More than 70 health journalists, writers, and bloggers from India participated in the 5th National Health Writers and Editors Convention which was organized by HEAL Foundation and held at Radisson Hyderabad Hitec City.
So what exactly is the HEAL Foundation and what does it do? Well, this foundation which aims for a healthy and aware India started as Health Essayists and Authors League. It provides much-needed communication between the spectrum of journalists, health communicators, research scientists, doctors, and policymakers. R Shankar is the Chairperson, Organizing Committee, HEAL Health Writers Convention while Swadeep Srivastava is the Founder of HEAL Foundation. Umraopati Ray is the Executive Director.
Through interesting and informative panel discussions and workshops conducted by esteemed dignitaries of healthcare and media, Q and A, quiz and a site visit to Medtronic, the convention was highly successful in knowledge and capacity building.
On the first day of the convention, C Laxma Reddy, Health & Medical Minister, Government of Telangana was awarded the HEAL Health Honour for his work and effort in innovating health infrastructure in the public sector. Other stalwarts of the healthcare industry in India were also presented with HEAL Health Honours.
It was an eye-opener for me to learn about the rampant use of chemicals and additives in food and how unaware we are of them. For example- did you know that class 1 hazardous pesticides banned in many countries are still in use in India? The need of the hour is definitely food safety.
Another topic which I was personally interested in dealing with food fortification. If you wish to know whether food is fortified, then look for the plus sign on the packaging which denotes fortification. Commonly used food ingredients like oil, milk, salt and wheat flour are being fortified.
I learned that Vitamin A, iron and iodine deficiency is the highest deficiencies in the Indian population and hence the immediate need for fortified food. The importance of labeling and what buyers should read on labels and their meaning was also discussed.