Dengue in Bangladesh

The IEDCR has records of the number of cases reported since 2014.

16,223 Reported cases in July 2019.

Dengue Reporting from Different Districts in 2019

Dengue has spread to all of Bangladesh’s country’s 64 districts, but Directorate of General Health Services (DGHS) records show more than 86 percent of cases in the country are concentrated in the capital.

Who has been infected?

Both men and women in the age range of 15 to 35 years old. More women than men are dengue patients. View this chart on Tableau.

How are these cases distributed across Dhaka?

There are a greater number of cases reported in Moghbazar, Rampura, Jatrabari , Malibag  than other areas in Dhaka city.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector of dengue. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. The dengue mosquito can breed in just a teaspoon of standing or stagnant water. The Aedes aegypti mosquito lives in urban habitats and breeds mostly in man-made containers. Common breeding areas are discarded tires, barrels, plastic drums and jerry cans. Unlike other mosquitoes Ae. aegypti is a day-time feeder; its peak biting periods are early in the morning and in the evening before dusk.

“Cities like Dhaka, where development is taking place in an unplanned manner, the grounds are ripe for mosquitoes to breed and procreate.”

Bangladeshi urban planner Dr Sarwar Jahan told Al Jazeera.

Cases reported earlier in the year, more recorded cases in 2009 than any year in the last 10 years

Reported cases of Dengue over the years. View chart on Tableau.

Dengue reporting related deaths over the years in Bangladesh. View chart on Tableau.

The incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades. (WHO, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue). This is the case for Bangladesh as well.

Usually, the first cases of dengue are reported in late May or June and go away by late August or early September. However, this year, the number of reported cases begin in January and drastically increased in 2019.

Who is the data source?

These data are sourced from the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research

The present Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) were established in 1976. The institute conducts research on epidemiological and communicable diseases and runs disease control programs mainly in the form of parasitic and entomological containment of vector-borne diseases through the application of epidemiological principles. For example, in recent years, they have conducted tuberculosis prevalence survey, a national serosurvey of dengue exposure in Bangladesh and estimated the incidence of maternal deaths from HEV in Bangladesh. Other activities include surveillance, outbreak investigation and training and workshops on related issues.

PDF versions of these reports are also available for download from this URL (https://www.iedcr.gov.bd/index.php/dengue/dengue-current-situation).

Foods that help increase platelet count

Platelets are the smallest of our blood cells, seen only under a microscope, circulate within our blood and bind together at the site of a damaged blood vessel. On receiving the signal from damaged sites, the platelets rush to the site, bind together and clamp the damaged vessel, thereby controlling the damage. You can call them, “On-site repairing engineers”. So, maintaining a normal count of these tiny blood cells is very important.

A normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood.

However, for certain conditions and diseases, such as dengue, something in the blood prevents the formation of platelets. This can be understood from a low platelet count from a routine blood test called a complete blood count (CBC). Once this happens, consulting a doctor and getting further tested is the first step. Once the patient is diagnosed with what is causing the low platelet count, there are certain foods that aid recovery:

Papayas

Papaya can be consumed in both solid and juice form and it helpe elevate platelet counts.

Lemon & Orange Juice

Eat other Vitamin C rich foods to promote antibodies. It is vital to boost immunity. Make a smoothie with a combination of these fruits, add in honey, turmeric, ginger which are advisable for regular consumption.

Amla

This fruit is good to add to the diet. It is another source of vitamins and readily available in summer seasons.

Pomegranate juice

This fruit is also packed with essential nutrients and counters the fatigue that comes with a low platelet count.

Leafy vegetables

Vegetables like spinach are rich in vitamins, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help in boosting the immune system and a better immune system helps recover faster. However, the vegetables should not be consumed in an oily or spicy manner. Preferred method of preparations is to boil it sufficiently, absolutely avoiding any raw vegetables.

This is a recommended diet to aid recovery, it is not meant as an alternative to medicine and formal healthcare. Do not self diagnose.

Low platelet count is a common symptom of a strain of dengue.

To read how to prevent dengue in the first place: https://m.hifipublic.com/en/2019/07/26/preventing-dengue-steps-that-you-must-take/

10 quick healthy heart tips

A healthy lifestyle will make your heart healthier. Aside from keeping the most vital organ in your body happy, doing what you can to keep your heart going strong has a multitude of health benefits. Here are 10 quick and easy things you can do to improve yours.

Get active

Do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. One way to achieve this target is by doing 30 minutes of activity on five days a week. Fit it in where you can, such as by walking to work.

Give up smoking

Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker. Read Maya Apa’s article on giving up smoking, stop smoking, start shopping!

Manage your weight

Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a well-balanced diet low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables, combined with plenty of physical activity. Use our to find out whether you have a healthy weight or need to get rid of some.

Ditch the salt

To maintain a healthy blood pressure, stop using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking, or cut it out completely. You’ll soon get used to it. Also watch out for high salt levels in processed foods. Check the food labels – a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g.

Get your 5 a day

Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Add dried fruit to breakfast cereal, and add vegetables to your pasta sauces and curries.

Eat oily fish

Eat oily fish twice a week. Fish such as catfish, hilsha, telapia are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which can help protect against heart disease.

Walk off stress

If you’re feeling under pressure, clear your mind with a walk. It will help put your ideas in order and reduce tension. If it’s a brisk walk, it will also count towards your daily activity.

Cut saturated fat

Small changes to your diet can have positive health benefits. Choose semi-skimmed over full-fat milk, leaner cuts of meat, and steam or grill foods rather than frying.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol can be fattening. If you added three or four gin and tonics to your usual daily diet, you could put on nearly 2 kg over four weeks.

Read the food label

When shopping, look at the food label on food packets to see what the product contains. Understanding what is in food will help you make healthier choices.

Why you should definitely consider doing yoga

To a lot of people, yoga is some far-fetched concept that young, pretty and skinny women always seem to be doing on TV, and it somehow makes all of them as flexible as Mrs. Incredible. They pose on perfectly green grass with their torsos bent at extreme angles. Moreover, yoga seems to be something that is available only in the West, or at some exotic temple in some isolated part of India or Nepal where you have to hike up a mountain just to get there. I’m not sure how much of this conception of yoga is actually prevalent, but I for one did think this way for a long time, before I actually decided to try it myself.

If you’re someone like I was – someone who has never played a sport in their entire life, who finds the idea of exercising absolutely preposterous, who has always found anything that claims to “connect your body and soul” simply laughable – yoga probably sounds like the last thing you would think of trying. I used to think that yoga was just working out but cut up and presented in “fun-size packaging” as part of some fitness propaganda. But by some glitch in the universe, two years ago, I went out and bought a DVD on beginner’s yoga and I committed myself to doing it every single night before bed. It wasn’t easy – there were times I’d pause the video and ask myself if I really needed to do this – and I’m not the best at committing to a routine, so I almost gave up more times than I’m proud of. However, deciding to try yoga is probably one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. I got the hang of it after a few weeks, and every muscle in my body felt much more relaxed, I felt much better about myself (particularly because I had persevered thus far), but the best part? I swear, since I started doing yoga, I hadn’t slept that good since I came out of the womb.

While working out in general has many benefits of its own, yoga is quite different. It connects your mind to your body and, with time, can defeat lethargy and stress. Other benefits of yoga include improved metabolism, weight reduction, increased flexibility and muscle strength, and much more. Personally, yoga made me feel better about myself not only because of the reasons listed above, but also because every other night I did yoga I didn’t give up on my commitment.

So how can you get started on doing yoga in Dhaka?

Get a buddy

Everything is easier with a buddy. This way, if either of you feel like quitting, you can keep each other on track and keep at it together.

Plus, it’s always nice to have someone to whine to when you’re having trouble with anything, and having someone who can relate to the same things makes anything ten times easier.

Set aside a designated time for yoga every day

Yoga isn’t like classes or work that you have a time set aside for it already. You have to make time for it, in the midst of classes and work and assignments and hanging out with friends and the busy whirlwind of events that is your daily life.

Unless you enroll at a yoga course somewhere, in which case you will already have a set time for yoga in your day-to-day life, try to assign 20-30 minutes of your day to doing yoga. It can be the first thing you do before your morning coffee, so you can get a boost of energy for the rest of your day, or it can be the last thing you do before bed, so you stretch your muscles out from the day’s work and go to bed de-stressed. Whatever hour it is, make sure it properly fits your personal schedule.

Find places where you can learn yoga, choose a suitable course

I guarantee that nearly every gym in your area offers yoga classes, so start looking into them and sign yourself up. Yoga is not at all exclusive to any one body type or group of people, so make sure you invest in modifying it for your own body, and you can progress to advanced courses as you gain proficiency. If you live near Banani or Gulshan, we’ve got two amazing recommendations for you.

The first is Anika Rabbani, who has been teaching yoga for several years now. She teaches yin yoga, beginner yoga, and advanced yoga classes in Banani, and her classes are exclusive to women. While her yin classes are great for reducing stress and connecting people with their bodies, her beginner classes focus on techniques and flow. Her advanced beginner classes are in the form of a vinyasa flow with emphasis on strength and flexibility. Anika can be reached at www.yoganikabd.com/weekly-yoga-classes if you want to learn more and join her.

The second is Eza Chowdhury, who has been practicing yoga for 15 years now and, after 11 years in the financial industry, she quit her job at HSBC Canada last year to go on her first yoga training in Thailand. She travelled five cities, only to finally settle down at House 8, Road 50, Gulshan 2 at Amra Active Gym. She teaches Vinyasa Power Yoga, which is high intensity training combined with breathing exercises and meditation.

It connects your mind to your body and, with time, can defeat lethargy and stress. Other benefits of yoga include improved metabolism, weight reduction, increased flexibility and muscle strength, and much more.

Don’t hesitate to call them up and talk freely about what intensity of yoga you think you’re best suited for, and I’m sure they’ll have plenty of helpful insight to kickstart your journey.

Don’t give up

Not if you miss one day of class. Not if you miss an entire week of class. This is not a Snapchat streak, that if you miss one day you rewind back to zero. Don’t be so hard on yourself, because everyone has cheat days, intentional or otherwise. That is not to say that you should skip a week’s worth of yoga just because you can.In one form or another, self-care is persistent in all of our wish lists, whether it be through working on your New Year’s resolutions every year, or just simply going for a walk on the days that you’re down. Yoga is just another form of self-care. Between obligations and routines and gluing your eyes to your phone in whatever free time you get, take some time out to breathe a little, relax your muscles and mind a little. And what better way to do that than yoga?

Challenges of being a vegan in Bangladesh

One or another form of animal product is present in most of the popular foods in Bangladesh, be it biriyani, mishti, or doi fuchka, or the distinctly non-vegan or non-vegetarian menu at desi weddings. Just the thought of giving up any one of these for life seems unbearable to most Bengalis. Vegetarianism itself is a difficult feat to follow through here, considering the kinds of food items usually available at dawats and restaurants. For vegans living in Bangladesh, this journey is packed with ten times as many hindrances, but – as many a  successful vegan will tell – with sufficient perseverance, achievement is not only possible, but sweeter. Biplab Das is one such Bangladeshi vegan.

Image : Gemma Correll

While vegetarianism – where one can consume dairy products and eggs in their diet while avoiding meat – is more of a diet, veganism is its own lifestyle.

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from consuming all sorts of animal products, particularly in diet, and is associated with the philosophy of abnegation of any kind of harm to animals.

For Biplab, a follower of the Vedic philosophy, just the knowledge of the requirement of veganism in this philosophy was insufficient in strengthening his efforts to convert to veganism for four years. Biplab had considered going vegan several times since 2012, but what finally helped him stick to it was the renewed revelation of the core idea of the Vedic philosophy – to never cause violence to any animal. With the realization of the true essence of this ideology, helped achieved by a friend, turning to the vegan lifestyle was a simple choice for him, and he has been following it for two years now.

Image : kondratya

Like the adaptation of any other major life-altering philosophy, the beginning was awkward – not because of the diet itself, but the idea behind it. While family members resisted a little at the beginning, and the cultural practice of over-hospitality at dawats even hurt a few hosts when he refused to “try just a little bit of this non-vegan dish, it won’t count!”, those family members are now Biplab’s strongest supporters, and the same dawat hosts are now so understanding they even prepare special meals for him.

While vegetarianism – where one can consume dairy products and eggs in their diet while avoiding meat – is more of a diet, veganism is its own lifestyle.

The awkwardness of having to customize orders at every restaurant still lingers, and decent ready-made vegan meals are still unavailable at a lot of places, but having friends of the same lifestyle and learning to adapt has helped Biplab in seeing through this. With the help of a nutritionist, he started by creating a diet chart to ensure that his nutritional needs are still met. It’s an ongoing hassle to pick out the right items and go through every ingredient list to make sure it’s vegan – finding a suitable salad dressing took a whole year! With places like Unimart, Gourmet Bazaar, and even the food places near Hindu temples, it has become easier for Biplab to maintain his diet.

Photo : Nataliya Arzamasova / Shutterstock

Practicing veganism – or any kind of diet – purely for reasons of personal health can prove to be difficult – after all, who hasn’t retorted to just a small plateful of kachchi the day after vowing to go on a diet?

The real trick to sticking to this lifestyle is the acknowledgement, appreciation, and embracing of the core idea behind this lifestyle – that is, the abstinence from harming any animals.

Once the philanthropic element behind the philosophy is ingrained into one’s decision, nothing can sway them from the vegan lifestyle. Whether it is to convert to the vegan lifestyle or not, there are some beautiful lessons to be taken away from Biplab and other vegans living in the very meat-obsessed culture as is in Bangladesh – lessons of perseverance, strength, and core values. Theirs are the stories that teach us that the incredibility of spirit needed to achieve anything is always matched with an equally incredible feeling of accomplishment. As Biplab himself would tell, the only regret is not having started earlier. Be it veganism or anything else, to feel that way about any aspect of one’s life is truly the essence of fulfillment in life.