Dr. Kowsar answers your local queries

Hello Lambeth,
I am Dr Hoque and my monthly surgery is open to discuss issues that affect your life in Lambeth. Just like the diverse people who live in this multicultural community, my own background is one of contradictions. I was born into the hospitality industry but I trained as a surgeon at University College London. I have businesses and social interests across Lambeth. I am the owner of Kennington Tandoori, which has been in our family for thirty-five years. Through my experiences of medicine and hospitality, I have learned to appreciate and observe people from all walks of life. I look forward to answering your letters and emails every month. I will be taking advice from a panel of professionals, who are leaders of their respective industries, from a fashion director to senior judges, MPs to heads of religious organisations, and together we will tackle issues arising from life in Lambeth.

Dear Dr Hoque,
My partner often visits her 103-year-old friend in an old people’s home where she lives. On the occasions I join her I often notice there are many old people who never seem to have visitors, which greatly saddens me. What is the best way to befriend and visit old people who may be lonely in the Lambeth area. Can you recommend any local organisations I could contact?

Dear Caring Citizen,
I am so pleased to read of your partner’s kind deeds towards the very lucky 103-year-old. It is clear from your letter that you’re very keen to help. One possible approach is to channel that enthusiasm into direct action: visit the nursing home when your partner does and let the staff know you’re keen to visit and support the elderly.
You could also consider visiting St Anselm’s Church to see whether there are any events or opportunities planned to help those of advanced age in the community. Lambeth Council and Age UK have programmes too. Providing you meet their requirements, I am sure they will be delighted with your help.

Dear Dr Hoque,
I am a regular user of Kennington Park and as such often witness dog owners not picking up the little presents their dogs leave behind. Is it true that doggie doodoo can be very harmful to children if they come in contact with it and how can we get people to be more responsible and pick up yesterday’s digested dinner?

Dear Friend,
I share your annoyance at dog owners who do not give a faecal matter about the deposit their chums make.
Just to put things in perspective, on average, dogs defecate twice a day, which adds up to about fourteen piles of poop in just one week – all from one dog. That excrement has around the same amount of bacteria as fourteen wheelbarrow-loads of combined human poop, cow poop and horse poop. Dog faeces can contain parvovirus, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, threadworms, campylobacter, giardia and coccidia. If left unattended, these parasites, bacteria and viruses can contaminate water and soil, and can infect both pets and humans, especially vulnerable young children playing close to contaminated areas.
We all need to act responsibly and clean up after our pets for our health and that of our neighbours, as well as to protect natural wildlife and our local ecosystem.

Dear Dr Hoque,
I am a Kennington resident. Since the building works began at the new American Quarter on Nine Elms I and a number of my neighbours have experienced a significant increase in mouse and rat activity. I am told the building and groundworks destroyed a lot of rodent homes, so they have moved into the area. While I know the area has become far more desirable, these are new residents we could do without.
What is the best way of preventing our little friends gaining entrance in the first place? When they do get in, what are the best ways of getting rid of them?

Dear Resident,
You will be surprised by the number of times this topic has surfaced. Living in London we are never too far from our furry neighbours.
First and foremost, councils should ensure they have an ongoing plan to keep on top of this problem. Of course, it doesn’t help when there have been large reductions made to council services. We all need to raise this matter collectively with our local councillors. For acute problems in Lambeth Council-owned properties or those of housing associations, there should be an in-house service available. For privately owned homes a professional pest company is recommended, as it is rarely possible to eradicate this problem without professional assistance.
In the meantime, we all have a responsibility to keep our neighbourhood clean and tidy. Food debris should not be left in the streets or in open bins, and we should endeavour to ensure our homes and places of work are kept clean and take full responsibility in disposing refuse in the correct manner.

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