and face more stress.
Daily Tips to Reduce Hypertension

Everybody should follow a healthy lifestyle and balanced healthy diet to maintain ideal body weight. Following are few health tips to reduce the risk of getting hypertension.

  • Reduce salt intake (to less than 5g daily)
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables daily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid all type of tobacco 
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Limiting the intake of foods high in saturated fats
  • Eliminate/reduce trans fats in the diet 
  • Reduce and manage mental stress
  • Regularly check blood pressure
  • Treat high blood pressure
  • Manage other medical conditions, such as diabetes and kidney diseases

It is dangerous if anyone ignores the symptoms of hypertension. This is rapidly spreading around the world. You can lower your blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range by making lifestyle and dietary improvements. Always keep in mind that untreated hypertension will harm the heart, brain, lungs, and kidneys. Also, please don’t base your blood pressure on a single reading. To diagnose your disease, your family doctor may need to take many readings. If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, make sure to keep in contact with your family doctor and take regular blood pressure readings to keep track of your numbers.

Maintaining Healthy Nutrition During Eid

Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, is the most celebrated festival in the Muslim community. This festival is observed around the world with great excitement and with a variety of delectable delicacies set out for a feast. However, it is also essential to stay healthy and on top of your health and away from overindulgence and excessive consumption of food at once. 

You can follow the below tips to ensure you have a healthy Eid:

  • Instead of stacking plates with unhealthy foods, take small portions of food
    Make sure your plate isn’t overflowing. It’s best to try something, just in limited amounts. Otherwise, indigestion and bloating will occur, consuming too much greasy food could damage the lining of the stomach and it can cause indigestion as well.
  • Do not eat too much red meat
    Excessive consumption of high cholesterol food like red meat should be avoided. To maintain your health, stay away from the fatty parts of meat. Add some fish items instead of red meat.
  • Keep desserts to a minimum
    If you can’t miss out on the opportunity to indulge in some sweet dishes, keep the portion to a minimum. Modify sweet recipes by decreasing their fat content and substituting sugar with honey or dates as this offers the highest nutritional value to the dish.
  • Include some vegetable on your platter
    Eating a lot of fruits and green vegetables that contain vitamin C in addition to meat is highly recommended. Make sure to eat lots of salads too. Vegetables are rich in vital nutrients and nutrition, which can make you feel full, allowing you to consume less high-calorie, fattening foods.
  • Avoid high consumption of carbonated drinks
    Carbonated drinks do not help you digest heavy food but instead are high in sugar and are harmful to your health. Avoid drinking them as much as possible. Add coconut water, sour curd, lassi, mint water, and jeera water instead of carbonated drinks.
  • Drink plenty of water
    After a strict regime of 30 days of fasting, the glycogen levels in your body get all messed up. Drinking plenty of water will bring these levels back to normal.
  • Fix your mealtime and take breaks between your meals.
    To stay healthy, do not eat at odd times of the day. You should stick to your routine even during Eid. To help the food be fully digested, keep at least a 6 hours time interval between two consecutive meals. It helps the food to be fully digested.
  • Stay physically active
    A healthy walk and exercise routine improves your mood and manages your appetite. Taking a walk will help your stomach to function properly and digest food.

The value of good nutrition is not new, and retaining good personal nutrition is one of the most important tools. So be watchful of what you eat, maintain healthy ways to feast so that you don’t miss out on the spread of dishes.

ঈদে স্বাস্থ্য সুরক্ষা

পবিত্র রমজান মাসের শেষে জাঁকজমকের সাথে উদযাপিত হয় মুসলিমদের কাঙ্ক্ষিত ঈদ-উল-ফিতর। বিপুল উৎসাহ আর বাহারি সব খাবারের লোভনীয় আয়োজনের সমাহারে পালিত হয় এই উৎসব। তবে এই ঈদ উৎসবের আয়োজনেও আপনার স্বাস্থ্যের খেয়াল রাখা জরুরি। আর সেজন্যই অপরিমিত হারে অতিরিক্ত খাদ্য গ্রহণ পরিহার করা উচিত।

স্বাস্থ্যকর ঈদ পালনের নিশ্চয়তায় কিছু নির্দেশনা:  

  • অস্বাস্থ্যকর খাবারের পরিবর্তে পর্যাপ্ত পরিমাণে স্বাস্থ্যকর খাবার গ্রহণ করুন

অতিরিক্ত তেল চর্বিযুক্ত অস্বাস্থ্যকর খাবারের বদলে, পরিমাণে অল্প কিন্তু পুষ্টিকর খাবার খাওয়া উচিত। অস্বাস্থ্যকর খাবার খেলে হজমে সমস্যা হতে পারে এবং মোটা হবার সম্ভাবনা বাড়ে।  তাছাড়া অতিরিক্ত তেলচর্বি যুক্ত খাবার খেলে পেটের সমস্যা এবং বদ হজম হয়।

  • রেড মিট থেকে সাবধান

হাই কোলেস্টরেলযুক্ত খাবার যেমন রেড মিট কম খাওয়া উচিত৷ শরীর সুস্থ রাখতে, মাংসের চর্বিযুক্ত অংশ খাবেন না৷ রেড মিটের পরিবর্তে কিছু মাছের পদ রাখতে পারেন।

  • মিষ্টি জাতীয় খাবার কম গ্রহণ করুন 

মিষ্টি জাতীয় খাবার একান্তই এড়াতে না পারলে, অল্প পরিমাণে খাওয়া উচিত৷ মিষ্টি খাবারের রেসিপিতে একটু বদল আনুন। চর্বিযুক্ত অংশ বাদ দিন। চিনির বদলে মধু কিংবা খেজুর যোগ করতে পারেন, যা আপনার খাবারের পুষ্টিগুণ অনেক বাড়িয়ে দেয়।

  • প্রতিদিনের খাবারে শাকসবজি যোগ করুন

মাংসের পাশাপাশি ভিটামিন-সি সমৃদ্ধ ফলমূল ও সবুজ শাকসবজি গ্রহণ করুন। প্রচুর সালাদ খান। শাকসবজিতে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ পুষ্টি উপাদান রয়েছে। এই পুষ্টি আপনার ক্ষুধা ভাব কমাবে, সেই সাথে আপনাকে উচ্চ ক্যালরি যুক্ত এবং মেদযুক্ত খাবার থেকে দূরে রাখবে।

  • কোমল পানীয় এড়িয়ে চলুন 

ভারী খাবার হজমে কোমল পানীয় কার্যকর নয়৷ এসব পানীয়ে প্রচুর পরিমাণে চিনি থাকে যা শরীরের জন্যে ক্ষতিকর। তাই যতোটা সম্ভব এগুলো এড়িয়ে চলা উচিত৷ কোমল পানীয়ের পরিবর্তে নারকেল পানি, টক দই, লাচ্ছি, লেবু পানি অথবা জিরা পানি পান করতে পারেন। 

  • প্রচুর পানি পান করুন

টানা এক মাস রোজা রাখার ফলে দেহের গ্লাইকোজেনের মাত্রা কমে যেতে পারে। প্রচুর পানি পান করলে গ্লাইকোজেনের মাত্রা স্বাভাবিক হয়।

  • খাবারের রুটিন ঠিক করুন এবং প্রতি বেলার খাবারের মাঝে বিরতি নিন

শরীর সুস্থ রাখতে অনিয়মিত খাবার অভ্যাস ত্যাগ করুন। ঈদের মধ্যেও খাবারের রুটিন মেনে চলুন। খাবার সঠিক ভাবে হজম হওয়ার জন্য একবার খাবার গ্রহণের পর কমপক্ষে ৬ ঘন্টা বিরতি নিন। 

  • নিয়মিত শরীর চর্চা করুন

হাঁটাচলা এবং ব্যায়াম করলে মন প্রফুল্ল থাকে এবং ক্ষুধা নিয়ন্ত্রণে থাকে৷ নিয়মিত হাঁটাচলা আপনার পাকস্থলিকে সুস্থ রাখে এবং খাবার হজমে সাহায্য করে৷

পুষ্টি সচেতনতা নতুন কিছু নয়। সুস্বাস্থ্যের জন্য পুষ্টিকর খাবারের গুরুত্ব অপরিসীম। তাই  সবসময় খেয়াল রাখুন আপনি কি খাচ্ছেন। স্বাস্থ্যকর পদ্ধতিতে পছন্দের সব ধরনের খাবার গ্রহণ করুন।

Importance of Mental Health During Ramadan

In the holy month of Ramadan, over 1 billion Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset all over the world. Ramadan cultivates discipline and appreciation in us, teaches us the importance of support and community, as well as reminding us to be compassionate and help those in need. 

Ramadan is usually a special time for the community where everyone comes together to say their prayers and break their fasts. As this pandemic continues, most countries have imposed restrictions on movement that have forced Muslims to change the way they celebrate Ramadan with others. Same as last year, even now people are unable to enjoy Ramadan and experience the traditions due to lockdowns and social distancing aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. They have been unable to pray communally in mosques or gather with family members, friends, or community for iftar/dinners. This time has been difficult for all of us, and it can be even more difficult during festivals, making people feel even more isolated than before. In these conditions, the effect of isolation during Ramadan on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing is a major concern. 

Social isolation can make a person feel depressed, cause them to withdraw emotionally, and for long periods which may result in the rise of overeating during iftar and sehri, smoking post-iftar, lack of exercise, excessive screen time, unregulated sleep especially during Ramadan as sleeping patterns change due to sehri, compulsive shopping, and other inappropriate coping strategies. The elderly and those who have already been diagnosed with social anxiety or a mood disorder are particularly vulnerable. The state of one’s mental health may significantly impact the human immune system, making it highly dangerous to battle COVID-19.

To fight against it, you can be inventive in designing scenes that are close enough to your daily gatherings and keep yourselves busy and away from distraught feelings:

  • Parents can spend more meaningful time with their children by discussing family issues and exchanging feelings freely
  • Spend some quality family time watching TV
  • Reading, painting, or any hobbies 
  • Hosting Zoom watch parties
  • Playing sports 
  • Small exercises
  • Socializing with friends online
  • Participating in the preparation of iftar and prayer
  • Organizing virtual iftars
  • Praying together at home

Remember that you may be physically distancing but help protect your mental health and help others do the same and stay socially connected.

রমজানে মানসিক স্বাস্থ্য

রমজানের পবিত্র মাসে সারা বিশ্বে ১০০ কোটির বেশি মুসলিম সুবেহ্‌ সাদিক থেকে সূর্যাস্ত পর্যন্ত রোজা রাখেন। রমজান শৃঙ্খলা ও আত্ম উপলব্ধির বিকাশ ঘটায়। আমাদের শিক্ষা দেয় সামাজিকতার ও সহমর্মীতার। সেই সাথে আমাদের মনে করিয়ে দেয় সুবিধাবঞ্চিতদের সাহায্য ও তাদের প্রতি সহানুভূতিশীল হওয়ার কথা।

পবিত্র রমজান মাস জুড়ে মুসলিম সম্প্রদায়ের মানুষেরা এক কাতারে এসে নামাজ পড়েন এবং একসাথে ইফতার করেন। এই মহামারি সময়ে অধিকাংশ দেশই চলাফেরার উপর কড়াকড়ি আরোপ করেছে। যার ফলে মুসল্লিদের একত্রে রমজান পালনের ধরণে এসেছে পরিবর্তন ।  কোভিড-১৯ সংক্রমণ রোধ করতে লকডাউন ও সামাজিক দূরত্ববিধি মানতে হচ্ছে। যে কারণে গত বছরের মতো এবছরও রমজান পালনে নানাবিধ জটিলতায় পড়তে হচ্ছে । মুসল্লিরা মসজিদে গিয়ে জামাতে নামাজ আদায় করতে পারছেননা কিংবা পরিবার পরিজনের সাথে একত্রে ইফতার বা সেহরিও করতে পারছেন না। এই সময়টা আমাদের সকলের জন্যই বেশ কঠিন। আর উৎসবের সময় প্রিয়জনদের থেকে দূরে থাকা এই খারাপ লাগাকে আরো বাড়িয়ে দেয়।  আর এসবের প্রভাব পড়ে মানসিক স্বাস্থ্য ও সুস্থতার উপর।  

সামাজিক বিচ্ছিন্নতা আমাদের মাঝে বিষন্নতা সৃষ্টি করে। মানুষকে অনুভূতিহীন করে তোলে। যার ফলে ইফতার ও সেহরীতে অতিরিক্ত খাওয়া, ইফতারের পর ধূমপান, শরীরচর্চার অভাব, মোবাইল বা টেলিভিশনের পর্দায় অতিরিক্ত সময় ব্যায় ইত্যাদি অভ্যাস গড়ে ওঠে। অনিয়মিত ঘুম বিশেষত সেহরির জন্য ঘুমের ধরণ পালটে যাওয়া, অহেতুক কেনাকাটা, এবং আরও নানা ধরণের অনাকাঙ্ক্ষিত সমস্যার সৃষ্টি হয়। বয়ষ্ক মানুষ এবং যাদের সোস্যাল এংজাইটি কিংবা মুড ডিসআর্ডারের লক্ষণ আছে, তারাই এ ক্ষেত্রে বেশি সমস্যায় পড়েন। মানসিক স্বাস্থ্যের সাথে ইমিউন সিস্টেমের গুরুত্বপূর্ণ সম্পর্ক রয়েছে, যা কোভিড-১৯ এর বর্তমান পরিস্থিতিতে বেশ বিপদজনক।  

এর থেকে মুক্তি পেতে কাজে ব্যস্ত থাকুন। এছাড়া নিজেকে ভালো রাখার জন্য যা যা করতে পারেন-

  • বাবা মা সন্তানদের সাথে আরো বেশি সময় কাটাতে পারেন এবং পরিবারের বিষয়গুলো নিয়ে খোলামেলা আলাপ আলোচনা করতে পারেন
  • পরিবারের সকলে মিলে কোন নাটক বা সিনেমা দেখতে পারেন 
  • যে কোন শখ যেমন পড়া-লেখা কিংবা আঁকা-আঁকিতে ব্যস্ত থাকতে পারেন
  • জুম বা অন্য যেকোনো ভিডিও কনফারেন্সিং অ্যাপ দিয়ে ওয়াচ পার্টির আয়োজন করতে পারেন
  • বাসার ভিতরে কিছু খেলাধুলা করতে পারেন
  • হালকা ব্যায়াম করতে পারেন
  • অনলাইনে সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে বন্ধুদের সাথে আড্ডা দিতে পারেন
  • ইফতার ও নামাজের প্রস্তুতিতে অংশ নিতে পারেন
  • ভার্চুয়াল ইফতারের আয়োজন করতে পারেন
  • ঘরে এক সাথে জামাতে নামাজ আদায় করতে পারেন

মনে রাখবেন সামাজিক দূরত্ব মেনেও মানসিক সুস্বাস্থ্য বজায় রাখা সম্ভব এবং অন্যদেরকেও একই ভাবে সহায়তা করা সম্ভব।