Sunday, March 16, 2008

Health Week hits MAHE

" When a person thinks of health, green is the colour that easily comes to the mind and so we chose this to be our symbol" - Shaahima Fahim - 3rd year student of Biotechnology.

Day 1

Early morning, as students of MAHE-Manipal walked in to the campus they were welcomed with green ribbons to wear to lend their support for the Health Awareness Week being celebrated by the Department of Biotechnology. The first of the four day programme saw special emphasis on the campaign, "Smoking - Don't give up... giving up". The campaign focused on targeting the smokers (students as well as faculty) and informing them of the various negative side effects and implications that can arise due to smoking.

"87% of lung cancer patients are smokers."

This was a fact that was mentioned in the leaflets that were being handed out to students throughout the day. The leaflets were mainly meant for smokers, urging them to undergo a smoker's test to screen an individual for the possibility of having lung cancer. People interested in undergoing the Smoker's Test can contact the company - Eastern Biotech & Life Sciences by checking their website: or by calling them on 04-3692061.

Volunteers handing out fruits on Day 1

In order to promote a healthier diet, students were given apples and oranges which were sponsored by Safeer & Co.

Day 2

The enthusiasm for being healthy could still be felt in the air, with the 2nd day focussing on the down side of alchohol and enerygy drinks. According to studies done, an increased intake of energy drinks can affect the liver due to the presence of Taurine. Volunteers from the department handed out flavoured youghurt and milk, to try and promote these products as substitute energy deriving drinks.

Day 3

This day focused on Junk Food which has been highlighted as the main cause of obesity by many dietitians. To combat the persuausive power of junk food, volunteers handed out nutrition bars which were highly popular. 'Super Size Me', a highly effective documentary on the consequences of eating junk food was shown at the auditorium.

"The main difference between energy bars and energy drinks is that energy bars do not contain Taurine which is a major constituent bile and that's what makes energy drinks so unhealthy," says Ruchika, a Biotech volunteer.

Day 4

Veneral diseases was the subject chosen for the 4th day. While most youth might shy away from sucha topic, the department decided to tackle the problem head-on. The charts that were put up on the 1st floor were more than just informative and actually shed light on a topic that is often considered taboo in many families.

The department also organised for HIV and Hepatitis B testing so that students could know whether they had already contracted the sexually transmitted diseases (STD's).

Overall the campaign was successful, to an extent in informing the youth of MAHE, but more of an effort could have been done to make the campaign more interactive. However a noteworthy mention goes out to the creators of all the educational and informative charts that were put up on the 1st floor. A more intense campaign might actually have been more effective in driving the point home.

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