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Archive of ‘Health and Environment’ category

Everything you should know about baby proofing your home

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baby proofing a house

You have to ensure that your home is a safe haven for your baby, both newborns and toddlers. It’s really hard to tell where your baby will get to once he starts crawling or walking, this the reason why you must baby proof.

The first step to baby proofing a house is to find the time to do it. You have to find a way to create that time to baby proof each room. It’s better you do it yourself because you can’t entrust the help with that task.

Here is all you need to know about baby proofing the house.

Doors

  • Use doorstops and door holders to protect babies’ tiny fingers.

Electrical outlets, cords, and appliances

  • Put safety plugs or outlet covers over unused outlets or block it with furniture.
  • Hide electrical cords behind furniture.
  • Keep Iron, toasters, and other appliances unplugged and out of reach.

Preventing falls

  • Never leave your baby alone on beds or sofas or in any other spot she could fall from.
  • Use window guards, window stops, and safety netting on windows.
  • Install safety gates at the bottom and top of your stairs.

Fire prevention

  • Install a smoke detector
  • Check batteries in smoke detectors monthly.
  • Constantly review your fire escape route

Car

  • Keep children in rear-facing car seat; until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.
  • Install car seat properly, in rear-facing position in middle of backseat.

Changing table

  • Use the safety strap and don’t leave your baby unattended.
  • Keep toiletries out of your baby’s reach but within yours.

Crib

  • Don’t use soft, fluffy bedding such as pillows under sleeping or napping babies.
  • When baby gets up on hands and knees, remove mobiles and hanging toys.
  • When baby pulls up, put mattress in lowest position.
  • Don’t leave toys in crib when your baby is sleeping.

No Go Areas

  • Keep knives, breakables, heavy pots, and other dangerous items locked up or out of reach.
  • Control access to unsafe areas with safety gates and door locks
  • Secure the refrigerator with the key, every refridgerator comes with one
  • Don’t use tablecloths or place mats — babies can pull them and anything on them down.

Furniture

  • Anchor a flat-screen TV with safety straps or mount it on a wall so it can’t fall on your baby.
  • Keep heavy items that can topple on low, sturdy furniture, pushed back as far as possible.

Poison-proofing

  • Move cleaning agents, medicines, hand sanitizer, toiletries,  laundry soap, and other potentially toxic items out of reach or lock them up.

Toilet

  • Install a toilet-seat lock to prevent drowning.

Toys

The safest toys:

  • Are securely put together and in good condition.
  • Have no buttons, eyes, beads, ribbons, or other pieces a baby could pull off and choke on.
  • Are not too heavy (if a toy would harm a baby if it fell on him, it’s too heavy).
  • Have no strings or cords longer than 12 inches.
  • Are appropriate for a baby’s age and physical skills, toy comes with age appropraite descriptions.
  • Can’t be hung (or anything else) around a baby’s neck.

Water safety

  • Don’t leave babies unattended even for a moment in or near a swimming pool, jacuzzi or other water.
  • Erect fencing around pools at least 4 feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Don’t leave even small amounts of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids in buckets or other containers unattended round the house.

Window safety

  • Cut off or tie up dangling cords on drapes and blinds.
  • Mark sliding doors and other expanses of glass with colorful stickers.
  • Keep your baby away from open windows nd balcony.

Women are more prone to STIs – Physician

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A Physician, Dr David Bawa, says women are more prone to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) due to their anatomy.

Bawa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that women were more susceptible to infections due to the open structure of their genitals.

“A woman’s anatomy alone makes her more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections than a man.

“Unlike the relatively thick skin of the male organ, a woman’s cervical is covered by a thin, more delicate mucous membrane that more easily allows viruses and bacteria to pass through and cause infection.

“The vagina is also a warm and moist environment, an environment that could encourage bacteria to grow when they find their way in.

“STIs are the second most common burden of diseases in tropical Africa, commonly found in women,’’ he said.

He noted that most STIs were treatable while some have no cure.
“ Treating STIs means suppressing the organism causing the virus that such a person could live a healthy live,’’ the physician said.

Bawa decried the way most women claimed to have toilet infection, saying that medically, such claims are unacceptable while some were more prone due to bad personal hygiene.
“There is nothing like toilet infection, it is either an STI or an auto infection meaning infecting one’s self as a result of bad personal hygiene.

“Cleaning the anus down to the vagina, thereby moving the bacteria load from the anus to other parts of the body which could result to an infection.

“STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea, if unnoticed and untreated, could lead to a condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women.

“PID could lead to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that develops in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus). It could also cause infertility in women,’’ he warned. (NAN)

Rats eat N17 Million banknotes inside Automated Teller Machine

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Hindustan Times reports that notes worth more than 1.2m rupees (£13,300; $17,600) had been shredded by rats in the Indian state of Assam.

Police claim that the rodents probably entered the machine through a hole for wiring. One of the pictures showed a dead rodent lying in the debris.

One of the police officials, Prakash Sonowal said that the machine had been out of action for about 12 days.

Technicians who took the ATM apart found banknotes of 2,000 and 500 rupee denominations destroyed. They managed to salvage another 1.7m rupees.

 

Owning a Water Bottle will end plastic pollution

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plastic pollution

plastic pollution

When was the last time you disposed a plastic bottle.

Yesterday I guess, you just finished drinking water and you threw it on the floor or in a bin.

For over 50 years, global production and consumption of plastics have continued to rise.

About  299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years.

Plastic consumption is to reach 297.5 million tons by the end of 2015 and we are in 2018.

Plastic is quit versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive.

Durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power.

We are increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has become a combination of lethal nature.

The World Enviroment day 2018 theme was Beat Plastic Pollution.

UN Environment even teamed up with Litterati, a data science company that has created a powerful tool to help people to clean up the planet.

All you need to do is to download the Litterati app, use it to record the plastic items and brands you find.

You do know that owning a water bottle will drastically reduce your plastic use and in your own little way contribute to beating plastic pollution.

 

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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environment clean environment clean Photo Credit: http://ichef.bbci.co.uk[/caption%5D

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.

 

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