Laughter Is Still the Best Medicine: ANPA 2013 Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina

Getting Nigerian physicians to attend any function is like drilling a hole through a tooth. However, they came in droves for the 2013 ANPA convention held between June 27 and June 30th in Charlotte, North Carolina.

People flew in from Canada, England and Nigeria. My family and I came in from the state of Connecticut.

Among the dignitaries in Attendance were the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Lamido Sanusi and Mr. Hakeem Belo-Osagie the chairman of Etisalat, Nigeria.

ANPA stands for: Association of Nigerian Physicians in America. Its primary goal is to look for ways to prop up the frail Nigerian health care system. Its main vision is to sling shot enough cement to cover up gaping holes in the Nigerian health care delivery pipeline. Members help by contributing their skills or by donating medical materials to health facilities back home.

The convention enlisted panoply of star-studded intellectuals who delivered cutting edge talks in their fields of specialization. Taking history into account, they examined many factors contributing to the Nigerian health crisis. At the end, they wrote their prescriptions and offered some helpful advice.

Lessons learned from the convention include:

1. One out of every six child in the world who is not in school is Nigerian.

2. 70% of Nigerian revenue is used to pay salaries of civil servants and politicians.

3. Indian medical adventurers have taken the advantage of the deplorable state of medical practice in Nigeria. They set up all Indian staffed medical suites wherever there is a thick population; making an enormous financial windfall.

Simmering underneath the echoes of the lectures was a philosophical debate between ANPA members in the US, and their guests from Nigeria.

While ANPA members whined about the slow pace of change in the medical structure of their beloved country, their Nigerian guests would chastise them to leave their comfort zone abroad; to come back home and spearhead the change they wish for. Then, a stalemate ensues and the argument comes back from a different route.

The question, which none of the attendants could answer to my satisfaction, is how ANPA intends to continuously support a health care system that has no legs to stand on? ANPA therefore has their work cut out for them.

There is something unsustainable about giving without expectation. Communities that receive from ANPA ought to step up with their own medical responsibility. A matching model of 'help' where communities can meet ANPA half of the way or even a fourth of the way, is necessary.

The picnic held on Saturday- day three- gave attendees the much-needed escape route from the burden of listening to all that was wrong with Nigeria. People trooped to the field. I played soccer with my middle-aged peers and crushed them.

A comedian was at hand on the last day of the convention. He was funny and easily got belly laughs out of most people. I looked at my neighbor, he was sobbing with laughter. All the grooves from his stress had melted away. Truly, laughter is the best medicine

    I have a lot of respect and admiration for the women and men who pulled off the 2013 event.
    Going forward, the association must learn how to demand something in return from its beneficiaries.

The Importance of Medical Scales and Measuring Devices in Healthcare

Having accurate medical scales and measures is essential in healthcare, be it a newborn baby being weighed to track growth and development, a patient weighed for anaesthetic dose purposes, or a bed ridden patient in need of medication. Medical scales and measuring devices are available to suit these differing needs, and are constantly evolving to offer more accurate and easier ways of measuring weight and height. Further to this, using new technology means that the information gained from these measuring devices can now be analysed as part of the process.

A medical professional must know the exact weight of the patient in order to be able to administer the correct dose for medicines, or anaesthetics. Patients have different needs in terms of the size of the dose and the frequency they have to take the treatment to recover. Therefore it is vital that hospitals and medical centres have the best, up-to-date, perfectly working and properly calibrated medical scales. The administering of the wrong amount of dosage given to an adult or a child could have very serious consequences.

Another example of the importance of accurate scales is the use of baby weighing scales. The tracking of a baby's weight by midwives and health visitors is an essential part of their healthcare, giving vital information on their growth and development and feeding needs as a consequence of this.

A variety of medical scales and measuring devices are available to cover this range of uses. These include baby weighing scales, floor scales, wheelchair and bed scales for patients with limited or no mobility and height measures.

New technology has greatly added to the medical scales and measuring devices area of the medical products industry. Medical scales and measuring devices are now available with lifting assistance, power failure back up and programmes to store and analyse previously taken weights.

An example of this is the product system Seca 360° wireless. Seca 360° wireless is a wireless network for measuring weight and height. Blue tooth connected height and weight measures are used to collect measurements. The data is then transferred to a PC via a wireless connection. Once this has been done, Seca analytical software then handles the interpretation and graphic presentation of weight, height and the other parameters related to the patient's health. This information can be used to provide diagnostic support to doctors. A further benefit is that the measurements and analysis can then be transferred directly into a digital patient file.

Medical scales and measuring devices are therefore part of the fundamentals of the medical world. As technology progresses the benefits can be felt by patients and professionals alike.

Alana Holder writes about medical equipment and supplies.

Medical scales and measuring devices are available from Medscope. For a great range of medical scales and measuring devices visit the website where we have a wide range of products from all the major brands such as Seca and Marsden.

The Difference Between Functional and Integrative Medicine

Functional and integrative medicine are current methods of care used today by medical professionals. To understand how they work, what role they play, and their differences, it's important to first learn how and why they're used in the chain of modern medicine.

The most common method of treatment and medicine is what we know today as Conventional Western Medicine. Conventional medicine is the basic process of elimination in diagnosing and treating illnesses, diseases, and other health-related issues. When you go to the doctor with multiple symptoms, they will ask you many questions. Some questions seem relevant, other questions seem far-fetched in having to do with your symptoms; however, they are all, in fact, relative. Using medical logic, and the process of elimination with your symptoms, a diagnosis is made and treated.

On the other end of the medical spectrum, we have Alternative Medicine. Alternative medicine uses a strict philosophy of natural healing and therapeutic methods to treat illnesses, diseases, and other health-related issues. Thus, alternative medicine is the alternative to conventional medicine. In alternative medicine, patients are treated with methods such as:

• Chiropracty - A physical therapy method for patients that have joint and general mobility issues.
• Aromatherapy - A plant oil method used to treat issues such as stress and depression.
• Herbal Treatment from Different Cultures - Herbs from around the world, most prevalent in China, used to treat and cure various illnesses of all types.
• Acupuncture - A physical puncture method of treatment which targets unbalance within the body.
• Ayurvedic - A body detox treatment that includes a strict diet and exercise regime to help overall health.

In recent years, physicians have theorized that the use of both conventional and alternative medicine could assist patients in a more effective way of diagnosis, treatment, and health. This combination of medicinal methods is Integrative Medicine.

Integrative medicine can use any combination of the following modern medicinal methods depending on the patient's diagnosis, and personal needs and/or beliefs:

• Western - Conventional method of diagnosis and treatment.
• Holistic - A method that treats all aspects of the patient's health, including physical, mental, emotional, economic, and social aspects.
• Osteopathic - A method similar to conventional medicine that differs in the fact that it targets all possible health issues that a patient experienced from their date of birth on.
• Allopathic - Uses the conventional medicinal method as a basis for diagnosis, but focuses on the use of prescription drugs to treat and cure illnesses.
• Regenerative - A method that incorporates the creation of new tissues and organs in order to repair damaged tissues and organs.
• Functional - A method that focuses on the physical and emotional needs of a patient in order to determine the best results.
• Naturopathic - A medicinal method that strictly uses natural remedies to treat various health issues of patients.

So where does functional medicine come into play? Functional medicine, as earlier defined, is a medicinal method in which the patient is diagnosed and treated as a whole. The patient's symptoms are not the only thing used to diagnose and treat the illness. Practitioners of functional medicine believe that in order to provide the best treatment, every aspect of the patient's life must be considered. This includes their genetics, living environment, physical traits, lifestyle, and health history. Thus, this method is very individualized.

As stated earlier, one end of the medical spectrum is conventional medicine, and the other is alternative medicine. Integrative medicine is found between the two, combining them both to create the most effective diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient. Functional medicine is one of the methods used for integrative means. Functional medicine is unique and difficult to categorize, since it is a combination of both conventional and alternative medicine itself.

More physicians believe that functional medicine is the best method today. It's argued that conventional methods do not target a patient as a whole; that other physicians are only temporarily treating a health issue. Functional medicine is used to permanently treat all issues, ensuring an overall healthy body and lifestyle.

Doctors that practice functional medicine use a list of personalized steps in order to diagnose and treat illnesses. Generally, these steps include:

• Learning the lifestyle and health history of the patient.
• Observing weakness found within the body's tissues and organs.
• Combining all considerations to learn what's ailing the body.
• Creating a personal diagnosis.
• Determining the best therapeutic and medical treatments for that diagnosis.
• Evaluating the patient's health progress during treatment.
• Observing and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment that patient is receiving in order to determine if new forms of treatment should be used.
• After observing the patient's progress from treatment, assessing and determining what happen to the patient's body to create the original illness.
• Observing the patient after treatment.
• Determining how the patient's body heals as a whole after completion of diagnosis and treatment.

Functional medicine incorporates a lot of effort in terms of patient care and personal observation. Treatments used within this method vary drastically. Functional medicine will include any form of treatment, be it conventional or alternative. The treatment is based on all aspects of the patient's body, health, and lifestyle, so any sort of treatment can be expected, depending on the patient's beliefs and acceptance.

In conclusion, there isn't a difference between integrative and functional medicine, because functional medicine is a method used in integrative medicine. Integrative is a term used to describe the combination and addition of extra forms of medicinal methods in order to ensure the best patient care. Functional is a term used to describe the personalized method of medicine. Of course, there are patients who only use functional medicine, and no other methods. To these patients, functional medicine is not integrative, but the only form of medicine they choose to receive and believe in. Some physicians use all forms and methods of medicine to determine the best patient care, while other physicians strictly practice one medicinal method. All methods of medicine have proven to be effective depending on the patient and illness.