Smoke fast and die young

Written By: Kaneez Fizza

smoking

Karachi:

As a popular saying goes by…”SMOKING IS VERY DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH”. But why people are still smoking? Thinking about this argument I have decided to write an article related to smoking. Because I envision that it is compulsory for today’s society which is occupied by the curse of drugs, commonly high school and university students are involved in it. It is one of the major reasons that our youth is not focusing on their ambitions, and due to it today Pakistan, even after over 72 years of independence, is among third world country.

In Pakistan, it is estimated that the prevalence of tobacco smoking is 36% for males and 9% for females. Among young adults, especially the university students in Pakistan, the prevalence of smoking is 15% with the majority being male smokers. Approximately 1,200 children start smoking every day. This represents a huge impact not only in terms of economic costs but it is slowly depriving the country of a healthy workforce and increasing the burden of disease in the already overburdened health sector. Continue reading

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Ending child marriage in Pakistan: Time for action

By: Maliha Khan

CHILD-MARRIAGE-495x417

“Early marriages made the girls face domestic violence, pregnancy issues and mental issues.”

Karachi:

Child marriage, in reality, refers to as an unlawful and illegal practice in which boys and girls are forced to marry before they reach a minimum legal age of adulthood. Globally, underage marriage is considered and seen as a criminal practice as well as a human rights violation. As per Federal Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 and Punjab Child Marriage in Pakistan Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015 the age of marriage for a girl is 16 and for a boy is 18 years. These laws make underage marriage a punishable act. Unfortunately, these present laws haven’t brought any noticeable decline in early marriage cases. Since these amendments have been made enforced, there has been little action seen against child marriages in Pakistan.

This is the reason that child marriage cannot be stopped in Pakistan. Especially, in underdeveloped and rural areas which is directly affecting the physical, mental, sexual condition of young girls in Pakistan. Continue reading

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Water scarcity in Pakistan: Challenges and way forward

By: Yusra Aziz

Karachi: Water is one of the most important natural resources. It covers one-third of the area of the earth. Pakistan has the world’s fourth-highest rate of water use. Unfortunately, due to lack of proper measures for securing and preserving natural resources, our country is suffering from water scarcity, that is likely to wreak havoc on the country in the coming years. Researchers predict that Pakistan is on its way to becoming the most water-stressed country in the region by the year 2040. It is not the first time that development and research organizations have alerted Pakistani authorities about the coming crisis, which some analysts say poses a bigger threat to the country than terrorism. In 2016, PCRWR reported that Pakistan touched the “water stress line” in 1990 and crossed the “water scarcity line” in 2005. If this situation persists, Pakistan could “run dry” by 2025.

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Child Labour in Pakistan

By: Aliza Sohail, Anosha Ahmed, Ayesha Noor, Ayesha Nasir & Jawaria Khan

Karachi: According to the International Labour organisation (ILO) child labour is defined as, the work that has mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful effect on children’s, depriving the children to attend the school, and also obliging children to leave school prematurely. But not all the work which has been done by children can be classified as child labour. The work that affects the children mental, physical and social health is targeted as child labour. Also, the work which affects personal development and interference with the school can also be targeted as child labour. Children from the age of 10 to 16 are enforced by their families to become a labour. Hundreds and thousands of the children are enforcing to work as a labour at a very infant age. Majority of the children left school in the middle of the study to become a labour. It has been perceived that in villages especially, representatives of several industries trap children with promises of jobs and wealth and bring them to the city where they are working as bonded labour in factories. Many children are also employed as household help where they are compensated at minimum wages and are made to do maximum physical work.

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Stigmatization of Mental Illness: A Social Evil

By: Simran Talreja

mental-health

“The path for seeking help for mental illness is, in itself, a very complex one”

Karachi: Stigmatization of mental health, though is a universal phenomenon, is particularly more of a serious problem in South Asian countries (culture and values play a pivotal role) and Pakistan being a part of South Asia, is no exception. Stigma is elucidated as ‘one harbouring a negative and disparaging attribute towards a person who due to his/her deteriorated mental condition deviated from what is considered normal. We do not witness society stigmatizing an individual who is seeking chemotherapy as a last resort when medications fail to cure cancer. Then, why is it any different with a person seeking a therapy to ease his/her mental anguish caused severe bouts of depression or any other psychological disorders which impede the normal functionality and produce great deals of personal discomfort?

Despite decades of anti-stigma campaigns launched by the American Psychological Association (APA) on a world scale, mental health problems and psychological treatment are compounded as ‘taboos’ in Pakistani society, which is a sad reality. Due to this culturally induced prejudice, Pakistani people, holding a ‘certain’ attitude, perceive those with somatic and mental health problems as pariahs and revoltingly try to maintain a distinct ‘social gap’ from them and bizarrely from their families as well.

The path for seeking help for mental illness is, in itself, a very complex one. Several factors must be taken into consideration; availability and accessibility, affordability of services, socio-demographic factors, as well as more complex characteristics such as personality, personal preference, and attitudes (Cepeda-Bento & Short, 1998; Dahlberg, 2008). But before a person engages in help-seeking behaviour, a positive attitude and anticipated utility are prerequisites. So, it boils down to the attitude and perception of society, as a whole.

Attitudes play an important role in augmenting the stickiness of stigma and discrimination against impacted individuals. Attitudes can be tricky to measure empirically. An attitude can be defined as “an evaluation of an object in a positive or negative fashion that includes the elements of affect, cognition, and behaviour.” (Gilovich, Keltner, Chen, & Nisbet, 2013). The ‘affect’ component propounds the extent to which a person likes or dislikes an object, a therapist, themselves or similar which exudes some degree of positive or negative emotion. The “cognitions” component involves the thoughts that fortify a person’s feelings. Your attitude towards seeing a therapist, for example, how appealing or how beneficial it would be. Finally, the “behaviour” component can be described in a sense of behavioural tendency in the form of approach versus avoid. Continue reading

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