AKUH and Media collaborate to improve public health

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AKUH and Media collaborate to improve public health

To develop greater collaboration between healthcare experts and the media, The Agha Khan University Hospital organised Health Media Conference in Partnership with the Agha Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications in Kenya and the Centre for Innovation in Medical Education.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Asim Belgaumi spoke about the role of the institution in raising healthcare standards across the country and Ms. Salma Jaffer, Chief Nursing Officer shared their leading  role in nursing Profession and said that hospitals are recognized by their nursing care and it is our Competitive edge and we consider as trend setter in Health care Industry.

The Conference featured panels by AKUH doctors on health trends, preventative health measures and social taboos that arise in healthcare settings. Leading doctors discussed women’s health, children’s health, heart disease, family medicine, kidney and bladder disease, mental health, infectious diseases, psycho social issues, adolescent health issues, heart disease among children, water-borne diseases etc. They informed media about major research projects underway and collaboration with the government in capacity building and training of healthcare worker and hospital administrators in order to improve the level of health care services across the country.

Ms. Shamsah Virani, Director, Marketing & Communication discussed about their best business practices that every year AKU gives valuable contribution from their Profit by providing free of Cost quality Health care facilities to needy Patients (through its patient welfare and Zakat programs)to make it accessible for all.

Senior journalist Muhammad Ziauddin talked about Challenges faced in Health Reporting and urged the need for specialized skills training for health reporters to strengthen the information provided to the public.

Prof. Charles Docherty, Director, CIME given the opportunity to Media Professionals belonging from various Media houses to visit and witness  their state of Art Technology available for health care Professionals in their Centre of Innovation and Medical Education to sharpen their skills.

Ms. Talmah Cowasje, Manager Public Affairs AKU, Stephen Buckley, Faculty Member AKU and Ms. Sehrish Subhan,Head of Communications share their experience with Media fellows.

The Conference also served as discussion platform for journalists and healthcare providers to determine how to overcome challenges in making health information available and report in stories of health.

The conference featured panel discussions. The first discussion was focused on the current health trends, prevalent health issues and measures in Pakistan. The panelist includes, Dr. Bushra Jamil (Infectious Disease), Dr. Lumaan Sheikh (Women’s Health), Dr. Osman Faheem (Heart Disease), Dr. Shahab Abid (Stomach and Liver Disease), Dr. Arshalooz Rahman (Children’s Health) and Dr. Marie Andrades (Family Health). The panel discussed the importance of taking preventive measures for better health. There are many diseases arising because of the low quality of drinking water in Pakistan, according to Dr. Shahab Abid, and there was consensus on the need for developing low cost clean water solutions. That would help in decreasing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as MDR Typhoid, Diarrhea, and Acute Hepatitis E.

The panel continued discussion regarding heart disease and its prevalence in Pakistan. Health issues concerning the youth of the country were also highlighted with reference to excessive consumption of fast food, poor environment with no playground and sports facilities and increased usage of electronic gadgets in our youth. This has led to pre-hypertensive blood pressure in children and it must be treated thus we advise a complete check-up. At AKUH patients are initially treated through basic life style changes like salt reduction, exercise and blood pressure control later treating them through cutting edge procedures and innovations as and when required. Focus on women’s health and their immunity continues to be an issue as they do not come for follow up check-ups.

The second panel discussed dealing with Social Taboos and Crisis situations in Health Care were discussed by Dr. Unab Khan (Family Health), Dr. Nuzhat Farooqui (Kidney and Bladder Health), Dr. Qurat Khan (Mental Health), Dr. Badar Afzal (Emergency Care) and Dr. Ambreen Khan (Women’s Health).

The diseases and disorders brought to light included dementia, depression, domestic violence, urological issues, and sexual awareness. Young men and women have multiple eating disorders leading to over sensitivity towards body image, anorexia and obesity. Since family structure is being diverted more towards nuclear structure with the influence of social media, virtual happiness is now being shared through Facebook and YouTube. As physicians and psychiatrists, our doctors treat them but for long term prevention, public intervention is vital.