On Thursday 7th November there were some unusual activities at the new-look Afra Mall. World Heart Day was being observed by Doctors who volunteered to offer a free health check up. Shoppers got their BP measured, their height, weight and random blood sugar measured and smokers got their breath-gas evaluated and received counselling. These received positive response and was extended till 9th November. On the 7th evening the venue was the Green Yard where more than hundred people walked as a pledge to keep their heart healthy. World Heart Day in Khartoum has been an initiative by Cardiac Surgeon Dr.Ahmed Elsayeed for the last several years.
The Indian community of Omdurman celebrated their New Years evening on 4th November at the Indian club in Omdurman. Young brothers and sisters of the community danced to their favourite Hindi film songs with enthusiasm and energy. To greet them on this auspicious day was the Vice Governor of Omdurman Yassein Ahmed Mohamed and the Chief of Omdurman Police Yassir Al Kitiyabi. Charge d’Affairs of the Indian Embassy Subhash P Gupta wished the Gujarati community a Very Happy Diwali and New Year. Dr.Anil Kumar Mithani President of the Indian Community welcomed and congratulated the community members. Vice Governor Yassein made an interesting observation that both the Hijri New Year and Gujarati New Year coincided at the same time. This was only the tip of the ice berg of the similarities of culture between India and Sudan.
Milkha Singh and Paan Singh Tomar. Both were Athletes in the Indian Army and donned the Indian colours at International meets including the Olympics.Both broke records and brought glory to the nation. The former in 400 metres and the latter in Steeplechase. While Milkha Singh remains a well sung hero, Paan Singh Tomar an unsung hero. Situation compelled him to be a rebel after leaving the army and died in a police encounter. Thanks to the film ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, the actor Irfan Khan won the best actor award in the title role and we learnt about many unsung heroes in the field of sports…
Khartoum has always been very safe and secured. People have said that Khartoum is the safest capital city in the Arab and the African world. I have every reason to believe this. However certain stray incidents let us down and we feel frustrated. During the recent protests against petrol price hike some non protesters took the opportunity and destroyed certain property in the streets. My friend happened to be a victim of such a situation. It is very common in Khartoum to park our cars at night outside the house in the streets. When my friend got up in the morning he found his car as in the picture.I think the spare parts must have been recycled in the city. We need to think twice before parking our cars at night in the streets.
Our journey started together eleven years ago in Khartoum. I have been associated with Sudan Vision ever since, both as a reader and as a freelance contributor.
Sudan Vision has always given space to the Indian community in Sudan.
This also reflects the space that Sudanese people have for Indians in their minds and heart. The emotions are reciprocal.
Historians have traced indications of direct contact between India and the Kingdom of Kush – Napata and Meroe (750 BC to 300 AD). Today there are about 2000 persons in the Indian community spread all over Sudan. The first Indian trader from this community arrived in Suakin in 1856. The first Sudanese Parliamentary elections in 1953 were conducted by Sukumar Sen, India’s Chief Election Commissioner (the Sudanese Election Commission, formed in 1957, drew heavily on Indian election literature and laws).
In April 1955 there was a Sudanese delegation at Bandung (Indonesia) to attend the Conference of Africa and Asia. Since Sudan was still not independent and did not have a national flag yet, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote out Sudan on his white handkerchief and created a flag for Sudan.
My Sudanese friends keep telling me that India has made its mark as a major player in global economy, as a nuclear power nation with technological advancements in the IT software and pharmaceutical sectors. Hindi films are very popular and have made its presence felt in the salons of almost every household. Above all, the most respected Indian personality in Sudan is Mahatma Gandhi.
When it comes to leadership studies the only Indian name that stands out internationally is Mahatma Gandhi. In a recent global survey of CEOs, Mahatma Gandhi figures among the top three most admired leaders in the world. There has been enormous research and studies done on the Leadership style of the ‘Great Soul’ and books written on him as CEO. He is considered a supremely practical leader for change.
Mahatma Gandhi is named the Father of the Nation because he stimulated and enabled the re-birth of India. This he could achieve by mastering the elements of leadership and institutional management.
Researchers hold Mahatma Gandhi as the Indian model of ‘Servant Leadership’ in relation to his qualities of service, self-sacrificial love, spirituality, integrity, simplicity, emphasizing follower needs and modeling.
Some studies show that Gandhiji had ‘Situational Leadership’ style. This means he had adjusted his style to fit the development level of the followers he influenced. When Gandhiji was in South Africa, he launched his protests in a suit and a tie. When he came back to India, he thought of home-made Khadi and launched non-violent protests on a greater scale.
As Indians abroad, foreigners identify us as people from the land of Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi has inspired many International leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi , Philippine leader Benigno Aquino Jr., Dalai Lama, Lech Wałęsa and Stephen Biko. Former US Vice- President and environmentalist Al Gore has acknowledged Gandhiji’s influence on him. Beatle John Lennon had said that Mahatma Gandhi influenced his music with his practice of non-violence.
It is interesting that the President of the most powerful nation Barack Obama is inspired by our Father of the Nation. He said, “Throughout my life, I have always looked to Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration, because he embodies the kind of transformational change that can be made when ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things”.
Albert Einstein wrote Gandhi is a role model for the generations to come.
Mahatma Gandhi had stopped over in Port Sudan in 1935 on his way to England. If Gandhi was still alive and had landed in Khartoum, his message would have been “I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life”.
“There are 1.7 million diabetic patients in Sudan” said Prof.Mohamed Ali Eltom, “and the number is increasing because of the social life. Consumption of excessive sugar, starch, oil and no exercise is the cause. We need to work on both prevention and care at the primary level”.
Diabetes Care Organization (DCO) was formed three years ago under the Chairmanship of Prof. Mohamed Ali Eltom. DCO is a non-profit organization comprising health professionals, businessmen, social activists spread across 12 states in Sudan who work with Diabetics, provide them with medications, advocacy, tell them about patient rights and carry out awareness campaigns on diabetes. They had a campaign last Thursday in a village called Kabashi in Khartoum North.
Under the leadership of former Ambassador Dr.Mohamed Ali Eltom, DCO has initiated a one year post graduate diploma course for ‘Diabetes Educators’. This is in collaboration with the University of Ahfad and the Federal Ministry of Health. This course will be provided for 100 healthcare professionals. The course will consist of a three-month intensive training at the University of Ahfad that includes lectures, workshops, student presentations, and clinical work. The curriculum of the course is based on the “International Curriculum for Diabetes Health Professional Education” designed by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Upon successful completion and examination of the postgraduate course, students will be granted a diploma in diabetes education. The course has been approved by the scientific board of the University of Ahfad, and accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education.
Following the course, diabetes educators will complete a nine month internship at Diabetes Mini Clinics, and sign contracts to work at the DMC for three years after completing the training program. In addition, the diabetes educators will be the focal point of the Diabetes Association and act as diabetes coordinators for the district health authority. The DMCs will be integrated into the existing health care system. The key feature of the DMCs will be self-management and care training delivered by well-informed diabetes educators and medical practitioners. Each DMC will dedicate at least one day per year for community diabetes screening and awareness.
Prof.Mohamed Al Eltom said that the Diabetes Centre in Dongula is the best so far with mobile clinic, awareness programmes and patient monitoring. DCO provides only technical support but no financial assistance.
We are all aware that recent rains and floods have affected thousands of people in Khartoum and other areas. Some of the people have lost their lives and the rest have lost their homes and property. As an aftermath of this crisis the major problem that arises in the affected people are diseases like malaria, gastrointestinal infections and other infections. As a social responsibility to help the affected people, Fast International Company a leading importer of medicines from India, Jordan, Cyprus, Austria, Switzerland and Egypt donated life saving medicines and other medications to the Khartoum State Ministry of Health on 2nd September’13. Dr.Mamoun Homeida thanked Dr.Tarig Mohy Eldin Algemiabi the Chairman & CEO of the company. The value of the medicines donated was SDG 400 million. Dr.Tarig was happy to extend this help because the State Ministry he said knows where and who are the needy people for these medications.
Khartoum Medicines Information Centre (KhMIC)
According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy in USA, there are as many as 7000 deaths annually from incorrect prescriptions. These Medication Errors can occur in hospitals or pharmacies and the error may be made by any of the staff involved with choosing or dispensing medication.
Medication Errors may be of the following types:
Inappropriate medications: the wrong medication given for a disease.
Wrong medication: the patient gets the wrong medication despite the doctor prescribing the correct one.
Drug name mix-ups: several medications have similar-sounding names and can be mixed up by doctors or pharmacists.
Wrong medication combinations: there are numerous types of medications that should not be mixed, because of side-effects and cross-reactions when combined.
Adverse reactions to medications: some people have allergic or other adverse reactions to certain medications. These are risks and not necessarily avoidable mistakes if the person has no previous history of a particular adverse reaction.
Side Effects of medication: Almost all medications have some types of side effects. Some are mild and some not so mild. It is almost impossible to know whether a person will have side effects from a medication.
Non-compliance: the failure to follow your medication regimen can be a mistake made usually by the patient.
A survey in the city of Khartoum revealed that the drug mix-ups due to similar sounding drugs may occur between Podoxime and Poxidium; Diaxine and Digoxin; Methycobal and Methyldopa; Yesolon and Yesytion. Each one of these names is a different medicine prescribed for different diseases. The mix- ups happen more when the prescriber’s handwriting is not very clear.
Sometimes a Doctor prescribes Chloramphenicol Eye Drops but by mistake Chloramphenicol Ear Drops is dispensed to the patient due to unclear handwriting of the words Eye and Ear.
Sometimes mistakes are made because the packaging is very similar of different medications. The bottles of Yexoral and Yamidine look similar and when Pharmacists are very busy at the counter such mistakes may occur. The former is a mouth wash and the latter an antiseptic solution.
As a consumer you can avoid these errors by going back to the Physician with the medication dispensed to you for verification.
The best way to minimize Medication Errors is by continuous training and development of Community Pharmacists and by providing Medical Information Services to Pharmacists.
Community Pharmacists are recognized as the expert on medicines , the most accessible healthcare professional, often the first point of contact for patients with health enquiries and for some the only contact. There are Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which assure quality and consistency of the service. This enables the Pharmacist to follow good dispensing procedures which comprises checking the prescription that it is clinically correct for the patient, checking drug interactions, labeling, re-checking accuracy against prescription and delivery to the patient with the appropriate advice about the medication.
Khartoum Medicines Information Centre (KhMIC) was established by the General Directorate of Pharmacy –Khartoum State in the year 2000, aiming at developing the pharmaceutical services provided to citizens and medical care professionals. KhMIC provides many services including responding to all questions and queries related to medicines and received from customers using the latest methods.
For the first time in Sudan, an electronic Patient Medication Record (ePMRx) and Labeling System has been installed at Khartoum Centre for Pharmaceutical Care Practice (KCPCP).
Dr.Abdelrahman Hamid Ahmed B.Pharm, M.Sc, PhD, MAPS of the University of Bath, U.K. keeps visiting Khartoum from time to time to conduct workshops under the Ministry of Health for Pharmacists. He has introduced MiDatabank, a Windows software application that enables Medical Information Pharmacists to answer, record, store and analyse Medical Information Enquiries, Complaints and Adverse Drug Reactions. Dr. Abdelrahman Hamid Ahmed has made it his mission to upgrade the professionalism of Community Pharmacists in Sudan and introduce the concept of Medical Information Pharmacists.
Dr. Abdelrahman Hamid Ahmed