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Archive of ‘Health and Environment’ category

Educated women making educated decisions: Serena Williams childbirth story

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Have you ever seen an educated woman making uneducated decisions? No obviously, worldwide, there are still 31 million girls of primary school age out of school. According to the United Nations, only three countries have over a million girls out of school. In Nigeria there are almost five and a half million, Pakistan, over three million, and in Ethiopia, over one million girls out of school.

Educate a girl child, educate a community. This statement is factual and true, especially if you look at the life of thousands of women worldwide making a difference in their communities by the power of education.

This February, Serena Williams, undoubtedly the world’s greatest Olympics player will be gracing the cover of Vogue Magazine with her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, who at three months is also the youngest Vogue cover star ever.

In the cover story, Serena narrated how she saved herself in the hospital after the birth of her daughter. Vogue writes “The next day, while recovering in the hospital, Serena suddenly felt short of breath. Because of her history of blood clots, and because she was off her daily anticoagulant regimen due to the recent surgery, she immediately assumed she was having another pulmonary embolism. (Serena lives in fear of blood clots.) She walked out of the hospital room so her mother wouldn’t worry and told the nearest nurse, between gasps, that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away. The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. “I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”

Serena’s extraordinary courage and knowledge of her history and condition helped her to save her own life. It is estimated that 150,000 women in America to experience serious illness or near-death experiences around pregnancy every year.

Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and 99% occur in developing countries.

The link between education and maternal mortality cannot be overemphasized. An educated woman is in a better position to completely understand her body, better communicate with medical personnel and make better decisions for her unborn child.

Let us urge African leaders to pay more attention to educating the girl child. Let us urge African leaders to understand that the economy is better and maternal mortality will be drastically reduced when women are empowered and educated.

 

 

What You Should Know About Excessive Sweating on Hands and Feet

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A Surma proverb says “ A coward sweats in the water.” In Africa, sweat symbolizes strength and agility because our elders believe that he who sweats will reap.

Every human is born with approximately two million and four million sweat glands to regulate our body temperature.

Sweating is the body’s natural way of keeping our temperature at an ideal level. It is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, which means we have no control over it.

Contrary to what our elders believe, when sweat becomes excessive, it cannot be dismissed as just hardwork. The condition is called Hyperhidrosis.

Severe cases can have serious consequences, making it hard for people who suffer from it to hold a pen, grip a car steering wheel, or shake hands without wiping their palms first. There are even instances where they cannot move with bare feet because their sweaty feet stain the floor.

What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

Doctors say neurologic, endocrine, infectious, and other systemic diseases can sometimes cause hyperhidrosis, although most cases occur in people who are otherwise healthy.

Heat and emotions may also trigger hyperhidrosis in some, but many who suffer from hyperhidrosis sweat nearly all their waking hours, regardless of their mood or the weather.

How to Cure Hyperhidrosis

Dr Bets Breedt on Health24 lists Antiperspirants, Iontophoresis therapy, Prescription drugs and Surgery as part of the ways to cure Hyperhidrosis.

She says “The first step is to try an antiperspirant – but choose one that lists aluminium chloride as one of its ingredients. These form tiny plugs in the pores that temporarily block the sweat glands. They must be applied every 24 to 48 hours and you should see an improvement after three weeks.”

She also explains that a scalpel can effectively stop excessive sweating but it should be a last resort because there are always risks attached to surgery and your doctor will discuss them with you at length.

Iontophoresis therapy

Iontophoresis was introduced over 50 years ago as a treatment for excessive sweating. The procedure uses water to conduct an electric current to the skin a few times each week, for about 10-20 minutes per session, followed by a maintenance program of treatments at 1- to 3-week intervals, depending on the patient’s response. Iontophoresis treatments are absolutely painless.

Iontoderma treats hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet using iontophoresis

Studies have shown that iontophoresis machines positively treat 90% to 100% of cases where patients experience palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis.

A simple 20-minute session once a week is often all it takes to achieve a comfortable perspiration level.

Contrary to cream or medication, tap water electrotherapy machines do not rely on potentially harmful chemicals. Since excessive sweating is a lifelong condition, Iontoderma promotes the use of chemical free treatment.

An Iontoderma kit comes with power supply suitable for the most sensitive users and the heaviest of sweaters and country specific plug included in every order.

Two corrosion resistant 5052-aluminium electrodes. Gold plated connectors with high corrosion resistance and great electrical conductivity.

Gold plated banana plugs that connects directly to the electrodes connectors. Two PVC foam, die-cut, soft protection mats resistant to bacterias and fungi ensuring a comfortable and lasting treatment and a robust polypropylene plastic briefcase designed to fit all sizes of hands and feet perfect for transport and travel.

Lastly, you also get DHL Express Worldwide Shipping included, free of charge. So what are you waiting for, get Iontoderma Kit here

 

State of Midwifery Report 2017 Launched in East and Southern Africa Region

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An estimated 303,000 maternal deaths occurred globally in 2015. Nearly all of these deaths were preventable, and all of them occurred in low and middle income countries. In the same year, 2.7 million neonatal deaths and 2.6 million stillbirths occurred across the world in predominantly low and middle income countries, according to a report completed by the United Nations Maternal Mortality Estimate interagency group.

Today’s launch of the State of Midwifery Workforce in East and Southern Africa report explores how a well-trained, knowledgeable and effective health-care workface can deliver lifesaving interventions in places that are often remote and have poor infrastructure. Such interventions contribute to the reduction of maternal deaths not only in the region, but across the globe.

A well trained, regulated and motivated human resource for Sexual and Reproductive Maternal, Newborn and Adolescent Health (SRMNAH) is a cornerstone of realizing this ambitious target of ensuring every woman, girl and boy receives the effective SRMNAH services they need,” said Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

“For this to happen, it is not only workforce numbers that should be tracked; we should be able to monitor and track accessibility (fair distribution), acceptability (culturally sensitive respectful care) and quality (standard and regulated) of care. The state of midwifery report we are launching today sheds light exactly those issues,” she said.

One of the milestone achievements in the region was the huge reduction in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from 913 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 455 in 2015, representing a 50 per cent reduction, compared to 44 percent globally.

While 21 countries in the East and Southern Africa region participated in this study, the report indicates some unique contextual issues related in particular to the SRMNAH workforce of South Africa.

South Africa is the only country in the region that is able to successfully provide SRMNAH services as 100 per cent of its health-care workforce is available. South Africa has an adequate number and mix of skilled health-care providers that can cover 100 per cent of the SRMNAH need.

However, the reduction in South Africa’s maternal mortality ratio has stagnated more recently due to its high number of AIDs-related indirect maternal deaths (32 per cent). This means that, on average, 4 mothers die in the country each day due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. However, this number has the potential to be reduced to zero – if midwives and other health-care providers are deployed effectively and supported consistently.

UNFPA East and Southern Africa continues to work with governments, health-care partners and civil society to strengthen the capacity of midwives and health-care providers.

UNFPA Set To Launch State of Midwifery Report 2017 in East and Southern Africa Region

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Source: AllAfrica

The United Nation Population Fund East and Southern Africa Regional Office is set to launch State of Midwifery Report 2017 in East and Southern Africa Region in Johannesburg next Wednesday.

The State of Midwifery Report is a global series of report that particularly examined the workforce responsible for provision of Sexual Reproductive Maternal, New-born and Adolescent (SRMAH) which was published globally in 2011 and 2014.

The 2017 State of Midwifery Report for East and Southern Africa Region is part of this series of report, however focused on the 21 countries in the region.

The study has been done over a course of a year, UNFPA ESA region lead the process while substantial technical contributions has been made by partners such as World Health Organization (WHO) East and Southern Africa Region, International Confederation Of Midwives (ICM), UNFPA HQ, UNFPA Arab States Regional Office, Jhpiego, University of Southampton and University of Technology Sydney.

“It is estimated that there were 303,000 maternal deaths in the world in 2015, and nearly all of the preventable deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries Similarly,2.7 million neonatal deaths and 2.6 million still births occurred across the world in 2015 mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

“The region reduced its Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from 918 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 407 in 2015, representing a 56 per cent reduction, compared to 44 percent globally.” (Source: UN Maternal Mortality Estimate Interagency Group 2015 report.)

However, a well trained, competent, enabled and regulated health workforce is the corner stone of access to quality services.

Study Claims Only 59 per cent of Ghanaian farmers apply inorganic fertilizer

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A recent study on fertilizer application in Ghana funded by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa has revealed that only 59 per cent of farmers apply inorganic fertilizer on their farms.

The study showed that farmers in the savannah zone of Ghana were more likely to apply fertilizer than their counterparts in the forest zone because most of the soils in the north are more degraded than the south.

The proportion of farmers applying fertilizer is higher in the Upper East Region, which stood at 93.5 per cent, followed by the Northern Region with 87.5 per cent and the Brong Ahafo Region with 40.4 per cent with the Ashanti Region having the lowest rate of application of fertilizer of 22.1per cent.

Mr Charles Nyaaba, the Programmes Officer of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, who commissioned the study told Business Ghana that the study showed that the fertilizer subsidy programme achieved its objective of increasing fertilizer application to at least 50kg/ha as stated in the 2006 Abuja Declaration but in terms of increasing yields, the research could not establish that, especially as the agricultural contribution to Gross Domestic Product  had experienced a declined in recent times.

 

Inorganic fertilizer, also referred to as synthetic fertilizer, is manufactured artificially and contains minerals or synthetic chemicals.

Refined or Ruination: How Our Western Food Lifestyle is Damaging Our Health

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food

One of the rarest characters to encounter is a person who is authentic. It’s quite unfortunate but we tend to aspire to be someone or something other than ourselves. This issue appears to be an insurmountable challenge because society encourages this malady. I couldn’t agree more with Ralph Waldo Emerson “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”.

The world has become a global village and every corner of the Earth is getting civilised and this is especially true for Nigeria. And, there are benefits to this development; we can access other parts of the world and share their goods, we can form partnerships for work purposes and create rich experiences from our different world views, we enjoy perks from the developed countries and are motivated to grow together as people of the world.

However, as with every other thing, there are draw backs; we imbibe some aspects of various cultures and for the purpose of this article; my focus is on feeding habits. Nigerians have caught the bug of western civilisation and this has affected our eating habits; our portion sizes are overwhelming and our eating pattern skewed. As seemingly unimportant as food and feeding may seem, its impact is colossal to the Nation’s growth. If we must grow as a Nation, we must learn how to eat and learning how to eat though seemingly ordinary at face value is deeply connected to our level of authenticity. From years of emulating the Westerners, we have gradually lost touch with the essence of who we really are and this has shown up in our lives. We have become refined and have settled for refined foods.

The question remains; what good is it to be refined or sophisticated? To be refined is to acquire but to be authentic involves a process of separating and moving within; essence is synonymous with authenticity. Could our love for refined foods be a mere representation of our level of refinement? The generations before us were less civilised but seemed to eat whole and less processed foods; bread was made from whole and stone ground wheat, people consumed less sugar, ate more home cooked meals and lead active lives and consequently harboured fewer diseases.

Now, we feast on refined foods; pastries, soda, unhealthy snacks. We eat out more frequently and lead less active lives. Our degree of sophistication lures us to desire “Sophisticated” foods – polished rice, white bread, and sugar. We choose juice or soda over water and fries over cooked, we tend to prefer condiments over savouring the natural flavours of food, we associate eating out with class and lead sedentary lives.

Unfortunately, the full benefits accrued from eating can only come when we accept food as they come i.e. naturally without interference or changing them to suit our “sophisticated tastes”. Foods used in this state have a lot of goodies to offer. Fresh fruits are replete with vitamins that help regulate body processes and improve your level of immunity; seeds have minerals that serve as co-enzymes in body processes and in the maintenance of body balance. The outer cover of seeds and grains possess phytoestrogen and may aid in the prevention of cancer.

Lignin, a woody fibre found in the stems and seeds of fruits and vegetables and bran layer of cereals serve as antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical substances that help destroy free radicals that cause damage to the cells. Unfortunately, all these goodies are thrown away during the milling/refining process leaving us with products depleted of nutrients, products that have to be enriched to produce any significant benefit to our bodies, products that tend to contribute to the obstruction of our blood vessels and promote disease conditions.

In a research conducted by some Nigerian teaching hospitals, rural to urban migration, increased salt intake and fat intake, the consumption of processed foods, increased tobacco use and sedentary lifestyle were blamed for the rise of sudden unexpected deaths (SUD) in the country. The same studies concluded that the commonest causes of these deaths were cardiovascular system related, with 87.5 percent of the cases manifesting as hypertensive heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiac rupture and coronary atherosclerosis with thrombosis.

Fortunately, these ailments can be prevented and largely managed and treated by adopting healthy dietary practices. It’s high time we returned to our essential selves and realize that pleasure is fleeting, to remember that food is firstly for nourishment than pleasure, it’s time we look within ourselves  to dig out our relationship with ourselves and with food, it’s time to realize that food is just food and will give us nothing else but nourishment. We need to stop seeking comfort, pleasures, fulfilment e.t.c from food and retrain our taste buds to accept food in its essence – the natural form.

Nigeria has lost many eminent personalities such as former captain and coach of the Super Eagles Stephen Keshi and former Eagles coach Shuaibu Amodu and so many others to sudden unexpected deaths and other ailments that could have been prevented with appropriate diets and lifestyle.

The ball is now in your court. Are you ready to make a detour and accept food as it comes without aiming to damage it just to suit your taste buds? The choice is yours to make.

Hello! I am Clare Udeagwu. I studied Biochemistry and Nutrition. I am a freelance Nutritionist and writer and work part-time at Foodsense. I love food and struggle daily to remain a master over food and not the other way round. I am also passionate about helping people gain mastery over food as they journey through an active and fulfilling life. So, welcome on board.

Longevity? ……………… Then Eat Less

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longevity

longetivity

Food means a lot for us Nigerians and it features in many events from religious to entertainment. In as much as we love food, we have failed in practicing proper feeding habits as food abuse is a norm for Nigerians. Perhaps, due to ignorance of proper feeding habits, we as a Nation have forgotten how to eat; we are caught up in many activities, eating is often relegated to the least. Forgetting that what we consume has an impact on our longevity.

It’s not uncommon to find persons gulping a cup of tea en route work or chewing/swallowing while walking or talking. These approaches to eating are quite disturbing but more disturbing are the quantity of food we consume per meal. The picture below is not uncommon among Nigerians.

Longetivity

There are various spectrum on the band of food abuse but for the purpose of this article, I am interested in focusing on the rapacious appetite of Nigerians. Aside from the fact that I profess Nutrition, I have earned the right to discuss this topic because I have being a compulsive eater who uses food to assert control whenever life seems overwhelming to me, I also use food whenever I am not content with the moment as it is. So far, I have been working towards healing these tendencies. And there is progress as I am more conscious of my relationship with food.

As a Nation we need to realize the real purpose of food, to remember that it’s firstly for nourishment then pleasure. We need to reassess how we use food and walk toward imploring it properly. And, the first step would be to watch our intentions before eating to identify why we decide to nibble when we do and be conscious of how we do it. More importantly the portion sizes of our meals. This is pertinent because Nigerians are voracious eaters. Unfortunately, when it comes to nourishing the body, we need just a little.

An average man of 5 feet and 6 inches tall who works in a building with a flight of stairs and weights about 70kg will need just about 2000kcal, this would roughly amount to 2 cups of vegetables e.g. greens, spinach, ugu, oha, a cup of vegetable B e.g. carrots, peas, cucumber e.t.c, ½ of a medium sized pineapple, 2 glass of milk (skimmed) about 4 cubes of sugar and 5 cups of rice for a whole day; a cup is equivalent to an empty tin of peak milk. These can be distributed throughout the day to meet the required dietary needs.

Scientists show that eating less could actually be a path towards longevity. It was discovered that the two biomarkers i.e indicators of longevity — low fasting insulin level and body temperature were found in rodents whose caloric intake was restricted and it’s been speculated to be so in humans as well.

As Nigerians we tend to obtain our calories from one meal type and could get all these calories from a big bowl of eba and vegetable soup with offal and meat and most times we eat with a bottle of soda making our meals more concentrated than it should be. As a result of this types of meals and  portion sizes, we eat more than is required in a day and this is the reason for the skyrocketing rates of obesity and obesity related illness and deaths in our society.

It’s not too late to take a detour and begin to eat for the right reasons and to show prudence at the table because science has now shown that as with everything, when it comes to food, less is actually more.

Hello! I am Clare Udeagwu. I studied Biochemistry and Nutrition. I am a freelance Nutritionist and writer and work part-time at Foodsense. I love food and struggle daily to remain a master over food and not the other way round. I am also passionate in helping people gain mastery over food as they journey through an active and fulfilling life. So, welcome on board.

African Women Need to do More to Keep Our Environment Clean

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Recently I stumbled on the name Clarrise Uwineza. Clarrise is a young woman in Rwanda with a passion for Bio-technology. She found a way to turn organic waste into organic fertilizer using an innovative method.

Armed with a BSc. in Environmental Chemistry, Clarrise has found a way to empower and restore farmers by reducing organic waste in the environment and creating organic fertilizer that yields great farm produce.

In Africa, keeping the environment clean is woman’s job. Our mothers were taught how to sweep and dispose waste and they passed these lessons to us. For hundreds of years, our great grandmothers and grandmothers ensured their environment was clean.

Today in urban societies, we have forgotten these lessons. People build houses without drainage systems, people build houses with drainage systems that let out to the street. World Health Organisation reckons that in Africa 84% of urban but only 45% of rural residents have access to basic sanitation.

Poor waste disposal practices are responsible for a significant proportion of the world’s infectious disease burden. Diseases due to poor water supply, sanitation, and personal and domestic hygiene cause 4.0% of all deaths and 5.7% of all disability or ill health in the world.

Keeping your environment clean greatly contributes to good health, this is a fact we all know yet we choose to ignore.

One.org estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa faces some of the biggest challenges: only 68% of individuals living in the region have access to an improved water source and only 30% of individuals have access to improved sanitation services; nearly half of all people using unimproved sources live in sub-Saharan Africa.

 Basic sanitation practices go a long way in keeping our environment clean. As mothers, sisters and daughters, the onus lies on us to ensure there is proper disposal of waste and sewage.

Even in instances when we cannot provide the funds to make this happen, we can creatively find low cost solutions that can be adapted in our environment.

I was raised by a woman who hates dirt in any form, until her environment is clean, my mother won’t eat. So that means every morning, we have to sweep and dispose waste, my mother won’t put food in her mouth until this chore has been completed.

That is the way she was raised and that was how she raised me. I have the habit of disposing stagnant water of any form anywhere I see it even if it’s not my house. I just hate seeing stagnant water because as you know, they breed mosquitoes. This is Basic Health Science I was taught in primary school.

Little things like this can go a long way in keeping our environment clean. In the next few days, I will be interviewing Clarrise and we will be talking about our environment and how we can contribute as woman.

I think her courage should teach each and every one of us a lesson. Our environment relies on us, let us do our best to contribute to her well-being.

 

11 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep Faster

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We all love sleep, well, except someone who has never slept before and we all know that that person doesn’t exist.

Some nights, we fall asleep easily while other nights it is a battle just like the Game of Thrones.

Hopefully this little research  will help you fall asleep faster, waking up refreshed in the morning.

The sleep-wake cycle consists of 8 hours of nocturnal sleep and 16 hours of daytime wakefulness in humans.

This 8 hours of nocturnal sleep is very vital because that is the time your body readjusts itself and prepares for the next day.

Here are 11 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep Faster

  1. Keep your room cool: Your body temperature drops as your sleep, that is why you should make your room cooler. And jump start your body’s cooling process. Thus making falling asleep easier.
  2. Remove all electronics: Cultivate the habit of associating your bedroom with sleep and not watching TV, playing games, checking social media, or reading. These devices, including your phone, can engage you in non-restful activities; making it more difficult to fall asleep.
  3. Dark rooms rock: Any sort of light can disrupt melatonin levels and circadian rhythms. Make sure you room is as dark as possible. This will help you sleep better.
  4. Eliminate noise: Studies have revealed that your brain registers and processes sounds while your sleeping. Noise can jolt you from deep sleep. Causing you to wake up, shift, move, or change stages of sleep.
  5. White noise: A constant ambient sound can reduce the difference between background and loud sounds. White noise will aid you in falling asleep and staying asleep.
  6. Sleep and intimacy: Your bedroom’s only two purposes should be sleep and sex. This will condition the mind to associate your bedroom with sleep.
  7. Mattress: Make sure your mattress is right for you. Most mattresses last 9 to 10 years. Check for sagging spots and evaluate your comfort and sleep quality.
  8. Pillows: Pillows should support your neck and head. Check for lumps and sags. If you are waking up with a stiff neck most likely you are in need of a new pillow.
  9. Clean bed: Always wash your sheets, pillows, and mattresses.
  10. Make your bed: It make seem like a chore, but making your bed every morning can help you fall asleep faster.
  11. Exercise: Exercising daily will help you sleep better at night. Exercise helps reduce anxiety, stress, arousal, and depression. These emotions negatively affect sleep.