A Help for Nigeria Women and Children

9 08 2014

Niger Foundation Hospital and Diagnostic Centre (NFH) is a project of Niger Welfare Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Nigeria. NFH is a non-profit institution that has been set up to offer good quality medical care to the general. The project is meant to make a tangible contribution to the healthcare system in the country, which suffers from poor healthcare facilities. The medical care given at the hospital is based on Christian principles of respect for human dignity. The hospital strives to maintain sound ethical practices in the care of each sick person. http://www.nfh.org.ng

A community development initiative of Niger Foundation Hospital, Iwollo Rural Health Centre has the overarching goal of promoting the social, health and economic well-being of the local population, with particular reference to women and children. Amongst the services provided to Iwollo and its surrounding communities are free medical

Sochi Winter Olympics In A Dying Russia by Anne Morse

9 02 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics  In A Dying Russia  by Anne Morse

Reports of terrorist threats, human rights abuses, and general economic incompetency have already marred the opening of the 2014 winter Olympics. These failings in Russia represent the face of the greatest myth propagated this past half-century: that low-fertility creates a successful society.
Population controllers lure countries into population control programs with the promise of nice things; they promise democracy, economic prosperity, and increased longevity.[1]Russia has incredibly low fertility—1.6 children per women—but the low fertility still hasn’t delivered the good-fortune which the population controllers promised.
Russia should be a population controller’s dream come true: it has had consistently low fertility, vast amounts of natural resources and a shrinking population—in fact, Russia has shrunk by 13 million people since the 1994 winter Olympics.[2]

But instead of being the poster-child for the population control movement, Russia is instead a public health disaster.

• Russian women on average have 3 abortions for every 4 births, which is actually an improvement from their past; only since 2007 has the number of annual births in Russia outnumbered the number of annual abortions.[3]
• Russia has dangerous patterns of alcohol consumption: the average Russian consumes 10-12 gallons of vodka per year (that’s a half cup of vodka per day).[4]
• Suicide rates in Russia are 2-3 times higher than in the US or Europe: they have the second highest rate of male suicide in the world, and their female suicide rate is also among the top ten worst in the world.[5]
• The average Russian lives only 70 years. Russian men fare even worse with an average life expectancy of a mere 64 years.[6]
• Among countries with more than a million people, Russia has the highest divorce rate in the world.

Russia remains a cold, desolate country which population controllers like to ignore because it remains a glaring exception to their claims.
Population controllers claim that low-fertility promotes economic equality: they claim that having lots of children keeps a woman in poverty [8] They say rich women have fewer children, and having few children keeps a woman in prosperity. By giving contraception to the poor, population controllers claim that they can reduce economic inequality. Nowhere does this claim seem more ludicrous than in Russia. The per capita income in Russia is only $17,500, but inequality is thriving; 35% of Russia’s wealth is owned by only 110 people.[9]
Population controllers claim that low-fertility promotes democracy: population controllers claim that “populations with excessive numbers of young people invite a higher risk of political violence and civil strife.[10]Yet Russia has had fertility below replacement level since 1965 and has endured an abundance of political and civil strife since the 1960’s.[11] Even now, Russia is not democratic, but strains under rampant electoral fraud and a repressed press.[12]
When people think of the political and economic situation in Russia, their first reaction is not: “How odd that Russia has struggled, since it has had such low-fertility!” but they do think of the many problems Russia struggled with in the past half century: changing regimes, wars, rampant corruption, and deep economic depression. This intuitive response to Russia’s problems stands in stark contrast to population control ideology, and it illuminates the reason why population controllers remain puzzled by Russia. It also highlights the flaws with their most basic assumptions about fertility: population statistics are not like other statistics. Population statistics are simply numbers representing unique, unrepeatable individuals in the aggregate, and these unique individuals have their own intellect, imagination, and free will.
It is this human free will and ingenuity that makes humanity the world’s most valuable resource. It is also the reason why even countries with healthy fertility struggle; sometimes humans make really bad policy decisions. But low fertility does not ensure prosperity, democracy, or equality. Only humans can choose to ensure prosperity, and Russia is running out of them.

[1]Potts, Malcolm, et al. “Niger: Too little, too late.” International perspectives on sexual and reproductive health 37.2 (2011): 95-101.
[2]International Programs. – Information Gateway. United States Census Bureau, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2014. .
[3] United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. .
[4] Leon, David A., Vladimir M. Shkolnikov, and Martin McKee. “Alcohol and Russian mortality: a continuing crisis.” Addiction104.10 (2009): 1630-1636.
[5] Pridemore, William Alex, Mitchell B. Chamlin, and Evgeny Andreev. “Reduction in male suicide mortality following the 2006 Russian alcohol policy: an interrupted time series analysis.” American journal of public health 103.11 (2013): 2021-2026.
[6] “Central Intelligence Agency.” The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2013. .
[7] United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. .
[8] Kremer, Michael, and Daniel L. Chen. “Income distribution dynamics with endogenous fertility.” Journal of Economic growth7.3 (2002): 227-258.
[9] Synovitz, Ron. “Russia Has Highest Level Of Wealth Inequality.”RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 10 Oct. 2013. .
[10] Cincotta, Richard P. “How democracies grow up.” Foreign Policy 165 (2008): 80-82.
[11]United Nations. Department of Economic. World population prospects: The 2004 Revision: Volume I: comprehensive tables. No. 244-246. United Nations Publications, 2006.
[12] Fish, Steve M. Democracy Derailed in Russia. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.

Australian researchers have found a drug that is effective in preventing breast cancer.

13 12 2013

Australian researchers have found a drug that is effective in preventing breast cancer.

Professor Christobel Saunders from the University of Western Australia is one of the chief researchers in an international study which found that anastrozole drug could cut the risk of breast cancer in many women, with an extra benefit that it has few side effects, reported Xinhua.

Hundreds of post-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer participated in the study.

The study found that post-menopausal women who took anastrozole for five years reduced their chance of developing breast cancer by 50 percent.

Saunders said the discovery in the study could benefit future generations of women.

“The findings from this research may provide a new approach to prevent breast cancer, not only for women today, but also for their daughters and granddaughters in the future,” Saunders said in a statement.
From Business standard

A Few Arguments Against Tattoos By THEODORE DALRYMPLE

13 12 2013

An editorial in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine drew attention to the outbreak of skin infection caused by tattooing.

The bacteria that cause the infection are of the same family as that which causes tuberculosis. They are difficult to detect, grow in culture, or treat.
The infecting bacteria can be transmitted even where the tattoo “artist” practices the strictest hygiene, for it is the inks that have been contaminated before use from sources such as water. Like one or two other doctors I know who detest tattoos and all that they stand for, I confess (somewhat guiltily) to having experienced a little Schadenfreude as I read the editorial: for doctors are not supposed to feel pleasure at anyone’s illness, however contracted and however much deserved.
If only the American economy had grown at the rate as what the New England Journal calls the “tattoo industry”! The world would be in much better economic shape, for according to the Journal the proportion of American adults who have at least one tattoo has risen from 14 percent in 2008 (already much increased from days gone by) to 21 percent today. Fifty percent growth in four years! Not even China could match it.
Nor is this a merely American trend: a friend of mine, a professor of pharmacology, recently visited a university town in Sweden to give a lecture and was surprised to find that practically all the young people there were tattooed. The small town in France near where I live now has at least two tattoo parlors; I was recently in Gloucester, England, where I counted eleven; and a New Zealand doctor-friend of mine, who specializes in treating adolescents, tells me that half of young New Zealanders now have tattoos. The wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron has a tattoo on her ankle.

Presumably the social significance of tattoos has changed somewhat. In 1913, Dr. Charles Goring (father of the distinguished actor Marius Goring), a prison doctor, published a vast compendium of statistical information about criminals called The English Convict, in which he wrote:
It was originally asserted by Lombroso [the famous Italian doctor, anthropologist and criminologist], and the statement has been confirmed by observers, that the criminal displays an inordinate tendency to tattoo his body — the tendency being regarded as an atavistic revival of the love of ornate display which characterises the savage.
Goring also found that the tattooing among criminals was inversely proportional to their intelligence.
But that was in 1913; educational progress has since been immense. The Journal therefore did not comment on the cultural side of the question, on the sudden mass outbreak of extreme bad taste, but dealt only with its health aspects, for example on the ways in which tattooing might be made even safer than it is now:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reaching out to health care providers, public health officials, consumers, and the tattoo industry to improve awareness, diagnosis, and reporting (through the MedWatch program) in order to develop more effective measures for tattoo ink-related public health problems.
Once the tattoo industry has been successfully reached out to, we can safely predict the next stage: publicly funded programs of tattoo removal. How long will it be before there is an editorial drawing our attention to the psychologically damaging effects of unwanted tattoos? And where Psyche comes, can Soma be far behind? Cost-benefit analysis will clearly show the advantages of tattoo removal, from greater self-esteem to better employment prospects.

Theodore Dalrymple. “A Few Arguments Against Tattoos. ” Pajamas Media (September 3, 2012).
Reprinted with permission of Theodore Dalrymple.
Pajamas Media began in 2005 as an affiliation of 90 of the most influential weblogs on the Internet. They were linked together as an advertising network, but the intention was to provide a significant alternative to mainstream media.

The Next big thing in Africa By Chinwuba Iyizoba

20 04 2013

The Next big thing in Africa

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

On Ash Wednesday, the 36th session of IFAD’s Governing Council convened in Rome with a focus on the power of partnerships to reduce rural poverty and ensure food security worldwide and Africa was once again on the agenda. In an address delivered by Pope Benedict XVI to the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)Mr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, one can see that Africa’s food problem is the Pope’s great concern. The Holy Father thanked the Organization for the constant attention given to Africa and the supporting projects of “rural credit” with which IFAD aims to endow small farmers with modest but essential financial resources to empower them.

In Africa, big farms are often divided amongst children as inheritance, sometimes leaving each a patch, large enough to grow a handful of corn. Collectivizing these small farms into large holders could breed trouble, unless the government intervenes. But many African governments do not invest in agriculture. Thus small holder farms represent 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa and contribute up to 90 per cent of production in some countries. At the meetings in the Ethiopian capital last year, the IFAD President said that smallholder farmers are at the centre of any plan for post-2015 and a key challenge IFAD is helping build the capacity of smallholder farmers and their organizations so that they can become viable rural businesses, particularly for women and young people who shoulder the future of African smallholder farming.

In Nigeria, at least, the Holy father’s concerns are already being addressed, thanks to the Harambe initiative, a non-profit organization aimed at helping hardworking and ambitious youths to see opportunities in farming, train them to start smallholder farms and support already existing small holder farms in their local community. According to 25 years old Tola Sunmonu, the President of Harambe Nigeria and graduate of Stanford University, California, “We intend to provide the necessary information to get young people to start thinking about agriculture as a lucrative career. Rebuilding of the agriculture sector is one of the smartest strategies towards rebuilding the Nigerian economy. We believe that the sector is extremely undervalued and there are a lot of opportunities available, especially for hardworking and ambitious youth.”

But this is not an easy task considering that young people in Africa are often averse to farming as observed by Ezekwesili Oby, Vice President for the World Bank’s Africa Region. “Africans do not want to be the farmers their grandparents were: hoe in hand, tilling the soil in scorching sun all year round, harvesting barely enough to feed, shelter and house their families,” she said, “making the sector more attractive to the African youth – seven-to-ten million of whom join the labor force each year – must entail modernizing agriculture, raising productivity, boosting incomes, and expanding links to export markets.”

Before 1970, many Nigerians were farmers, and Agriculture contributed more than 75 percent of export earnings. Northern Nigeria, though the least educated at that time was in the fore front of agriculture with gigantic ground-nut pyramids dotting the skyline. By the mid-1990s, agriculture’s share of exports had declined to less than 5 percent, due to the neglect. In the North, rolling pastures have gave way to arid fields, and swathes of Muslims youths took up Islamic militancy, hundreds thrive on government contract and thousands of families rely on state governments food hand-out.

“It is essential to provide farmers with solid formation, constant updating and technical assistance in their activity, as well as support for initiatives to build associations and cooperatives capable of proposing effective models of production…some peoples could greatly improve upon the conditions of their life if they would change over from antiquated methods of farming to the new tech,” the holy father said.

But the directors of Harambe initiative has already heeded the Holy father logic by integrating farming with the IT industry, a mix that has the potential of attracting young people by getting rid of the stigma that often associates farmers with the illiterate. It has a website called the Farmland which provides resources that give young people access to the skills, network and capital that they need to establish themselves in the sector. Harambe provide resources that give young people access to the skills, network and capital that they need to establish themselves in the sector in some cases. “Our main project is the Harambe Incubator for Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (HISARD),” says Tola. HISARD comprises a two-year scholarship program in which selected students engage in extensive training and research which they use to develop and implement innovative solutions to the agricultural problems facing the small holders farms in local communities.

“If you ask me what the next ‘big thing’ in Africa will be, I’d say without hesitation agriculture and agri-business,” Ezekwesili said at an investor forum organized by Africa investor, in 2010. But Government yet still needs to do its part. It needs to guarantee land rights for farmers, ensuring that large commercial farms – which are bound to employ fewer people — co-exist with the millions of smallholder farms.”

According to Ezekwesili, smallholder farmers must gain access, not only to more productive seeds and other farm inputs, but also to finance, irrigation, research and technology. Equally important are land reforms, the building and maintenance of adequate infrastructure (farm- to-market roads, for example), and the implementation of effective post harvest marketing strategies.

Even in Rwanda, the Holy Father’s logic resonates. Addressing the 35th session of the Governing Council, last year, Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda said, “If the world is to meet the twin objectives of feeding the growing population and protecting the environment we will have to do what we know works…and that is targeted support and investment in smallholder farming to raise agricultural productivity, contribute to food security and reduce poverty, while protecting our planet.” Using Rwanda’s experience, Kagame said that the world’s growing population can get enough food only if smallholder farmers have access to basic modern farming tools including fertilizers, improved seeds and professional advices. What is clear is that in the absence of strong government like Rwanda, non government organization like Harambe might be the only hope of other African countries.

Finally, though the United Nations Food Agency, distributes food vouchers worth millions of dollar to Africans every year, the Holy Fathers vision, like axiom that says “give a child fish, he eats for a day, teach him to fish, he eats for life”, offers a more enduring solution to Africa’s food problems.

Chinwuba Iyizoba is an Engineer. He is also the author of “ After the Juju Man


Bleak Stories Behind Failed Condom Lines

1 01 2012

Bleak stories behind failed condom campaigns

Sub-Saharan Africa has two-thirds of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases. So you would think that Western journalists and politicians might condescend to ask us what we think about how to fight AIDS. But they haven’t. A pity, because they would have found that many of us support Pope Benedict XVI’s scepticism about the effectiveness of distributing condoms. Read More


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