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Govt to provide Rs 500,000 to cancer patient for treatment

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BHAKTAPUR — Health Minister Gagan Thapa has said the government is working on a plan to provide financial assistance of Rs 500,000 to cancer patients in the country.

Speaking at a programme organised at the Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital operated Nepal Cancer Alleviation Organisation on Monday, the Health Minister said the government was preparing to increase the assistance amount being given to cancer patients so that their treatment would become easier.

Currently, the government provides Rs 100,000 to a cancer patient belonging to the poor and indigent communities .

“Treatment of cancer is costly. The Ministry has proposed the Finance Ministry to increase the amount of monetary assistance being provided to cancer patients and it is awaiting an approval from there ( Finance Ministry) to implement its plan,” he added.

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Stating that the government had laid its focus on making the citizens health conscious and encouraging them to adopt healthy habits so as to prevent them from becoming ill, the Health Minister said the government was working to increase efficiency of the government-run hospitals across the country for the relief of patients of chronic diseases.

Besides, the government has extended the services of the Gangalal National Heart Center to outside the Kathmandu Valley. Center’s services are being rendered from the Bheri Zonal Hospital Hospital, Nepalgunj and a cancer hospital in commemoration of the late Girija Prasad Koirala has been established in Nepalgunj, according to Minister Thapa.

He further said the government was preparing to introduce a health insurance proposal to a meeting of the Council of Ministers to be held on April 20 , seeking its endorsement and the health insurance of all citizens will be mandatory from the next fiscal year.

He pledged to financially assist the hospital to purchase required technical materials and equipments.

On the occasion, couple Chinikaji Shrestha and Shanta Devi Shrestha of Bagbazar, Kathmandu who contributed Rs 40 million to construct the new infrastructure at the Hospital feted.

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Vitamin D deficiency linked higher diabetes risk

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — People with vitamin D deficiency might have a greater risk of developing diabetes, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Seoul National University said in a new study report.

For the study published in PLOS One, researchers studied 903 healthy adults without pre-diabetes or diabetes during clinic visits from 1997 to 1999, and followed up with them for 10 years, to study their levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin and their medical condition.

Among the study participants, who had a mean age of 74, researchers found 47 new cases of diabetes and 337 new cases of pre-diabetes.

“Further research is needed on whether high 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels might prevent type 2 diabetes or the transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes,” study co-author Dr. Cedric F Garland, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, said in a press release.

“But this paper and past research indicate there is a strong association,” he said.

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The 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight, also can be received through certain foods and supplements. The vitamin helps in growth and development of bones and teeth, and resistance against certain diseases.

The minimum healthy level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood plasma was listed as 30 nanograms per milliliter, which is 10 ng/ml above the level recommended in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, now part of The National Academies.

“We found that participants with blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that were above 30 ng/ml had one-third of the risk of diabetes and those with levels above 50 ng/ml had one-fifth of the risk of developing diabetes,” first author Dr. Sue K. Park, of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea, said.

Those below 30 ng/ml were considered vitamin D deficient and up to five times at greater risk for developing diabetes than those above 50 ng/ml.

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To reach the D levels of 30 ng/ml, Garland said it would require dietary supplements of 3,000 to 5,000 international units per day, but less with moderate daily sun exposure.

The recommended average daily amount of vitamin D is 400 IU for children up to 1 year, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years and 800 IU for persons over 70, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Good food sources for vitamin D include egg yolk, shrimp,salmon, sardines, fortified milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.

With Agency Inputs

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