Jan 15, 2017

How the DOT Will Make Planes More Accessible for People With Disabilities



Getty
Airlines will likely be required to expand their lavatory size to be more accessible for passengers in wheelchairs over the next three years. 
A long-standing argument over bathroom size and entertainment options finally found resolution. 


We all know airplanes aren’t the best places to stretch or move around with ease. For passengers who use wheelchairs, though, it can be a nightmare. More and more stories have come out recently about the unfair and uncomfortable setup on planes for those with special and medical accessibility needs, and the U.S. Department of Transportation just announced they’re finally doing something about it.
From 
While airlines have complied with the regulations set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, previously unconsidered issues like inadequate bathroom size have been brought to light thanks to social media. Now, the DOT’s ACCESS Advisory Committee—which includes airline representatives, flight attendants, and people with disabilities—revealed they plan to make bathrooms on single-aisle aircrafts (a.k.a. six-abreast seating in a cabin below 13 feet of width), which account for most domestic and short-haul international flights, more accessible for those in wheelchairs or who need extra assistance on board. 
“The agreement reached by the ACCESS Advisory Committee is an important step towards ensuring that air travelers with disabilities have equal access to air transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a release. “It is unfair to expect individuals with limited mobility to refrain from using the restroom when they fly on single aisle aircraft, particularly since single aisle aircraft are increasingly used for longer flights.” 
While the committee understands that the current size of the lavatory would not change immediately, they do want to require airlines to “take a number of steps to improve the accessibility of these lavatories short of increasing their size three years after the effective date of the final rule.” Along with better bathroom accessibility, they also want better “maneuverability standards for the aircraft’s on-board wheelchair.” In the future, they want all single-aisle aircrafts with more than 125 passengers to be required to have the more accessible, larger bathroom currently found on twin-aisle aircraft. It was not specified whether or not new planes would have to be built or if current ones would have to be reconstructed and who would take on that cost.
And that’s not the only issue the committee is proposing to tackle. They also want to require airlines to offer entertainment options for people who are blind, deaf, or hard of hearing, as most airlines generally do not provide in-flight entertainment with audio description or closed captioning. “It is also unfair for passengers who are deaf or blind not to be able to enjoy the same entertainment that is available to other passengers,” the committee added in the release. It's unclear how this would effect in-flight announcements, but current standards state that flight attendants can ask disabled passengers if they need to be notified separately if something is said over the public address speaker.This is a big win for the ACCESS Advisory Committee, as the decision was reached after seven months of negotiations. The committee is preparing to issue a notice of proposed rule-making based on this agreement in July 2017. But, one issue is still outstanding: reaching an agreement on on-board service animals

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

6 key numbers in the fight to end polio




We are close to eradicating a human disease for only the second time in history. A global public-private partnership has reduced the poliovirus caseload by 99.9% over the last 30 years, but there’s still plenty of work to do. 
Even before we reach that milestone, the knowledge and infrastructure built to fight polio is being repurposed to take on other global challenges. 
3 countries where polio is still endemic 
Fewer than 40 children were paralysed by polio in 2016, the lowest number in history. This is a dramatic decrease from the estimated 350,000 cases per year in 125 countries that the world saw in 1985 - the year that Rotary International initiated a worldwide effort to eradicate this terrible disease. 
In 1988, Rotary was joined in the effort by WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF (and more recently the Gates Foundation) to create the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). 
Today the virus is limited to a few areas in just three countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Image: Rotary International
In response, Nigeria intensified surveillance activities to pinpoint where the virus is circulating.
In Pakistan, innovative tactics are being used to focus polio immunization drives. Health workers are trained in the use of cellphone data reporting, which allows real-time recording of immunization coverage and public health surveys of populations. 
In Afghanistan, the program continues to adapt in order to reach the maximum number of children possible despite a volatile security situation.
155: the number of countries involved in largest coordinated vaccine switch in history
There are three different strains of the poliovirus. Once a strain is eliminated (type 2 was officially eradicated in September 2015), we have to match our vaccines to the remaining strains to protect children globally. 
This transition is a massive undertaking, requiring significant funding and coordination to accomplish global health feats that have never been attempted.
To give you a sense of scale, the largest and fastest globally coordinated vaccine switch in history (to target poliovirus types 1 and 3) was successfully conducted over two weeks in April 2016, with 155 countries taking part.
Image: Rotary International
$60 billion: the cost of infectious disease epidemics per year
The spread of infectious diseases is consistently among the world’s top 10 risks in terms of impact. The eradication of polio will mean no child will ever be paralyzed by this debilitating disease again. However, we must use the knowledge and infrastructure built up over many years by the GPEI to take on other global health threats.
Dramatic progress on improving children’s health beyond polio is already underway – resulting in a decreasing number of children dying from other preventable diseases in countries with strong polio infrastructure. Polio drops are now often delivered alongside essential services including nutrition support, primary health care and other vaccines.
Image: Rotary International
By identifying the overlap between what the polio programme has to offer and country-level priorities for strengthening health systems, we can make a lasting difference to global health overall, and significantly reduce the gap in the impact of infectious diseases between middle income and poorer countries.
20 million: the number of volunteers participating
Since the GPEI was launched in 1988, Rotary and other volunteers have raised funds, built awareness, and advocated for their national governments to support polio eradication.
Image: Rotary International
A volunteer can administer the two drops of oral polio vaccine to a child, and participate in National Immunization Days, which attempt to vaccinate every child under five years of age in endemic or at-risk countries. Millions of health workers are also helping us reach children who have never before been vaccinated.
$1.5 billion: the amount needed to eradicate polio
This may sound expensive, but, in the words of Dr. Jonas Salk, who invented the first effective polio vaccine, “which is more important, the human value of the dollar, or the dollar value of the human?”
Funding has already contributed to many important successes of our programme. In 2016, Rotary funded the work of 52,676 vaccinators and 2528 supervisors in Iraq to keep up strong immunization coverage. Investments made to polio eradication are also contributing to future health goals by documenting the knowledge, lessons learned and assets of the programme.
Image: Rotary International
Funds also make possible the programme’s extensive surveillance and laboratory network to tell us where polio does (and does not) exist – a painstaking task given only one in 200 cases of polio results in paralysis. This network is already instrumental for taking on public health challenges beyond polio, such as Ebola.
While we undoubtedly still have work to do and funds to raise, we are confident in the good work of our volunteers and members to get us to our goal of eradication. Read and be inspired by their stories and successes here – a world free from polio is certainly within our reach.
4: the factor by which health savings exceed the cost of polio eradication
Immunization as a public health investment is incredibly good value. Every dollar spent on vaccinations in the US saves $3 in direct healthcare costs and $10 societally. A polio-free world will reap financial savings and reduce healthcare costs by up to $50 billion through 2035. In fact, we’ve already saved $27 billion since the GPEI was launched, and low-income countries account for 85% of the savings, not to mention the immeasurable alleviation of human suffering.
Image: Rotary International
Conversely, if we allow polio to spread again, it would cost upwards of $35 billionmore in treatment expenses and economic losses, so it’s a no-brainer that we have to commit all our resources to finish the job once and for all.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

Jan 11, 2017

How to Spot and Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis



When the Clot Thickens

Illustration of the veins in the lower leg and a close-up of a blood clot lodged in a vein.
Lots of things can cause pain and swelling in your leg. But if your symptoms stem from a blood clot deep in your leg, it can be dangerous. Blood clots can happen to anyone, anytime. But some people are at increased risk. Taking steps to reduce your chances of a blood clot forming in your veins can help you avoid potentially serious problems.
Blood clots can arise anywhere in your body. They develop when blood thickens and clumps together. When a clot forms in a vein deep in the body, it’s called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein blood clots typically occur in the lower leg or thigh. 
“Deep vein thrombosis has classic symptoms—for example swelling, pain, warmth, and redness on the leg,” says Dr. Andrei Kindzelski, an NIH blood disease expert. “But about 30–40% of cases go unnoticed, since they don’t have typical symptoms.” In fact, some people don’t realize they have a deep vein clot until it causes a more serious condition. 
Deep vein clots—especially those in the thigh—can break off and travel through the bloodstream. If a clot lodges in an artery in the lungs, it can block blood flow and lead to a sometimes-deadly condition called pulmonary embolism. This disorder can damage the lungs and reduce blood oxygen levels, which can harm other organs as well. 
Some people are more at risk for deep vein thrombosis than others. “Usually people who develop deep vein thrombosis have some level of thrombophilia, which means their blood clots more rapidly or easily,” Kindzelski says. Getting a blood clot is usually the first sign of this condition because it’s hard to notice otherwise. In these cases, lifestyle can contribute to a blood clot forming—if you don’t move enough, for example. Your risk is higher if you’ve recently had surgery or broken a bone, if you’re ill and in bed for a long time, or if you’re traveling for a long time (such as during long car or airplane rides). 
Having other diseases or conditions can also raise your chances of a blood clot. These include a stroke, paralysis (an inability to move), chronic heart disease, high blood pressure, surgical procedure, or having been recently treated for cancer. Women who take hormone therapy pills or birth control pills, are pregnant, or within the first 6 weeks after giving birth are also at higher risk. So are those who smoke or who are older than 60. But deep vein thrombosis can happen at any age.
You can take simple steps to lower your chances for a blood clot. Exercise your lower leg muscles if you’re sitting for a long time while traveling. Get out of bed and move around as soon as you’re able after having surgery or being ill. The more active you are, the better your chance of avoiding a blood clot. Take any medicines your doctor prescribes to prevent clots after some types of surgery. 
A prompt diagnosis and proper treatment can help prevent the complications of blood clots. See your doctor immediately if you have any signs or symptoms of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (see the Wise Choices box). A physical exam and other tests can help doctors determine whether you’ve got a blood clot. 
There are many ways to treat deep vein thrombosis. Therapies aim to stop the blood clot from getting bigger, prevent the clot from breaking off and moving to your lungs, or reduce your chance of having another blood clot. NIH scientists continue to research new medicines and better treatment options.
If you think you may be at risk for deep vein thrombosis, talk with your doctor.  

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

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