The Global Digest

Interview Story

War, Dignity and Closure: Reflections on ANZAC Day Rights of those who Fight for the Country and Die

Special Contribution
By Pushkar Raj
Australia along with the countries of the region is commemorating ANZAC day today. For the novice, it stands for Australian And New Zealand Army Corps that fought in Gallipoli campaign in the First world war with a loss of 8,709 uniformed men from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand and perishing 56000 allied forces. Both the countries- Australia and New Zealand lost about 78000 combatants  in the first world war. After the II world war the day was turned into a Memorial Day for all those who had risked or laid down life  in the interest of the country.

Discovery of the Ship

However, ANZAC day 2023, becomes special for the thousands of families because of discovery of an unfortunate ship whose inmates dodged the enemy but fell to prey of  torpedo of the friend perishing  at the bed of sea while coming back home during II World war in July 1942. The case demonstrates futility of war in which there are no winners. The Japanese ship, Montevideo Maru was transporting an estimated 1089 fighters from 14 nations including 779 Australians, rescued as prisoners of war held at Papua New Guinea.

But the ship was hit by mistake by an American submarine sinking it in minutes at an unknown location which was identified and located three days back but was left undisturbed as a mark of respect as ‘war grave’. The story may have a little significance for the war mongers but for the families of victims it has an indescribable significance. It provides them with a closure and douses the pain of wait and accompanied misery.

Pain of Loss

The families were devasted in the aftermath of sinking with tales that wrenched the heart and shook the soul questioning the war as a method of communication amongst nations. One mother had sent her third, the youngest son to the war because the other two were willing to go and she wanted the middle one to be protected by the youngest, who was healthier and smarter. None of them came back.

In some case the families went through the harrowing experience of deprivation compromising on children’s education and at the worst giving them for adoption. The concerned family relatives numbering thousands (two were on board the search ship) were, in fact , were greater sufferer of consequences of war. The war, that still rages so close to us that we just need to step in our lounge and switch on the television or see our palm, our mobile phone- our alter-ego!

National Peace Day

That is why if some peaceniks ask for a parallel rally for rape victims of war or any forms of protests questioning the war, they must, at least be heard, if not listened or consulted, notwithstanding UN Peace Day (21 Sep) commemorations with rehashed themes, repeated speeches, and little impact on peace building.

Therefore, the governments across the globe (democracies, banana republics and superpowers) might consider fixing a day in a year when citizens have the option/ choice of commemorating the National Peace Day with preferred encouragement of a national holiday. To argue that festivals of all religions teach peace and there is plethora of them during the year is a false assumption, for increase in religious festivity over the period has not decreased war and its suffering.  

The citizens need to celebrate peace socially so that they can demand it politically when they realise that the peace of community, state, republic, nation, what you will, is in jeopardy due to irresponsible and at times manic or insane rulers.  This could be one of the ways to ensure, we never have to send our loved ones to be killed in a war at the first place, at least in democracies!

Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Arrests, Focus Indians and Indian Immigrants "Saving Lives" Strategies & Collaborations for Better Outcomes.

Special Contribution
By Vemuri S. Murthy

February is the “American Heart Month” to raise awareness of heart disease and promote “Healthy Heart” lifestyles. Heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem. South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age. Heart attacks strike South Asian Men and Women at younger ages, and as a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group. They tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups. Almost one in three in this group may die from heart disease before 65 years of age. In India, heart disease remains the number one cause of death. Common risk factors are smoking and a diet high in sugar, salt, refined grains, and fat. A large number of South Asians appear to have “insulin resistance”, a condition in which the body does not utilize insulin efficiently, resulting in Diabetes, which leads to a significant number of heart-related problems. Lack of adequate exercise, stress, and genetic predisposition are also contributing factors.

Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure that determines if a person’s weight is healthy, often falls into “skinny fat” category in South Asians,who may have an acceptable BMI, but carry more of their weight in their abdomen. The fat surrounding their internal organs (visceral fat) increases the risk of having a serious heart attack. More than one-third of South Asian men and about 17% of South Asian women have “Metabolic Syndrome”, with high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels that increase Heart Disease risk, Stroke, and Diabetes. The triglyceride levels tend to be higher with lower levels of HDL-good cholesterol. South Asians also tend to have smaller luminal diameters of the coronary (Heart) arteries and higher grade obstructions of multiple vessels that can lead to the “death” of parts of heart muscle during a “Heart Attack”. “Cardiac Arrest” is when the heart stops beating due to any underlying condition or cause. Some 350,000 cases occur each year outside of a hospital in the United States, and the survival rate is less than 12 percent.

Immediate Bystander CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) can double or triple the chances of their survival. There is insufficient data on the prevalence of Sudden Cardiac Arrest among South Asians living in the United States or Indians in India. Given the fact that South Asians tend to have more heart problems, it is presumed that the incidence of Sudden Cardiac Arrests might be higher in them compared to the general population in the United States. It is evidence-based information that women, in general, have a different pattern of heart symptoms and seek emergency medical help less often than men, and may receive less treatment for the same condition in both primary care and secondary prevention. In an observational study of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac arrests (OHCA) reported in Indian Print Media, published recently (2020) in the Journal of Indian College of Cardiology, the important role of mass media was recognized in raising public awareness of cardiac arrests and encouraging bystander CPR help to improve outcomes. (The Author is a Co-Author of this study).

To collect available information on OHCA in India, a pilot project called WACAR (Warangal Area Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Registry) was initiated during January-December 2018 to understand OHCA in a regional setting in the State of Telangana.(The Author is the CoInvestigator of the WACAR Study, which was published (2020) in the Indian Heart Journal). The study, which was based on an internationally accepted Utstein template, included 814 subjects of OHCA. With the available collected data, results of the study showed that Heart disease with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and tobacco addiction led to sudden cardiac arrests in a majority of cases. The study addressed the need for a reliable Cardiac Arrest Registry with accurate and detailed data of all OHCAs.

The data is essential to develop a comprehensive community cardiac care plan involving EMS(Emergency Medical Services), Bystander CPR, Public Access Defibrillators (devices to reverse dangerous heart rhythms), and faster access to emergency interventions in tertiary cardiac care hospitals. A recently completed project in India to improve outcomes after heart attacks is the "HeartRescue India" project (2015-2020) in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The University of Illinois College of Medicine and UI Health in partnership with Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital in Bengaluru initiated this groundbreaking program in India. The project was funded by the Medtronic Foundation. The purpose of this project was to reduce deaths due to sudden cardiac arrests and improve access and quality of care for heart attack patients in Bengaluru.

The program implemented interventions with successful outcomes across the three settings of cardiac care: (1) communities, (2) pre-hospital EMS, and (3) a network of hospitals within a 10- kilometer catchment area in Bengaluru. The project is a unique, comprehensive Indian Cardiac Care Model, tailored to the local community's needs, efficiently utilizing available resources and workforce. COVID-19 Pandemic has slowed down the progress of global health initiatives. With the administration of the COVID-19 Vaccine combined with robust international public health measures, it’s possible to regain the lost momentum of these “life-saving” programs. The following recommendations will enhance the “Heart Health” of a community: 1. Prevention: A. Increasing awareness through Community Education about Heart Disease, Stroke, Sudden Cardiac Arrests, High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes B. Targeted CPR-training Programs for Communities and High School Students 2. Early diagnosis: Community Health Screenings and Personal Counselings and 3. Timely interventions Mental health-promoting strategies with an individualized holistic approach need to be encouraged.

In summary, it's critical to initiate “Community Heart Health” programs with preventive strategies, retard the progression of heart disease with early diagnosis and individualized treatment plans, and implement measures to enhance neurological and other functional outcomes after sudden cardiac arrests. The latter involves providing immediate resuscitation help with high-quality bystander CPR, early defibrillation, and faster transportation to tertiary cardiac care hospitals. Needless to say, a concerted effort is needed to achieve the goals by all involved stakeholders, Governmental and non-Governmental, with individual participation! Acknowledgement: Terry Vanden Hoek, MD, Bellur S. Prabhakar, MSc, Ph.D. (University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA), Srinivas Ramaka, MD (Srinivasa Heart Center, Warangal, Telangana, India) and Aruna C. Ramesh, MD (Ramaiah Medical College & Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India) were actively in studies referred in the article.

(Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy, an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine @ The University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA and Visiting Professor in India, is an Advocate of Resuscitation education, training and research in USA and India.His current work involves Cardiac Arrest Registries and Cardiac Health-promoting Projects with Indo-US collaborations.)

Mahatma Gandhi, Race and Caste

Special Contribution
By Ram Puniyani

Mahatma Gandhi

During the course of agitation ‘Black lives matter’ some protestors defaced the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in US. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Indian Nation, has the unique distinction of leading the biggest ever mass movement in the World and leading the strong anti colonial movement. In this direction he contributed two major tools as the basis of the mass movements, the one of non violence and other of Satyagrah. He also stated that while making the policies what one should keep in mind is the last, weakest person in the society. His life, which he called as his message became the inspiration of many anti colonial, anti racial struggles in different parts of the World. He strongly supported the concept of equality in India, where eradication of caste also became one of the aims of his life.

All this comes to one’s mind as a section of people, writers and intellectuals are labelling him as racist and casteist, one who harmed the cause of dalits in India. Nothing can be farther from truth. These elements are not seeing the whole journey of the man but do the cherry picking from his early writings, when he was in the early phases of his work against prevalent injustices in the name of race and caste. Earlier also his statue was uprooted in Ghana, where calling him racist, ‘Gandhi Must fall’, movement on the lines of ‘Rhodes must fall’ came up. Gandhi in no way can be put in the category of the likes of Rhodes and others whose central work revolved around enslaving the blacks. The warped understanding of Gandhi comes from focussing only on Gandhi’s early writings. Gandhi who began his campaign for the rights of Indians in South Africa, at times used derogatory terms against blacks. These terms were the one’s which were prevalent, introduced by colonial masters, words like ‘African Savages’. Gandhi while raising the voice for Indian working people in South Africa said that the colonialists are treating Indians like African savages.

There was another process which ran parallel to this one of taking up the cause of people of Indian origin in SA. Once he realized the plight of the blacks there, he started travelling in the third class to experience the hardships being faced by them and much later he stated that they deserve to be treated in a just manner. His overcoming of racial beliefs were best expressed in his sentence, “If we look into the future, is it not a heritage we have to leave to posterity, that all the different races commingle and produce a civilization that perhaps the world has not yet seen?” (1908). His beliefs kept evolving and in 1942, in a letter to Roosevelt, he wrote, ““I venture to think that the Allied declaration that the Allies are fighting to make the world safe for freedom of the individual and for democracy sounds hollow so long as India and, for that matter, Africa are exploited by Great Britain and America has the Negro problem in her own home.”

The best response to accusations of Gandhi being a racist came from Nelson Mandela, who wrote, “All in all, “Gandhi must be forgiven those prejudices and judged in the context of the time and the circumstances.” Mandela recognized the crucial point that Gandhi’s views changed as he matured. He wrote, “We are looking here at the young Gandhi, still to become Mahatma.” And from Martin Luther King (Jr.) who was totally inspired by Gandhi in his anti racial struggles. Caste is another of the phenomenon, which is tricky. Gandhi in early periods of his life talked of Varna Dharma based on work; he glorified the work of scavenging and also called dalits as Harijans. Many a dalit intellectuals and leaders hold Gandhi responsible for opposing the ‘separate electorate’ granted to SCs by McDonald Award. Gandhi saw this as a move to fragment the electorate on narrow lines as being against Indian nationalism and went on hunger strike. Due to this hunger strike Ambedkar agreed for the reserved constituency.

While many leaders-intellectuals see this as a betrayal by Gandhi, Ambedkar himself actually thanked Gandhi for giving a satisfactory solution by giving higher reservation to SCs in reserved constituency. And stated “I am grateful to Mahatma: He came to my rescue.” Bhagwan Das, a close follower of Ambedkar, independently quotes Ambedkar’s speech: “I think in all these negotiations, a large part of the credit must be attributed to Mahatma Gandhi himself. I must confess that I was surprised, immensely surprised, when I met Mahatma, that there was so much in common between him and me.” As such Race and Caste are akin and United Nations debated it in 2009, on these lines. In both the cases Gandhi, the humanitarian par excellence, begins with terminologies and notions about caste and race which were prevalent at those times. With his deeper engagement with the issues of society, he gives a totally different meaning to the same. In matters of caste, he was deeply influenced and empathetic to Ambedkar, to the extent that he recommended that Ambedkar’s ‘Annihilation of caste’ be read by all.

While he dealt with race issue from the margins, in case of caste he went miles. His campaign for eradication of untouchablity had far reaching back up effect to Ambedkar’s initiatives. It was Gandhi’s disciple Nehru, who brought Ambedkar to the forefront of policy making by including him in the Cabinet. Nehru also entrusted him with drafting Uniform Civil Code and it was Gandhi himself who suggested that Ambedkar be made the Chief of drafting committee of Indian Constitution. Only those who focus on Early Gandhi, Gandhi in the formative phase of his values and ideas, accuse him of being a castist or racist. He did overcome these narrow, parochial social norms and policies to dream of a fraternity, Indian and Global where caste and race are relegated to the backyard of human history.

People in North Korea trapped in vicious cycle of deprivation, corruption and repression

The violation of the right to an adequate standard of living in North Korea

GENEVA (28 May 2019) – People in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are trapped in a vicious cycle, in which the failure of the State to provide for life’s basic necessities forces them to turn to rudimentary markets where they face a host of human rights violations in an uncertain legal environment, according to a new UN human rights report.

The report, published by the UN Human Rights Office on Tuesday, highlights how the public distribution system in the DPRK has been broken for over two decades and how, as people seek to eke out a living in a legally precarious parallel economy, they are exposed to arbitrary arrest, detention, and extortion.

Based on 214 first-hand accounts of escapees gathered by UN Human Rights staff in South Korea in 2017 and 2018, the report describes how the most fundamental rights of ordinary people in the DPRK are widely violated because of economic mismanagement and endemic corruption. “The rights to food, health, shelter, work, freedom of movement and liberty are universal and inalienable, but in North Korea they depend primarily on the ability of individuals to bribe State officials,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

Since the economic collapse of the 1990s, people have been unable to survive through a State-led model of centralized economic planning and distribution, which includes State-assigned jobs and the dispensation of food, clothes and other rations. As a result, working in the informal sector has become an essential means of survival – or else, as one interviewee put it: “If you just follow instructions coming from the State, you starve to death.”

However, when people try to engage in rudimentary market activity, they face arrest and detention, including for travelling within the country, for which a permit is required. This situation invariably leads to a series of further serious human rights violations, due to absence of rule of law and due process guarantees. People often experience inhumane and degrading treatment in detention, and are sometimes subjected to torture during interrogation and disciplinary procedures.

The whole system is based on the informal but pervasive practice of bribing State officials who are in a position to enable people to side-step State requirements and regulations in order to work in the private sector and avoid arrest.

The constant threat of arrest and prosecution provides State officials with a powerful means to extort money and other favours from people desperate to avoid detention in inhumane conditions, the report says. In addition, the living conditions and treatment of detainees can also depend on the payment of bribes.

As another escapee said to UN human rights officials: “I felt it unfair that one could bribe one’s way out of [detention], when another suffers much more as a result of being unable to bribe. Bribery is effective in North Korea. One cannot lead a life in North Korea if he or she does not bribe his or her way.” The report also details how women seeking ways to make ends meet are particularly vulnerable to further abuse at the hands of third parties, including brokers and traffickers.

The UN Human Rights Chief called for far-reaching changes: “Our report is a stark illustration of how important it is that the Government tackles the country’s profound human rights problems. Only then can the endemic system of corruption which pervades all aspects of life be effectively dismantled,” she said.

The report stresses how the State has not fulfilled its obligations under international human rights law to realize the right of its citizens to an adequate standard of living. It has neither sought to modify a failed public system, nor helped to establish a functional and legal private sector to alleviate the economic destitution facing much of the population.

Meanwhile, huge resources continue to be directed towards military spending. The country maintains one of the world’s largest standing armies, representing the world’s highest ratio of military personnel to the general population. This has also resulted in the removal of over one million young men and women from the workplace and into the armed forces.

According to UN entities operating in the DPRK, in 2019 around 10.9 million people (over 43 per cent of the total population) are undernourished and suffer from food insecurity. Almost 10 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and 16 percent of the population does not have access to basic sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of disease and malnutrition. People living in northeastern and rural provinces suffer most from the lack of basic services, and the 2018 Global Hunger Index classified the level of hunger in the country as “serious” and “bordering on alarming.”

“These are extraordinary and appalling figures,” said Bachelet. “You rarely find this level of deprivation even in countries wracked by conflict. I am concerned that the constant focus on the nuclear issue continues to divert attention from the terrible state of human rights for many millions of North Koreans. Not just civil and political rights, but also social, cultural and economic rights which are just as important.”

The full picture of the standard of living in the DPRK is far from clear due to the scarcity of data and the lack of access to the country by UN human rights staff, as well as experienced NGOs. This is compounded by the oppressive domestic environment, in which there is no space for people to express their views, for independent civil society organizations to operate, or for journalists to report freely on the situation.

The report recommends drastic reforms, including reviewing the criminal code and other relevant legislation to end prosecutions for engaging in legitimate market activities, and to respect the right to freedom of movement within the country and across its borders. The report highlights that, underlying such legislative changes, there is an imperative to establish the rule of law, with due process and fair trial rights guaranteed.

“People must not be arrested, detained, prosecuted or subjected to extortion simply for trying to acquire an adequate standard of living,” Bachelet concluded. “Addressing these issues could open a path to tackling the wider range of human rights concerns that exist in the DPRK today. A significant set of reforms would be in everybody’s interests, including those of the Government and of the international community.”

Dr. Babu Stephen, Ajay Ghosh among 7 honored with Excellence Award by NAMAM

Dr. Babu Stephen

A community activist & leader, a successful businessman, an industrialist, a scientist, a renowned musician, two young prodigies, an organ donor, and a journalist were honored at a colorful bi-annual NAMAM Excellence Award 2018 ceremony held at the Royal Albert Palace, Edison, New Jersey on April 28th, 2018.

What stood out at the long-awaited historic event was that among the 7 honorees, two are leaders of the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC). Dr. Babu Stephan, current Chairman, and Ajay Ghosh, founding President of IAPC, were the recipients of the NAMAM awards for their contributions and successes in the business and media world, respectively. IAPC, founded 6 years ao, has been serving as a platform to raise the voice of Indian Americans journalists in North America.

Dr. Stephen is the CEO of DC Healthcare Inc, and the president of SM Reality LLC in Washington, and has been politically well-connected in both Washington DC and Kerala. He has dabbled in media and having arrived in America almost 4 decades ago, and has been among the first generation of Indian community builders here. In his acceptance speech for the award for excellence in business, he recounted the Indian American community’s landmark achievements in all walks of life here – and we have only started! Ajay Ghosh was chosen for his contributions in media. He has founded the Universal News Network (UNN), a news portal as chief editor, and has been associated with news publications including India Tribute, Indian Express (North American edition), NRI Today and Asian Era magazines.

At NAMAM Excellence Award 2018 ceremony

And since 2010, he has been the media consultant of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). In addition, he has taught Social Work Seminar and guided students at the Graduate School of Social Work at Fordham University in New York City since 2006 and works as a Primary Clinician at Yale New Haven Hospital, serving patients with behavioral health issues. Mr. Ghosh dedicated his award to the journalists of Indian origin, who work tirelessly to inform, educate and create awareness on issues that affect the peoples of the world.

Other awardees included, a world renowned community leader and activist, Dr. Thomas Abraham; T. S. Nandakumar, a renowned and versatile Carnatic music percussionist; Ramadas Pillai, President/CTO of Nuphoton Technologies, Inc; Rekha Nair, who has been an advocate for organ donation; Tiara Thankam Abraham, a 12-year-old soprano prodigy and a child genius; and, Child Genius Tanishq Mathew Abraham, a 14-year-old senior completing his biomedical engineering degree at Univ. Of California, Davis. He will be the youngest engineer to graduate in June 2018.

Dr. Thomas Abraham highlighted the need for bringing together the Indian Diaspora under the banner of GOPIO and how it has become a powerful force in raising our voices against discrimination and injustice. In her acceptance speech, Rekha Nair, who stunned the world by donating one of her kidneys at a young age to save the life of a woman she barely knew at the time last year, made an impassioned appeal for organ donation and blood donation. Of the two siblings, Tanishq, 14-year-old senior (4th year) completing his biomedical engineering degree, could not come down from California, so his younger sister Tiara, 12, accepted the award on his behalf too. She also gave a performance and showed why she is considered a prodigy soprano.

NAMAM, or the North American Malayalees and Associated Members, founded by Madhavan B. Nair, has been honoring its best and brightest at biennial events. Madhavan Nair, in his welcome address, described it as, “an unforgettable evening as we honor extraordinarily accomplished individuals, who have made valuable contributions to the Indian-American community with the NAMAM Excellence Awards.” The evening program was studded with dance and live music performances, both Indian classical and contemporary/Bollywood. Among the 350 attendees at the event were many prominent members of the community and guests from India.

Founded in 2010, NAMAM has been reaching out to the community with cultural programs, social gatherings and humanitarian aid efforts. Madhavan Nair summed up the essence of the awards nite and the goals of NAMAM: “It is our priority to pass a deep awareness about our rich heritage, unique customs and eclectic culture of Kerala to the younger generation in the USA, so that they can appreciate and take pride in their genealogy.” Ajay Ghosh(203) 583-6750

AAPI’s historic Global Healthcare Summit Concludes in Kolkata

On the Podium at the valedictory event

AAPI’s historic Global Healthcare Summit Concludes in Kolkata with VP Venkaiah Naidu urging Doctors to Return and Serve India “AAPI must consider collaborating with various governments and other private organizations in establishing a state-of-the-art healthcare facility in each district of the country where affordable treatment is dispensed,” Naidu tells AAPI Delegates in Kolkata

(Kolkata, India: January 1st, 2018) The 11th edition of the annual Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), USA concluded here at the historic City of Joy, Kolkata in West Bengal, India on December 30th at the famous JW Marriott with India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu urging Physicians of Indian Origin to return to India and rededicate their lives for the wellbeing of their motherland, India, as all the opportunities are now available here. “I would be happier if you people can come back to India and do something to help the society. Earlier the opportunity was very less here so people went to different parts of the globe for work. But now everything is available in India,” Naidu said during his valedictory address on the concluding day of the Summit here. Referring to the issue of brain drain, Naidu said, "I tell our children there are enough facilities in our colleges and IITs. "Still if you want to go, go learn earn and then return," he quipped.

“Apart from conducting CMEs, seminars and workshops, AAPI must consider collaborating with various governments and other private organizations in establishing a state-of-the-art healthcare facility in each district of the country where affordable treatment is dispensed,” the Vice President of India told the delegates. “I am happy to participate in the valedictory session of the 11th Global Health Care Summit-2017, organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI),” Naidu said at valedictory event of the GHS in Kolkata. The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Keshri Nath Tripathi, the Minister for Urban Development, West Bengal, Firhad Hakim and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. In his welcome address, Dr. Gautam Samadder, President of AAPI, said, “This GHS has promised to be one with the greatest impact and significant contributions towards harnessing the power of international Indian diaspora to bring the most innovative, efficient, cost effective healthcare solutions to India,” described.

According to Dr. Naresh Parikh, President-Elect of AAPI, who had proposed the vote of thanks, the scientific program of GHS 2017 was developed by leading experts with the contributions of a stellar Scientific Advisory Board and International Scientific Committee, while the event featuring plenary sessions, interactive round-tables, clinical practice workshops, and meet the expert sessions. Dr. Ashok Jain, Chairman of AAPI’s BOD, in his address, summarized some of the achievements of AAPI including the 16 free healthcare clinics, AAPI’s legislative initiatives in the US, and the ongoing collaboration with the government of India and the state governments and several NGOs in helping healthcare efficient and cost effective.

The Vice President praised AAPI and its noble “mission for India is to play an important role in making quality healthcare accessible and affordable to all people of India. It is indeed a laudable objective as both accessibility and affordability are the need of the hour, especially in a vast developing country like India with a huge population of middle class and lower middle class.” He called upon AAPI to “help in promoting the use of telemedicine in remote rural areas which lack access to healthcare facilities. Telemedicine can be used effectively in radiology, cardiology, oncology, dermatology and a few other areas. It will help in reducing unnecessary visits to the hospitals for consultations with specialists and avoiding long distance travel,” Naidu said. Naidu said that India needs an affordable health care revenue model to meet the challenges of modern day lifestyle. The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Keshri Nath Tripathi, the Minister for Urban Development, West Bengal, Firhad Hakim and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

"We treat a doctor as one who takes care of our lives. Medical profession is a noble profession as doctors are serving society,” the Vice President told the nearly 1,000 delegates who had come from around the world to attend the historical Summit. The Vice President called on the medical fraternity to put in efforts to bring down the costs of medical devices to make healthcare affordable. He further said that youngsters are increasingly falling prey to ailments due to a variety of factors, including sedentary lifestyle, improper dietary habits and job-related stresses. “We must all focus more on the service. The medical service in India is the need of the hour. India is still lagging behind in spite of a lot of advancement in medication. The Center is encouraging private sector in the medical healthcare sector. We must also go with the PPP model,” he added.

Claiming that India has the potential to become a medical tourist center in the future, the Vice President said accessibility and affordability of healthcare should be ensured as a large section of the country`s population belongs to the middle and lower-middle class. The Vice president said that while India is progressing economically and incomes of people are improving, the common man is unable to meet the medical bill whenever there is a medical emergency in the family. With penetration of health insurance remaining quite low and majority of the Indian population preferring to seek medical treatment from private sector in health emergencies by spending from their own pockets, this problem gets compounded, he added.

Naidu urged the Centre and state governments to invest more in the healthcare sector and educate people to get health insurance. Stating that providing proper medical service is the need of the hour, Naidu on Saturday said private sector investments and public-private Partnership (PPP) model should be encouraged more for the betterment of healthcare in the country. “The central and the state government must together spend more in the health sector. Also people should be educated about getting health insurance. Many people in India are worried about the cost but health insurance is very much required,” Naidu said. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed in expanding the medical sector and the "PM wants to have medical college in every district and trained medical staff in all these facilities". Observing India has made great medical advancements in recent times, the Vice-President said, "India is still lagging behind in spite of the progresses".

Pointing out that modern lifestyle has made people shun physical exercise, Naidu advocated some sort of physical exercise and spiritual activities during the day which may help keep people fresh and stress-free. "The sedentary lifestyle of Indians have to change and doctors and scientists should educate people," he said. Naidu said there were 69.1 million cases of diabetes in India, according to a 2015 census, and called for the need to create greater awareness among the youth about the dangers of sedentary lifestyle and eating junk food. “The modern day lifestyle is creating serious health hazards. The doctors should indicate the people to go back to their cultural roots and follow the disciplined, systematic lifestyle. Diabetes is a major challenge faced in the country,” he said.

The Vice President said that one of the major challenges facing India is the growing incidence of diabetes in the general population and this trend needs to be arrested. He quoted a study saying diabetes was becoming common among lower socio-economic groups living in urban regions of more developed States and this is a matter of concern. According to International Diabetes Federation, 415 million people have diabetes in the world and there were 69. 1 million cases in India as per 2015 data. Pointing to another study, Naidu said, “India’s burden of diseases has shifted from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases as incomes rose over the last 26 years. More deaths (61.8 per cent) were caused by non-communicable diseases such as cardio-vascular diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2016 as against 53.6 per cent deaths due to communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases in 1990.”

The Conference was organized in partnership with the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and ministry of health and family welfare, along with collaboration with over 15 professional associations from all over the world. The GHS 2017 featured some of the biggest names in the healthcare industry, especially at the 6th annual CEO leadership forum with leaders from across the globe. GHS 2017 is being attended by over 100 opinion leaders and expert speakers from many countries across the globe to present cutting edge scientific findings as these relate to clinical practice, representing major Centers of Excellence, Institutions, and Professional Associations are represented by the invited chairs and speakers. The theme chosen for the GHS this year is Healthcare, Career and Commerce, with the focus on Women’s Healthcare, including high priority areas such as Cardiology, Maternal & Child Health, Diabetes, Oncology, Surgery, Mental Health, HIT, Allergy, Immunology & Lung Health, Gastroenterology, Transplant and impact of comorbidities.

Offering trainings to First Responders, a CEO Forum by a galaxy of CEOs from around the world, inauguration of AAPI-sponsored clinic, CMEs, cultural events, Dinner Cruise on the Ganges, interactive roundtables, clinical practice workshops, scientific poster/research session and meet-the-expert sessions, Women’s Forum by internally acclaimed successful worm from India, a special session on Public-Private Partnership featuring AAPI Healthcare Charitable showcase & innovation, and Town Hall sessions resulting in a White Paper on helping create policies benefitting the people of India, are only some of the major highlights of the Healthcare Summit, Dr. Samadder said. In collaboration with the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, AAPI organized a 3-day workshop/training (EMTC) training over 150 first responders, including police, para-medical professional at the KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata as part of the GHS.

Indian Americans comprise of 4 million people, representing around 1.25% of the U.S. population as of 2015. Indians contributed 17% of total earnings in the US from foreign students totaling $6.5 billion last year. An estimated 10% of all physicians and surgeons in the US are of Indian origin. An estimated 100,000 physicians and fellows of Indian origin currently serve in the US. In biological and biomedical sciences studies workforce, data from 2015 show that people of Indian origin in the US account for 14.6% of the total workforce holding 72000 jobs. Founded in 1984, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) represents one of the largest health care forum in the United States with the goal to facilitate and enable Indian American Physicians to excel in patient care, teaching and research and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs. AAPI-Charitable Foundation is committed to serve the poorest of the poor in remote areas of India and USA. AAPI has always been present when calamities strike whether it is hurricane Harvey, Tsunami, Katrina, or earthquakes of Gujarat and Maharashtra. AAPI has hosted ten Indo-US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations both in the US as well as in India. These summits are aimed at sharing of expertise towards improvement of healthcare in the US as well as in India.

AAPI has been strategically engaged in working with the Union and State Governments of India for the past ten years and has collaborated with more than 35 professional medical associations, pharmaceutical and medical device companies to address the health care challenges of a rapidly developing India. “It is the passion, willingness and staunch loyalty towards the former motherland that draws several AAPI members to join this effort & by working with experts in India, AAPI is able to bring solutions that are India centric & takes us closer to our lofty vision of making quality healthcare affordable & accessible to all people of India,” said Dr. Gautam Samadder. “With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI would like to make a positive meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India,” Dr. Samadder said. For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit

Interview with Korean National Commission for UNESCO Dr. Park Eun-kyung

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Jun 20, 2016

Dr. Park Eun-kyung at her office

The Global Digest has interviewed Dr. Park Eun-kyung, Vice Chairperson of Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Chairperson of the Korean National Committee on ESD and visiting professor at Yonsei University. Dr. Park started Vice Chairperson of Korean National Commission for UNESCO since 2012 and reelected a 3 years second term in 2015. There are 5 Vice Chairpersons they are from Ministry of Foreign, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and a Civilian each. The Commission is usually chair by minister of Education.

Korean National Commission for UNESCO is an international organization based in South Korea. UNESCO headquarter is located in Paris. UNESCO member countries have each National Commission. Korean National Commission is one of strongest Commissions, said Dr. Park. Depend on each National Commission donation, they can ask their human resource to headquarter. South Korea status and its influences on the world affair have been prevailed from 10 years ago, along with its economic growth.

In fact South Korea is a member of UNESCO since June 1950. So it has office in downtown Seoul inside Myeongdong area is the most expensive office space. They also get Commission budget from leasing their building to other, apart from the budget allocated from Ministry of Education.

Korean National Commission has actively work with 500 high and middle schools, in domestic, a program called rainbow program, teaching peace, human rights, gender equality and environment issue across 5 regional groups in the country. Second, volunteer activity program by sending students to Africa for educating for literacy, and solving immediate problem and other creative way. Third, they assist other National Commission, how they can bring their culture heritage things in their own countries, e.g. they help Bangladesh, Nepal, Fiji, so on.

South Korean government´s departments are very help for protecting and initiating heritage program in the country. After 1998, Municipal of South Korea becomes independent and they did merit. Due to their work hard Korea has a lot of heritage reorganization from UNESCO, said Dr. Park.

Dr. Park is now dedicated for sustainable education, she mentions find the way of respecting oneself, and coexisting value, actually human to make happy is self respect. Dr. Park clarify South Korea has freedom of education, but some individual professor may have ethic problem. We can see there students used to prosecute professors.

Right now, Dr. Park is focusing for UN Education Center Tongyeong RCE near Busan city. There are 25 hectare lands, building is in 1 hectare, and they have 27 networks with Southeast Asian. The Center is for education, a sustainable development for Asia. RCE means Regional Center of Expertise. It was UN theme for the last 20 years. South Korea spends 25 million USD for the center.

Moreover, Dr. Park was chair of hosting 7th world water forum in Daegu 2015. Korea Water Forum was formed in 2005 in order to organize water forum worldwide which cost 50 million USD. The former premier Dr. Hansungsu was the first president of Korea Water Forum. Under UN recommendation, World Water Council was formed it headquarter located in France. The first forum was held in Morocco 1997. Dr. Park was elected as the first woman bureau member of the council in 2009. There are 36 governors. President Lee appointed Dr. Park as an ambassador of Water Resources from 2009 to 2012 under ministry of foreign affair. Actually, under Lee government, Dr. Park was appointed as a Minister just and after 3 weeks she stepped down due to opposition pressure.

Dr. Park points out there are water stress, South Korea can’t secure 50% of the nation´s water, e.g. Chungcheong province has water crisis. In fact, water industry is huge, of course 70% of water is used for agriculture. WEF stands for Water, Energy and Food, these are correlated, said Dr. Park, UN is dealing for that. In the world 1 out of 5 can’t have water to wash their hands. Nowadays, Singapore developed sea water to fresh water, and 50% of water are recycle.

Dr. Park had been to Myanmar in 1989 right after popular uprising in impoverish country where a lot of breakdown public toilets and she saw only 3 colors in the country, and she also visited ancient city Pagan.

Dr. Park finished BA in English literature from Ewha Women University, MA in Anthropology from University of Michigan, PhD course work in Anthropology also from University of Michigan, but actual received her PhD degree from Ewha Women University. She passed a national exam for study oversea among only 5 persons in 1968. She got married in US there, now her husband is a President of Seoul International Foundation. She and her husband both are 70. They have a son and a daughter, and 3 grandsons.

Interviews with Dr. Kihwan Kim of Seoul Financial Forum

Dr. Kihwan Kim

The Global Digest had interview with Dr. Kihwan Kim, Chairman of Seoul Financial Forum. Dr. Kim was KDI president in 1980s, and he shortly served as deputy prime minister for economic and vice minister of Trade in 1983. He was a professor at University of California and University of Oregon for 13 years. He has PhD in Economic from University of California, MA in history from Yale University, BA from Grinnel College. He got a scholarship to study in US, meanwhile, discharge from military service. He served as a translator between US and ROK troops for 3 years, as an officer rank.

Dr. Kim also met and shared opinion with Burmese delegates including Vice minister of planning for Economic Development for setting up a Myanmar version of KDI, which they are eager to do it. Currently Sang Woo Nam, dean of KDI for economic, serves as an adviser to Myanmar government. KDI(Korea Development Institute) was initially started as school of management and public policy.

Dr. Kim was telling the Global Digest that the World Bank also requests him to present briefly 15 minutes about South Korean social, culture, development policy and etc. South Korean development was back to the President Park Chunghee’s policy on economic, industry, foreign policy and foreign Aid which played an important role.

Dr. Kim is confidence by saying that he did the best job for serving the country. He was general secretary for international economy policy council. In his experience, diplomacy and negotiation with other country is played a crucial role. He also experienced negotiation with North Korea in 1984/5. At the time, he was chief of trade negotiation, US also wanted South Korea for faster opening of its market, Dr. Kim said.

In 1997 financial crisis, he was given special task for solving economic crisis. So South Korean government appointed Dr. Kim for a special ambassador at large on financial crisis dealing. He had to negotiate between South Korean government and IMF, so economic crisis was solved in 2 years. Its counterpart Thailand was remained unsolved. Dr. Kim was a mastermind of solving 1997 South Korean economic crisis, but many other people not recognized him, Dr. Kim expressed sadly.

South Korea did well on term and regulation with IMF in order to get loan. The first agreement was reached on December 3, 1997, but it was a small fund to deliver over 2 years. It won’t solve South Korea crisis. So Dr. Kim persuaded to release money early, and he went to US rather than IMF. He knows that US has a margin of voice over IMF, he met deputy secretary treasury of US Robert Edward Rubin. He proposed for ROK initial formal reform, so amendment of agreement made on December 24, 1997. It was turned out IMF granted loan to South Korea 38 billion USD for the first package. In fact, South Korea no need the second package anymore, because it already solved its crisis, Dr. Kim smiling said.

IMF helps when country faced problem of balance issue and payment. Dr. Kim explained Human Resource is an important factor for economic growth but some mistakes can led obstacle for economic. As of now, Myanmar can get assistance from World Bank which will be more relevant. He expressed Myanmar can side with someone which country can give benefit for economic, industry, technology and so on, but not for military. Frankly, Dr Kim doesn’t want military involvement in the government.

South Korea did successful policy toward US, at the same time, they are not enemy with other countries. On the other hand, South Korea military dictators took many military officers to train in US for at least 9 month, in order to get broader knowledge.

Seoul Financial Forum is to accumulate financial in Korea, because they are weak in financial and their banks cannot competitive. So Dr. Kim is doing to overcome South Korean financial problem. Their target is to advise Korean government. “Strengthening policy recommendations for the government and Promoting communication between market participants and policymakers/regulators to achieve consensus on removing unnecessary regulations hindering the development of local financial markets,” according to the Forum.

Dr. Kim also served as an adviser to Brunei government from 2012 to 2015. Under him there were 3 consultants from Japan, Germany and South Korea each. He had made a recommendation but Brunei government can’t able to implement them, Dr. Kim lamented.

Dr. Kim born in 1932. He has a son and two daughters and grandchildren.

Talking with ILHRS Chairman Lee Changsoo

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Mar 20, 2016

Lee Changsoo

The Global Digest has a brief conversation with Mr. Lee Changsoo. Mr. Lee started Human Rights activity since 1988, after his graduation in 1987 and a military service, where students movement against military dictatorship. Right after that, Mr. Lee joined Korean Union of Socialist Youth, where Mr. Lee was General Secretary and Secretary for International Relation.

In 1990s, Korean achieved democracy and elected a civilian president. Mr. Lee engaged in judicial reform after a democracy system in Korea. Because there was no judicial independent until Roh Tae-woo government. That time, political activities were guilty.

After only that, civil movement could started. Mr. Lee organized Solidarity for New Society and as its representative from 1999 to 2012, which is a member of working group at Human Rights Commission of Korea, one of among 73 NGOs.

Later, Mr. Lee created Institute for Law and Human Rights in Society (ILHRS) and its chairman from 2012 to till now. ILHRS main activity is research and study on criminal law and Human Rights issues. ILHRS is only self support from membership fees. Mr. Lee explained most of human rights organizations have no sponsor in Korea.

During Korean War 1952/3, civilian were massacre by state, there are over 400,000 victims. For that, he and other NGOs creates "pan Korean Committee for Truth and Rehabilitation during Korean War", Mr. Lee is chief of mission of this joint organization. They do investigation, published report and recommendation to government, and educate and endeavor to make to a related law to provide official investigation by the government for the victims. Even they did lawsuit to the court. Due to their effort, national assembly passed the law for finding the truth and rehabilitation for those victims.

In fact, Human Rights Commission of Korea is started during Kim Dae-jung government. However, in 2000, ministry of justice rejected for independent status of Human Rights Commission of Korea.

Mr. Lee argued the problem of democracy system, human rights crisis in across Asia, which are surrounding China is threaten to peace and security in Korean peninsula too. So, he wants Myanmar to be a peaceful and federal democracy, it is also important for Korean.

Mr. Lee graduated BA in Public Administration from Hansung University, MA in International Politic from Sogang University, and graduated in Law from doctorial course of the Dongguk University. He was a lecturer at Dongguk University from 2007 to 2009 with the topic of Human Rights and Society. His hometown is in Soecho, Gangwando Province.

Interview with OHCHR representative Signe Poulsen

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Jan 7, 2015

Signe Poulsen

The Global Digest has interviewed with OHCHR Seoul representative Signe Poulsen at her office. OHCHR is a global coverage office only for North Korea(DPRK) human rights issue.

After the commission of inquiry reported in 2014, such as interview with lot of defectors, the commission concluded human rights violation and crime against humanity in North Korea. This is why the establishment of OHCHR Seoul office. Although there was some threatening in early, OHCHR office was able to opened in June 2015. Of course, with the agreement of South Korea(ROK) government to setup the office here, in spite of other advantages in China.

OHCHR tasks are establishing and monitoring and documentations of North Korea human rights situations, interviewing with defectors, humanitarian organizations, civil societies and agents from governments of South Korea and Japan, etc. They also analysis statements of North Korean government, and accessing satellite reports. Of course, those governments may have their own interest, but she has to stick on the facts, Poulsen said. She also has to balance from North and South Koreas view. In addition, technical cooperation and investigating together with government to improve Human Rights situation.

In fact, North Korea didn't invited and accepted OHCHR Seoul office so far. However, North Korea is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(ICESCR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR). These treaties can persuade North Korean government, to implement human rights, Poulsen explained.

The difficulty for her is that she cannot contact North Korean from South Korea. Her office cannot also provides a hotline communication for North Korean. Even she can't go North Korea without prior permission. So, only her UN headquarter can contacts North Korea in a proper channel. Moreover, She also has to make awareness on North Korea's human rights situation, such as campaign. Its a long-term human rights problem, it cannot solve overnight. Poulsen has to engage a lot with public and media in Seoul, meeting with separated families from North Korea and elderly people.

As an international organization, she has to do international level reporting to UN General Assembly and Human Rights Forum. Poulsen also cooperate with an independent North Korea's rapportuer Marsuki Darusman of Indonesia. They also met in this year. Of course, two of their reports can be overlapping and similar finding. The important thing is they should be an accountability, Poulsen explained.

South Korea considers North Koreans who entered into South Korea are as defectors, and accept them as its own citizens. South Korea has its own political position, Poulsen pointed out, and South Korea does a lot for North Korea defectors.

OHCHR Seoul office has six staff members, two is from local. The office is financed through under UN regular budget. Seoul City provides the office room but utilities have to cover by Poulsen's office.
2012 Oct - 2013 Jul
2011 Jan - 2012 Sep