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need for affordable healthcare emphasised

Festival of Arts and Ideas by SMIU: Inspiration for youth

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People’s right to wellness A weekly from Karachi

Special Focus on

Friday, December 22, 2017 Vol IV No 32-33 12 Pages I Rs. 30

Health Education Environment

KWSB to rennovate Hub canal By Mukhtar Alam

KARACHI: The spiritual leader of the Ismaili community, Prince Karim Aga Khan inaugurated a state-of-the-art healthcare education centre at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, last week. Prince Karim was on an official visit to Pakistan from December 7 to 19. He met President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad and Governor Mohammad Zubair and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in Karachi, in addition to visiting various places in the country as part of the commemoration of 60 years of his imamat. Realated story on page 2

InSIDE Editorial ...............Page 03 Health ..................Page 04 Special Report.....Page 06 Education ............Page 08 Environment ........Page 09 Mosaic .................Page 10

EXCERPTS .............on page 03

KARACHI: Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) is likely to start overdue rehabilitation works for the 22-km-long Hub canal by end of the current financial year of the government, which has a capacity of transferring 100 million gallons of water from Hub to Karachi every day, it emerged recently. A source in the Board said though the overall supply of water from the earthen Hub dam has not been up to the mark during the last few years due to little accumulation of the rain-water in it authorities want to see the canal intact and upgraded as a second source of water supply to the city and that’s why preparatory works are now moving, under a plan approved by the government in 2013 and included in its annual development programme in the subsequent years. According to the ADP details, the target date for completion of “Hub Canal Rehabilitation” scheme, costing about Rs 400 million, is now June 2019. The government has allocated Rs 50 million for the ongoing financial

KARACHI: Hub Canal awaiting rehabilitation work. — ST photo

year, while KWSB has invited technical and financial proposals from consulting firms for designing, rehabilitation and supervision of the canal, recently. It is learnt that under a quota system KWSB is provided with 50 mil-

lion gallons of water per day (MGD) from Hub dam located in Balochistan, which helps ease out the supply crisis in the western part of Karachi. KWSB gets another supply of 550 MGD from the Indus river. However, due to overall dilapi-

dated condition of the canal, KWSB is getting only 70 per cent of the Hub dam water at its Hub Pumping Station, Manghopir Road, claimed the source. Continued on page 2

Child stunting

Govt to give cash incentives to mothers KARACHI: The government of Sindh has decided to give cash incentives to pregnant and lactating women in two districts of the province on experimental basis to create health consciousness and awareness on nutritional issues to reduce the rising rates of stunting among new born children, it emerged last week.

A source privy to the government’s multi-sector Accelerated Action Plan (AAP), named Sehatmand Sindh for reduction of child stunting and undernourishment said that lactating and pregnant women who are already enrolled in the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) will be approached for a Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) to them.

Under the government’s plan, four districts will be focused in two phases, the source added, saying "Tharparkar and Umerkot districts have initially been earmarked for carrying out the health and nutrition cash transfer scheme, which would be followed by another two districts yet to be decided by the competent forum."

It was learnt that in addition to this new conditional cash transfer scheme, the AAP developed with the technical support of World Bank will focus on all such segments of population that are nutritionally vulnerable and on whom stunting prevention strategies can prove more responsive. Continued on page 2

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2 I nEWS

I Friday, December 22, 2017

Prince Karim Aga Khan inaugurates CIME By Our Correspondent KARACHI: Giving his remarks after inaugurating AKU’s Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME) last week, Prince Karim Aga Khan, who is also the chancellor of the university, said that the university was contributing towards the advancement of the healthcare in the country. “We should position this institution in its correct place in service to Pakistan.” Retracing the establishment of AKU in Pakistan in 1983, he said that when he decided to launch a university in Pakistan he had done some homework to try to understand what profile of institutions would best fit the needs of higher education in Pakistan. “It was clear that the civil society was underserved in education in Pakistan”. Expressing his gratitude to all those who had sustained the University, he said, “It is a source of immense joy that I have in front of me men and women who are generous and source full and are encouraging what we all are trying to do.” CIME’s mission is to transform the education of health professionals through the use of simulation and virtual reality technology to develop knowledge and skills before treating patients, said an AKU press release. The 80,000-square foot, Rs. 1.6 billion ($15 million), donor-funded Centre comprises of three buildings – the Mariyam Bashir Dawood Building, the Ibn Sina

KARACHI: Prince Karim Aga Khan along with AKU President Firoz Rasul having a round of CIME. — ST photo

Building and the Shiraz Boghani Building. The Centre offers multi-purpose teaching spaces, high-fidelity simulators, and specialty environments such as the phantomhead dental lab, a cardiac catheterisation lab and telemedicine clinics. “In everything we do, we must look forward to the future and seek creativity, innovation and improvement,’” said AKU President Firoz Rasul. “AKU has been the recipient of significant philanthropic support,” he added and said that such support has enabled the university to launch important new ventures, build new facilities and achieve higher standards.

CIME Director Dr Charles Docherty said, "The Centre aims to raise the bar for teaching and learning and to thereby deliver higher standards of practice across the professions of medicine, nursing and allied health." “We seek to become a strategic asset for Pakistan and the region that is at the forefront of efforts to raise the standard of healthcare.” “Using the latest technology in simulation, whilst being guided by our faculty, makes for a more effective learning environment for students, by converting highrisk, high-reward scenarios into zero-risk, high-reward scenarios,” said Ibrahim

Habib, a third-year medical student at AKU. High-speed communications technology allows video connectivity throughout CIME and with international experts, offering a truly ‘global classroom’, with students able to learn from specialists anywhere in the world in real-time. This same connectivity allows CIME to work with remote and rural populations within Pakistan and neighbouring countries to expand access to quality healthcare. The Aga Khan laid the foundation stone for the three buildings of CIME during his previous visit to Pakistan in 2013.

Govt to give cash incentives... Continued from page 1

KWSB to rennovate Hub canal Continued from page 1

The canal meant for KWSB that starts from bifurcation point to Hub pumping facility of KWSB was constructed in embankment with earth borrowed from adjoining areas. Lining of canal was carried out with concrete cement blocks while the portion of canal with steep slope was lined through stone pitching, another source stated, adding that some reinforced concrete aquaducts also form part of the canal. “There are some weak earthen portions with deteriorated, outlived CC-block lining in the canal, which are the cause of wastage for a considerable quantity of water and are at risk of a breach that may deprive the city of substantial water. Aquaducts have also developed cracks and are leaking.” The construction of the canal in question was initiated in 1981,

while it was charged for the first time in 1984. When contacted, Mohammad Asif Qadri, executive engineer of Hub Division (Civil), KWSB, said that the situation necessitates immediate repair work. "We are in the process of engaging consulting firms in this regard, who may recommend either a complete concrete lining of the canal or any other rehabilitation procedures including further reinforcement of crucial points," he added. According to him, the project in question is proposed to be implemented in four packages on intermittent basis during closure period of one month each in one year, but authorities are of the view that work in question may be assigned to different contractors after due proceedings to have the work done in one closure to avoid frequent interruptions in water supply from the canal and squeeze the time frame.

Recognising the need for addressing malnutrition as a top priority, the Sindh AAP has been prepared for reduction of stunting and undernourishment by 2021 in the province with an overarching goal for ten years “to reduce stunting from existing 48 per cent to 30 per cent in five years, i.e. by 2021and 15 per cent by 2026 in the province by increasing and expanding coverage of multi-sectoral interventions which are known to reduce stunting in first five years of children’s live. Experts in a summary related to AAP further observed that stunting or low height for age, generally occurs before the age of two years, and effects are largely irreversible. According to Sindh Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2014 undertaken by the Sindh Bureau of Statistics, the malnutrition levels and micro-nutrient deficiency across Sindh is above the cut-off for a serious public health problem.

It was also learnt that various departments including health, social welfare, local government, public health engineering, agriculture, livestock, food, education and communication have identified their respective interventions and requisitions with the coordination of planning and development department of the government. A number of interventions have been listed under various sectors, some of which will have immediate impact including health and population, sanitary, hygiene, social protection, social behavior and communication, said a source. Another source said that a Social Protection Unit (SPU) has been set up in the Social Welfare department of the Sindh government, with a mandate to design and implement Health and nutrition CCT for pregnant and lactating women to motivate them for behavioural change and to avail nutrition and immunisation facilities from government’s local health facilities. A source in the social welfare de-

partment disclosed that about 125,000 women were registered with BISP in Tharparkar and Umerkot, 25 per cent of which could fall in the categories of pregnant and lactating women at a given time, who after due proceedings will be transferred the cash under AAP on a regular basis for two years. Sindh government has already allocated an amount of Rs one billion for various AAP initiatives and it is likely that a woman who will qualify for the relevant criteria and agree to visit health units, change her behavior towards reproductive health and nutrition,will be provided an amount to the tune of Rs 1,000 to 1,500 per month through SPU for a certain period. After periodic evaluations of the pilot interventions in Tharparkar and Umerkot, the government may decide to continue the cash transfer scheme further and extend the scheme to some other districts of Sindh, particularly in the western part, the source added. –MA

KARACHI: Advisor to Sindh CM, Shamim Mumtaz leading an awareness walk in connection with International Day of Persons with Disabilities. — ST photo


OPInIOn I 3

I Friday, December 22, 2017

People’s right to wellness

F

Breaking the power of corrupts

ollowing a Supreme Court order, land developing and civic authorities are carrying out ‘operations’ to remove encroachments from various public utility lands in Karachi nowadays. The apex court was told that thousands of plots were carved in government land illegally including land reserved for amenities like parks, playgrounds, hospitals and educational institutions, in an organised way by business interest during the last many years in Karachi. no doubt, the encroachers while doing illicit businesses remained untouched by all the tiers of custodians of government lands and public amenities. Even the elected representatives of people sitting in the power or opposition did not bother to safeguard the state’s writ and people’s right in general. The transfer or selling off of precious government lands and public amenities to quarters for commercial and residential purposes, and ignoring the laws, deprived hundreds and thousands of children, women, and elders, of public services like hospitals, parks, schools and playgrounds that were supposed to be developed in the plots of land in question. Over three weeks back, the court set a deadline of two months for reclamation of usurped plots and parks from their occupants. The menace of encroachment has remained a major issue of our cities, towns and rural areas for years, due to an insurmountable nexus of corrupt developers and government officials. Unfortunately the people at the helm of affairs, instead of enforcing the writ of the government and protecting rights of masses, became a party to such activities. Their uncalled for silence on violation of laws and people’s right to wellness, certainly creates room to doubt their integrity. Why do they allow the vested interest to prevail and usurp parks, playgrounds and other amenities? Perhaps, a big ‘joint investigation' in such condemned developments is also overdue! Back in early 2015, on a directive of Supreme Court for removal of marriage lawns set up on government lands, parks, playgrounds and other amenity plots was witnessed. The then chief minister of Sindh had ordered the removal of illegal occupants, but measures were short-lived and encroachers managed to maintain their business as usual, after a break. There is a general perception that the ongoing action of government agencies will die down, without yielding the desired results and serving the real deserving people. There are reports that many of the illegal occupants are enjoying the possession of premises that the government operation hit recently in different districts of Karachi. We need to go beyond ‘eyewash’, otherwise corruption will get a new lease of life. There has been a debate for a long time that pieces of lands, which remain unutilised for a long time finally fall prey to quarters who allegedly set up markets and shops or make constructions, and when the government actually wants to utilise such land for any public purpose, they either produce fake papers of properties which are unacceptable and challenged, or in some cases, manage to prepare papers after greasing palms of officials and finally, cases are filed in courts for getting ‘status quo’. Despite reservations of some quarters, it is expected that the new operation will be appreciated by general public when they'll see long-lasting effects on physical and environmental health of the city. This is high time we realised that illegal constructions on government and public utility lands including the green-belts, roads, streets and pedestrians ways spoiled infrastructure of Karachi and other cities of the country. Government should rise to the occasion and weaken the encroachers in a real sense and avoid calling them ‘mafia’ as they are usurpers deserving of punishment.

EXCERPTS Sweltering weather: WITH THE onset of hot weather in Karachi and elsewhere, concerns are being raised by people regarding steps being taken to prevent possible heat stroke cases. Only last year, heat-wave claimed more than one thousand lives and it also exposed the preparedness of the city government and other Sindh government institutions, like civic agencies, health department, and major city hospitals. ●

Last year the role of civic agencies was criticised by the people and NGO as primary health care institutions had no facilities and most of the cases were referred to Jinnah and Civil and Abbasi Shaheed hospitals where due to rush cases could not be handled properly. Director-General of PDMA Syed Suleman Shah said recently that a total of 65,533 people were brought to hospitals in Karachi, while another 731 were presented at hospitals in the rest of the province. The death toll remained 1,241, including eight outside Karachi. Now the civic agencies as well as citizens have to take measures to bring down temperatures in the surrounding areas which include treeplantation on mass scale and provision of sprinkling of water at markets, hospitals and other busy places. Steps are also needed to check rapid urbanisation and use of fossil fuels. It is also hoped that the provincial disaster management authorities and other departments will ensure proper coordination to prevent such deaths and they would provide relief to common man. Social Track editorial, April 29, 2016

Health & diseases, literacy & education, ecology & environment, housing, nutrition, living and poverty, mortality & migration, women & gender empowerment, human resource, energy, water & sanitation, public utilities, public health, population parameters, labour force & employment, forest, fossil fuel, global warming, climate change, science & technology, sports & youth affairs, food & fertilizer, transport & communication, information technology, natural resources.

In Indonesia, women organise for environmental justice By Patrick Nease, Octavia Payne

A

group of women from Sungai Berbari, a village in Riau, Indonesia, blockade a road that leads to a nearby oil palm plantation. They’re protesting the companies that operate the plantation because they failed to water the roads regularly, as promised, to prevent dust from kicking up as their haul trucks drive by. Dust in the air is a major cause of acute respiratory disease for the villagers. The protest grabbed the companies’ attention for a day, but progress was short-lived. The companies watered the road for a few days, but no fines or penalties were issued and it was back to businessas-usual within a week. This kind of scenario has become commonplace ever since the Indonesian government began granting concessions across Riau’s forests for agricultural operations without consulting with communities or enforcing the terms of agreements. To understand and effectively advocate for better land use policy, villagers like these women need tangible information about the forests around them. Women bear the brunt of environmental damage Poorly managed, large-scale agricultural operations make life difficult for the residents of Sungai Berbari. Women often bear the brunt of the consequences. They are responsible for domestic duties, such as procuring clean water, childcare and managing household finances—the elements of daily life that are most affected by poor land use planning. Plantations often pollute local water supplies, forcing women to buy clean water with already limited incomes. Large plantations also increase the distance women and their children must travel to schools and healthcare facilities. Other problems affect the whole village. For example, companies burn carbon-rich peatland to develop plantations, causing crisis-level haze that increases the risk of pulmonary disease and even leads to death.

Despite being disproportionately affected, women have little power to address these issues. They take informal actions, like organizing protests, but remain systematically left out of the formal land use decisions that could have longer-term impacts or avoid these conflicts in the first place. Even when women are invited to attend official discussions, cultural norms dictate that only men should decide on public matters and deter women from participating. Organising for representation in land use planning The Jakarta-based Women Research Institute, a 2016 Global Forest Watch (GFW) Small Grants Fund recipient, has been working with the women of Sungai Berbari and other villages across Riau facing similar challenges to increase female representation in their official land use planning processes. They trained local women’s groups to use forest change data to influence where and how agricultural companies operate in nearby forests. Women Research Institute held forums with these groups to address the problems each community faced, including water and air pollution. In many cases, the women did not have clear evidence that activities within concessions were the culprit. By overlaying village maps with datasets like tree cover loss, fire alerts and palm oil production suitability on the GFW platform (also available in Bahasa Indonesian), the women were able to link company operations to the environmental issues that affected their families and community. In addition to robust forest change data, Women Research Institute provided training on public speaking and forest policy fact sheets to help women’s groups develop and implement advocacy strategies. For example, women’s groups in villages across Riau partnered to pressure the government to provide necessities like face masks during haze emergencies. In Pungkat, another village in Riau, women convinced companies in the area to hire a midwife to address the lack of reproductive healthcare facilities in their village. Continued on page 4

Support the book trade T

aiwanese spend an average of six hours a week reading and around one in four people reads for an hour or more a day, according to a survey on reading behavior released on Thursday last week by the Eslite Bookstore chain. The survey also showed that nearly one in three people spend less than an hour a day reading, especially young people. The survey, conducted by the Global Views Survey Research Center from Oct. 24 to nov. 3, found that those aged between 20 and 60 purchased an average of nine books a year, while about 60 percent of respondents said they visited bookstores at least once a month. While more than 60 percent of those polled said they had read digital books over the past year, only 28 percent had spent money on e-books, the survey showed. Even though Taiwanese buy more printed books than digital ones, the nation’s changing reading habits and the decreasing number of physical bookstores are cause for concern. Hours spent reading — an average of six hours a week or about 51.43 minutes a day based on Eslite’s survey — are far less than the average of 3.35 hours a day that people spend online through their mobile devices, according to findings released by the national Development Council earlier this year. Although some people order books online and pick them up at convenience stores, reading has continued

its steady decline in the rankings of the public’s favorite leisure activities, judging by the average time that people spend on reading, their spending on books and the number of books purchased annually. In another ominous sign for Taiwan’s reading habits, Taipei’s Chongqing S Road is rarely called “Bookstore Street” anymore, but has become known as a street of hotels, as several bookstores have been replaced by budget hotels to embrace growing numbers of independent travelers and backpackers. Moreover, between 2006 and 2015, more than 1,000 bookstores, or nearly one-third, closed their doors in Taiwan due to high rent, slim profits and declining visitors, while large bookstore chains such as Eslite and Kingstone have managed to survive only by diversifying their offerings and streamlining operations. Some brick-and-mortar bookstores have been forced to expand their product range to include souvenirs, stationery and coffee, and to lease out store space for cultural and arts events, in a bid to prop up sales and win more customers. Transforming old-school shopping, better managing inventory and customer data, and offering high added-value products and services remain challenges for both physical and virtual bookstores. In short, bookstores must evolve, going beyond book sales to aim for closer engagement with consumers.

From Asia

Continued on page 4


4 I HEALTH People’s right to wellness

is also available at

n Anwar Bookstall, Regal Chowk, Saddar, Karachi. n Mohindri Bookstall, opp Muhammadi House, I I Chundrigar Road. n Mujahid Bookstall, opp Jang office, I I Chundrigar Road, Karachi. n Perveiz Bookstall, opposite PC Hotel, PIDC Building, Karachi. n Jawed Bookstall, opp PSO office, Clifton Bridge, Karachi. n Student Bookstall, Tin Talwar, Clifton, Karachi. n Hanif Bookstall, Schon Circle, Clifton, Karachi. n Zafar Bookstall Metropole Hotel, Karachi. n Nursery Bookstall, Main Nursery Bus Stop, PECHS, Karachi. n Zohaib Bookstall, Hassan Square, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi. n Al –Syed Bookstall, Johar More, Gulsitane-Johar, Karachi n Hussain News Agency Block H, North Nazimabad, Karachi. n Naveed News Agency Near Dak Khana Liaquatabad, Karachi. n Ali Newspaper Agency, Ayesha Manzil, Block 7, Federal ‘B’ Area. Karachi. n Piyara Bookstall Tibet Centre, Saddar, Karachi. n Ashraf Bookstall Near Cantt Railway Station, Karachi. n Faiz Bookstall Defence Phase V, Karachi, n Alamgir Bookstall Liaquatabad, Karachi. n Mohammad Ali Bookstall Opp Utility Store, Main Gizri, Karachi. n Zohaib BookStall Bilawal Chowrangi, Opp Bilawal House, Karachi. n Yamin Bookstall Sindh Secretariat Building, Karachi. n Zahid Bookstall Opp Election Commissioner Office, Saddar, Karachi n Azeem Bookstall New Challi, off I I Chundrigar Road Circulation contact: Asad Rukhsar: 0322-8219292

This newspaper is designed by: Asif Ali Khan: 0321-2254009

I Friday, December 22, 2017

Vitamin deficiency in older adults O

ne in two persons aged 65 and above has suboptimal levels of vitamin D in the blood and one in four older adults has suboptimal vitamin B12 levels. This is the conclusion of an investigation conducted by researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, as part of the populationbased KORA-Age study in the region of Augsburg. Since more than 30 years, the KORA Cooperative Health Research platform has been examining the health of thousands of people living in the greater Augsburg area in Southern Germany. The aim of the study is to understand the impact of environmental factors, lifestyle factors and genes on health. "In this context, we were also interested in examining the mi-

cronutrient status of older adults, including vitamins" explains study leader Dr Barbara Thorand of the Institute of Epidemiology (EPI), Helmholtz Zentrum München. "So far, in Germany, research data on this topic has been relatively thin on the ground." Overall, the scientists examined blood samples of 1,079 older adults, aged 65 to 93 years from the KORA study. Their analysis focused on levels of four micronutrients: vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12 and iron. "The results are very clear," explains first author Romy Conzade. "Fifty-two percent of the examined older adults had vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L and thus had a suboptimal vitamin D status." The scientists also observed shortages with regard to some of the other mi-

cronutrients. notably, twenty-seven percent of older adults had vitamin B12 levels below the cut-off. Moreover, in eleven percent of older adults, iron levels were too low, and almost nine percent did not have enough folate in their blood. EPI director Professor Annette Peters puts the data into context: "By means of blood analyses, the current study has confirmed the critical results of the last German national nutrition Survey (nVS II), which revealed an insufficient intake of micronutrients from foods. This is a highly relevant issue, particularly in light of our growing aging population." Are dietary supplements the way forward? The majority of older adults with suboptimal vitamin levels had in

common that they were very old, physically inactive or frail. Special attention should, therefore, be paid to these groups with a higher risk for micronutrient deficiencies, explain the researchers. "Our study also shows that regular intake of vitamin-containing supplements goes along with improved levels of the respective vitamins," says Barbara Thorand. "However, vitamin-containing supplements are not a universal remedy, and particularly older people should watch out for maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet." In this context, the authors say their next objective is to continue investigating the metabolic pathways that link supplement intake, micronutrient status and disease states. Courtesy: ScienceDaily

SACP organises World Aids Day activities By Our Correspondent KARACHI: The Sindh Aids Control Programme (SACP) hosted the World Aids Day walk and candle light ceremony in the first week of December in Karachi to raise awareness against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the importance of prevention measures and to express support with people living with the virus . World Aids Day was celebrated on December 1, under the theme, 'My health, My right.' The SACP events were attended by government officials, representatives of nGO and civil society members as well as HIV positive people. The chief of SACP, Dr Mohammad Younis Chachar informed the participants of the walk and

KARACHI: SACP Manager Dr M Younis Chachar leading the World Aids Day walk.

candle light ceremony that HIV/Aids has adversely affected lives leaving behind tears and fears. "In Sindh, the epidemiological trend of the

Pakistan’s first EnT PhD By Our Correspondent KARACHI: Prof Dr Iqbal Khiyani of Dow University of Health Sciences was presented a gold medal by Pakistan Society of EnT for becoming the first PhD in EnT in Pakistan during its 27th national Conference on Otolaryngology - Head & neck Surgery held recently. Prof Khiyani, a graduate from Dow Medical College was conferred a PhD degree by DUHS in Convocation 2017 on his study titled, “A-ClinicoPathological co-relative study on Oral Pre-neoplasia and Oral Cancer with detection of early bio-markers HPV-16 and 18, IL6 and IL8 in Saliva”, said a university press release, adding, "He has the honor of being first PhD in Pakistan in the field of ear, nose, throat, and head and neck surgery. "Oral cancer is on the rise and an alarming number of cancers are detected in younger age group due to increasing use of betel nut (Chalia), betel quid (Paan, Gutka, Mawa, Manpuri). Majority of our patient present late at advance stage for the diagnosis and treatment due to misconception and fear of being biopsied.” Prof Khiyani did his graduation in 1988, followed by a diploma in Ear, nose and Throat (DLO) from University of Karachi in 1992. He did fellowship in Ear, nose, Throat, and Head & neck Surgery from College of Physicians and Continued from page 3

However, the most prominent problem that bookstores and publishers need to address remains the nation’s declining reading population and people’s poor reading habits amid the prevalence of the Internet and smartphones. Everyone should take notice of those trends and do some-

disease is similar to whole of Pakistan and certain high risk communities are still harbouring the HIV infection, with a potential to spread to the general population," he added. “The magnitude of the problem in Karachi is bigger than other cities of Sindh and in view of the epidemiological trend it is apprehended by experts that the disease might be transmitting from here to smaller cities due to migrants and increasing number of drug-injecting users and transgender people.” He, however, mentioned that SACP was all set to increase its prevention and care networking by establishing 378 family health awareness centres at basic health units and rural health centres, and district family health centres in the teaching hospitals, across the province shortly..

In Indonesia, women organise for environmental justice Continued from page 3

thing to support the book trade. The central and local governments should make a continual effort to promote reading, while helping independent booksellers gain easy access to financing. Otherwise, the future of the book market, the health of the publishing industry and the practice of reading itself will all be at risk.

GFW empowers women For these women, concrete data about the forest around them is an essential tool to influence policy and hold companies accountable for their activities. They were amazed that they could zoom in to their village on the GFW map to see the impacts from nearby plantations and felt that the data gave legitimacy to their cause. Women Research Institute was selected again as a 2017 Small Grants Fund recipient and will continue to use GFW in their work in Riau. This year, they plan to develop a handbook on creating community-based early warning system for forest fires using GFW Fires. Village representatives in fire-prone areas will monitor the alerts and inform fire departments and local disaster management agencies when outbreaks occur. This near real-time response network will help communities mitigate haze issues by detecting fires before they burn out of control and holding responsible companies accountable. Women Research Institute’s efforts in Indonesia show how tools like GFW can be used to improve public participation for women. Open access to timely forest data does more than just give women a greater voice; it increases their agency to improve their welfare.

Courtesy: Taipei Times, Taiwan

Courtesy: WRI

KARACHI: DUHS VC Dr Mohammad Saeed Quraishy honoring Dr Iqbal Khiyani. — ST photo

Surgeons Pakistan, in March 2000. He also had a fellowship from Royal College of Surgeons, UK. He received special training from abroad in ear surgery, especially cochlear implant, head & neck surgery, especially for cancer and functional endoscopic approach for chronic rhino sinusitis and nasal polyps. Vice Chancellor of DUHS, Prof Dr M Saeed Quraishy, along with Prof Dr M Umer Farooq, handed the EnT society gold medal to Prof Khiyani at the inaugural session of the conference.


HEALTH I 5

I Friday, December 22, 2017

PAP conference

need for affordable healthcare emphasised

KARACHI: SIUT Director Professor Adib Rizvi addressing the PAP’s national conference held recently. — ST photo

By Our Correspondent KARACHI: The 40th annual conference of Pakistan Association of Pathologists (PAP) held last week called for making medical treatment and related investigations affordable for the masses. The conference was organised at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT). SIUT Director Professor Adib Rizvi in his keynote highlighted the issues of disparity that is experienced in every segment of the developing world including Pakistan.. He said this disparity is causing hardship

to countries’ population and restricting its access to avail basic amenities of life including health. “Health is a birth right of every individual", he declared and said that the root cause of prevailing disparity was massive economic exploitation. Prof Rizvi further mentioned that disparity of resources has increased as 80 per cent of the global population in developing world is suffering because all the resources are owned by a small group of 20 per cent developed world. He called upon the pathologists’ community to carry out a crusade in their medical research based on solid foundation to meet the

challenges of future and extend the cover of medical care. The three-day conference was attended by over seventy practicing pathologists from within the country and abroad. Chairman of the conference organising committee, Professor Mirza naqi Zafar welcoming the guests also highlighted the theme of the conference: “70 years of Pathology in Pakistan”. The Association started in 1976 with 18 pathologists and today the number stands beyond twenty thousand in the country, the participants were told. Dr Rizwan naeem, professor of Molecular Pathology at Albert Einstien College of

Medicine, new York, delivered the ‘Al Razi’ lecture. He spoke on molecular and genetic screening especially for cancer patients. PAP President Dr Farida naseer, who declared conference open, said the field of pathology is surging ahead in the world of medical sciences. Dr Mohammad Mubarak, chairman scientific committee, Dr Sabiha Anis and Dr Khawar Abbas also spoke at the conference. Working sessions and workshops of the conference discussed various branches of pathology including microbiology, immunology, histopathology, infectious diseases, transplantation, hematology and genetics.

‘80 per cent women affected by thyroid’ By Our Correspondent KARACHI: A senior professor in medicine, speaking at an awareness seminar said that the deficiency of the main thyroid hormone – thyroxine - in human body was easily treatable and required lifelong replacement therapy. Professor, Dr Tasnim Ahsan, Dean Faculty of Endocrinology at the College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan and a former executive director and head of the Medicine department of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, speaking at the seminar said that a normal thyroid function was essential for health. According to her, a deficiency of thyroxine leads to slowing of all body processes and weight gain. “Around 80 per cent of people suffering from thyroid problems are women.” The seminar was organised by Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi. Dr Ahsan mentioned that auto-immunity, a failure of the body's immune system, is another common cause of goitre and thyroid

Professor Dr Tasneem Ahsan. — ST photo

dysfunction. “Iodised salt should be used regularly as Pakistan is an area of iodine insufficiency, which may lead to the development of goitres.” She informed the participants of the seminar that thyroid disorders constituted the commonest endocrine disorder the world

over. A swelling in the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland is called goitre, she said, adding that this may or may not be associated with thyroid dysfunction. Talking about the functions of the thyroid gland, she said that the only function of thyroid gland was to make thyroxine, a hormone

that is required by every cell of the body to function normally. “An excess of thyroxine production or release leads to opposite effects," she said. “Hypersecretion can be treated either with oral medicines, radio-active iodine or surgery. A particular variety of auto-immune thyroid disease called Grave's disease may also be associated with the involvement of one or both eyes, which may have to be treated independent of the thyroid,” she noted. “A doctor should be consulted urgently if there is a rapidly enlarging goitre or nodules in the neck, as these may indicate thyroid cancer.” About the thyroid cancer she said that it is a disease that one gets when abnormal cells begin to grow in his or her thyroid gland camera. She, however, maintained that thyroid cancer was an uncommon type of cancer. She pointed out that iodine was an element that was needed for the production of thyroid hormone. “Iodine rich food should be an essential part of people's diet”, she said and added that iodine was found in various foods like fish, milk, yogurt and other dairy products.

Call for health policy reforms to control diseases By Our Correspondent KARACHI: “Common fungal infections affecting the skin are now the leading cause of patients visiting skin clinics and hospitals in the country.” This was noted by senior medical professionals at a conference on mycology who emphasised that the overall infectious diseases situation in the country calls for a national policy reform on fungal diseases. The 1st International Collaborative Mycology (ICM) Conference was jointly organised by the global Global Action Fund for Fungal In-

fections (GAFFI), the Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Society of Pakistan and the Aga Khan University, Karachi. During the conference, a book highlighting neglected set of infections in Pakistan -- Practical Guide and Atlas of the Diagnosis of Fungal Infections –edited by Professor Afia Zafar, with Dr Kausar Jabeen and Dr Joveria Farooqi as co-editors was also launched. The book is a comprehensive medical atlas aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of fungal infections which are becoming a growing public health concern in

Pakistan, said an AKU press release. The gathering was told that the book contains high resolution microscopic images of over 20 types of fungal infections caused by more than 60 fungal species that have been reported at the country’s healthcare institutions. Compiled over a period of 6 years and through a series of eight intensive workshops, the publication also contains detailed instructions to guide medical professionals and students in diagnosing these infections. Skin specialists from around Pakistan told the conference that common fungal infections affecting

KARACHI: AKU Dean Dr Farhat Abbas, Professor Afia Zafar, Dr Javeria Farooqi and Dr Kauser Jabeen at the conference on mycology.— ST photo

the skin are now the leading cause of patients visiting skin clinics and

hospitals. Continued on page 11


6 I SPECIAL REPORT

I Friday, December 22, 2017

IMAG

ST photos ST Photos

Festival of Arts and Ideas by By Sidra Khan KARACHI: The Arts and Ideas festival organised by Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) which spanned for four days (December 7 to10) comprised of various intellectual and entertaining activities. Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, vice chancellor of the SMIU, said, "The key purpose of the festival was to familiarise the youth with new ideas that could help them succeed in their future life." He said that the festival was organised on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence and the new generation would have to play their positive role to make the country a modern nation in the world. Dr Ambreen Fazal, convener of the festival and in-charge chairperson Department of Media and Communication Studies, SMIU, welcomed the guests and shared that SMIU was the only university in the country to organise such a diverse festival. A total of 40 sessions were held that included lectures by international and national speakers, panel discussions, documentary screenings, photography and painting exhibitions and singing and quiz competitions. Shah Latif’s seven historical heroines were also recreated in tableaus during the four days.

One of the sessions titled, ‘Development of Karachi as a mega-city of Sindh’ brought together eminent development experts like Arif Hasan and Yasmin Lari who discussed aspects that hindered Karachi from becoming a jewel of Pakistan. Mr Hasan shared, “Karach’s important matters are being controlled by the market, while Lahore is developing because it is being controlled by politicians and bureaucracy as it should be”. He said a comprehensive planning was highly needed to develop the metropolitan city. "Besides, the citizens of Karachi should come forward and own the city," he added. He said there was no master plan offered by the Karachi Development Authority. and certain legislation related to the issue had messed up the situation further. He asked universities and students to play their role for betterment of the city. Mr Hasan said Karachi could not become a world class city with the present propositions. Adding that it needs better planning, modern modes of transportation, construction of footpaths etc. Ms Lari, chief of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, said "The city is saturated with ever-increasing population, but, doesn't have proper transportation system." “Trees are being cut, footpaths have disappeared and cir-

cular railway system is a thing of the glorious past,” she said. She said the city needed toilets, particularly for its female population. Ms Lari said most of the heritage buildings in the city were stone-built and needed heavy funds for restoration. “Every citizen should play its part to make Karachi a clean and better city.” She also called for eradication of “mafias” to improve the public transport system. In an another session while addressing the audience, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, federal secretary for planning and development and former commissioner of Karachi said, "Administrative accountability was more needed than the financial accountability." He said many projects were pompously inaugurated but because of little follow-up they got non-functional. He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was extremely important project for the country because construction of roads is the foundation of a country’s development. Dispelling the impression that more Chinese than Pakistanis were employed with the CPEC projects, he said, “Through this project Pakistan will link with other countries of the world, and it would fetch wealth in terms of increased exports. The CPEC will help increase the country’s GDP by 23 per cent.”


SPECIAL REPORT I 7

I Friday, December 22, 2017

GES I A Rehman

Arif Hasan

Yasmin Lari Iftikhar Ahmed

Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh

Dr Sahar Ansari

y SMIU: Inspiration for youth In a session on women and gender issues in Pakistan, Shaista Muhammad Ali, honorary advisor on cultural and gender affairs SMIU, Mehnaz Rehman of Aurat Foundation and scholar Khalida Ghous called upon the need for mothers to aware their children about the prevalent gender discrimination in the society. They highlighted the role of anti-harassment laws to ensure safety for both women and men. They also called upon the government to speed implementation of pro-women laws. In a separate session, Dr Sahar Ansari, poet and educationist, spoke over the creative and philosophical aspects of Dewan-i-Ghalib, Quratulain Hyder’s Aag ka Darya, and Ashfaq Ahmed’s Zaviya. Ameena Sayyid, managing director, Oxford University Press Pakistan, spoke over the rampant book piracy issues in Pakistan. She said it deprived writers from being paid the royalty that they deserved and also increases costs for publishers. Dr Matthew A Cook, a professor of nCCU, USA, gave his lecture on the ‘origins of the Sindhi language’. However, he focused chiefly on the issues that arose when it came to decide for the standard script for a language, which reigned the region for millennia. In another lecture series, I A Rehman, human rights defender and columnist, and journalist Iftikhar Ahmed rendered

separate speeches. Mr Rehman said the Sindhi society in its early years was highly liberal, which had acceptance of new ideas and encourage critical thinking. However, he added, but the situation did not remain the same and the society became a victim of division.v “Sindh still enjoys good liberal and progressive values, but, the worst part is that they are fast reducing.” Universities are not free to formulate and teach their own curricula, are still controlled by the government, thus, the level of education is not at par with modern standards. Journalist Ahmed said a positive change in the country was not possible until the turnout ratio in general elections was not improved substantially. He asked the youth to take active part in elections and use their vote for the change. During a session on environmental issues, experts said environmental pollution was a grave issue, which should have been on the top of the government’s agenda. Journalists and TV anchors, in another session on electronic and digital media, feared the importance of electronic media was diminishing because of sensationalism and quantitative journalism. Kamal Siddiqui, Director CEJ-IBA, asked students to use

the social media sites with care as they were tools where the user was shouldered with more responsibility as one was in command of his/her actions. In another session, translations of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Baba Bulleh Shah and Mevlana Rumi’s poetry were presented on stage. As many as 10 documentaries out of 22 submissions were shortlisted by the jury and screened at Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Auditorium of the university. These documentaries were prepared by students of various universities of the country. The jury comprising Ahmed Shah, President, Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi and Anjum Rizvi, a renowned film producer. SMIU’s Zahid Abbas secured first position, while Bhawish Raj of the national University of Sciences and Technology Karachi and M Azeem Khan of SMIU secured second and third positions respectively for their documentaries on Heritage of Sindh. Expressing his views at the documentary competition, President Arts Council of Pakistan, Ahmed Shah emphasised the importance of unique and out-of-the-box themes and shared that equipment does not matter as long as the concept is gripping. Various panel discussions on the themes of Pakistan’s economy, health, education were also held.


8 I EDUCATIOn

I Friday, December 22, 2017

Thousands of graduate students ready to contribute to workforce

Graduates taking oath at the AKU convocation

KARACHI: First two weeks of December saw a lot of academic activities in which three universities and two institutes in Karachi conferred about an estimated 4,500 degrees and diplomas to young professionals who will be entering the professional workforce in different professions. Governor Sindh, Muhammad Zubair was the chief guest at various convocation ceremonies. While addressing the convocation ceremony at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), he congratulated the graduates and stated that as flag bearers of a golden legacy, it is anticipated that they will not only become ambassadors for the country but also excel in every sphere of life. At AKU convocation, he extended congratulations to the 360-graduating class and praised parents and faculty for their contribution in the graduates’ achievements calling them “great players” in building the character and future prospects of today’s students. At the Iqra University Convocation, he emphasised, “Contemporary age is of competition, students must know that they are about to enter their professional lives where they will have to face immense competition, your parents deserve all the credit that they have enabled you to be a degree holder today”, he added. Governor Sindh asked the

...another meritorious student at IBA

...at AKU

students to dedicate this moment of pride to their parents since they are the ones who really deserve the whole credit. “Strong nations build their own pathways and struggle to achieve their goals no matter how difficult the circumstances are. This day is itself an emblem of the fact that the Pakistani nation is struggling to equip its youth with the power of knowledge” He further said that our beloved homeland needs our unaltered devotion and immense support. “Development is an ongoing process which can never be brought to a standstill. Today, we are struggling to attain a plausible position among the successful nations of the world. I have complete faith in the youth of this country; I have complete faith in you. I know if you put your mind to it, you can lead this country towards the path of growth and success.” At the Institute of Business Management convocation, the Sindh governor highlighted education as a process that must nurture the faculties of rational thinking, wise decisionmaking and prudent reasoning among students to develop their personality and character to make them noble and gentle professionals who will have sound knowledge and command over their respective fields. He shared with graduates the importance of positive thinking and healthy competition to survive in the highly competitive corporate world. BU: At Bahria University Karachi’s 14th convocation, degrees were awarded to students from the fields of Management Sciences, Professional Psychology, Computer Sciences, Electrical Engineering, Software Engineering, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Media Studies. The chief guest for the event, Dr Atta Ur Rehman awarded 37 gold and 27 silver medals to students who qualified with distinction in their respective programs. Addressing on the occasion, Dr Atta motivated the students to strive for more and take part in research studies. "Youth is the driving force behind every nation and Pakistan is among those few countries that have the largest proportion of youth in its population." "It is the duty of every individual to give back to the society and help it grow." He urged the students to do something worthwhile and change what they believe is

Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair addressing the AKU convocation

....with a position holder at IU

Students awaiting conferment of degrees at IoBM convocation

wrong. "If you don't like something, change it with your pen, hands, or heart. Use your knowledge to spread peace and joy." Students who received gold medals included Bushra Tausif in MPhil Clinical Psychology, Ammarah Khalid in MS Software Engineering, Insia Shabbir in BS Computer Science, Munazzah Bibi in MBA Health Management, Rubbiya Quddus and Afshan Zahra in BS Media Studies among 37 other medalists. Students who received silver medals included Mahnoor Sheikh in MS Clinical Psychology, Ahsan Lai Khan in MS Software engineering, Tooba Mehtab in MS Computer Sciences, Sidra Akhter in MBA, Ahsan Rashid Khan in MS Electrical Engineering, Aisha Arshad and Zainab Benazir of BS Media Studies were among the other 28

...at IoBM

medalists. AKU: Aga Khan University conferred degrees to 129 nurses, 118 with undergraduate and 11 with graduate degrees. The Medical College awarded 40 Master’s and 91 Bachelor’s degrees, as well as 3 advanced diplomas and 11 diplomas in dental hygiene. AKU also awarded 37 master’s degrees in education and 12 Master of Arts in Muslim Cultures. The Medical College’s 2017 Best Graduate Award was presented to Dr Mujtaba Mubashir who achieved the highest aggregate score in the certifying examinations through the five-year programme. Dr Mubashir also received the Medical College’s Gold Medal, only the 9th to be awarded to a student who achieves the top scores in at least three of the four certifying


EnVIROnMEnT I 9

I Friday, December 22, 2017

“Climate change to cause more harm than world war III” Students in jubilation at Bahria University Convocation — ST photos

examinations, including the final examination. IoBM: At the 20thConvocation of the Institute of Business Management (IoBM), 1,000 plus graduates were conferred degrees in business management and allied disciplines. IoBM graduating students included 10 gold medalists and 36 holders of merit certificates. Gold medals were earned by Sameen Ahmed, BBA (Honors), Iffraah Rehman, BS (Computer Science), Hafiza Huma Ameen, MBA (Evening), Sarah Yousuf, MBA (L and SCM), Mushkbar Arshad, MBA (Regular), Simran d/o Ramchand, BBA (Honors), Abdul Khaliq, BS (Joint Honors), Bisma Imtiaz, MBA (H and HM), Komal Bai, MBA (Regular), Hasnain Mohammadi, MBA (Weekend). Merit certificates were awarded as follows: BBA (Honors): Aiman Shah, Suha Saud, Syeda Tasmiya Mohiuddin, Syed Ahad Ali, Muhammad Talha, Aqsa Akram,

nujia Ashraf, Tarefa Hafesjee, Hafiza noor un nisa Zubair, Rimsha Sarfaraz, Tooba Mahmood, Amna Rafiq nagani, Mussarat Fatima, Shaheryar Ali, Amin s/o Aslam. PhD (Business Management): Amber Raza. BS (ARM): Sarah Pervez Alwani. MBA (Weekend): Hina Awan, Asif Abdul Razzak, Maria Mobin. MPhil (Business Management): Anam Qamar, Mohsin Ali. BS (Computer Science): Ammad Ali Butt. MBA (L and SCM): Rida Arif. MSc (OP and HRM): Ambreen Khan, Zara Ali. MS (Engineering Management): Irfan Yousuf, Rabia Hassan. MBA (Evening): Umamah Hashemi, Maria Anis Mirza, Maha Ahmed, noor ul Ain, Romana Pervaiz. MPhil (Education): Samer Iqbal, nahid Parween. MPhil (Organizational Psychology): naureen Munir. IU: About 800 Iqra University (IU) students graduated in different programs, which included the

Media Sciences, Computer Sciences, Telecommunication Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Fashion & Textile Design, Education and Business Administration. The successful Students were awarded Bachelor, Master, M. Phil and PhD Degrees in different fields. IBA: IBA conferred 892 degrees at its 2017 Convocation ceremony in which Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, awarded medals, shields and certificates to the high achievers in various disciplines. This graduating batch also comprised the first cohort of the Social Sciences and Liberal Arts graduates. The breakup of the IBA graduates included 721 undergraduates, 170 graduates and a PhD, in various disciplines. The IBA also acknowledged its dedicated staff and faculty by awarding ‘Faculty and Staff Performance Awards’ to its star performers.

Pakistani students learning Chinese language By Faiza Sohail KARACHI: The nED University of Engineering and Technology has decided to teach Chinese language to all its undergraduate students of 2017 in collaboration with Confucius Institute of China. The university intends to continue with the new course as a non-credit course for professional and personal interest of students, it was learnt recently. Students were required to enroll themselves in ‘Chinese Language Programme’ course by the mid of December, a notification issued by the university registrar. The purpose of this course is only to teach students basic terms of Chinese language, not focusing much on fluency in speaking at this stage. nED is not the first university to make Chinese language course as a mandatory subject, other universities have also offered this course. The highest turnout of students for Chinese language course was observed in national University of Modern language, Islamabad, where more than 300 students enroll themselves every year. The trend to learn Chinese language is gaining expansion. It is not only the authorities who show interest in teaching Chinese but students also come forward and show their interest in learning. Interest in Chinese Language de-

veloped after the formal announcement of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project for the country and the region. Involvement of Chinese companies in economic sector of Pakistan has opened a door for talented Pakistani engineers to break the barrier of Chinese language and work in close interaction with them. Chinese language programme has opened up opportunities for students to act in the transforming social and economic division. Students could see the changing relationship between Pak-China and they believe that learning Chinese will open up more job opportunities for them. One of the students of nED University, Ayesha Shahid studying in Telecommunication department shared, “This initiative taken by nED in collaboration with Confucius will be very beneficial for students. They will get to learn a completely new language that is difficult but will help them in future endeavors. China and Pakistan are maintaining very good relations so by learning their language, students of Pakistan will get a chance to make their future in China.” A graduate student of nED, Mechanical Department, Rahul Maheshwari suggested that, “In US high schools also, French and Spanish languages are taught because it widens the communication area and

increases employment ratio. As countries are adapting this culture of learning other languages, it aids in the process of globalization, you can’t work with a digital translator all the time.” KU delegation: A delegation from the University of Karachi led by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan visited China on the invitation of the headquarter of Confucius Institute, Beijing. Pakistani and Chinese directors of Confucius Institute (CI) KU also accompanied the Vice Chancellor. The delegation attended the 12th global Confucius institute conference where more than two thousand delegates from 64 countries including the Vice Chancellors and presidents of different global universities and directors of CIS participated in the conference. KU Vice Chancellor presided the 5th council meeting of Confucius Institute, University of Karachi, jointly with President of Sichuan normal University (SnU). It was decided that courses offered at CI at KU will be upgraded and SnU will submit a proposal to KU for further steps. A separate MoU will also be signed between both the varsities for advancement of teaching and research activities in various departments while CI, University of Karachi will prepare a working paper for this purpose, according to KU spokesman.v

KARACHI: Dr Abubakr Sheikh (left) addressing the meeting of Shura Hamdard Karachi chapter, last week. — ST photo

By Our Correspondent KARACHI: Adoption of scientific methods by farmers can help overcome smog, a threatening mancaused environmental problem, which is frequent over various districts of Punjab now. Speakers at a meeting of Shura Hamdard, Karachi chapter urged the government to facilitate the farmers to choose scientific methods to remove the roots of cotton crops, after cutting them, and to sow new crops in order to avoid smog which is very harmful to the health of people, living in Lahore and other cities. “Government should make a request to Indian government to do the same in Indian Punjab as the smoke of their burnt crops badly affects environment of our cities." The meeting was held last week on the theme of “Effects of Smog – Climate change or human negligence”, with retired justice Haziqul Khairi in chair at a local hall. President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan, Sadia Rashid, also attended the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Abubakr Sheikh said that the main reasons of smog were burning of cotton crops’ roots. "The smoke created was intensified by the smoke of Indian cotton crops as well," he apprehended. Smoke emitted from industry and vehicles and intensive moisture of atmosphere due to air pollution were also seen as cause of smog. “This situation could be changed by administrative and scientific measures”, he said, adding that our governments didn't have political strength to make hard decisions. ‘The effects of climate change are being felt throughout the world and all nations of the world are worried about this development, but the key of solution of this great problem is in the hand of USA and China, because they are the biggest industrial countries,’ he said adding the ‘Paris Agreement’

which was made to solve this problem, has become ineffective because President Trump pulled USA out of the agreement. He stated that the third world war could not destroy the world but climate change might. "People and governments of the world should stand to save the planet," he added. Prof Muhammed Rafi said that 900,000 generators were working day and night and causing pollution in the country. Peasants, in western countries, used to remove the roots of crops not by burning but uprooted them with the help of tools. “Our farmers should take the leaf from their book”, he added. Retired commodore Sadeed Anwar Malik said that climate change was the result of men’s negligence. “In USA 50 per cent energy was created through coal. But they changed its carbon dioxide into the fresh air.” He further noted that zero energy buildings were being built in US, China, India and Pakistan as well to reduce the temperature of the earth. Dr Rizwana Ansari highlighted the dire need to train the youth of the country on how to avoid pollution. "If we want to save our planet, we need to aware the youth of the bad effects of climate change," she added and said that climate change should be included in curricula of schools and colleges. Professor Kafil Ahmed said that without education nobody would be able to understand the consequences of climate change. “Education should be the first priority of the government”. Emphasising the need for information and awareness about the pollution and climate change, Prof Dr Tanvir Khalid said that the training for this purpose should be given in educational institutions and through media as they are effective means of reaching masses. Huma Baig and Sheikh Usman Damohi also spoke at the occasion.


10 I ROUnD-UP

I Friday, December 22, 2017

KARACHI: Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar with the trainee officers from Civil Service Academy, Lahore, who met him in his office, recently. — ST photo

ISLAMABAD: Winners of the Agahi (journalism) Awards -2017 with judges and organisers at a ceremony in Islamabad. — ST photo

KARACHI: Senior ministers and officials of the Sindh government leading a rally organised by Enquiries and Anti-corruption establishment of Sindh in connection with International Day of Corruption. — ST photo

KARACHI: . DMC Central Chairman Rehan Hashmi and MNA Dr Nighat handing certificate to a student at the conclusion of a WWF training programme here, recently.— ST photo

KARACHI: Dr Shigeru Suganami, President of Association of Medical Doctors of Asia along with Hamdard University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shabib ul Hassan after unveiling the inauguration plaque of a HU Dental Hospital building at North Nazimabad.— ST photo

KARACHI: DMC East Chairman Moeed Anwar along with council members and labour leaders cutting a cake at a ceremony held in connection with the Christmas celebrations last week. — ST photo


nEWS I 11

I Friday, December 22, 2017

Improvement in communication skills emphasised for a developing Pakistan By Our Correspondent KARACHI: Speakers of a seminar held, recently, have stressed the need for reviving the book reading culture in the country. They said that there is an intellectual deficit in Pakistan. “nations’ development is associated with the progress that they make in science and education. The appropriate use of blog writing can help scientists promote science in the society.” A seminar on “Blog writing for science promotion, and use of Urdu in media” was organised by International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi. ICCBS Director Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, said that education was the only way for Pakistan to be developed. He pointed out that

“Despite the prevalence of such infections and the fact that 3.2 million Pakistanis are living with infections such as keratitis, which can cause blindness, and the life-threatening Candida auris infection, there is no specific national policy on fungal disease," the experts noted. According to them, fungal disease is an area almost forgotten by public health professionals and policymakers. Dr Kausar Jabeen, a AKU faculty member from the department of

than very expensive drugs. Commenting on the challenges in treating a serious fungal infection, Candida auris, which can trigger sepsis (a deadly illness that causes inflammation throughout the body), speakers noted that poor availability of medicines was leading the delay in treatment. “Medicines are present, but the prohibitive cost of using second-line drugs, which can cost around Rs 13,000 per day, limits the availability of treatment”. Professor David Denning, president of GAFFI, stated that fungal infections claim 1.6 million lives around the world every year. Moreover, fungi and fungi-like micro-or-

ganisms, oomycetes, commonly known as water mould, destroy one third of all food crops around the world which would have fed 600 million people. “The World Health Organisation has no funded programmes specifically targeting fungal diseases, fewer than 10 countries have national surveillance programmes for fungal infections, and fewer than 20 have fungal reference diagnostic laboratories. Many of the diagnostic tests that do exist are not available in developing countries, and wellestablished anti-fungal drugs that would cure disease are not reaching people that need them”, Prof Denning added.

Professor Dr M Iqbal Choudhary — ST photo

Pakistani media had failed to make the commoner realise the significance of science. “Our journalists and scientists are required to improve their communication skills.” Prof Touseef Ahmed Khan said that along with the promotion of education a commoner was required

Call for health policy... Continued from page 5

to take on the scientific way of thinking in their daily lives. He lamented that a large segment of Pakistan’s population still employs irrational ways of thinking. Poet and literary figure, Firasat Rizvi, highlighting the inappropriate use of Urdu language in media, noted that even the qualified section

in the country were not aware of the correct use of the language, which was a social dilemma. ”As compared to the print media, the wrong use of the national language is largely related to the electronic media”, he pointed out and added that book reading culture has nearly diminished. A multi media producer Bilal Karim Mughal, declared that writing a blog was an easy job as compared to writing an article. “The novel medium of blog was really an opportunity for scholars and students to promote science in the society by writing on the unique scientific issues of public interest.” CAPTIOn: ICCBS Director Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary delivering lecture at the seminar on “Blog writing for science promotion" at the University of Karachi, recently.

pathology and laboratory medicine and chair of the conference said, "Since treatment options for these diseases are already limited, this policy oversight has dangerous implications," adding that fungal infections also represent a growing threat to the livelihood of animals and plants which may harm the country’s food security and biodiversity. Speakers of different sessions of the conference also focused on the key concern of growing fungal resistance to medications which were narrowing treatment options and leaving patients little choice other

Reporters awarded for specialised reporting in Pakistan By Our Correspondent KARACHI: The Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJIBA) in collaboration with the Centre for Communication Programmes Pakistan (CCPP) organised an award ceremony to honour reporters from across Pakistan for their outstanding ‘right-based’ journalistic work, published in a period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, in an attempt to promote and recognise specialised reporting in Pakistan. Former Federal Minister for Information and ex-Senator Javed Jabbar, IBA Dean and Director Dr Farrukh Iqbal, CEJ Director Kamal Siddiqi and others spoke on the occasion. Those who won the awards include Amina Shaheen (Geo TV), Shayan Saleem (Samaa TV), Shumaila Jaffery (BBC), Yousaf Ajab Baloch (Balochistan Point), Bilal Karim Mughal and Saher Baloch (Dawn.com), Atika Rehman, Fahad naveed and Munnazzah Raza (Dawn.com), Mohammad Atif Sheikh (Freelance), Syed Sajjad Kazmi (Daily Dunya), Fariha Fatima (ARY news), nisar Ahmed Khan (Dawn news), Islam Gul Afridi (Daily Akhbar E Khyber), and Amjad Ali (Daily Islah).

Sindh’s powerful land mafia: an unresolved issue By Our Correspondent KARACHI: Sindh is a province where peasants are being subjected to exploitation and slavery by their landlords and are awaiting fair and just results for their cases. These views were expressed by speakers of a press conference to mark the launch of Annual Report on State of Peasants' Rights in Sindh 2016 at the Karachi Press Club, recently. The speakers highlighted that by December 2016, approximately 1,580 families and 8,984 individuals were living in eight ex-bonded peasant camps. Of the total individuals, 4,358 were children below 18 years of age. These camps were devoid of health, education and other basic services and facilities. They said that in Sindh, with the introduction of the Seed (Amendment) Act of the federal government law, the Sindh Seed Corporation (SSC) has lost its importance and powers to process, procure and distribute standard seeds. “The SSC could potentially protect the rights of peasants and small-scale landholders; however, at the same time, it is not known whether or not the SSC has ever played its due role in protecting the rights of peasants because it was

KARACHI: .Labour leaders and representatives of NGOs at the launch of a report on peasants. — ST photo

also a victim of feudal and landlords mafia.” According to the report prepared by Hari Welfare Association in 2016, a total of 257 bonded labourers, including children and women, were released from different districts in Sindh. In addition, 94 bonded labourers were released from Balochistan and Punjab. “The bonded labourers released in Balochistan were basically peasants from different districts of Sindh doing agricultural activities in the districts of Kech and Turbat.” Press conference was addressed by Karamat Ali, Executive Director Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler),

Habibuddin Junaidi, Convener Sindh Labour Solidarity Committee, Akram Khaskheli of Hari Welfare Association (HWA), Iqbal Detho, a human rights activist, nazra Jahan of the Foundation for Research and Human Development and Zulfiqar Shah, of Piler. The executive director of HWA, Mr Khaskheli said that in 2016, the Sindh Tenancy Act (STA) 1950 was not amended to address big lacuna and problems, which were a cause of injustice for peasants in their relationship with landlords. He lamented that Sindh’s political, social and administrative structure was controlled by feudal and landlord families; thus, pro-

peasant amendments in the laws were not possible. Another speaker said that although the Sindh Industrial Relations Act (SIRA) recognises peasants and fishermen as industrial workers, in 2016, peasants and fishermen were not registered or their organisations were not registered under the SIRA. In April 2015, the provincial assembly passed the Sindh Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Bill which in 2016, after the assent of the Governor of Sindh, became the Sindh Bonded Labour System Abolition Act (SBLSAA) 2016. “The issue of bonded labourers remained unaddressed, while the district vigilance committees were

never formed and culprits were never arrested and sentenced under the Act. “The Sindh government had merely fulfilled the formality to make the Act of 1992 a provincial subject.” The speakers mentioned that peasants and organisations working for the rights of peasants in Sindh should connect with growing rights based movements across the globe and struggle for the recognition of peasants in the international human rights system, such as human rights councils and universal periodic report. They also demanded that the Sindh government should amend the SBLSAA, the STA and the PPC and increase the punishment to at least five years, and make the offence of keeping people in bondage, non-bailable and noncompoundable. “The provincial government should also take measures to implement SBLSAA and STA and register peasants or tenants under the STA and ensure that all peasants are provided agreements. The amendments should be in light of the draft Un declaration on the rights of peasants, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), and the Peasants’ Charter (1981).”


People’s right to wellness

Friday, December 22, 2017

BBSUL organises Qawwali night

By Umair Razzaq KARACHI: The Marketing Society (MSn) of the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari (BBSUL) held a Qawwali night at the Karachi Arts Council, last week. Famed Pakistani Qawwal Jamshed Sabri and Brothers performed for the gathering that comprised mostly, of youth. The Vice Chancellor of the BBSUL, Prof Dr Akhter Baloch attended the event as the Chief Guest. “The purpose behind organising the Qawwali night is to promote classical musical form in Lyari,” remarked one of a chief organiser of the MSn, Sarah Akhtar. She added, saying that in order to promote the youth of Lyari such events were necessary. “This year we also launched a promotional video of the University and gained

much positive response from the public,” said Sarah. She further said that the MSn celebrated Pakistan Independence Day this year by organising a youth rally to spread the patriotic spirit among the people of Lyari. “MSn also organized a blood donation camp in the university premises this year which was met with generous response from the students,” added Sarah. Upon the audience's request, the celebrated Qawwal also recited Tajdaar-e-haram which got the audience in a Sufi spirit. The youth at the event agreed to the remarkable aura of Sufi music that transports listeners to another world. “We are thankful to the BBSUL and MSn team for organising such an entertaining night and relieving the students of pre-exam stress.” said one of the student.

Printed at Maz Prints and published by Mukhtar Alam Khan for Mak News Network, R-331, Block 20, F. B. Area, Karachi. email: socialtrackpk@gmail.com. Phone: 021-36366759

Social Track December 22, 2017  
Social Track December 22, 2017  
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