GD Assist Medical Tourism Cancer Prevention

The importance of awareness in cancer prevention

GD Assist

The paradox with cancer is that an estimated two-thirds of all cancers are preventable. However, the situation on the ground is so grim that according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, across large swathes of the developing world, reports suggest that cancer is the most common affliction in deaths. In this context, experts have always opined that information and education are the keys to cancer prevention, early detection and to sound decision-making about treatment options. Doctors and other experts have often voiced that they’d rather prevent cancer, than have to diagnose, treat and cure it, because they could then save the patient of all the pain and agony of treatment.

Essentially, cancer prevention is all about awareness and this blog pivots on providing you with important insights relating to breast and liver cancer since October is primarily dedicated to creating awareness about these two common cancer types.

Breast cancer awareness

Thanks to largely stable incidence rates, improved treatment and outcomes, as well as early detection through screening, a woman’s risk of dying of breast cancer has dropped 39 per cent between the late 1980s and 2015, as per information by the American Cancer Society. However, despite this progress, there’s much more to be done. Breast cancer is still the second-leading cause of cancer death in women and there is still a large racial gap in mortality.

Causes of breast cancer

Numerous studies have indicated that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer in women by as much as 7-10 per cent for each one drink of alcohol consumed per day on average. Moreover, it has also been confirmed that obesity enhances the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer. Risk is about one and a half times higher in overweight women and about two times higher in obese women than in lean women. In this scenario, growing evidence suggests that women who get regular physical activity have a 10-25 per cent lower risk of breast cancer, compared to women who are inactive. Research has also pointed to the fact that smoking may slightly increase breast cancer risk, particularly long-term heavy smoking and among women who start smoking before their first pregnancy.

Common symptoms

Mindfulness is the most potent medication and though October is widely considered to be the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ (pink ribbon), a worldwide annual campaign highlighting the importance of breast awareness, education and research, one should be vigilant year-round for prevention and symptoms.

As in all other cancers, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed the better is the chance of successful treatment. Hence, it is important for women to check their breasts regularly. Though there’s no special technique and one doesn’t need training,one only needs to be mindful about spotting anything unusual. A common guidance is that women should check the whole area, including upper chest and armpits.If one spots any changes, it is essential to get checked by your doctor as soon as possible. Essentially, lumps are important to look for and can be the first symptom of breast cancer for many women. Regular screenings by experts can also go a long way in early detection. It is also important to put forth the fact that having some of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean one has breast cancer. However, it is crucial to get checked to take the worry out of the equation.

Reducing risks

Although many things influence the risk of developing breast cancer (including genes and ageing, which are typically beyond one’s control), lifestyles can play a part too and making small alterations can go a long way in reducing risks. Leading a healthy lifestyle by limiting alcohol consumption, keeping to a healthy weight and being physically active can certainly help lower the chances of the affliction. It doesn’t take much time or effort to stack the odds in your favour against this lethal ailment.

>> One can reduce their risk of breast cancer by being physically active for around 20 minutes a day

>> One can reduce their risk by limiting the amount of alcohol consumed

>> One can reduce their risk after menopause by maintaining a healthy weight

>> One can reduce their risk by taking an informed decision about HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and contraceptive pills

Liver cancer awareness

The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It filters harmful substances from the blood, produces bile that helps in digestion and stores sugar that the body uses for energy. There are two types of primary liver cancer in adults – hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of adult primary liver cancer with its incidence rising in relation to the spread of Hepatitis-C virus (HCV) infection. The grim finding is that the five-year survival rate is just about 18 per cent and hence awareness about liver cancer is the most critical in timely prevention and eventual treatment. Hence, October is dedicated as the ‘Liver Cancer Awareness Month’ (emerald green ribbon).

Causes of liver cancer

Having Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C or cirrhosis are significant risk factors for adult primary liver cancer. Liver cancer is more common in men than in women and represents the growth and spread of unhealthy cells in the liver. Cancer that originates in the liver is referred to as primary liver cancer. Cancer that spreads to the liver from another organ is referred to as metastatic liver cancer. HCC is the most common type of primary liver cancer and is on the rise around the world.

Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) caused by too much alcohol use or infections with Hepatitis-B or C are largely representative of the causes of liver cancer. Significantly, about 80 per cent of primary liver cancers around the globe are caused by infection with Hepatitis-B or Hepatitis-C virus. Infection with this virus can affect one for many years and result in cirrhosis in the liver. Individuals can get infected through physical contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who has the virus in their body, with the infection caused by unprotected sex, sharing of unsterilized needles and blood transfusion (today, donated blood is mostly screened for the virus).

Common symptoms

Liver cancer presents a special challenge in the identification of symptoms because one may not notice any symptoms when the disease is starting and in its early stages. However, some common symptoms to keep an eye on include:

>> Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (a typical symptom of jaundice)

>> Darkening of the urine

>> Lightening in the colour of the stool

>> An overall feeling of lethargy, fatigue

>> Loss of usual appetite and weight loss

>> Swelling of the legs and abdomen

>> Pain or discomfort in the abdomen

With the symptoms neither being very evident nor visible, it is important that one gets an accurate diagnosis of primary liver cancer so that their condition can be treated the right way from the very beginning.

Reducing risks

Because primary liver cancer caused by viral Hepatitis tends to develop over the course of two to three decades, there are steps one can take to get screened for the infection and prevent it from advancing. One can lower their risk of developing liver cancer by embracing such healthy lifestyle measures as regular exercise, controlling weight and eating a healthy diet with limited amounts of alcohol. Furthermore, it is also important to avoid infection with the Hepatitis-B and C viruses. Vaccines for Hepatitis-B are available for children and adults. However, if one has chronic Hepatitis-B, they might be a candidate for antiviral therapy, which can considerably slow down the progression of liver disease and decrease (although not fully eliminate) the risk of liver cancer. While there is no vaccine for Hepatitis-C, the right treatment can eliminate the virus in most people.

Other liver cancer risk factors

In addition to infection with chronic Hepatitis-B and C, the following main conditions increase the risk of developing liver cancer.

>>Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: This disease causes triglycerides (fats) to gather in the liver, which can lead to its damage. It commonly occurs in overweight/obese individuals or who have type-2 diabetes or a metabolic syndrome characterized by high blood sugar, extra body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. With obesity on the rise, this has increasingly emerged as a risk factor for liver cancer.

>>Cirrhosis of the liver made worse by alcohol use: Alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of cancer in individuals infected with the Hepatitis-B or C virus and hence it is important to avoid drinking if one has viral Hepatitis.

>>Exposure to arsenic: This naturally-occurring substance is sometimes found in drinking water. It is also a part of vinyl chloride, a chemical used in making certain plastics that can increase one’s risk of liver cancer.

Armed with this information, we hope that you become more aware about these cancers and also play an active role in your community/society to raise awareness and help thwart the occurrence of an ailment that is easily preventable.

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

CPR Medical Emergency

CPR: A life-saving technique that everyone should know

On a busy road in downtown Dhaka, Tarannum, sitting on her scooter and waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, suddenly she fell off and lay crumpled on the road. Sensing an emergency, Tara, who was passing by, ran towards her and administered CPR, keeping as calm as possible while trying to revive Tarannum. Eventually, when the paramedics arrived, they told Tara that she had helped save a life as Tarannum had a cardiac arrest. Tara was just thankful that she was at the right place, at the right time. A flight attendant by profession, Tara had received several hours of emergency training which she put to good use in what was definitely a life and death situation that day.

In another incident, while playing in her elementary school, little Parveen suddenly slumped to the ground and was unresponsive. Her friends ran for help. A staff member who found that Parveen had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, performed CPR as an emergency dispatcher took her through the steps over the phone. Soon, it was determined that Parveen had gone into a seizure, resulting in fainting spells. Subsequently at the hospital, she was stabilised when a cardioverter defibrillator was implanted in her chest. The staff member at the school emerged a hero because she dispensed the life-saving CPR.

But what exactly is CPR? Read on…

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): A bridge between life and death

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is what helped save Tarannum and Parveen’s life. After having analysed hundreds of thousands of emergency cases over the years, experts have come to the undeniable conclusion that if a bystander performs CPR, the outcome for the recipient will often be the difference between life and death. On an average, it has been estimated that paramedics can take anywhere between 8 to 10 minutes to arrive at the emergency scene, with this time extending by much more in crowded cities and areas. Research has also proved that each minute that someone goes without chest compressions, which forms the foundational basis of resuscitation, their chance of survival goes down by as much as 10 per cent. Hence, CPR is a strong transitional emergency response in the intervening time when the patient goes into an attack till the time professional help arrives.

It is an irony that though anyone can learn the technique governing CPR – yes, it is quite simple, yet many are unaware of this basic life-saving procedure. On the other hand, after having learnt the procedure, many individuals have reported that they have felt empowered by their knowledge of the practice and believe that they are in a better position to handle emergencies. With lifestyle-driven cardiac ailments increasing the world over, especially in developing countries, administering CPR should not only be considered to be under the purview of the healthcare fraternity, but for anyone who wants to act with responsibility and speed in crisis situations to make a difference. Hence, experts recommend that the techniques of CPR should be made a part of the school curriculum.

Administering CPR

If one witnesses a cardiac arrest, it’s crucial to call emergency services and start CPR immediately. CPR represents a simple 6-step process.

>>Step 1: Shaking and shouting

>>Step 2: Checking for normal breathing

>>Step 3: Calling emergency response

>>Step 4: Dispensing 30 chest compressions

>>Step 5: Giving two rescue breaths

>>Step 6: Repeating the process until professional help arrives (paramedics / ambulance)

Step 1: Shaking and shouting

If you come across someone who is unconscious, you should always check for danger and look for risks before you start helping. With regards to checking for a response, you can gently shake the person’s shoulders, while asking loudly if they are alright. The golden rule: Never panic and call for help from those around you. However, never leave the person alone.

Step 2: Checking for normal breathing

Someone having a cardiac arrest will either not be breathing or will not be breathing normally. They also will not be conscious. In this situation, keep their head back and check if the person is breathing normally by looking for:

  • Regular chest movements
  • Listening for sounds of breathing
  • Feeling for breath on your fingers

Look, listen and feel for not more than 8-10 seconds. Also, it is important that you not confuse gasps with normal breathing. If you’re not sure if their breathing is normal, act as if it’s not normal. If you are certain that the person is breathing normally, then put them in the recovery position and dial emergency. However, if the breathing isn’t normal, you must focus on opening their airway. For this, you should place one hand on the person’s forehead, gently tilt their head back, then lift their chin using two fingers of your other hand under their chin. When you do this, you open up their airway.

Step 3: Calling emergency response

If the person is not breathing or not breathing normally, ask someone to call emergency response immediately to ask for an ambulance. However, if no one is in sight to help, you should call emergency without delay before administering CPR.

Step 4: Dispensing 30 chest compressions

Kneel next to the person. Thereafter, place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest. Place your other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers. With arms straight, use the heel of your hand to push the breastbone down firmly and smoothly so that the chest is pressed down between 5–6 cm. Release after doing so. Do this in a loop at the rate of about 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute. This works to about 2 per second. Keeping a count will help.

Step 5: Giving two rescue breaths

Open the airway again by tilting the head back and lifting the chin. Pinch the soft part of the person’s nose closed. Take a normal breath, make a seal around the person’s mouth and breathe-out steadily. Doing so would make the person’s chest rise and fall. Keeping the person’s head back and the chin lifted, take your mouth away, take another normal breath and give a second rescue breath. The two breaths should take no longer than five seconds. Again, keeping a count would help.

Step 6: Repeat the process until professional help arrives

Repeat the 30 compressions and two rescue breaths. If you’d rather not give rescue breaths, you can also call emergency response and deliver hands-only CPR. One should keep calm until professional help arrives and takes over, or the person starts to show signs of regaining consciousness, such as coughing, opening their eyes, speaking or breathing normally.

Now that the process of CPR is demystified, we hope you are able to cope with emergency situations. After all, there’s no bigger gratification than saving someone’s life!

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

GD Assist Medical Tourism First Aid Kit

First aid: Foremost in ensuring everyday safety

Though we hope this would never come true for you, there will be a time when you wish you had a proper first-aid kit close by. Here’s why. If your injury involves blood-loss, you only have precious seconds to get the necessary supplies to stem the bleeding. Keeping a first-aid kit can provide you with the valuable extra time you need before you can get help. Also, mishaps among kids getting hurt with cuts, bruises and burns is a common occurrence. Hence, a first-aid medical kit equipped with the appropriate supplies can help the child in quick pain relief. Furthermore, good workplace practices require businesses to keep first-aid medical supplies readily available. For, the cost of an injury can prove to be high.

It is so important to have a proper first-aid kit that we have created a blog to list down essential information around the kit for ensuring everyday safety. But before we get into the details, it is important to first understand why a medical kit can make a difference between quick respite and a grievous injury.

A proper medical kit helps bridge time: Having a first-aid kit provides temporary aid until one can get help. No kit means no immediate help. Precious time to respond can mean further injury, which may prove fatal.

A proper medical kit helps prevent small injuries from becoming big:The longer you wait for treatment, the more severe your injury can become. In this context, immediate treatment can reduce risk.

A proper medical kit fosters peace-of-mind: Being prepared and even being able to help others when injury occurs is a strong enough case to have a first-aid kit handy.

Here are some essential points around a medical kit that will help build your confidence against emergency situations:

Purpose and usefulness of the first-aid kit

The purpose of any first-aid kit is to treat cuts, scrapes, bruises, burns, etc. In the workplace, especially in a factory environment where employee safety and health is paramount, it is not only meant to help the employee get quick relief, but also to keep them productive on the job. Besides, regulations also enforce such establishments to have a well-stocked medical kit. At home, it is essential to have one for minimising pain and providing immediate relief around common injuries. Though not many have it, it is essential to also have a medical kit in your car for swift response to accidents, etc.

Identifying potential injuries for ensuring greater kit effectiveness

An evaluation of past injuries can help you understand what to stock in your medical kit for ensuring greater effectiveness. For cuts and scrapes, it would be a good idea to have a variety of bandages and gauze. Also, it is essential to look at your immediate environment. For instance, if there is welding or any type of heat generation, then additional burn gel should be stocked. Furthermore, it is suggested that one should always keep basic first-aid supplies on hand for any potential injury.

Box item

Checklist for some common medical-kit essentials

*Cold compress *Adhesive bandages *Adhesive tape *Antiseptic treatment applications *Burn treatment applications, including burn dressing *Sterile gauze pads *Antibiotics *Antibiotic ointment applications*Analgesics *Hand sanitizer *Band-Aid*Antiseptic wipes *Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide) *Acetaminophen and ibuprofen *Tweezers *Scissors *Alcohol wipes *Mouthpiece for administering CPR *Calamine lotion *Splint *Thermometer *Scissors *Cotton swabs *Flashlight (with extra batteries) *Blanket

Learning basic first-aid administration

Though it is easy to administer pills and other oral medicines, some basic understanding of medical techniques would be vital for addressing slightly complicated issues like, say, CPR, or certain types of injections. Knowing these procedures is true to the ethos of first-aid in terms of dispensing important medical protocols in saving lives or preventing further complications.

Checking for damaged/expired products

It is important that you check your medical kit regularly to weed out expired, damaged, soiled, or even partially-used products. Consumption of these might have fatal side-effects. Also, one must engage in safe disposal of these. Furthermore, there some things in your first-aid kit that you might frequently exhaust, like Band-Aids. Replace the missing items so you have them in the future.

Keeping your medical kit in a place that is easy to reach

The entire purpose of a medical kit will be wasted if it is kept in a place that is not easy to reach. Also, if you are not keeping the kit in a pre-decided place, it will be counter-productive to search for it when you should be actually administering the first-aid. So ideally, the kit should be kept in a fixed place and also within easy reach for children to also access it.

Invest in a proper medical pouch

Often, in the quest to stock the right contents within the kit, the kit itself is ignored. Usually, we make do with a pouch or a bag that does not find utility elsewhere. However, it is of paramount importance to procure a professional medical pouch/kit, which has proper inserts/straps/holders for safely storing the different items of first-aid. Besides, such bags are also easily identifiable as they are generally white in colour with a bold red medical cross on it.

We urge you to take a closer look at your first-aid kit and restock items that you may have run-out of, while also evaluating the additional resources you might require to upgrade your kit’s quality. And yes, while talking about first-aid and health, health insurance is yet another critical resource that you should have in your ‘life’s medical kit’.

So here’s wishing you injury-mitigated homes and offices. Long live the first-aid kit!

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

Durga Pujo GD Assist Medical Tourism

Durga Pujo festivities are here!

It is that time of the year when even the most laid-back Bengali will become the most energetic member of his para. It is that time of the year when even the most mundane spaces in the city of Kolkata will magically transform into mesmerising art-scape. It is that time of the year when even the strictest diets will make way for extended pet pujo. Yes, it is that time of the year when you have to be in Kolkata to experience the chaotic, charming, enchanting and endearing Durga Pujo festivities!

A primer to the Pujo

Durga Pujo is a celebration of the Mother Goddess and the victory of the revered warrior Goddess Durga over the evil demon Mahishasura. The festival honours the powerful female force in the universe. Durga Pujo is celebrated in West Bengal, particularly in the city of Kolkata. In fact, it is the biggest and most important occasion of the year in the region. Besides, Bengali communities in other locations across India and the world celebrate Durga Pujo too. Notably, the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar and the Durga Pujo is celebrated during the last five days of Navaratri and Dussehra. For you to mark your dates, for 2018, Durga Pujo will take place from October 15 to October 18, followed by the grand immersion of the Durga idols on October 19.

Experiencing Durga Pujo first-hand

If you want to experience Durga Pujo fully, you should be in Kolkata ideally at least a week before the festival starts so that you can witness the artistic finishing touches being put on the idols of the goddess. The Kumartuli area (literally meaning potters’ locality) of north Kolkata is where most of the idols are made and a trip to the lanes and by-lanes of this historic neighbourhood will help you witness the creative flourish that artisans and craftsmen here are renowned for. However, despair not if you are not able to visit Kolkata just before the festivities begin. For there are still plenty of other ways to enjoy the festival.

The easiest way to participate in the celebrations is to take a Durga Pujo festival tour, such as the ones organised by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation. These tours normally have guides who are seeped in the history of the Durga Pujo in the State and will regale you with anecdotes as you walk past the various famous installations across Kolkata. These guides will also provide you with a slice of history of the para area and will also ensure that you savour local snacks and savouries like the jhaal murioralu-bhaaja or fuchkaa. Alternatively, for a more leisurely experience, you can also take one of the especially-curated pujo tours organised by the Calcutta Tramways. Sitting comfortably in a decorated tram, you can meander your way through the city, halting at spots that have must-see pandals.

Because there are hundreds of pandals in Kolkata, it’s only possible to visit a fraction of them and touring even these requires careful planning as they’re spread all over the city. However, you’ll find the most well-known ones in north and south Kolkata, which is conveniently connected by the Metro railway. The most popular time for pandal hopping is in the night when the installations are all lit-up. However, you must contend with the crowds, which though are generally orderly.  Some of the famous idols and pandals that should be in your itinerary include those in Baghbazar, Kumartuli Park, College Square, Mohammad Ali Park, Santosh Mitra Square, Badamtala Ashar Sangha, Jodhpur Park and Sitala Bose Mandir. While these are fairly well-dispersed across the city, you can also take time out to visit the smaller pandals along the way, which are also dressed in particular themes and have a rich story to tell.

While Kolkata’s public Durga Pujos tend to get all the attention, the traditional ‘Bonedi Bari’pujas in the city’s palatial private mansions are also worth experiencing. The mansions belong to affluent aristocratic zamindar (landowner) families who have been continuing with their traditional household pujas for centuries. Such households are spread out across Kolkata, as well as other major towns in Bengal, including Murshidabad. However, two of the most famous ones in Kolkata include the Sovabazar Raj Bari and the Rani Rashmoni Bari.

Witnessing other Pujo ceremonies

While pandal-hopping is an essential element of the Durga Pujo, one can also attend the ‘Kola Bou Bath’ ceremony. The auspicious start to the Durga Pujo commences with the invocation of the holy presence of Goddess Durga into the idols. The ritual begins early in the morning before dawn, with the bathing of a banana tree in the mighty Hooghly River. According to the rituals, the banana tree is dressed like a newly-wed bride (known as ‘Kola Bou’ or the banana bride) in a sari and is used to transmit the goddess’s energy. The best places to attend the ritual are Prinsep, Baghbazar and Ahiritola ghats, which are all well-connected with the various parts of the city.

The last day of the Durga Pujo, known as Dashami, which is also a sad day on the calendar as the festivities come to an end, the rituals commence with married women placing red sindoor (powder) on the idols of Goddess Durga. They then smear it on each other with chants and intonations. This part of the ceremony is often referred to as sindoor khela.  In the evening, the idols are immersed in the waters. One of the most popular immersion points is Babu Ghat (centrally located near the famed Eden Gardens), although you’ll be able to catch the action at any of the ghats along the river. An excellent way of seeing it is by boat. Yet again, the state’s tourism department operates special immersion boat cruises down the river.

Durga Pujo also means pet pujo

There is never a better time to sample Kolkata’s famous Bengali cuisine than Durga Pujo. The festival isn’t considered to be complete without food and one can find a wide array of it everywhere – on the streets, at the pandals and in specialty Bengali restaurants.  Food served to visitors in the pandals is called bhog (offerings to the god, which is distributed). It commonly consists of mixed vegetable curry, a sweet dish, a fried item and chutney. Furthermore, Kolkata’s Bengali restaurants have exclusive Durga Pujo menus packed with authentic delicacies. Some of the restaurants that you should try out include Bhojohari Manna, Saptapadi, The Bhoj Company, Kasturi and Kewpie’s Kitchen, among others.

So, visit Kolkata during the Durga Pujo and come back with memories of a lifetime – and yes, with overflowing shopping bags too!

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

surgical cost financial health gd assist

Impact of surgical costs on your financial health

Homemaker Khatoon Reza, 55, felt acute chest pain and upon investigation, it was found that she had coronary artery disease, which entailed the removal of the accumulated plaque in her arteries. Though her bypass surgery costs were principally covered under her medical insurance, yet she had to pay to out-of-network medical service providers. She did not have this information beforehand and was taken by surprise with the amount she had to pay out of her own pocket.

Before his three-hour neck surgery for herniated disks a few months ago, Shadab Mohammad, 49, signed a pile of consent forms. A finance professional at a large consumer goods company, Shadab was blindsided at the total anaesthesia and surgery bills that he received from the hospital. Though he had done some calculations, he was shocked at how divergent the total tally was. Though he had regained his neck movement, his financial health was put to risk. Worse, he had no choice and no negotiating power.

Khatoon and Shadab are among the large number of people who either do not seek full information prior to a critical surgery, or become victims of expenses related to surgical care that have a devastating impact on their finances. Notably, while people in high-income countries face minimal financial risks arising out of surgical care, the situation is alarming in middle-income and low-income countries.

Surgical costs and the negative financial impact

Because of the typically high costs associated with surgical care, paying for surgery out-of-pocket, commonly known as self-pay, can be incredibly expensive and, in most cases, unaffordable too. As the tables below indicate, the risk of catastrophic/impoverishing expenditure for surgical care can have a severe negative impact on household finances, often pushing the masses into poverty. People living in low- and middle-income countries are especially vulnerable as they find themselves at the confluence of relatively low incomes on the one hand and high surgical costs on the other. This is in stark contrast to the wealthy who face no such financial risks because of their affluence.

Risk of catastrophic expenditure for surgical care (% of people at risk)

  2008 2017
High-income 2.1 1.7
Low-income 71.5 65.4
Middle-income 36.3* 30.3
World 33.8 28.1

Risk of impoverishing expenditure for surgical care (% of people at risk)

  2008 2017
High-income 0.4 0.4
Low-income 74.5 72.9
Middle-income 27.9* 23.8
World 26.9 23.6

* Figures for 2013; worldbank.org

Catastrophic expenditure is defined as direct out-of-pocket payments for surgical and anaesthesia care exceeding 10 per cent of the total income. Impoverishing expenditure is defined as direct out-of-pocket payments for surgical and anaesthesia care that have the potential to drive people below a poverty threshold (using a threshold of $1.25 PPP/day).

Medical tourism to the rescue

In the face of growing financial risks associated with surgery, one can easily reduce this risk by opting for surgery in international destinations. Popularly referred to as medical tourism, the biggest benefit that the patient can have out of this is true affordability. For instance, surgery in countries like India, Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia is almost always less expensive – as much as 75 per cent less than what the procedure would cost in the US, and that too with similar medical outcomes. In addition to benefits associated with affordability, the attractiveness of these global medical tourism destinations on international patients is anchored on several other factors:

  • One, high quality medical staff credentials; in some cases, the surgeons are themselves trained in outstanding American facilities
  • Two, highly accredited hospitals
  • Three, state-of-the-art medical equipment and infrastructure
  • Four, teams exclusively assigned to international patients; in some hospitals, translation services are also available
  • Five, robust post-operative care dispensed by well-trained staff
  • Six, minimal wait times through quicker patient admission

Hence, considering the immense benefits of medical tourism, one can now access high-quality surgical care at costs that are truly affordable. With medical tourism, surgery can be well within the reach of most.

Insurance can also help unlock quality surgical care for most

Though there are multiple benefits of health insurance, the one that can be singled-out as truly the most useful is its ability to enhance mass access to quality medical care.

Today, there exists a large number of insurance plans and policies that help provide a protective cover for a vast spectrum of healthcare needs. Thanks to competition and technology-enabled lower costs, insurance plans are affordable while providing a cover that is large enough to take care of most hospital expenses, without the patient having to pay much out of his pocket. Furthermore, some insurance companies even pay for medical tourism for necessary procedures, thus providing the patient with dual benefits. Moreover, top-up insurance policies are also beneficial as they help extend the medical cover and prevent the need for self-pay. Thus, health insurance represents an effective route to access quality medical care.

A word of caution: You should select your health insurance provider after careful consultations. The key points to note include an understanding of what is covered in the insurance policy, whether insurance is cashless or reimbursable and how large is the insurance provider’s hospital network.

Useful ideas on lowering your surgical costs

Some of the most common types of surgeries include appendectomy, breast biopsy, carotid endarterectomy, cataract surgery, coronary artery bypass, free skin graft, hysterectomy, low back pain surgery and mastectomy, etc. It is always a good idea to determine how you can best lower the cost of your surgery before you even have the procedure. First, it is always better to ask questions to those who have undergone a surgical procedure before. This will provide you with first-hand and first-rate information on what to expect before you yourself undergo the procedure.

Furthermore, you should also find out where the procedure will cost you the least, without hampering the outcome in any way. Here, a reputed medical tourism service provider can be of significant help as they would be able to offer consultation on options from all the different medical tourism destinations of the world. Furthermore, this company would also be able to help you in choosing the right insurance product as surgical care requires the services of everyone providing care, including from anaesthesia to the surgeon, to the hospital and pharmacy, which means that these have to be in-network for your insurance to provide the maximum benefit to you.

GD Assist is a longstanding medical tourism company with a robust hospital network in the top medical tourism destinations of India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Now GD Assist is offering EMI facility to its valuable clients. The GD Assist clients can now get their treatment done without leaving a scar on their wallet. This is another way to take care of your financial health.

So if you have any queries on surgical care or on any other healthcare-related issues, we invite you to get in touch with us.

After all, who doesn’t want to lead a pain-free life.

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

GD Assist CVSKL World Heart Day

Celebrating World Heart Day 2018

The typical human heart beats about 115,000 times a day and is the most crucial for survival since it enables blood circulation throughout the body. However, despite the criticality of this organ in human survival, little do we know or care about the state of our heart. It is only if we feel blinding chest pain do we rush to the hospital for a bypass – otherwise, all our responses are reactive and never preventive. It is precisely to reverse this approach and raise awareness about the state of the heart in humans that the World Heart Day is celebrated across the world every year on 29 September.

Let the hearts beat – Background of the World Heart Day

Conceived by the World Heart Federation (WHF), World Heart Day (WHD), established in the year 2000, has emerged as the biggest platform for raising awareness and enlightening people around the globe that cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death, claiming as many as 18 million lives each year.

The WHD also aligns with the commitment made by world leaders in May 2012 to reduce global mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25 per cent by 2025. Notably, CVD accounts for nearly half of all NCD deaths, making it the world’s number one killer. Relevantly so, the WHD platform also highlights the actions that individuals can take to prevent and control CVD. For instance, the WHD aims to drive action to educate people that by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, at least 80 per cent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke can be avoided.

WHD is a global campaign in which cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, primary care physicians, patients, family members, educational institutions, companies and governments all over the world, as well as individual citizens, can take part to organise activities aimed at promoting better cardiovascular health. Through this campaign, WHF unites people from all countries, ethnicities and backgrounds in the common fight against the CVD burden and inspires and drives international action to encourage ‘heart-friendly’ living across the world.

This sort of awareness is most crucial for countries like Bangladesh in which the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that NCDs account for a shocking 59 per cent of the total deaths in the country and CVD constitutes as much as 17 per cent of the proportional mortality (percentage of total deaths, all ages). World Heart Day is therefore the perfect platform to raise awareness about the condition of the heart in a bid to reduce the disease burden as well as for the CVD community to unite in the fight against CVD.

Start your good heart journey: WHD campaign, 2018 

The World Heart Day 2018 campaign is anchored on accomplishing several key goals that include the following:

>>To be all encompassing

The WHD campaign has held a global viewpoint with a strong emphasis on prevention and the initiatives people can take to improve their cardiovascular health. In 2018, while maintaining this focus, the WHD platform seeks to make the role of the healthcare professional to be clearer with more accountability.

>> To be actionable/relevant

The WHD has made a clarion call to action that asks everyone, from individuals and families to healthcare practitioners and policymakers, to promise to do their bit in improving their own heart health and that of the others in terms of working to reduce the impact of CVD, to educate the common people and to learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). In 2018, the WHD is asking for a commitment from the heart, which is encapsulated in the heart-warming expression of: ‘MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS’.

>> To be educational

The WHD will be actively used as a platform for debunking myths about CVD, which is, paradoxically, the number one killer, but not the most understood.

>> To be inspirational

The WHD, to inspire change, has asked WHF members to share their stories of inspiring ‘Heart Heroes’. These personal stories allow people to talk about key CVD risk factors and treatments and motivate people to make lasting behavioural changes.

>> To be sharable

The WHD campaign includes numerous elements that encourage sharing, dialogue and engagement. The more people share and engage, the greater is the chance of achieving the fundamental goal of making every heartbeat matter.

For 2018, the overarching WHD theme is about celebrating and connecting like-minded people. It is anchored on simplicity, warmth, emotions and translatability and is flexible to provide an umbrella for the different campaign strands the world over.

The campaign sentiment of ‘MY HEART, YOUR HEART’ is about wrapping a sense of commitment around the common issues related to heart health. It is a concept that educates, inspires and motivates people to keep their hearts healthy. Essentially, it is also about saying to ourselves, the people we care for and individuals all around the world, ‘What can I do right now to look after MY HEART and YOUR HEART?’ It also resonates with the professional cardiology and healthcare audiences who dedicate themselves to looking after ‘ALL OUR HEARTS’.

The campaign draws strength from the fact that though CVD is the world’s number one killer today, it doesn’t need to be this way. By making just a few small lifestyle changes, one can not only reduce his/her risk of heart disease and stroke but also improve overall life quality and set a strong example for the next generation.

State of the heart: Debunking myths around your heart

As a part of one of the key goals of World Heart Day 2018 on educating the masses around good cardiovascular health, accurate information about CVD risk factors is vital for early detection and treatment. So here are some of the common myths around CVD:

>>Heart disease only affects older people: False

Almost 22 per cent of all disability-adjusted life years (or years of healthy life lost) in people aged 15-49 years are due to CVD (as per Global Burden of Disease Study 2016). Hence, good lifestyle choices made early in life are key to prevent risks around CVD later.

>>If one has high blood pressure, one would have noticeable symptoms: False

The majority of people with hypertension do not show any visible symptoms. However, if left unchecked, hypertension can cause a myocardial infarction and, in the long run, heart failure.

>> If heart disease runs in the family, there’s nothing one can do about it: False

Genetic factors do play a role in high blood pressure, heart disease and other related conditions. However, environments and other factors also increase heart disease risks and should be always addressed on time. Making good lifestyle choices are also important to prevent CVD.

>>Having diabetes doesn’t mean one has a higher chance of developing heart disease: False

CVD is the primary cause of death of patients with diabetes. Diabetes was recognised as a CVD risk factor in the exploration of risk factors in the Framingham Heart Study. Moreover, diabetes was consistently found to be a stronger risk factor for CVD in women than men.

What happens on World Heart Day?

Governments and non-government organisations celebrate and promote World Heart Day with activities such as fun runs, public talks, concerts, and sporting events. The World Heart Federation organises awareness events in more than 100 countries. They include health checks, sports events, (walks, runs and fitness sessions), public talk shows, concerts and exhibitions, among others. These activities are conducted in collaboration with organisations such as the WHO.

Activities on the World Heart Day aside, what are the initiatives you could take to celebrate World Heart Day every day? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Promise to eat well
  • Cut down on sugary beverages and fruit juices
  • Swap sweet, sugary treats for fresh fruit
  • Try to consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Try to limit processed and pre-packaged foods (that are often high in salt, sugar and fat content)
  • Promise to get more active every day – take the stairs, walk or cycle instead of driving
  • Promise to say no to smoking
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Engage in weight control

So how will you celebrate World Heart Day on 29 September 2018 and what are the initiatives you expect to undertake to ensure that your heart is in the pink of health? Write to us on gdal@green-delta.com

GD Assist has partnered with CVSKL (Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur) and now GD Assist clients can avail the benefits of this state of the art cardiac hospital.

On that note, here’s wishing you a happy World Heart Day 2018!

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

importance of choosing the right doctor

Importance of deciding the best doctor for your treatment

Though healthcare choices are highly personal, most would agree that excellence and expertise in medical care is crucially important. On the contrary, inadequate screenings during routine check-ups and subpar treatment of critical illnesses may result in inferior care and can have costly and tragic results. This exercise underscores an important realisation: In curing patient, top doctors can have an enormous impact – so much so that the hospital in which they practice generally do not tend to have much of an influence on the outcome.

Also, the practice of shortlisting the hospital first, however reputed it might be, may be a decision against a favourable healthcare outcome, as the hospital might not have healthcare specialists who are renowned for a particular medical speciality. Hence, it is much more important to shortlist the doctor first. As it is, the reputation of the doctor will precede everything else and chances are that he/she will be practicing only in the top hospitals that are equipped with the most modern healthcare infrastructure and facilities. Hence, identifying the right medical specialist will take care of the choice of a high-quality hospital but, conversely, shortlisting a top hospital first may leave a question open on the quality of its resources, especially for a particular medical domain.

For patients visiting top doctors and healthcare specialists, the value of receiving first-class medical care is measured in the quality of the treatment, in a longer life span and also in a financial outlay that is anchored on affordability. Extraordinary examples exist everywhere that demonstrate the point that finding the best doctor can make a significant difference in a patient’s life.

Consider the following case studies.

Rahman, in his early sixties and carrying a few extra pounds, needed a knee surgery. So he chose a physician who practiced near his home. Two years after his operation, he still uses a cane much of the time. A few months ago, his family forced him to visit a specialist. To his dismay, he was told that his earlier surgery had gone wrong and if it was done right, he would be walking upright and without any support.

Parul was examined by her local physician, who advised her that lumps in her breast were likely malignant and recommended an immediate mastectomy. However, closer investigation by a specialist revealed that the lumps were in fact benign and Parul could thus avoid the cost, trauma and pain of a radical mastectomy.

Farookh, a manager at a financial services firm, developed a problem in his left eye. A local ophthalmologist identified glaucoma and told him that he needed immediate surgery. However, Farookh took a second opinion by visiting a top specialist who has been successfully treating him with eye drops ever since.

In curing patients, top doctors can have an enormous impact – so much so that the hospital in which they practice generally do not tend to have much of an influence on the outcome. 

A highly regarded medical specialist is one who has undergone rigorous training, possesses longstanding experience and is vastly respected by his/her peers and the medical fraternity at large. Also important is the fact that he/she constantly upgrades his/her knowledge to remain at the cutting-edge in the world of medicine and on top of their professions. This is especially vital as expertise and leading-edge technology are both particularly important in diagnosing and treating such common modern-day ailments as cancer, stroke and cardiovascular afflictions. Also, administered by a top doctor, sophisticated techniques can help alleviate the sufferings of patients and have higher cure rates,specifically for cancer.

One of the other important characteristics of a top healthcare professional that could help you determine him/her as the best medical resource for your treatment dwells in his/her ability  to empower patients. For instance, in cases where other physicians will force the elderly to avoid, say heart surgery, a top doctor may be able to counsel them with his insights, wisdom and track record and operate on them and achieve excellent outcomes. Also, stroke victims, in the hands of a top professional, can recover to an excellent degree that was earlier impossible to achieve. Moreover, world-class neurosurgeons can deal with bleeding strokes that were formerly considered to be inoperable. The bottomline: The differences between the ‘most-skilled’ and the ‘less-skilled’doctors/surgeons are as much striking as theyare remarkable and top doctors can help patients in ways that are far superior than those provided by others in the medical community.

But while patients intuitively know this to be true, most lack the resources to make the best choices when they fall ill. Many of them rely on referrals from the family physician; yet, even a trusted and competent physician may not be the best source of information. Doctors are busy with their practicesand their referral contacts are usually restricted to their network. Moreover, few have time to research who is the best for a particular procedure or medical problem. That often leaves patients exposed to a key health risk – that of making an important decision based on information that may not be fully accurate.
The differences between the ‘most-skilled’ and the ‘less-skilled’ doctors/surgeons are as much striking as they are remarkable and top doctors can help patients in ways that are far superior than those provided by others in the medical community.

Today, an independent assessment of medical care is more important than ever before. Why? Simply because of inherent vested interests. Pharmaceutical companies are obligated to those physicians who are prescribers of their drugs. Many publications and online resources recommend healthcare providers who pay to get their names mentioned. To several health insurers, a physician’s charges are often a more important factor than quality. Hence, in this scenario, it is crucial for a patient to heed the advice of a specialist who has no such conflicts of interest and who’s core purpose is to help patients find healthcare providers who deliver superior results.

In the context of the criticality of selecting the right medical specialists, general citizens might not have the information of shortlisting top doctors catering to their requirements. They might have to rely on third-party opinions, which might also be inaccurate.

To help mitigate this risk and to connect a patient’s specific medical condition with a top specialist who can then recommend the right treatment course for early and effective cure, healthcare tourism companies like GD Assist are at the forefront to solve this challenge faced by most patients. GD Assist possesses a rich database of top doctors and hospitals in most of the prominent medical tourism hubs of the world and in every medical specialty. This rigorously-selected list is based on professional assessments and not on unreliable third-party commentary or other such sources. Importantly, GD Assist’s intensive doctor selection methodology is designed to identify specialists who will speed patients’ healing, minimise pain and discomfort, shorten recovery periods and enhance and lengthen lives. In other words, help patients achieve the best possible health outcomes.

GD Assist’s intensive doctor selection methodology is designed to identify specialists who will speed patients’ healing, minimise pain and discomfort, shorten recovery periods and enhance and lengthen lives.

So call GD Assist today for an appointment. For in matters relating to healthcare, one cannot take a gamble.

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

Chattogram Branch GD Assist

Hello Chattogram!

Chattogram might appear as a small dot on the map of Bangladesh. But look closer and you will find that the city has a rich history – and a future that is strong with potential.

Chattogram – eventful past, exciting future

The historical significance of Chattogram can be gauged from the fact that it is a 2000-year-old city. In the past, it was witness to change of power several times – from being an Arab port, to a Portuguese pirate stronghold, to an Arakanese stakeout, before finally being annexed by the British during the first partition of Bengal in 1905. Historical records show that Chattogram had a port even before the city of Bombay, India.

With such influences in the city rich’s historical tapestry, today, Chattogram, which has a population of about 8 million people, is one of the top-100 sea ports of the world and is considered to be the heart of Bangladesh’s economy. This distinction has been bestowed upon the city by virtue of a geographical location that creates the opportunity for easy and cost-effective foreign trade, which is among the largest constituents of the Bangladesh’s economy.

According to reliable statistics, Chattogram generates as much as 40 per cent of Bangladesh’s industrial output, facilitates 80 per cent of its international trade and contributes 50 per cent of the total to the exchequer. Besides, the Chattogram Stock Exchange had more than 700 listed companies with a market capitalisation of about $37 billion in March 2018.

A World Bank report has stated that the Chattogram port is the largest employer in the city, employing as many as 50,000 workers and providing indirect livelihood to several thousands more. In addition, Chattogram is also one of the world’s top ship-breaking destinations that has, in turn, sprouted a number of ancillary industries around the vicinity. This has seeded multiple employment opportunities, while raising the standards of living of the local populace. Also, Chattogram’s international airport is the second largest in Bangladesh and offers convenient connectivity options to the rest of the country as well as to some international destinations.

It is widely considered that Chattogram and its neighbouring districts have immense industrial potential. There are a number of emerging industries such as ship-building, oil refinery, automobile manufacturing, light engineering, furniture industries and home appliances, for which Chattogram can be the most attractive manufacturing destination.

GD Assist enters Chattogram

It is in this city that GD Assist Limited, a subsidiary of Green Delta Insurance Company Limited, has expanded its operations. GD Assist is one of the most reputed medical tourism providers in Bangladesh with a wide range of network hospitals in some of the top healthcare tourism destinations of the world, including India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Through this association, the company is able to set doctor appointments at the best hospitals renowned for their medical specialities within the shortest possible time. GD Assist also offers a comprehensive suite of related products and solutions, including health insurance, visa assistance, air travel and ground transportation services, hotel accommodation, emergency medical evacuation that greatly add to patient convenience. The company also offers a wide range of corporate wellness programs for the benefit of organisations to keep their manpower healthy, productive and engaged.

In a unique and innovative first in the industry, GD Assist has instituted a membership service under ‘Health@Connect’, representing a card that includes health insurance, healthcare services in domestic and international hospitals, discounts in partner hospitals in Bangladesh, second medical opinion service, health tourism facilities, air ambulance services, tele- and video consultation and travel support, including visa processing and other travel-related arrangements.

Through the establishment of an office in Chattogram, GD Assist has opened up the potential to directly serve the needs of the patient population in the city.

With a wide range of medical tourism healthcare solutions, dedicated and professional services and customised itineraries, we invite you to visit our office.

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

money saving tips GD Assist

15 useful money-saving tips while travelling abroad for medical treatment

Many would know that travelling abroad for availing medical treatment by itself represents a cost-effective proposition. However, few would know how to minimise the ancillary costs to supplement the overall value offered by overseas medical travel. It also happens that though one budgets for all the primary costs relating to healthcare travel, one might not be fully aware of the secondary costs like those associated with conveyance, lodging, food, etc., and ways to minimise expenses related to these.

So here’s a list of 15 useful tips to save secondary costs while travelling abroad for healthcare purposes and come back in great shape – both physically and financially!

  1. Set a reasonable budget beforehand

Before you leave, it’ll be a good idea to research a bit on the city you’ll be travelling to find out more about the cost of living. If you have friends or family members who have travelled to this destination, you can also get information from them. You should plan and budget for your daily expenses for food and transportation and add 15-20 per cent for the unexpected.

  1. Get travel insurance

This is one of the most important points for you to consider. In most countries abroad, you can have recourse to public healthcare in case of an unforeseen medical emergency only at exorbitant costs. Hence, it’s a good idea to consider travel insurance that will cover you for the duration of your journey.

  1. Convert your currency at the home base

It’s always better to get your currency exchanged in your home base. Not only will you be able to get a better rate, hence saving on currency conversion charges, you’ll also save time when you land at your destination. This would be all the more relevant for patients travelling on emergencies.

  1. Save on extra baggage airline charges

Airlines the world over have become more stringent with levying extra baggage weight charges. With a view to avoid paying such levies, which can be pretty steep at times, you should travel light, packing only the necessary items required for the journey. Else, if you have to travel with extra luggage, you can look to pay for this additional baggage online as airlines typically offer discounts if this charge is paid on their portal.

  1. Take connecting airlines with the shortest possible stopover time

Although your medical tourism service provider will take care of this, it would be best to ensure that your layover time at the airport is the minimum possible, which will help you save on accommodation/food costs, while also ensuring minimum patient discomfort during transit.

  1. Use ATMs instead of exchange booths at the destination country

While in the host country, it’s important to be aware of service fees whenever you need to get money on emergency or otherwise. Generally speaking, ATMs will provide lower fees than currency exchange booths. Also, check for banks that are a part of the Global ATM Alliance, which would allow you to use partner ATMs at a lower fee.

  1. Make ATM withdrawals less frequently

Although we made the above point, it must be emphasised that one should make ATM withdrawals as infrequently as possible because of the attendant service charges. Hence, it is best to carry cash or travellers’ cheque.

  1. Purchase a local SIM card

Making international (ISD) calls will be prohibitively expensive from your home number and a needless expense, especially when one considers the predominant option of buying a local pre-paid SIM card. These cards have a variety of calling packs and you can choose the one that is the most-suited for your needs.

  1. Optimise medicine and other consumable costs

Though rare, if the hospital requires you to purchase some medicines and other such consumables from outside for your patient, you can look for a reputed chemist in the neighbourhood and check for a discount, which they usually offer in the range of 10-15 per cent on the total bill. Else, you could also visit a medical wholesaler, especially for the purchase of costly medicines.

  1. Use alternative means of communication

Unfortunately, despite rapid technology advancements, prepaid calling cards have not grown more affordable in many countries. Hence, you can consider using a voice-over-IP programme like Skype to stay in touch with your family members at home.

11. Minimise your food costs

In many countries, restaurants are expensive. Hence, it would be an interesting idea to explore alternative food options like street food (doing this you’ll be able to sample local savouries) or opt for food trucks that have now emerged as a cost-effective idea to have innovative cuisine.

  1. Opt for buffets

In most countries around the world, restaurants offer relatively inexpensive buffet options with a wide variety of cuisine on offer. You can check the local listings in newspapers for such restaurants – and make the most of it.

  1. Check service apartments

If you’re travelling as an attendant along with the patient, you can either check into a guesthouse around the vicinity of the hospital or even go for a service apartment which will have a kitchen, etc., in which you can cook your meal. Else, you can also check co-habitation sites that offer good accommodation options at reasonable prices.

  1. Optimise your transportation costs

You could check for a lodging option in an around the hospital in which your patient has been admitted. Doing so, you’ll not only be able to walk to the hospital but also be available within short notice in case of any emergency. You’ll be able to save on commuting costs too. However, if you have to commute long distances, you can check shared rides (as offered by several multinational ride-hailing apps) or go for public transportation, like the metro.

  1. Budget for post hospital release expenses

If you have decided to stay back for a few days after the release of your patient from the hospital, you should pre-book the accommodation to save on last-minute costs. Doing so will also ensure that you get the time to check a variety of hotels as per the patient’s post-operative needs, rather than rushing for whatever is available.

So go on, look smart with these useful money-saving tips. And yes, consult with GD Assist before you embark on your outstation medical visit. That’ll be a smart thing to do too!

GD Assist

 Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

 Website:  gdassist.com

GD Assist Medical Tourism Corporate Stress

Balm for the stressed-out corporate employee

Note to self:“It’s not stress that burdens us. It’s our reaction to it that does. So I’ll always stay positive, calm and breathe easy while putting my best at work.”

An employee working in a large corporate had pinned this message on his soft-board. A wellness trainer hired by his organisation happened to walk by his cubicle and, intrigued, asked him why he had displayed the memo so prominently in his workplace. His answer was interesting. He said that his life was one of coming a full circle and a story of transformation. The trainer became very interested and finding a cosy corner in the office and over steaming coffee, he asked the employee to tell him more.

STRESS

Yes, the employee said. This silent killer had entered into his life, slowly, without warning, and then had crept in gradually, every day, until it had engulfed him completely. He had become a victim of stress. But what caused this in the first place?

The employee said that in his early days when he had just joined office, he felt energised to come to work every morning. He was happy to learn the finer aspects of his profession, found bonhomie among his colleagues and his manager was empathetic.

However, over time, the tide turned. Meetings that had been organised for 15 minutes stretched into a couple of hours of sitting in a tight damp environment, causing a domino effect on his schedule in terms of a pile-up of work. A minor disagreement with a senior colleague led to an ongoing skirmish with negative stray comments about his behaviour and attitude regularly being passed by the senior. Soon also, other work started pouring in and deadlines started looming large. More work. Shorter deadlines. Combine the two: More stress.

What had become episodic had turned into chronic stress.

The employee said that he started going home late – sometimes putting in as much as 12-14 hours in office every day. He started neglecting his family and had become extremely short-tempered. He did not have time for anything but work. And slept – anxiously though – for as little as 5-6 hours at night. He was multi-tasking in ever-tighter schedules, suffering from competing priorities and getting loaded with unrealistic timelines. On top of that, his manager was always on the lookout for shouting at him on the slightest of pretexts – in front of others, sometimes even his juniors. Also, he also constantly worried that his phone might ring or ping with an urgent message – or a reprimand – from his manager.

Even at home, his face was either glowing in the light of his computer or he was staring into his phone, as if a message would come anytime. He was constantly on tenterhooks, nervous and anxious and always felt drained-out. Moreover, his health was also deteriorating as he had put on weight and suffered from a headache all the time. Unknowingly, he felt, he had become a victim of the dreaded six-letter word – STRESS.

One night, with his body becoming severely dehydrated, he had to be rushed to the hospital for saline. Plus, he had developed some unexplained rashes on his feet that had to be treated upon with urgency. The next day, the doctors visited him in his room and told him that his health was in poor shape and he should use this visit as a learning to get back in shape. They told him that health was precious and should be protected at all costs. With this sermon, it was as if he had got a new lease of life. That is when he decided he would whole-heartedly embrace something that he promised would become the core mantra of his life.

DE-STRESS

And, of course, pursue a life that is enriching and wholesome mentally, physically and spiritually. It was as if a new day had dawned for him and he began by soul-searching and asking some simple questions: What is a healthy job? What is work-related stress? What are stress-related hazards at work? And how can I control my response to stress?

It was here that the trainer told him that he had always told his audience that a healthy job is one where the pressures on employees are appropriate in relation to their abilities and resources, to the amount of control they have over their work and to the support they receive from people who matter to them. He said that he always explained that health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but a positive state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. A healthy work environment is one in which the staff have made health and health promotion a priority and a part of their working lives.

Exactly, said the employee and one of the first things he did when he was out of the hospital was that he promised he would change his lifestyle and his workplace habits and responses to control stress and regain his health. So here’s what he did:

I promised to start my day right
Earlier, I used to wake up in the nick of time, gulp down my breakfast, combat morning traffic and reach office just in the nick of time.

Today, I wake up early, spend an hour in the park running, exercising and meditating, have a nutritious breakfast (rather than just coffee that I had earlier!) and cycle to office, dodging traffic effortlessly and welcoming a healthy practice to reach to work. I was surprised by how much less reactive I was to stress when I started-off my day with good nutrition, exercises, proper planning and a positive attitude.

I’m clear on requirements and expectations out of me

Earlier, I realised that one of the factors that contributed to burnout was unclear requirements. With not knowing exactly what was expected out of me or when the requirements kept changing with little notice, I found myself to be much more stressed than necessary.

Today, I’m much more clear of my key performance areas and my work profile. When I found myself falling into the trap of never knowing if what I was doing was enough I had an open and honest discussion with my manager on expectations out of me and the strategies for meeting them. This has been a great stress-reliever for me.

I stay away from conflict

Earlier, interpersonal conflicts took a toll on my physical and emotional health and because conflict among co-workers was so difficult to escape, I inadvertently found myself trapped more often than not in gossip, small-talk and back-biting.

Today, I’ve considered it to be the best possible idea to avoid conflict as much as possible. That means I don’t gossip, don’t share too many of my personal opinions about things that are not typically work-related and try to steer clear of small talk that earlier used to drag on for hours on end. This does not mean that I work in a silo. No, I participate in discussions and office humour, but my co-workers know that I have drawn a line and they have come to respect it.

I stay focused and organised
Earlier, distractions used to have a vicious impact on my day, burdening me with work that I could have easily completed had I refused to get distracted.

Today, I plan ahead to stay organised which has come to greatly decrease my stress at work. Being organised with my time means less rushing in the morning to avoid being late and rushing to get out at the end of the day. Keeping myself organised means I avoid the negative effects of clutter and today, I have come to respect the clock and work efficiency.

I have become more conscious of comfort at work
Earlier, I used to spend hours sitting on a creaky uncomfortable chair with my workplace bang in the middle of the office – and chaos.

Today, I have come to notice that the chair, my sitting posture and the location of my cubicle were ergonomically strenuous which led to a lot of physical discomfort. So now I’ve avoided low-grade frustration by changing my chair into a much more comfortable one, altering my sitting posture (for tips on how you should sit right, refer to the box below) and relocating my place into a quiet and soothing area on the floor.

Here’s how you can sit right in office:

Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
Adjust the seat height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips.
Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary.

If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes depending on your comfort.
Adjust the armrests of your chair so that your shoulders are relaxed.

Multitasking? What’s that?

Earlier, ‘multitasking’, a fancy buzzword in corporate circles, was heralded as a wonderful way to maximise one’s time and get more things done in a day. I did the same. However, this myth was busted when I started realising that when I had a phone in my ear and was making calculations at the same time, my speed, accuracy and sanity toppled over.

Today, I’ve replaced multitasking with ‘single-tasking’ with 100 per cent concentration. This has not only enabled me to finish my work early but also with accuracy and efficiency. And I only pick up calls that are urgent when I’m doing something important, sending a polite message to the caller that I’ll get back to them later. What single-tasking has done is that it has enabled me to shrink my to-do lists and get back home on time!

Finally, the employee said that making these practices a part of his every day corporate life have helped him transform into someone who is a participative, energetic, healthy and focused worker.

So dear reader, is this a part of your story too? Can you relate to it in any way? Tell us, even as we hope that this article helps you transform your life too!

GD Assist

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website: gdassist.com