With President Clinton and WHO Director General, she shares the dias, at the World Lung Health Conference. Divya Sojan is a three time TB survivor, and a fighter to the core. Furthermore, She works as a nursing officer at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.
A doctor took note of her fighting spirit, and, in fact, he did not have a second thought while recommending her name as speaker for the World Health Conference. On publishing the list of speakers, to the surprise of everyone, those joining Divya as opening speakers included President Bill Clinton, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Director General of WHO), Princess Dina Mired, and actress and Union Ambassador Claire Forlani.
WORLD LUNG HEALTH CONFERENCE
In the 51st Conference on Lung Health, from 20-24 October 2020, Divya will speak about the impact of Covid-19 on those suffering from TB in India. Besides, President Clintion will be giving the key note address.
Orginally planned in Seville, Spain, an estimate of around 4000 delegates will be participating in the 5 day conference to be held virtually, this year.
“Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires strong leadership and we are thrilled to have two global health leaders like President Clinton and Director-General Tedros commit to speaking to Union World Conference delegates at this critical time,” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union.
“We will ensure that this year’s Union World Conference is a key platform for scientists, community, policymakers and political leaders to both deliver and promote solutions that can contribute to getting us on the path to end the pandemic. Scientific integrity and evidence-based policy must be at the heart of everything we do.” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union
“COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the vital importance of breathing, and the devastating effects of anything that takes our breath away, including tobacco, air pollution and diseases such as TB,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The pandemic is a wake-up call to do everything in our power to make sure everyone, everywhere can breathe freely and cleanly.”
The more the questions answered, the more the number of doubts about Covid-19 during the pandemic. The readers of Lifestyletodaynews.com had a plethora of essential questions about COVID-19 ranging from precautions, medication, and the long term impact of the virus. Dr. Mathew Varghese, a Public Health expert and orthopedic surgeon featured as a real-life hero by Bill Gates, was kind enough to answer the question in the mind of the readers. He spared time for an in-depth video interview about almost every issue relevant to a common man in the present scenarios.
ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19
Read on to find the informative answers which are educative in nature:
According to experts, the pandemic is not going to end in July, will it end?
The experts are basing their information on facts of previous epidemics and the behavior of Coronaviruses. You had SARS1; we had Middle Eastern Respiratory Disease. These are the experiences that help to guide us in our understanding of this disease.
By Mathematical models, they show that possibly by July, or maybe even August, the epidemic will reach a peak, and gradually settle.
A definite time? Difficult to answer
Historically if you look at epidemics, they have all been like this. Including the Spanish flu, which came, lasted for quite some time, and then eventually disappeared. So it is not that these pandemics will be there forever.
They will eventually be overcome by human immunity and resistance to fight against viruses. Therefore it is difficult to answer when this pandemic will end.
How long will it last?
We do not know. But usually, pandemics have a history of infecting a certain number of people and then petering out.
So there is a growth curve, which may be steep or slow, reaches a peak, and goes down.
When a large number of people have herd immunity
That growth curve starts going down, only when a certain proportion of the population gets infected, which then has the resistance to fight against it. This resistance to fight the virus is called herd immunity.
When the infection has immunized a large number of people in a community, they have herd immunity.
What is the percentage of people that need to be infected to get herd immunity?
There are experts that, until recently, have been saying 60%. But some recent reports say that even on infection reaching up to 20-30% of people gives sufficient herd immunity for the pandemic to end.
Somewhere between 20-60%
Anyone who says that this is going to end in 10 days or 15 days is all guesswork. We do not know, hopefully on reaching herd immunity of a certain proportion somewhere between 20-60%, overcome the pandemic.
Will the virus be eradicated?
In Coronavirus, we do not have a vaccine as yet. It will take about one, one and a half years at least before a vaccine comes.
Even then, if you look at the few vaccines available today, they do not provide you with permanent immunity like smallpox or oral polio vaccine.
We do not know how effective will the vaccine be for Coronavirus. We have to wait and see. Until then, we cannot answer this question, can we eradicate it or not? But looking at the past behavior of flu unlikely we can eradicate it forever.
Is there any possibility of home testing for Coronaviruses, and is that legal?
As yet, there is no home testing available, so the question of legality does not come. We do not have such a test.
At this point, we do not have any home testing
In the future, there may be, and it may be useful to test that. But at the same time, at this point, we do not have any home testing available with us.
Is immunity the biggest weapon against Coronavirus?
Yes, you know what the first virus identified was? It was a plant virus, Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), in 1891. The first human disease-producing virus, you know when it was identified? 1901, it was a yellow fever virus. Remember, till today, 120 years down the line, we do not have a drug to cure virus illness.
When somebody says that I am immune, it could be because they had an infection or they have been vaccinated and become immune.
We overcome virus illnesses by the body producing antibodies that fight the viruses, kill the viruses, and we win. Those antibodies that the body produces are what give us the immunity.
When somebody says that I am immune, it could be because they had an infection, or they have been vaccinated and become immune.
We overcome virus illnesses by the body producing antibodies that fight the viruses, kill the viruses, and we win. Those antibodies that the body produces are what give us the immunity.
So is this natural immunity?
No, it is a healthy individual who can raise antibodies in sufficient numbers and strengths to fight the virus. When you say you have excellent resistance, you are saying you are a healthy person without any malnutrition, without any other illness, which may be lifestyle diseases or other diseases that make you vulnerable and immune-compromised. Therefore you are susceptible to get the infection.
It is a healthy individual who can raise antibodies in sufficient numbers and strengths to fight the virus.
How to increase immunity?
Your health is based on a balance of things—a Balance of what you eat. You have to have a balanced diet, which means a proportion of food has to be carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Labourers need to take a large number of carbohydrates. At the same time, inactive people take fewer carbohydrates, less fat, and more protein. Besides, you need to have a balance of physical activities also.
But that’s not sufficient.
You need to have minerals, Minerals like Zinc, Copper, various other minor elements required for your enzymes in your body for fighting and producing cells for fighting viruses. We get these elements from natural food that we take, like the vegetables, nuts, and the pulses.
We need to take a balanced diet; stay healthy and physical activity keeps our body fit. Intellectual pursuits keep our mind fit.
Physical health, mental health, well-balanced nutrition are foundations for good immunity.
So we need to have good physical health, good mental health, and proper nutrition-balanced to maintain our body health. That is the baseline foundation for good immunity.
Most people have to venture out for work, essential, medical emergency, so how do we protect ourselves from being infected?
This is basic. Everyone has to remember. First, we have to understand how the virus spreads. The virus spreads from one person’s breath to another person’s breath.
The virus spreads from one person’s breath to another person’s breath.
If you are close to each other and breathing into each other’s nostrils or mouth, you are infecting each other. If a person is within your breath air distance, you are likely to get infected if the other person is infected.
How do we prevent this?
We can’t stop breathing. You continue to breathe. So we need to wear a mask.
1.The first safety step is a mask, a good mask.
A cloth mask with porous layers in it doesn’t work. It has to be a mask with multiple layers that prevent the virus. Remember, viruses are tiny particles. It can go through the pores of your cloth mask.
Therefore you need to have a mask that has a filtration capacity to filter the viruses.
Mask to protect you from the other person’s breath.
Remember, any mask is better than no mask.
So if you don’t have any masks, then use a multilayered cloth mask. At least two or three layers so that the probability of the virus entering your airway is less than normal.
2. The second safety step is to keep a safe distance.
It is debatable, whether you say one meter or two-meter or whatever.
Generally, a minimum of 1-meter distance should be kept. That is important to prevent you from getting infected from the other person’s aerosol. It is the droplets that come out of his breathe when he breathes.
Remember if you are shouting, or you are singing you bring out more aerosols. So if you are standing opposite somebody who is singing and is likely to send the aerosol down the line further, maybe 3 meters, 4 meters also, be careful. So it is essential to have the mask.
Sometimes these aerosols, small droplets, fine droplets, containing virus particles, land on your hands. And any human being touches their face at least 20 times in an hour. So from our mouth, from our nose, from our eyes, we get the viruses on to our hands. When we touch an object, we transfer the virus from the hands to the article.
When we cough without a mask, we put those aerosols on the objects around us. The objects around us are contaminated, and if somebody comes and touches those objects, we transfer the virus to the hand.
3. The third most important safety step is Hand Washing.
Regular hand washing, especially if you have touched foreign objects outside your house. Unless you are in your home where somebody is infected, and home quarantined, don’t touch any article that he has touched.
Don’t go to him closer than one meter. Don’t go to him without the mask. You have to be very careful. Any object from outside that you have touched wash your hands.
Any unknown person bringing you an object, wash your hands. Anybody giving you some items through courier, wash your hands soon after you have touched. If you have a doubt, leave the object untouched for 5-6 hours, and that is sufficient enough to be sure there are no viruses on the packet.
How to wash our hands?
I say that soap and water are enough to wash hands.
Soap and water is the best.
Why do you say that?
Washing hands with soap and water are the best way. The virus has a coating. That coating is easily washed away by soap because it has got a lipid content.
What are Lipids?
Lipids are fat-related substances. You know oils are washed only very effectively with soap. Therefore soap is more efficient than plain water or even sanitizer.
Are you not happy with sanitizers? Why?
It is expensive.
It is difficult for poor people to get sanitizers.
They finish off in no time.
Because you want to conserve the amount of sanitizer you use a small amount. You put a little bit on your palm and rub. That is not sufficient.
Use it liberally. Back, between your fingers, your thumb all have to be. And that is the same technique for washing also.
Do liberal, not thrifty use of sanitizer.
So the steps for cleaning your hands with sanitizer, washing your hand with soap and water, remain the same—every finger, front, back, thumb separately. Palms everything has to be adequately cleaned.
Soap and water are the best. But in the absence of that, you can use a sanitizer. Make a liberal use, not of a thrifty use of sanitizer.
Should we also use soaps for washing vegetables and fruits and packed groceries?
No, you don’t have to do that. We cook and eat Vegetables. Washing them with plenty of running water is sufficient. On top of that, you are cooking it. However, if you have salads that you are consuming, make sure that you have washed it thoroughly with running water.
You don’t have to use soap. I have seen people using Soda bicarb, washing soda, detergents. No. Some of the detergents will soak into these vegetables; some of these may be toxic.
Washing vegetables in plenty of running water is sufficient.
Especially washing soap, you don’t want to intake them into your body. So running water is good enough.
If you are too anxious, you may use warm water and wash these vegetables that you are going to consume raw. Or the fruits that you are going to eat, clean them thoroughly with water. Running water is good enough for you.
There is a recent report that sunlight will help you fight the virus. How useful is sunlight to fight the virus?
Sunlight has a spectrum of rays, from the very narrow spectrum to the very long spectrum – infrared to ultraviolet. Ultraviolet rays do kill viruses, but they need to lay exposed for a specific time.
If you are thinking of getting yourself sunbathed, remember Ultraviolet rays are also harmful to your skin. We do not recommend it as a method to protect yourself from the virus.
Drying and keeping objects in the sunlight for 5-6 hours may be good enough.
However, if you are thinking of keeping objects in the sunlight, which have possibly contaminated, you may keep them out in the sun, leave it. Just drying and remaining in the sunlight for 5-6 hours may be good enough.
One essential item which you may use the sunlight is for your masks. Reuse any surgical mask, which you buy, provided you dry it sufficiently.
Any surgical mask can be reused, provided you dry it sufficiently.
You take four masks, number them 1,2,3,4.
1st day wear Mask No. 1.
2nd-day mask No. 1 goes on the washing line. Leave it in sunlight and use mask No. 2.
3rd day the second-day mask goes up the washing line, and then you wear mask No. 3.
4th day, mask No. 3 goes on the washing line, and you wear mask No. 4.
5th day, Mask No. 1 comes back, and you recycle it to a maximum of about 28 days.
You can use one set of four masks for 28 days. This method is found sufficient for the recycling of your mask. And that is the only area where I would use sunlight to sanitize the mask.
Curiously, some of the coronavirus positive cases have never ventured out of their houses, for six months, and followed all the precautions at home, how could that happen that they got infected?
Highly improbable that they have had no contact, and yet they got infected. The virus did not come out of thin air. It arrived through a source that was infected.
It has to be they handled some object or met somebody, coming to their house, who was infected and became positive. The chain of infection does not continue without any interaction.
The virus did not come out of thin air.
There has to be some interaction from some infected person, either directly or indirectly through objects of exchange. Maybe notes, handling notes. Perhaps some package that was given by a courier.
There have been reports of Pizzas delivered by pizza delivery boys who were infected, and they infected people.
It could be from anything that the virus landed on your body.
There is a doubt in everyone’s mind that we are already infected and healed from Coronavirus in these three months.
Yes, it is possible. Many of us had mild flu, cold, cough, and no other symptoms, and we became all right.
It is possible that you are infected, and you got cured.
That is what happened in the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt where tests showed 60% of the young, healthy men were infected but asymptomatic. So you may be infected, and you got cured.
In such cases, will we be able to find out if we were infected?
Yes, there is a way to find out, and that is by testing for antibodies.
The problem with this test is that the antibody tests are not as reliable as the antigen test that we call the real-time PCR. Those are far more sensitive and far more specific. At the same time, the antibody tests are non-specific and not so reliable. The testing for antibodies will help us identify these cases.
The testing for antibodies will help us identify these cases.
What is an antibody?
The antibody, a body substance created by our cells to fight the virus, protects you from infection from the future. So if you have an infection, initially, there is no antibody because the virus is an entirely new organism that has entered your body.
The antibody is a body substance created by our cells to fight the virus.
As it enters, the body recognizes it as a foreigner and starts fighting it. As it fights, the antibody level increases until it reaches a peak, and the body wins, or sometimes the virus wins, and the body dies. Usually, the body wins. 99.5% of cases the body wins. And we can eliminate the virus. So testing for antibodies will help us identify these cases.
Are there any long term side effects for a Coronavirus patient?
Since being identified, the virus has been only six months old, causing its symptoms and the disease. It is too early for us to say if any complications are long term.
In the short term, we know what is happening. However, long term, we do not know. Only time will tell. Most viruses do not leave long term effects except for diseases like poliomyelitis, and a few other viruses that cause long term damage to the body.
Most viruses do not leave long term effects
But by and large, coronaviruses do not belong to that category, and therefore we do not expect there will be any long term effect. But time will tell. At this point, I can’t answer that question.
When primarily the elderly and those with comorbidities have succumbed to Coronavirus, some young, healthy people with no health issues died due to Coronavirus, what could be the reason?
Again difficult to answer. But in my hospital, I have been keeping track. In the 200-bed Corona ward in our hospital, we regularly treat Coronavirus patients right from the beginning of the epidemic.
What we have found is 90% plus of those patients that have died, whether they were young or they were old, were diabetics. We don’t know what happens in them. For some reason, people with diabetes have been vulnerable.
For some reason, people with diabetes have been more vulnerable.
And those that have died have shown significant changes in their lungs. Described in the lungs, earlier thought to be pneumonia, later on found to be not pneumonia, but clotting in the lungs’ vessels.
What do lungs do in our body? They oxygenate the blood. This oxygenation happens because blood is flowing through the alveoli in the lungs.
Some have what is known as ‘Cytokine Storm.’
And when the blood vessels are clotted blood flow cannot happen. Oxygenation cannot occur, and the patient dies in the absence of oxygen, because of the tissues not getting oxygen for survival. That is what happens. Some of the patients, young and dying, are described to have what is known as ‘Cytokine Storm.’
What is a Cytokine Storm?
It is a reaction committed by the body to fight the virus, but the response is an overwhelming reaction, and that causes side effects to the patient, and the patient dies from it.
The younger people dying are usually ones who had a cytokine storm, and mostly, these are the ones with diabetics or some other major illness.
What is the precaution to be taken by pregnant women, especially while going to the hospital for checkups?
The precautions remain the same—Mask, distancing, hand wash.
Remember when you are pregnant; a pregnant mother is two lives; the mother and the child. So there is a double reason to be as cautious as possible keeping away from
Crowded outpatient areas.
Closed and poorly ventilated areas.
Poorly ventilated doctor’s chambers.
Make sure that when you go, you should have seen the clinic earlier. It should be well ventilated. The number of air chambers should be good so that your probability of getting the infection is low.
Can we accompany our child along with us?
I would not recommend that. Except in a dire situation, where no one else is at home to protect the child, to be with the child, you may carry the child.
Remember, children may be impulsive. They suddenly go and touch things, they may suddenly interact with people, and they may also pull off their mask.
Take children with you only in a dire situation, where no one else is at home to protect the child.
Therefore, because of the impulsiveness and unpredictability of children’s behavior, we do not recommend that children be accompanying pregnant mothers for antenatal care.
ADVICE TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
You have directly handled patients during prime times, be it HIV+ve or Coronavirus patients, what is your advice to the medical service professionals who are directly dealing with Coronavirus patients?
My advice remains the same. If you protect yourself, you will be able to take care of your patients better. While I have seen so many patients who are Coronavirus positive, frankly infected, I have dealt with them without fear.
For the last 31/2 months now, I have been dealing with patients every day. But I take my precautions. My job as a physician is primarily a responsibility for patient care.
If you protect yourself, you will be able to take care of your patients better.
I have taken the Hippocratic Oath, and I will care for my patients, come what may. During the HIV epidemic lot of judgemental issues happened like, huge stigma against those people with HIV, and coming up with innocent victims of HIV.
We should not be judging people for an infection. We should not be stigmatizing people for their disease. Our job as professionals is to take care of these patients. We do it to the best of our ability, without any stigma. However, while we do it, we protect the patient, and we shield ourselves.
How do you do that?
Make sure that you wear a surgical mask. If it is close contact, it has to an N95 mask that you need to wear.
If you are going to do an invasive procedure, you must wear gloves.
Or you must wash your hands before and after you touch the patient.
As far as possible, keep away from the breathing area of the patient.
How do you assume that you have not got an infection from somebody? Possibly, you dont exhibit any symptoms, yet you need to wash your hands before you touch the patient. And after touching the patient, you protect yourself by rewashing your hands.
If you have to touch the face, the eyes, the nose, mouth of the patient, or any other invasive examination, make sure that you are wearing gloves. Do not do it without gloves.
Maintain distance. After using an object on a patient, sanitize before using again. Like the Stethoscope that I used for seeing the last patient with a backache, I sanitized it with sanitizer.
I am an orthopedic surgeon; you will wonder how the corona patients come to me. Yes, they come to me with a backache. Body aches are usual in viral infections.
The protocols are the same: Protecting yourself and protecting the patient.
They came to me with backaches. Neither did they know that they had corona, nor did I know that they had corona. I examined them, suspected based on some of the questions that I asked and sent them for further examination confirming them to be coronavirus patients.
We need to be careful. The protocols are the same: Protecting yourself and protecting the patient.
Hydroxychloroquine, used to treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and malaria, does that mean that those with these conditions can kill two birds with one?
Don’t get wrong impressions. The diseases of Lupus and Rheumatoid, these are autoimmune diseases.
What are autoimmune diseases?
These are diseases that the body’s immune system fights its cells. Usually, our immune system fights foreign cells, viruses, bacteria, allergens. But in this type of condition, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Rheumatoid Arthritis is Autoimmune diseases where the body fights its cells and causes illness.
You are not winning two wars at one time.
So the body’s immune system is busy fighting its cells, therefore when an invader comes, you are vulnerable. So even if you are taking Hydroxychloroquine, your invader will have the upper hand. It is just like internal strife is the right moment for an external enemy to fight and win over you.
Similarly, malaria is an external infection because of a parasite. So there is a fight between the body and the malaria parasite. So you are fighting one war inside your body. When another invader comes, even if you are taking Hydroxychloroquine, that invader has the upper hand. So that kind of cross-protection does not happen. So you are not winning two wars at one time.
Some people still believe that Coronavirus is a myth or a conspiracy. What do you have to say?
As yet, no evidence to show the creation of Coronavirus as part of bioterrorism. We do not have any reasons for that. There are hypotheses, but it has not been proven anywhere. We do not have any basis for saying that.
Coronaviruses ordinarily seen in bats, around 500 species, and some of the animals, is the only proof we have of the virus. They are a real storehouse of Coronaviruses, without any disease in them.
Bats are a real storehouse of Coronaviruses, without any disease in them.
But when it jumps from bats to human beings, you have the disease coming. Had there been an intermediary? We do not know.
Remember, when we tinker with nature too much, when we tinker with the animal kingdom’s natural habitat, in the animal kingdom, we are likely to have an interaction between the viruses in the animal kingdom and the human interface. And that is when we have diseases jumping from animal kingdom to humankind.
When we tinker with the natural habitat of these animals, that is when we have diseases that jump from animal kingdom to humankind.
So the key message in this pandemic is that we should not ruin our environment, we should not destroy our forests, and we should not unnecessarily damage our animal kingdom. Being part of an ecosystem; we need to act resposibly to protect the ecosystem for staying safe.
The virus is here, it will have a natural peak, and they die down naturally. The vaccine is the way to protect it for the longer-term. But a vaccine will take a minimum of 11/2 years to come by.
Until then, the only way to protect from the virus is by preventing the spread of the infection from one human being to another.
Wearing a mask
Keeping a safe distance
Washing your hands regularly.
Stay away from places that people gather as we canoot differentiate between the infected and the not infected.
Thank you so much! Keep safe! All the best!
Dr. Mathew Varghese is a Public Health expert and Orthopaedic Surgeon. He is currently the Head of the Department of Orthopaedics, St Stephen’s Hospital, New Delhi. His work with polio patients caught the attention of Bill Gates, who named him a real-life hero who inspired him in his blog.
As schools are closed around the world, keeping kids productively engaged at home has become a major challenge now.
The thought of staying at home with kids during the lockdown has built up a certain level of stress and anxiety, especially for overworked mommies. Juggling Work-from-home, helping kids with online classes and household chores in the absence of a serving maid has increased stress and anxiety.
For kids, their attention span is limited to a maximum of 20 minutes. Maintaining balanced positive emotions are instrumental for their mental well-being. Parents can and should decide to engage their children in activities which they find beneficial and entertaining.
Daily routine is the key
Begin with a routine both for kids as well as parents.
To the extent possible, maintain a regular schedule for the child. Preferably in consultation with them maintain a schedule around their daily activities like mealtime, reading time, online classes, bed timing, e-device using houses, etc.
Identify the hours when the child is free and these are the hours you need to keep them engaged.
List out activities that your child can do independently and those that would need supervision. The schedules should for the kid be drawn keeping this in mind.
This will help you as well as the kids to feel at ease while also maintaining discipline.
It is advised that parents should try and get maximum of their work done during the children’s naptimes.
Physical exercise is one great way to get a day started. Make them join you for morning stretching exercises or yoga or any work out indoors. This engages the child and at the same time helps them to be fit and active.
Let them learn to embrace each day with gratitude and make children learn something new each day.
Give time to children to connect with their extended family and friends through audio and group video calls during this period. Make them discuss how everyone else in the family is coping in these hard times.
This also helps them to be socially connected and responsible. This also helps to know their extended family better.
Family time should include personal time for each other as well as edutainment time (combination of education and entertainment).
Control Media content
Children are watchful about what is going on around them. Regardless of age, every kid is aware that the conventional lifestyle has currently taken a pause.
Limit the amount of screen-time focused on COVID-19. Too much information can lead to anxiety.
Older children who are exposed to news and social media can feel the heat already. So communication becomes very important wherein talking with your children in a calm, and simple way enables you to control their anxiety as well as yours.
Of course, it is essential to limit your child’s screen time, but if right balance is struck technology can be a great way to engage your child.
It is practically impossible to limit screen-time these days. Instead it is advisable to find ways to make this time more productive.
Look for online creative classes based on your child’s interest. Post lockdown, there are many short virtual classes on Music, Dance, Art, sketching, photography, etc.
Take advantage of the free online virtual tours like zoo tour, museums around the world, etc. This can help the child a virtual holiday and also learn about new places sitting at home .
Introduce them to good educational apps that aid in a great way to support the school assignments.
Develop Life skills
Irrespective of the gender, teach or involve your child in basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning up room or other household chores, depending on the child’s age.
Baking is one kitchen activity that most kids would love to do along with their parents. Helping with taking out the ingredients, licking the sugary whisk, making shapes out of moulds, checking the oven to watch them bake, decorating it on their own, their cute interaction and the never-ending queries – adds up to the excitement and in the process they get to learn new things.
The joy of role-play is that kids can choose to become anyone they like for a short time, and the choice is endless!
Allow your child to dress up themselves and get into somebody else’s shoes or in an imaginary situation and ask them to do a role play and share their thoughts.
Trust me, it’s much fun!
Allow children experiment and explore new skills like Origami, playdough or any such art/craft ideas. Yes, there are many physical and mental health benefits associated with it.
Origami helps develop hand-eye coordination and mental concentration. Play-dough encourages the child to improve his/her creative imagination and enhances the child’s pre-writing skills.
Encourage them to start reading books
If you don’t have access to physical books, encourage them to read e-books or nowadays, with the help of a couple of apps and sites, hundreds of Audiobooks can be accessed for free. Audiobooks are of great interest to children.
Blackboard corner/Fun wall
Give them a corner of their own to explore in their room, decorated with big black chart paper (blackboard look) and chalks to paint on. Make your child do art work or learn or may be write on what they learnt each day or use it to create a check-list on what they plan to do the next day, etc. This truly can be a fun session, especially when they get to see that their parents are monitoring it.
Create an activity plan in consultation with parents of their friends and engage them to do some activities together over video calls. This could be, reading s story books with good moral and values ,developing story from a given thread ,narrating about a book they have read/animation movie they have recently seen, doing some DIY activities together, watching documentaries, playing quiz (that’s a school activity for my son), etc.
This activity is a great solution if you need to go for online meetings with your colleagues or just that you need some you-time.
Provide them with any non-hazardous objects/waste materials that you have at home and ask them to create anything that their mind says to.
There are many mess-free ideas, simple creative activities/games all over the internet which needs minimal products and also less supervision. You would be surprised to see that some of these activities will have a striking resemblance to what you would have also done as a kid in your childhood. There are many Art and Science based activities that are deeply connected to what the preschool focuses on and promotes learning through it.
Colourful wooden toys, Magnatiles or just everyday items around the home can be used for these activities. Magnatiles serve as a great learning tool for children, as they engage children in creative play and helps them learn and practice a variety of skills and concepts.
These kind of activities /games has proved to be having fun and a great stress buster even for the adults as well.
Remember, this lockdown is a luxury period and can be considered a boon wherein you get to spend quality time with your little ones, which is otherwise out of the question especially as working parents. Let us make the best use of it.
“ALONE we can do so little, TOGETHER we can do so much” — Helen Keller.
About The Author
Sanitha Jubin is a Keralite nurtured in Middle East, settled in Cochin, presently residing in Hyderabad. Human Resource Professional with over a decade of experience in the IT Domain. Now pursuing her passion as a lifestyle consultant. The interest areas include but not limited to culinary, costume designing and conducting grooming sessions for aspiring managers. Check out her culinary skills and Artwork on instagram.com/sans_platter
“Your salary and my monthly earnings are almost the same Mam” Kumar said. As usual I was travelling by chartered bus with my colleagues. And Kumar was incessantly bragging about his rags to riches story. Kumar was the driver of the chartered bus ferrying us from office to home. He was in Delhi for over a decade and now he owned a house and a car which he used as a taxi. He always hinted that he was financially well off than us, the educated class.
Success stories like Kumar’s inspires millions of youngsters from villages to folk to cities to earn their livelihood and eventually fulfil their dreams. The dream of a migrant worker to the cities in India varies from sending some money back home, building a Pucca house in the village, giving good education to kids and to move up the ladder of the society from poor to middle class lifestyle.
A decade ago, while traveling to office, I could see truckloads of families setting foot to the City. With dreams in their eyes, hope and happiness, tiredness of the tedious journey hardly mattered.
The winter mornings were filled with picturesque scenes of mothers preparing rotis on makeshift chulha (Oven) and children sitting around enjoying the warmth of the fire. The smell and smoke of the cooking and huddling of the little ones gave the impression of a village in a city.
Their makeshift shanties were insecure. I asked my friend “why don’t these men come alone, why do they bring their women and children to this unsafe City?” She said “Just like our fathers brought our mothers and us when they migrated to cities, these men also want to be with their family”.
We forget that we are all migrant workerss to the City. Every city dweller is a migrant worker. We are glorified migrants. Two decades, four decades, maybe hundred years ago families came in search of greener pastures and found a firm footing.
Education is what differentiates the glorified migrants from the modern migrant workers in India. According to reports a majority of the migrant workers in the past 10 years are uneducated. Leave alone education, they cannot even read and write.
Take the example of my maid. She is from a landowning family in her village. There is an air of dignity around her. She and her husband came to this city 30 years ago and now their family consist of 30 members including children, daughters in law and grandchildren. She does not believe is giving schooling for children because she says there will be no dearth of menial jobs in the city. Madams and Sirs in Kothis (bungalows) cannot survive without a train of helpers in the form of drivers, maids, gardeners and so on for which education is not required.
She will prepare dozens of rotis and aloo sabji (potato curry), in the morning, and leave for work. Children will have the rotis until it is over and then they survive on langar, food from the house of employees and Maggi. Take a survey and probably the migrant workers might be the largest customer base of Maggi. Roti and Kapada (food and cloth) they get in plenty from the employees.
What clothing and food to accept was a matter of choice. It was my maid who told me that the bread that I bought mistakenly for wheat bread was actually ginger bread. She knows because one of her other employees buys ginger bread regularly. The migrant workers have got an exposure the sophisticated city lifestyle, that the middle will never get to experience. An office boy once said that if you want an imported winter jacket go and stand shivering on the roadside of Lajpat Nagar. Some rich man will come and give you a Jacket.
Never in their wildest dream did they dream that corona will create a great barrier between them and their employees. The overflow of food items from the employees came to a grinding halt. The migrant workers suddenly realized that they are the have nots. Suddenly the were flushed out of their rented homes like the cockroaches are eliminated with hit spray.
They knew they have something which the we have not. They are land owners back home. Now whenever the migrant workers are interviewed about the food that they got they will say that ‘we are treated like beggars’. Migrant worker got a dignity. If we got an apartment in the city, they got a piece of land in their village. They expect to be treated with dignity.
One reason that only 30,000 migrant workerss returned from Kerala and 2 million are still staying is because of the food. The migrant workers were given food of their choice.
For the migrant workers who are walking towards their homes or those who are travelling by buses or trains, we must be sensitive towards what food we offer them. Give them food that can stay fresh for 3 or 4 days, like lemon rice, masala poori, and pickle. They can be given some energy bars instead of Parle G biscuits. The taste of the energy bar should be favourable to them. It is not what you give, but how you give that matters. Instead of using the situation as a photo op or as an opportunity for charity, support them as a friend or brother.
Let them walk, we cannot stop them from walking. We can help them by making their walks comfortable. Offering them the right kind of food, foot wear and clothing. Just like The Mahatma and the Buddha they are walking towards enlightenment and freedom.
The trending hashtag of health worker ‘We stay at work for you, please stay at home for us’ is being literally followed by angels on earth ike Aleyamma Philip, a nurse in Bharatpur in Rajasthan. Along with colleague, Rekha Rani, she is staying at her Primary Health Care Centre taking care of those in quarantine.
Since March 22nd, they haven’t gone home 35 km away in Jaipur. Rekha, a mid wife, has two little kids who are being taken care, back home by her parents.
Aleyamma, a Lady Health Visitor (LHV), identifies every new traveller to Bahaj block in Deeg district, in Bharatpur. So far, 300 have been quarantined in quarantine centres .
She visits them every morning to check on their condition. The health of the locals is also monitored.
Rekha and Aleyamma stay at the PHC and cook their own food. Aleyamma’s two grow up children, are with her husband Joseph in Jaipur. She finds solace in the video calls with her family.
No matter in which part of the world they are these Angels on earth are offering their services much beyond their calls of duty. On this Nurses Day we must spend a few minutes to remember the services of Nurses like Aleyamma.