Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for July, 2013

World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2013

Electron micrograph of Hepatitis B virus

Electron micrograph of Hepatitis B virus

I’d heard of Hepatitis but had a very basic understanding of the medical condition. It was only when my aunty from Pakistan died a couple of months ago from a complication of being chronically infected with the B variant aged only in her fifties, that I wanted to learn more. Hepatitis is defined by inflammation of the liver which can be self-limiting/acute lasting only a couple of months or chronic which can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver – this was the case for my aunty) and liver cancer, there are five hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E.

According to WHO (World Health Organization) these viruses constitute a global health risk, with around 240 million people being chronically infected with hepatitis B alone, and with millions more at risk of being infected. Hepatitis B has caused epidemics in parts of Asia and Africa, and to put it in perspective about a third of the world population has been infected at some point in their lives. WHO’s campaign is “This is hepatitis. Know it. Confront it”, where their objective is to raise awareness of this largely unknown health threat which they describe as a “silent epidemic”.

I read a recent online article (from The News International) where it discuses hepatitis as being a major public health problem in Pakistan with an estimated number of six million people suffering from hepatitis b, and a further seven million from hepatitis c.  My aunty was infected with hepatitis b over a decade ago, but even with the aid of anti-viral drugs, the persistent nature of the condition resulted in severe liver disease, at the end she was extremely thin and weak; she eventually lost her years of battling the condition and died in hospital. The sad thing was that her daughter just gave birth to her second child when she past away, and her son is due to get married in a couple of weeks and she won’t get to be part of that. Losing your mum at any age is tough, particularly when she should have had many years left to look forward to, she was very unlucky as the majority of those that are infected with hepatitis b don’t require treatment and manage to clear the infection spontaneously, and early anti-viral treatment can help those like my aunty whose infection takes a very aggressive course, but note the drugs can’t clear the infection but they can stop the virus from replicating, so early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing this condition.

Moving forwards, how do we address this “silent epidemic” and prevent the tragic loss of lives, well World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions, such as:

  • strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases;
  • increasing hepatitis b vaccine coverage and integration of the vaccine into national immunization programmes;
  • coordinating a global response to viral hepatitis.

Living with a chronic disease can become a burden for families as those that are ill find it difficult to work, and the cost of anti-viral drugs and transplants for those with liver disease and cancer are high for the health-care systems of developing countries. This places great importance on vaccination programmes developed for the prevention of infection.

One of the things that my dad taught me and this has always stuck with me, is to ‘always give with your heart, and expect nothing in return’ – this is the true meaning of giving and charity. When my aunty (mum’s sister) became ill, my dad would send money to Pakistan to help her and the family, and continued to do so for years. My dad understands what it’s like to have a chronic illness, he contracted TB when he was younger, the result of being a refugee when he was forced to abandon his home as a small boy in India to the newly formed Pakistan during the partition. His success came through hard-work and being extremely clever (he gained the highest marks in Mathematics in his native country at a very young age) enough to gain a scholarship to study in the UK, despite his career success he has always remained humble. I understand what it’s like when a family member has a long-term condition, the TB that my dad contracted in his youth led to complications to his lungs, which has a tremendous effect on his quality of life. I will be donating with my heart this 28th of July, and I will fondly remember my beautiful aunty.

The date of 28 July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus.

Lunch at Kensington Gardens

I love summer time, it’s 30 degrees and I’m just a 5 min walk from Kensington Gardens, so have left the cold air-con on full blast office (why do boys always get hot?) to having my lunch in the park. I’m looking very 70’s in my Miss Selfridge floral wide leg pants and have a bench all to myself – perfect 🙂

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Oasis Ditsy Frill Jumpsuit

Oasis Ditsy Frill Jumpsuit

Oasis Ditsy Frill Jumpsuit

I spotted this when I was at the Oasis store on Argyll Street. Normally, I would dismiss jumpsuits as being a little impractical (think going to the toilet, or is that TMI!), but I’ve seen a few people wearing them and providing they don’t have the baggy harem style ‘MC Hammer’ shape, I’d definitely be inclined to give it a go as they remind me of the 70’s Farrah Fawcett or Margo from the Good Life. The jumpsuit is made from a lovely soft viscose material, love the black background, pink ditsy floral print and the tan belt to give a more fitted shape.

Oasis Ditsy Frill Jumpsuit on model

Oasis Ditsy Frill Jumpsuit on model

Ditsy Print

Ditsy Print

My only criticism and the reason that I don’t often buy from Oasis, is that they don’t stock a size 6 in their stores only online, and that is limited at the best of times, unlike other High Street brands like Topshop, Miss Selfridge and French Connection; where I rarely have a problem getting hold of a size 6.

Topshop Daisy Open Back Tea Dress

Topshop Daisy Open Back Tea Dress (front)

Topshop Daisy Open Back Tea Dress (front)

Topshop Daisy Open Back Tea Dress (back)

Topshop Daisy Open Back Tea Dress (back)

Love the cute daisy print and cut of detailing at the back, a bit short on me so will have to pair with tights.

 

Never Stop Learning: London International

It doesn’t matter what age you are, you should never stop learning. I thoroughly enjoyed (apart from the stress of exams) completing a distance learning programme in accountancy via LSE. It can be tricky to juggle work, chores and a family (latter doesn’t apply to me) and so with distance learning you can complete a course at your own pace, with the one I did you can take from 1 to 5 years, although, it would be very frustrating to take 5 years!

Now I’ve had a bit of rest from completing that one, I can now prepare for my next exam in December – I do like to push myself!

Miss Selfridge Florals

miss selfridge daisy casual dress

Miss Selfridge Daisy Casual Dress

Miss Selfridge Ditsy Floral Maxi Skirt

Miss Selfridge Ditsy Floral Maxi Skirt

Miss Selfridge Floral Corsett Dress

Miss Selfridge Floral Corsett Dress

Miss Selfridge Floral Wide Leg Trousers

Miss Selfridge Floral Wide Leg Trousers

Miss Selfridge Floral Dress

Miss Selfridge Floral Dress

I’m loving all these beautiful floral prints…

River Island Floral Jumpsuit

River Island Floral Jumpsuit

River Island Floral Jumpsuit

I have to admit that I’m so slim that I sometimes can wear clothes for teenage girls, luckily no-one can see the age on the label 🙂 I’m sort of on the fence about jumpsuits after an old female colleague tried it out once and the guys at work said it reminded them of MC Hammer – men aren’t always as tactful as us women. I tend to wear the same style, so I enjoy mixing it up a little. Anything floral always catches my eye, as I have no curves this fits fine, but is a little cropped at the legs considering I’m 5ft8in with long legs. I’m not a navy fan as I spent most of my school years in a navy uniform, but the floral pattern and lace take away the dull background colour. My only preference if I was a designer would be to add three quarter sleeves.