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April 13, 2019

Govt urged to give health cards to senior citizens, Parkinson’s disease patients

Karachi

April 13, 2019

Instead of using public money for political mileage, the government should provide health cards to all the senior citizens at the age of 65 as the majority of elderly people in Pakistan are suffering from multiple, lifelong health conditions and need continuous medical support in later days of their lives.

“There are around one million patients in Pakistan who are living with Parkinson’s disease and they need medicines worth several thousand rupees monthly to live a normal life.

The majority of these patients cannot afford these medicines, so they should be given priority in giving health cards,” demanded an eminent neurologist and president of the Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation (NARF), Prof Muhammad Wasey Shakir, while speaking at a seminar on Thursday.

The awareness session on Parkinson’s disease was organised by the NARF at a local hotel, which was addressed by senior neurologists and patients, who highlighted different aspects of the neurodegenerative disorder, which causes serious difficulties in performing day-to-day activities for the patients.

Prof Wasey said that although nobody knows the actual causes of Parkinson’s disease, new studies have revealed that the onset of this neurodegenerative disorder is linked with air pollution. He deplored that Pakistan’s four cities, including Karachi and Lahore, were among the 10 most polluted cities of the world.

“Air pollution is not only causing Parkinson’s disease but it is also a major cause of many other serious health conditions, including cancers in our population. Unfortunately, the majority of our population is unaware of the hazards of air pollution and openly burns garbage around their homes and in the city.”

He claimed that scientific studies also proved that air pollution was also responsible for 30 per cent of the stroke cases and called for steps to minimise air pollution by putting a ban on garbage burning, vehicular emissions, burning of fossil fuel for energy production and other sources so that people could be prevented from serious ailments.

Another renowned neurologist and expert, Prof Nadir Ali Syed, said Parkinson’s disease was the only neurodegenerative disorder which was treated through medicines. He added that patients started feeling well soon after taking medicines, which was not the case in many other neurological disorders.

He said that although Parkinson’s disease was not curable, it was treatment, and urged patients with tremors, stiffness of body, constipation and other symptoms to see a trained and qualified neurologist so that patients could be diagnosed at the earliest and given proper medicines for the treatment of the Parkinson’s disease.

According to the expert, a healthy lifestyle, daily exercise, having a balanced diet and sleeping properly are some of the good habits that not only prevent people from Parkinson’s but also from many other non-communicable diseases.

Aziz Hussain, a patient living with Parkinson’s disease, told the patients that they should not consider themselves as incurable and wasted persons and try to perform all their daily chores without seeking help from others.

The seminar was also addressed by Secretary NARF Dr Abdul Malik, Abdur Rasheed Dal and Irshad Jan. Patients were also given the chance to ask questions about their condition and management.

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