Singing for a cause

July 30, 2010


Top corporate bosses lend their hand for a noble cause. At a fundraiser organised by Genesis Foundation this past week, aptly titled ‘CEOs Sing for their Supper’, CEOs from nine blue chip companies performed at the Crowne Plaza Today in Gurgaon.

It was indeed a music show with a difference as corporate bigwigs strummed their guitars and showcased their singing prowess before an enthused weekend audience. It also went on to prove that academic merit and professional success could in no way inhibit creative sensibilities developed during student days. Moreover, it also underlined the fact that commitment to social causes remained high on the priority of people who have managed to climb the success ladder.

At a fundraiser organised by Genesis Foundation this past week, aptly titled ‘CEOs Sing for their Supper’, CEOs from nine blue chip companies performed at the Crowne Plaza Today in Gurgaon. The aim was to collect money to be utilised to save the lives of critically ill children who are either orphans or come from less privileged families. The Foundation was formed with an avowed objective to provide financial support and medical intervention for critically ill orphans or children whose family income is less than Rs.5000 per month, with the focus area of support being cancer, heart, organ failure, thalassemia and extreme deformities.

Amongst those who performed during the evening were Niren Chaudhary, CEO, Yum Restaurants, Geetu Verma, Executive Director, PepsiCo India, Gopal Sarma, MD, Feedback Ventures and Shireesh Joshi, Director Marketing, Airtel. It was an eclectic mix of Hindi and English numbers, although, almost all were of an earlier vintage, something that went to prove that current genre of music has not been able to etch a permanent place in the heart of these music aficionados. It was an exciting format where the guests judged each performance and the winner selected a partner to join him/her in a grand supper.

The Foundation’s Goodwill Ambassador, Parvathy Omanakuttan, Miss India 2008, compered the event. Around 120 people purchased a place at the table for Supper in the effort to help raise funds to save the lives of nine children.

Prevent thalassemia at early stage

May 15, 2010

Courtesy by:

Abu Dhabi: To prevent hereditary diseases such as thalassemia from spreading, the UAE Government should introduce mandatory pre-marital tests for secondary school pupils, an Emirati doctor said.

According to the World Health Organisation, one in 16 Emiratis suffers from the disease, and requires multiple blood transfusions, putting them at risk of an iron-overload, which can cause irreversible damage to kidneys and the heart, leading to more serious and life-threatening medical conditions.

“Emiratis tend to marry their relatives, which increases the risk of developing thalassemia. Even though the UAE Government has introduced mandatory pre-marital tests, we can prevent the disease further, by diagnosing pupils in schools, before they even decide to engage in a relationship,” said Dr Saqqaf Alawi Al Saqqaf, consultant paediatrician, in charge of thalassemia patients in Mafraq Hospital.

The government covers the treatment expenses for thalassemia, which is estimated to reach a minimum of Dh30,000 per year.

“If each of the married couple is carrying the thalassemia trait, chances are that 25 per cent of their children can end up dead; another 25 per cent chance that they end up normal, and a 50 per cent chance that they carry the gene,” said Saqqaf.

Zainab Khazaal, manager of the Disease Prevention & Screening Centre in Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, affirmed that pre-marital tests are currently mandatory for both expatriates and Emiratis. However, only tests such as HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B are compulsory.

“Testing for thalassemia is not compulsory in a pre-marital test. However, people do have the option of testing for hereditary diseases such as thalassemia during a pre-marital test, which we always advise them to do at the centre, especially if they have a history of thalassemia in their family, or are married to their relatives,” Khazaal told Gulf News.


Binay Shetty, executive director of NMC Group, feels introducing the pre-marital test option among pupils is a good idea but should not be made mandatory.

“I personally think raising awareness campaigns, and introducing free screening tests to prevent hereditary conditions is a good way of preventing them. I wouldn’t encourage compulsory tests for hereditary diseases, but I would help make it available for the public if needed.”

Dr Shamsheer V.P., Managing Director, Lifeline Hospital Group, finds it important to make the screening methods available to the public.

He said:  If screening is widespread as in Kuwait recently, even the knowledge of the potential to have children with a disease does not stop 45 per cent of tested couples from proceeding to marriage

Saudia Arabia, Nigeria and some Pakistani regions have introduced compulsory screening. Only some USA states now insist upon Syphilis testing before marriage.

The main benefits are in those countries where a specific disease such as Thalassaemia, Hepatitis B or HIV i common

Iran to jab individuals against H1N1 for free

January 10, 2010

Courtesy by:

Iranian officials are preparing to mount a free campaign to inoculate at-risk individuals against A/H1N1 flu in the coming days.

Latest figures have revealed a considerable decline in the number of cases that had tested positive for the flu in Iran. No new deaths have been reported in the past two weeks.

Officials, however, predict upcoming waves of the disease in the world as well as Iran, bringing up the need for inoculating high-risk individuals against the disease.

“At-risk individuals such as pregnant women, immunocompromised patients, HIV positive individuals and those suffering from underlying diseases — such as heart, renal and respiratory disorders or active cancer, liver cirrhosis, uncontrolled diabetes, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia and morbid obesity — along with children aged younger than 19 and individuals who are incapable of excreting their sputum will receive the H1N1 vaccine,” said Minou Mohraz, the head of the Iranian association for infectious disease and a member of the National Influenza Committee.

She stressed that healthcare providers who are in close contact with affected patients are in the priority for receiving the vaccine.

Mohraz continued to say that the vaccine will be distributed by the Universities of Medical Sciences in different parts of the country free of charge in order to overcome any possible black-marketing of the drug.

She stressed that the quality of the vaccine has been approved by the Iranian Ministry of Health, suggesting that no certain complication would be reported.

The head of the Iranian association for infectious disease said healthy individuals do not need to be jabbed against A/H1N1, adding that following simple precautionary measure can ward off the flu in these individuals.

Piece of glass in another vial

October 31, 2009

Courtesy by:

A ward in the Thalassemia Centre at the Teaching Hospital in Kurunegala became the latest location where a vial containing an anti-biotic drug was found with a piece of glass.

When the medical staff got ready to administer the drug on the patients of the ward, the detection was made.

The nurse of the ward who detected the piece of glass in a vial containing Ampicillin had handed it over to the Chief Medical Officer of the Thalassemia Centre, Paediatrician Dr. Dayananda Bandara.

Dr. Bandara said that it was a very serious situation as the minute pieces of glass that could be present in the liquid drug could cause severe damage if it enters the blood stream and affect the heart, eyes, kidneys and the liver.

The possible coagulation blood around such a glass particle may block arteries and create severe heart conditions too, he said.

Dr. Bandara said that the Ministry of Health has been risking the lives of helpless patients by importing such low quality drugs. It is learnt that the drug was imported from India.

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