Importance of Cleanliness for Healthy Lifestyle

Piles of Garbage blocking the sewage: Online

In a country like Pakistan it seems there is no concept of cleanliness, wherever you see, you witness heaps of garbage lying on the streets.  People throw garbage everywhere other

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Piles of Garbage blocking the sewage: Online

than the dustbins. These trashes are a hotbed for severe illnesses, if you want to know how?  So the answer is quite simple; Unhygienic conditions such as dirty linen, leftover food or overflowing garbage attract pests and flies that serve as hosts for transmitting preventable diseases like diarrhea, food poisoning and gastric related illnesses.

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Gastric Disease is prevalent due to Unhygienic Roadside eateries

Around 60-70 million people are affected annually with gastric diseases.  Half of country’s population is without proper sanitation and hygiene.  The economic impact of poor sanitation has resulted in an annual loss of 3.94% or more of Gross Domestic Products (GDP).  Much is said about cleanliness and hygiene but its application is missing in our society.

Several factors contribute to the quality of life; however, cleanliness and hygiene are one of the basic essentials. There is a need to inform and educate people about the importance of cleanliness in our society.  While we can’t control what goes on in our environment, we do have control over our immediate surroundings. Government along with civilians and corporate organizations together need to play their due role in improving sanitation conditions of the country.

The importance of cleanliness cannot be ignored in individual as well as in community level. On one hand it is an important factor for human health whereas on the other hand it is essential for environmental development as well. “Cleanliness is half part of faith”, therefore as an individual, one is liable to clean up its own act (not in literal sense) but rather contribute in cleaning up its surrounding.

The best place to start off is ‘house’ where people spend a lot of their time.  Hygiene environment plays a vital role in contributing to living a healthy life. It’s important to root out dirt and pests that can make you sick and eventually cost you money.  If cleanliness of your home environment is important to you, you will ensure that it is kept clean all the time. Basic hygienic tips for instance washing hands after coming from outside; cleaning sink and counter-tops regularly while sweeping and moping with cleaning agents avoid the spread of dirt to oneself and others. These are some of the basics which if follow daily reduce the risk of bacterial growth at home.

Contaminated food also contributes to gastric diseases. The World Health Organization reported that 40 percent people

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Making Chaat in Unhygienic Condition

suffer from enteric diseases caused by contaminated food in developing countries of the world. Food contamination occurs due to different reasons like unsafe food packaging, food transportation under unhygienic conditions etc. One cannot control the contamination of food in external environment but can avoid food contamination in their home environment.  Decaying food leads to food contamination. It’s important to have a proactive approach towards food preservation.  Raw food like vegetables, fruits should be kept in the lower part of the fridge while cooked food needs to be covered it properly and keep in top section of the fridge.  One also ensures to utilize cooked food within two days before rotting.

Overflowing trash

Heaps of Garbage Outside Trash bins

The sight of overflowing trash cans looks horrible.  On the top of that, majority of the people throw garbage in the bins irrespective of the fact that it’s soggy or dry. Most of the people have trash bins without lid, contributing to a stinky odor, and hence attract flies at homes. To avoid this stinky smell,   place a couple of dryer sheets or other absorbent material in the bottom of the trash to absorb spills or dampness.

Many people nowadays prefer health-centric appliances for their homes. Keeping in perspective the hassle of today’s fast paced life, corporate organizations have introduced innovative home appliances such as refrigerator, washing machine and air conditioners, equipped with insect repellent technology.  The advanced technology has an ability to ward off insects or pests, from inside of the appliances and its surrounding area.

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Hygiene for Healthy Living: Online photo

By adopting the hygienic lifestyle, one can be saved from a lot of preventable diseases. ‘Prevention is better than cure’ there is a dire need to make conscious efforts to educate people about the significance of cleanliness and hygiene. In this regard, the government should also play its vital role in legislating stringent laws against littering and implement it at the grassroots level.

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An Ordinary Man With A Profound Vision

Faiz Welfare Foundation

There are some people whom you meet in life, though they seem to be ordinary but their work towards humanity speaks high of them. Dr. Muhammad Faizur Rehman Siddiqui is one of them. He is the Chairman of the Faiz Welfare Foundation (FWF) and a Consultant Physician (a Specialist of Heart Disease, Hypertension, and Diabetes Mellitus). FWF is a social organization which has started its work from last year (2010). 

According to Dr. Siddiqui, the objective of this organization is to work on Hepatitis B and C patients specifically. It is a chronic disease which if not treated may cause cirrhosis (liver damage) after 15 years and ultimately after 20 years it may also lead to cancer. There is no vaccine for this infection whereas the tests and medicines are expensive which is out of reach for the poor people and even lower middle class cannot afford.

He shares the journey from being a Physician to the Chairman of FWF which in his own words ‘a long one’. He has worked at many places.  After graduating from Dow Medical College in 1974, he went to Muscat where he started his professional career. He worked for two years as General Physician over there. Then he went to Abu Dhabi where he spent 26 years working at the Government Hospital for first ten years though later he started his own private practice. He also used to do a radio show in Abu Dhabi named as Radio Doctor where he used to answer the queries regarding health problems. He also participated in social activities arranged by Pakistan Culture Centre. He also did his practice in Government Hospital at Canada for five years. But after the death of his wife, he comes back to Karachi in April 2007. Presently he is working at different hospitals which include Indus Hospital, MediLink and Park Lane.

While working at Indus Hospital, he comes across many patients suffering from Hepatitis who have no money to pay for expensive tests. Therefore to utilize the alms money in right direction, the concept of FWF comes into existence to facilitate the poor for the treatment of one of the incurable disease. Hepatitis C is one of the wide-spread diseases in the Pakistan and at least 15-20% people are suffering from this infection.

He informs that now his foundation is treating 20 patients a month and after every one month, twenty more new patients are added. It is a six month course and we have started the treatment from December 2010, which will end in May 2011. After May, he says, “We will add 50 more patients every month for the treatment.”

Moreover, he explains that the procedure of the organization is to provide injections and medicines for whole month and after every one month, when these patients come for another round; they are being tested to see the results. But after the completion of six months, a special genotype test is conducted to see the benefits of the treatment and detect antibodies. However he is hopeful that the success rate will be 85%.

Dr. Siddiqui further reveals that the work of FWF has been evaluated by the Government of Pakistan; they have gone through the audit report of the organization after which Federal Board Revenue (FBR) has exempted the tax from the funds donated to the foundation in the form of charity. While inquiring about the expenses that foundation has to bear in the form of injections and other expenditures for which he replies that the miscellaneous costs are all paid by our pocket whereas, the donations are only used on patients.

The foundation is also supporting Indus Hospital and now seven more people are working under this organization. Though the plan of Dr. Faiz is to expand the organization into a medical centre and to start the ambulance services but due to limited resources, it is still under process. He has not only made the pilot project but also working on it.

He is clear about his intention; his vision is to work more on hepatitis B and C patients not only in the city but also to the rural areas. He is working to make specialized medical centre which will also do research on these infections by collecting data of Hep Band C patients from whole Pakistan. He says that by doing this, we will be able to recognize our work in the forum of World Health Organization. Though, recently in first half of this year, FWF has been granted license by Security and Exchange Comission of Pakistan as the non-profit organization.

Dr. Siddiqui believes that it is an obligation for the affluent people to work for those who are needy. He further says that he is not the kind of person who sits at home and be critical about the system, rather he believes in self-service.

The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step, an adage that says a lot for a person who in his own small ways is working for welfare of the people. Though he is not a celebrity or someone in power; he is an ordinary man with a big vision. As he says, “I am here to play my part and hoping that the efforts will not go vain.”