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Health Point Foundation; Changing Lives

9 September 2016

Health Point Foundation; Changing Lives

At the start of the week, the Healthcare News team had a fantastic opportunity to talk to Dr Ansar Mahmood, who has been volunteering with Health Point Foundation. Ansar is one of our Master's students on the Restorative and Aesthetic dentistry course and also a dentist working full time in general practice.

Ansar has been travelling with Health Point Foundation, founded by Dr Hadia Aslam, to Syrian refugee camps in Greece to treat those who have not had access to emergency dental care, in some cases for over six months, since arriving at the camps.

Starting in May 2016 Ansar flew out to Greece as a general volunteer with some of his colleagues and is now the supplies manager for the charities’ base camp in Diavata and the outreach camps too.

We asked Ansar to choose a moment that stood out for him the most, a hard task indeed!

He described a time where a child approached his camp, knowing no English, with an oral abscess that he had had for months. The child in question was so young, at ten years old, could barely remember a time where he had not felt pain. The decayed tooth causing the abscess was removed.

But it seemed that the most memorable moment about this was when the boy came back, after a long time gap of moving clinics and camps, to find Ansar and the team and thank them for their help.

It truly proves that all the work that these amazing volunteers are doing does have such a huge impact in the whole camp's community.

There truly can never be enough volunteers as each day the numbers of refugees are growing. Read here for more 

Still working nurse, 83: 'I love my job'

An 83-year-old nurse who still works 15 to 20 hours a week says she has "no plans" to retire.

Monica Bulman, who works at Torbay Hospital, began her career in the NHS aged 19 in 1952.

When she's not working, the grandmother, who turned 83 on 1 September, is a gym-bunny and attends regular spinning classes.

Mrs Bulman said she still loves her job but misses the 1950s uniform because it was "much more glamorous".

"I love my job, each and every part of it. Being a nurse brings me so much pleasure and keeps me on my toes," Mrs Bulman said.

After 64 years as a nurse, Mrs Bulman said the main change is technology.

"Although we now have much more paperwork to compete, it is fantastic that with the technology we can now look up our patient's X-rays and test results at the click of a button rather than having lengthy waits for the information," she said.

"Another change that amuses me is that years ago the theatre nurses, who were all gowned up, had to manually thread the needles for surgery, whereas now these all come in packs, pre-threaded."

She started her state enrolled nurse training in 1952 at Eltham Hospital, London and began working at Torbay Hospital in 1998, aged 65.

"My job has kept me going and helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. I don't know what I would have done without my colleagues and a job where I can dedicate myself to caring for others," she said.

"I still have no plans to retire and I hope to keep going for as long as I am able."

Mairead McAlinden, chief executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Monica really is an inspiration to us all."

Malaria stopped with single dose of new compound

Scientists say they have found a new compound that stops malaria in animal studies with a single, low dose.

Tests in mice showed the one-off treatment prevented infection for the full 30 days of the study.

The chemical compound fought early infection in the liver, as well as malaria parasites that were circulating in the blood.

The researchers hope their early work, published in the journal, Nature, could lead to new drugs for people.

Malaria is spread to humans by the bites of infected female mosquitoes and it is estimated that about half of the world's population is at risk of catching the disease.
In 2015, there were 214 million new cases of malaria and 438,000 malaria deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Aside from avoiding bites by using insecticides and bed nets, people can protect themselves against malaria by taking antimalarial drugs.

But existing treatments are less than perfect - people have to take repeated doses and the parasites that cause malaria are developing resistance to these drugs.

Need for new drugs

Along the Cambodia-Thailand border, one type of malaria parasite - P. falciparum - has become resistant to almost all available antimalarial medicines.

Dr Nobutaka Kato and colleagues, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, searched a library of more than 100,000 compounds for a new treatment.

They were hunting for something that would work in an entirely new way to existing drugs.

The compound they found targets an enzyme called phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase and appears to wipe out parasites before they can multiple in the liver and be released in bigger numbers into the bloodstream.

Lead researcher Prof Stuart Schreiber hopes the findings will lead to the discovery of better antimalarials in coming years.

Obesity link to cancer 'not well known by public'

Three-quarters of people are unaware being overweight increases the risk of developing 10 different types of cancer, Cancer Research UK has said.

It said the lack of understanding was "concerning" and criticised the government for its failed attempt to tackle childhood obesity.

Bowel, kidney, breast and womb cancer are most commonly linked to obesity.

Public Health England said it was working with the food industry to reduce sugar in its products.

There is evidence to show that carrying too much weight increases the risk of developing cancers, contributing to more than 18,000 cases of cancer each year in the UK.

Cancer Research UK said its online survey of more than 3,000 people across the UK indicated the message about the health risks of being overweight had not got through to the general public.

Fewer than one-third knew of the link between obesity and breast or womb cancer, and more than half did not know pancreatic cancer was linked to obesity.

Research suggests 40% of womb cancers are linked to obesity.

However, there was better awareness of the link with bowel cancer and kidney cancer.

What do you think? Would you work into your 80's? Should there be more done about malaria? Are you surprised about these obesity facts?

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