The Health News – 1 May 2017

Overview:

• Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Jemma Falkenmire said their new campaign includes informing people who are irregular blood donors thru text where their donation went.

 A team of volunteer doctors from the United States and the United Kingdom spent the last few days on a volunteer medical mission in the camps of Lebanon with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Dr Naveed Iqbal, 38, is on his 10th volunteer medical mission with Syrian refugees, but the Manchester GP told the ABC the conditions he saw in refugee camps in Lebanon this week were the worst he had ever seen.

• Television broadcasters are under pressure to expand services that allow the blind to watch television. the commercial TV industry in Australia says a range of technical and cost issues affect the viability of the service here but campaigners argue more than 350,000 blind and vision-impaired Australians were missing out. Bruce Maguire, Vision Australia’s lead policy adviser who was born blind, said without access to television programs, people were denied the opportunity to participate in the recreational activity.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  1st of May 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-30/blood-texts-encourage-donors-to-give-again-red-cross-brisbane/8482366

People who are irregular blood donors are now being told by text where their donation went as part of a new national campaign for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

Just 3 per cent of Australians give blood, but 25,000 donations are needed each week.

People who roll up their sleeves to donate whole blood or platelets are now sent a text message, telling them which hospital their blood was used at.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Jemma Falkenmire said when the campaign was trialled in New South Wales last year, donation frequency doubled.

“We were overwhelmed — we received more than 10,000 positive responses from our donors almost as soon as we implemented it, which is what motivated us to roll it out nationally,” she said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-29/syrians-in-lebanon-desperate-for-healthcare-ngo-medical-mission/8482114

Syrian refugees make up 25 per cent of Lebanon’s population, but many live in poverty, unable to legally work and without the funds to pay for any healthcare.

A team of volunteer doctors from the United States and the United Kingdom spent the last few days on a volunteer medical mission in the camps of Lebanon with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

Dr Naveed Iqbal, 38, is on his 10th volunteer medical mission with Syrian refugees, but the Manchester GP told the ABC the conditions he saw in refugee camps in Lebanon this week were the worst he had ever seen.

“I saw a gentleman who was injured because of a bomb. And he is supposed to be wearing a colostomy bag to collect the faeces. And he can’t afford those bags.

“So basically he’s got a big hole in his stomach where he has to just let the faeces just drop out. And he’s in tears because he just has no dignity.”

Dr Iqbal treated 350 Syrian refugees in just four days in camps in the Bekaa Valley and Tripoli as part of a volunteer medical mission run by SAMS.

The patients’ cases were so heartbreaking that Dr Iqbal, his nurse and translator found themselves struggling to stay composed.

Chicago Oncologist Dr Muffadal Hamadeh, 57, was the lead doctor in charge of this week’s SAMS mission.

He said the NGO treated 120,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon last year and has managed to raise enough funds to allocate more than $US2.5 million this year for treatment programs in the country — but it is nowhere near enough.

“The task is tremendous and the need is unbelievable,” Dr Hamadeh said wearily.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-28/how-do-you-watch-television-when-youre-blind/8480576

Television broadcasters are under pressure to expand services that allow the blind to watch television.

Audio description, a separate audio track that describes the on-screen action in between the dialogue for blind television consumers, has been available in the United States for decades and now also on televisions in the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

But the commercial TV industry in Australia says a range of technical and cost issues affect the viability of the service here but campaigners argue more than 350,000 blind and vision-impaired Australians were missing out.

Bruce Maguire, Vision Australia’s lead policy adviser who was born blind, said without access to television programs, people were denied the opportunity to participate in the recreational activity.

Mr Maguire warned that Australian television programs were becoming increasingly visual, and by not introducing audio description, broadcasters were putting economics above human rights.

The ABC has run two trials of audio description in the past five years, the most recent on iview.

The ABC’s final report on its audio description trial on iview said it would have to work with providers to improve the quality of the scripts.

The report also said that any move to introduce audio descriptive services would have “budgetary implications for broadcasters in a constrained financial environment”.

Australia’s disability discrimination commissioner Alastair McEwin is deaf and said he felt relatively well serviced when compared to blind people.

In a submission to a Senate committee the Australian Human Rights Commission called for legislative changes forcing audio description on no less than 10 per cent of all television content.

The Government was set to receive the findings of the Audio Description Working Group by the end of the year.

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