KARACHI – Speakers at a seminar stressed the need for undergoing regular checkups, saying certain changes in lifestyle could prevent major health issues affecting women’s life, especially in the form of osteoporosis, breast cancer, and reproductive health problems.
They were speaking at the fourth annual public awareness seminar on women health issues held here under the aegis of National Forum for Environment and Health at a local hotel. Sindh Secretary Social Welfare Department Shariq Ahmed was the chief guest, while those spoke on the occasion included renowned infectious diseases’ expert Dr Naseem Salahuddin, Head of JPMC’s Radiology department, Prof Tariq Mahmood, senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Zubair Mirza, Dr Kaiser Waheed, noted TV personality Mrs Zubeda Tariq, Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, Naeem Qureshi, Ruqiya Naeem, Najia Ashar and Sobiya Munawwar.
Speaking on the occasion, provincial Secretary Social Welfare Department Shariq Ahmed said that although Sindh Assembly has recently adopted a law to prevent early age marriages of girls, the need of the hour is to implement the legislation in letter and spirit to counter such an anti-social practice that often creates health problems for women.
Dr. Mahmood stressed the need for motivating females to opt for early check-up and test for detection of risk factor of breast cancer, saying that one in nine women in Pakistan had been susceptible to developing breast cancer while the same type of cancer accounted for 45 per cent of female cancer patients in the country.
He said that JPMC’s Radiology Department had been providing state-of-the-art treatment for completely curing breast cancer patients whose ailment is detected at an early stage. He said that such radiotherapies were now available, which in cases of early detection of the disease, could be used for removing the cancerous gland only, instead of removing the entire breast (Mastectomy).
Dr Mahmood said that common occurrence of osteoporosis among women in the country was also fully preventable with early detection of the disease.
He said that since some 9.9 million people in the country had been suffering from osteoporosis, young women should also opt for bone scanning to check bone mineral density for early detection and prevention of the serious medical condition.
Dr Zubair Mirza highlighted the importance of Vitamin ‘D’ for women’s health, saying 45 per cent of the people worldwide were considered to be living with Vitamin D deficiency, while the percentage of people suffering from Vitamin D deficiency in Pakistan has assumed an alarming proportion.
He said that presence of Vitamin D in the body was helpful for maintaining strength of teeth, bones, hair and muscles.
He said that milk, fish, and diary products were a good source of Vitamin D, but the human body had the self-generation system for producing highly useful Vitamin through direct exposure of the body to sunlight.
He said that with such usefulness of Vitamin D for the body, serious bone conditions in forms of rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis could be prevented and as such women, especially those belonging to affluent classes, should immediately change their unhealthy habit of avoiding direct exposure to sunlight.
Dr Naseem Salahuddin said that labourers and traders who go to the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries for employment, business, or recreational purposes often bring back with them HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and that becomes a serious risk factor for their wives if not detected early and preventive measures were not taken against the fatal disease.
Mirza Ishtiaq Baig said that thalassaema was effectively preventable provided would-be couple was made to undergo the blood test before getting married for detection of minor thalassaemia carrier as per the law that requires mandatory blood screening.
Noted TV personality Dr Zubeda Tariq said that families considered socially noble in the country should change the customs of doing marriages of their sons and daughters only within their family to avoid chances of contracting genetic disorder.