In Spite of Sugar, Sweetness permeated HEAL Health Writers Convention

7th Convention proved Potpourri of Critical Healthcare issues and runaway success

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New Delhi: Sugar may be villain of the piece so far as health is concerned. But the problem is sweetness as taste in food is an abiding craving.

And if thought of world without sugar, in the face of epidemic of obesity and diabetes, rankles, very good news emerged from 7th 2 day (Sep 26-27) convention of Heal Health Writers in Delhi. In spite of sugar, sweetness would keep permeating sweet teeth. Of course, it would a world of sweetness sans sugar.

As science prevailed in the convention and apprehensions triggered possibly by some ill founded bad press around low calorie sweeteners cleared, sweetness in foods is no more a word of fear.

The very first session with FICCI was on the subject ‘Decoding the Science around low/non calorie sweeteners for effective diet management’. Experts from home and abroad allayed the fears about low calorie sweeteners, save and except advice by Prof. K G Suresh, former DG of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and a byword for nuanced communicator, that moderation must be the key. The discussion was joined by Dr Berna Magnuson & Dr Rebeca Lopez-Garcia, Regulations, Toxicology & Nutrion experts from a leading global university through video conferencing and authority on sweeteners. Referring to a number of credible studies throughout the world, they put at rest the doubts regarding safety of low calorie sweeteners.

The upshot was the special speech on the subject by Celebrity Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor who also described low calorie sweetener as innocuous alternative of sugar. The panel moderated by CH Unnikrishnan, Editor of Future medicine, also comprised leading Nutritionists and Public Health Experts Dr Bhwaneshwari Shankar, Dr Sandhya Pandey & Ms Manjari Chandra.

The speech by Alok Kumar, President, Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti on Organ donation was especially very inspiring and heart warming. Seva Bharati Secretary General Dr Ram Kumar and Dr Rashmi of Netra Kumbh fame spoke about the need of health services for poor people and the exemplary social service they did.

Dr Sundeep Salvi of Chest Research Institute, Pune spoke at length on the prevalence and severity of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). It was an opener. Dr Salvi stressed the need to prioritize COPD as it is emerging as the second biggest killer in India. He spoke of the urgent need for a national control program by the govt.

The 3rd edition of Ayushman Bharat Healthcare Summit constituted a critical component of the conclave. It was moderated by Prof KG Suresh. Though the health protection scheme was roundly praised, some of interlocutors also spoke about gaps in the scheme. Dr Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman of Max Cancer Institute, Dr Rashmi, the Coordinator of Netrakumbh @ Prayagraj, Sudarshan Jain, Secretary General, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, Mr Jitesh Mathur of Medikabazaar & Mr Amit Singh, Head of Govt. Affairs at Medtronic India effectively expressed their views.

The 2nd day began with discussion on the theme-Farm to Folk- Holistic reporting on Nutrition. Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder, HEAL Foundation, moderated the discussion. Country Heads and coordinators from World Food Program, Food & Agriculture Organization of United Nations & IFAD Mrs Meera Mishra, Mr Tomio Shichiri and Mr Bishow Paranuli spoke about food systems favouring health. Millets got huge favour with these experts. Rise of Machines in Healthcare, Marrying Healthcare with AI, Changing dynamics of Healthcare Procurement were some of the important sessions.

The convention ended on a positive note of ‘Health for All’.  In the discussion, the speakers strongly advocated inclusion of AYUSH/ Ayurveda in the scheme of things for Universal Health Coverage.

Anand Shrivastava, Chairman of Maharishi Ayurveda underlined wrong approach to tackling life style diseases and said without Ayurveda, Health for all cannot happen. He also added that Ayushman Bharat was a very good step towards aim of Health for All. The panel for this penultimate session also included Mr Atul Sharma, Dr JL Meena of National health Authority (NHA) & Mr Vivek Tiwari, CEO, Medikabazaar.

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