Public Speaking: What are You Afraid of?

Communications January 27, 2022 161

By Pearl Utuk

Standing before a room full of people can make you suddenly realize what a bad idea having that beautiful cup of tea this morning was. Thoughts of your inadequacies and how Mr Y or Miss G will always be the best person for such a daunting task, would begin to torment you. Next thing you know, sweat is pouring out of glands you didn’t even know you had.

Stop. Breath in. Hold it in. Breath out slowly. (Seriously, do it!)

Pearl Utuk gives a presentation on the poor state of PHCs in administrating COVID vaccines

What are you really afraid of? 

Stammering? Your mind suddenly going blank? Fear of not being good enough? Fear that you do not really understand the subject matter? Fear of being ridiculed by your audience? Once you have been able to appropriately identify the source of your fears, you have solved your own problems by 50%. Congratulations. 

Let me share my story. 

In October 2021, I was asked to represent my organisation (CODE) at a congregation of health experts from around the world with focus on the African Continent- Global Emerging Pathogens Treatments Consortium (GET-Africa) Conference. You see, we had just concluded the first phase of COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) in 7 African Countries. I was the Programme Officer for Nigeria where we had tracked the State of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) so it made sense that I should present the findings of the PHC campaign at the conference. 

But hey! I’m not talking about a bunch of development professionals or to children in underdeveloped communities where I could just be myself and enjoy humanity in its most basic form. I’m talking about top guns like the Nigerian Ministry of Health, WHO, a United Nations body (UNODA), NPHCDA, the Lagos State Governor, the marines and many other “adults”. The child in me began whimpering. I began hyperventilating and sweating despite the cold blast of the air conditioning. 

CODE had spent a lot of money bringing me to that conference and like it or not, I was going to deliver and so I became my own shrink. I spoke to myself in the mirror for at least a week, I practiced my presentation, I even inserted a joke in my opening. 

When I got to the hall, I made myself look into each of their faces. I saw them for the flawed humans they are. These magnificent and brilliant minds that have issues of their own. No, they do not have life all figured out. They take chances just like me and they hope with bated breaths that they made the right choice, just like me. They feel pain and joy, they laugh and cry (well, most of them do). And when they go home, they take off their magnificent regalia and put on shorts and slippers too. 

A beautiful realization hit me soon after. They were all waiting with expectation for my presentation! And so with my head held high and shoulders squared, I climbed the podium and began with “I am not a medical professional. I am an activist…” I spoke with the voice of one who had witnessed the poor and sick who have no choice but to utilize dysfunctional, substandard PHCs, hustling for COVID-19 vaccines that were being hoarded by personnel.

The ovation that followed that presentation still rings in my ear if I listen closely. 

Back to you. So when preparing for that daunting presentation, practice! Commit yourself to understanding the subject matter, know your audience, dress the part, read the tone of the room and adjust your presentation accordingly, and finally, remember to breathe. You’ve got this!

Ending Open Defecation in Nigeria: How Realistic is it?

Titus Tukurah December 6, 2019 0

Kevwe Precious Oghide

A major concern in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on Water Sanitation and Hygiene Is how to end Open Defecation by 2030. How realistic is this?

Nigeria is suffering from a defecation problem. Defecating in the open is one of the leading devastating menaces to public health in Nigeria. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that about 122,000 Nigerians, including 87,000 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhoea, intestinal worm infections, cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and other preventable sanitation-related illnesses.

Although access to clean sanitation facilities has improved significantly, due to increased funding and efforts by UNICEF, the European Union, and other global development agencies working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); the results are still far from quantifiable. Over two-third of Nigeria’s population suffer from poor hygiene and live without access to necessary sewage and sanitation facilities. And without proper sanitation facilities, people have no choice than to defecate in open and unsafe places, attracting unwanted health hazards and safety problems, especially for women and children.

Clean Nigeria Logo

Today, Nigeria suffers not only from poor hygiene but inadequate medical care, a menace that is linked to poverty. Thus, eradicating open defecation is an important part of efforts to reduce poverty. The general population forgo hand washing after using the toilet due to sanitation ignorance, lack of proper water supply systems and poorly maintained facilities. With the gaps in sanitation infrastructure, Nigerians can only dream of simple toilet facilities.

One prevalent challenge to ending open defecation is not just erecting sanitation structures or providing clean and safe toilets but changing people’s behaviour from choosing farm fields, railways, motor parks, stadiums, highways, streets, roads, playgrounds, bushes, forests and water bodies, to using the toilets. Many rural dwellers, for instance defecate in the open, not necessarily because they do not have access to toilets but because of deep-rooted cultural practices. How do we create awareness of the dangers and detrimental health effects of this practice? How can we share information that will spur behavioural change in an effort to bridge the gap between poor sanitation and the proper use of toilets? There is a mother in a grassroots community who cleans her baby’s faeces, rinses her hands, and continues cooking, though her hands are not thoroughly washed. There is a child who defecates in a corner and goes back to eating his meal nearby. There is a girl who goes to the bush to defecate and is at risk of rape, kidnap or death. The health and safety implications are terrifying.

Although the Nigerian Government is making conscious efforts to prioritize sanitation, with the launch of Clean Nigeria, the results are not encouraging. Many Nigerians understand the need for clean water but knowledge of sanitation is a far cry. 

Girl fetching water in Gandiya Community in Kano State

To achieve an Open Defecation Free (ODF) society, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources must prioritize sanitation, especially at a time when the country faces the challenge of standard and adequate medical facilities. While the need for clean water and sanitation, particularly in grassroots areas is understood, the relevant government, international development agencies and civil society groups must begin an urgent nationwide sensitization campaign about the necessity of proper sanitation and good hygiene practice as this has a significant impact on healthy living. To be fair, some humanitarian organisations like UNICEF, USAID, EU and Connected Development [CODE] have taken up this cause but it requires the efforts of every Ministry, Institution, the private sector, donor agencies and even individuals to make ODF a reality in Nigeria. Of the 774 Local Governments in the country, only ten are Open Defecation Free. Bauchi, Benue, Cross River and Jigawa State account for the ten LGAs that are leading the drive towards an ODF Nigeria.

It is worthy of note that Nigeria loses about 1.3% (N455 billion) of its GDP annually to poor sanitation as a result of illness, low productivity, loss of earning opportunities and other factors. Ending open defecation in Nigeria can mop up this economic loss.

To urgently tackle Open Defecation, relevant Ministries must set up strong sanitation policies and make budget provisions that reach even the most remote grassroots areas. Nigeria needs a separate budget line for sanitation with a special allocation to end open defecation and put measures in place for accountable spending. CODE, through its social accountability movement, Follow The Money, can track funding in the fight to end open defecation and ensure that monies disbursed for the cause are judiciously utilised. The government needs to initiate bills/laws to promote sanitation and take urgent action to implement an open defecation roadmap at State and Local Government levels. Corporate Organisations should prioritize sanitation in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) —they can make budget allowances for erecting mobile toilets, repairing broken facilities, providing water supply to improve the practice of proper sanitation, in urban areas. There is a need to adopt all necessary means to sensitize the public on the importance of sanitation and hygiene. It is not enough to provide clean and safe toilets but also to change behaviours as a means to bridge the gap between building latrines and their proper use.

In 2014, India began an intentional and aggressive nationwide campaign to stop 623million of its population from practising Open Defecation. Today, India has recorded 94% success rate. If India, with its very large population can achieve this, so can Nigeria. 

Kevwe Precious Oghide is the Communications Lead at Connected Development [CODE]. She has a profound appreciation for great humanitarian service, demonstrates high ethical standards and has an outstanding record of generating high impact results through creativity and collaboration.
Reach her via Kevwe@connecteddevelopment.org

Press Release: Government Should Scale-Up Primary Health Care Service Delivery Nationwide

Hamzat Lawal November 16, 2016 0

A leading NGO Connected development [CODE] has called on government at all level to take up one of its responsibilities by ensuring proper facilities are put in place in various primary health care centers in Nigeria.

Following the release of $1.5million dollars from World Bank to the 36 states respectively including the Federal Capital Territory as part of the World Bank supported “Save One million Lives” the Follow the Money team of CODE visited 6 states respectively to assess the state of the PHCs to track the implementation of these funds. These states are Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Kano, Kogi, Osun and Yobe.

Findings from the field visit to each of the states are appalling as most of the Primary Health Centres are facing several reprehensible and elementary challenges. Generically, most of them have no improved water supply, electricity, security, quarters for hospital staffers; there is no stationed doctor, and the toilet facilities are in a mess. Furthermore, because of these challenges, the PHCs do not operate 24/7, cannot admit or treat sick people and lack sufficient tables & chairs.

Some key Findings:

In Kano

Follow The money team visited Kantudu in Makoda LGA of Kano State. They found out that the PHC serves 2,500 people, all coming from 13 surrounding villages. The PHC was built 5-6 years ago as a senatorial project in Makoda LGA. The PHC has one male and female ward, which are not presently functioning. There are only three staffers with one community health worker who are not certified health professionals.

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During the interactive section with the head of community Alhaji Muhammad Musa, and the community association said that they have reached out to the government of Kano twice on the state of the health centre in Kantudu, but there was no response. “We hope this campaign with ONE and CODE will make the government of Kano look at the plight of our health center so that our people can start using it” says Malam Ali, the medical head at the PHC.

In Yobe State

We were in Lantenwa, Yobe where a Primary Health Care is in a messy situation. The PHC in Lantenwa is in Lantewa village, Lantewa ward, Tarmuwa LGA. It serves a population of 13,400 under 5 yrs; 10-15 patients daily, 70-105 weekly. Speaking to the head community ,AuduLantewa, mentioned that the dispensary has been dilapidated for more than 7 years, he added that dispensary situation is critical and he personally reported the issue to local authorities several times. He further lamented that “Lantewa is the gathering centre of four neighbouring with approximately 7,000 registered voters, as such, we should get better things from the government” he said

In Kogi State

We went to the PHC to find out if the implementation of the fund is ongoing as well as to track the implementation of the N10.5 million earmarked by the National Primary Health care Development Agency for the rehabilitation of the PHC. On reaching there, there was no such intervention taking place. The Officer in Charge (OIC) said it was the first time she was hearing of such. The village head whom we paid a courtesy visit to also said he has never heard of such. We then went to the Operational Base of the NsitIbom LGA’s Health Centres and the Director of the base told us that she has never heard of such fund for the PHC’s rehabilitation30817372226_364e4ee1b1_n

In Osun State

Our team went on ground to track the $1.5m earmarked by the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Saving One Million Lives Initiative and all we could see while on the field is nothing to write home about. From our findings, the facility is meant to serve 11 villages which are: Gboore, Alajue-Logun, Asunmo, Ayegbami, Agbopa, Jagun-Odomu, Olodan, Aladie, Amosun, Seesa, Akiribiti amongst others. In total, the target population which the facility is meant to serve is 12,498. 498 of the population are children less than one year, the Primary Health Care Centre has a monthly target of 42 patients, but it ends up serving more than 400 on an average.

Consequently, a Freedom of Information letters was sent to the concerned government institutions and offices for a breakdown of the funds usage, implementation window and respective contractors, especially the governmental institutions concerned, to instantaneously start the implementation of these funds, ensure transparency & accountability in the funds’ implementation, and make government data open in line with the Open Government Partnership.

Follow The Money is a growing movement currently in 32 states of the country, held community outreaches to 10 primary health facilities in Kano, Yobe, Osun, and found out that all were in a state of dysfunction, even with the funds that have been released to the states to upgrade the primary health care “Most of the Clinic at the PHC in the 5 states that our community reporters visited were in an abandoned state, lacks basic healthcare amenities and needs urgent attention to serve people at local communities.” affirmed Hamzat Lawal, CODE’s Chief Executive & Co-Founder, Follow The Money.   

He stressed that annually, over 70,000 children below age 5 in Nigeria die due to poor access to healthcare and sanitation-related illnesses (UNICEF). Lawal urged government actions to serve the people by improving better service delivery while ensuring transparency and accountability.

More pictures can be found here https://flic.kr/s/aHskNiNznP

 

My Journey Towards Greatness In CODE by Nkem Iroala

Hamzat Lawal August 16, 2016 6

My father was sent on a diplomatic mission to South Africa, which availed me the opportunity to travel to SA, but I kept in touch with my home country. While abroad, I studied Bcom Financial Management at Varsity College South Africa. I have always wanted to gain my first work experience in my beloved country.

I was having a concise discussion with my sister about doing something that will keep me busy, and empower me positively when I return to Nigeria before I go for my National Youth Service. She then told me about CODE, and I was immediately drawn to the idea of working for CODE as I got more knowledge on the amazing work that they do. She immediately put a call through Hamzat Lawal who is the CEO of Connected Development and told him that I was interested in doing my summer internship with his organization, he replied by telling her I should send him my CV and Cover Letter. A week later when I returned to Nigeria, I sent my CV and cover letter to Hamzat, who replied with an appointment on Monday by 11am. I felt excited, so I went through the organization website and did some reading to get to know more about CODE before going for the interview. After going through the website, I felt prompt and ready for the interview.

The day of the interview finally came, I was excited but nervous as well because I didn’t know what to expect. While approaching the office, I met Rita, CODEs Administrative officer at the door way, I introduced myself to her and the first thing she said to me was “you are 15minutes late”. That made me more nervous but I had to put myself together, after which I apologized for coming late. She then took me into the office and as I came in I greeted everyone. I went to the conference table where I was introduced to the interviewer by the name of Dotun Babayemi who is the Monitoring and Evaluation Expert for CODE. While seated on the hot sit, Dotun noticed I was sweating a bit and decided to go put on the air condition for me, which I thought was really nice of him. He asked me what I knew about CODE and I told him everything. He made the interview more relaxing as we laughed about some comments he made. The interview finally came to an end and we said our goodbyes.

20151225_095514On my way home I felt I didn’t do quite well at the interview so I was really concerned that they wouldn’t employ me. I called my sister and told her about the interview and how I think I messed up but she told me to calm down and not overthink things.

A day after the interview, I kept checking my mail to see if I got a mail from CODE. And on a Sunday afternoon, I finally got the mail I have been waiting for, which notified me that my application was successful and that I should resume work on Tuesday, July 12 by 8am. I was excited that I will be leaving the house every day, no more days of lazing around the house, time to be productive. Although I wasn’t too happy that I have to resume by 8am but such is life, so I had to accept it, and looking back now, I have come to realize that pushing yourself is more rewarding than staying in your comfort zone.

July 12 came and I went to work. I met with the team, and I must say they are really friendly and welcomed me warmly. I didn’t really do much work on my first day, but the second day till now has been work, work and work.

I partook at the launch of CODEs Virtual newsroom. The product from the Virtual newsroom is set to engage and empower marginalized people in rural areas to enhance their livelihoods. I was the note taker for the meeting. For me it wasn’t just all about taking down notes but to gain an in-depth understanding of Follow The Money campaign and this new initiative.

Some of the responsibilities I have been allocated to are: writing down minutes of most meetings and sharing them amongst the team members, final auditing of CODE’S financial report before been sent to one of our donor – HBF, and partaking in the WhatsApp hangout with CODES community reporters, where I engaged with the reporters and answered some of their questions.

I was opportuned to follow the CEO himself Mr Hamzat to TVC Nigeria for a live stream to give an update about Follow the Money and #SaveShikira campaign. On our way I asked him “so am just going to take pictures right, while you do the talking”? And he said “No Nkem, it’s not all about taking pictures, it’s for you to gain experience and interact with people”. I took it in and when we went to TVC office, I interacted with their staffs, which was a good experience for me.

I represented CODE at the Public Consultative Forum with Civil Society Organization and the Organized Private Sector on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Fiscal Framework that was hosted by the Honorable Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma. The conference was very interesting and gave me the opportunity to learn many issues and insights in regards to the budget. It was an enriching experience for me.

CODE held a press conference on the 26th of July, on their work in the past as well as future projects. I attended the conference and my primary role was to write down minutes, record the entire session and transcribe it. Transcribing an audio recording into text format wasn’t an easy task at all, it was time consuming and it required patience but at the end of the day I managed to finish and it was worth it.

I have always wanted to work for an NGO that reaches out to the less privileged. I believe in giving back to the community with my time and voice, and CODE provides that platform for me to do that.  

My experience at CODE so far has been an exceptional one. I am surrounded by skilled specialist with the main mission of empowering marginalized communities. Working with young experienced minds that are eager to make an impact in our society despite the economic conditions really inspires me. The experience and exposure I have gained in my short time at CODE has been incredible. I have had the opportunity to meet diverse groups of people and be inspired by the great work that is going on.

I look forward to entering a culture that is courteous and caring. Coming into work every morning where all interactions are heartfelt and genuine. It is almost like I am in a different culture from my typical experiences in the general public. Walking into work and being surrounded by the wonderful associates of CODE makes my work day much more enjoyable. More importantly, I am looking forward to making a change and contributing to the growth of CODE by doing my work with great efficiency and bringing new ideas to the table, that would enrich the lives of people in the society.

Five ways to avoid public Urination

Hamzat Lawal June 6, 2016 0

In celebration of the world environment day, i choose to come up with this little write up, aside from hygiene. this is also a means advocating for safe, green and habitable environment

Five ways to avoid public urination in Nigeria.

I have always wondered why a well-dressed man, apparently driving in an expensive car, would pull up by the roadside, unzip his trousers and pull out his manhood to urinate.

The funny part is you see them using their hands to cover the side shaft of the manhood on both sides while the urine projects into the earth below.Thereby polluting the air, and  killing our beautiful green plants . Some just bend their upper body backwards a bit, pushing their waist out while supporting it with their right hand and the other left holding the manhood. Some just pull down their pants and bend down.

Little did I know that ladies also urinate by the roadside, I freaked out when I saw a lady in Abuja around 2pm doing the same on top the the beautiful green grasses by the road side. She was dressed in her pink skirt and a blue top, she stood by the expressway, opened her legs while standing with her hands beneath the skirt.

From afar I watched the long urine gush out from between her legs. The sight of it got me so irritated and curious.The relief you often find on their faces suggest most people who urinate in the open, in public area, possibly have held the urine for so long and just couldn’t go an inch further with their heavy bladder.

For men, once they are done, they angle it to shake off the last drops before returning it  back to their trousers. Sometimes, urine droplets lands on their hands, and even their trousers. Many would just go ahead and rub their hands on their trouser and then walk away. This is highly unhygienic.

Most women would stamp their feet on the ground twice for the last drop of urine to fall out then they clean with tissue papers or rinse through with water

Nature calls are sometimes difficult to cheat.  But passing it out for the public to see is a no no, aesthetically and hygienically.  More so it is highly not lady like for women to be seen squatting by the roadside to pass urine.

Avoiding public defecation is a huge challenge in Nigeria as most city planners do not provide for such emergencies. Many cities are without public toilets and restroom. But here are five simple things you can do to help you avoid being pressed in places you may not have access to toilets, and how to react if nature calls unexpectedly.

  1. Use the toilet before stepping out: This is very important to all of us.No  matter where ever you are, once you know it’s time to step out from where you are ensure you use the toilet to pass out whatever it is from your body system.This should be done a second before you walk out of the door to your car.
  1. Self Discipline: This has got to to do with the mindset, once you can discipline yourself from every other thing, then you could discipline yourself from Urinating by the road side.
  1. Parental Upbringing: Growing up as a child, my teacher will tell me “Charity begins at home”. Parents should learn to teach their kids that Urinating by the roadside is wrong and they shall grow up with such training and of course pass it on to their own kids.

4.Make use of Eatery or Bank: Over time I have heard babes say they are shy of telling people they want to use the toilet,but really though we are all use the toilet no matter how classic we are. When you feel pressed walk into a bank or an eatery and head straight to gents or ladies and I can assure you,no one will stop to question.

  1. Make use of a secluded area: This will fall in place of when you can not locate a bank or an eatery. Once you get so pressed ensure you look for a well secluded corner where no one can see you but then again be conscious of secluded areas.

Let help save our plants in our environment.  Happy environmental day all.

Senate urges FG to approve funds for #SaveShikira

Hamzat Lawal June 3, 2016 2

The Senate on Thursday, June 2, urged the federal government to urgently approve and release the needed intervention funds from the ecological funds office for urgent remediation to help #saveshikira and affected communities.
In a three paragraph motion read by the Niger East senatorial district representative, David Umaru, the Senate called on the key federal government (ministry of health, solid minerals and environment) to re-mediate the environment and promote safer mining programmes for artisan miners.
The motion  is titled: The urgent remediation of lead poisoning in Shikira community of Niger state.
Hence, the Senate also called on  the Senate committee on solid minerals to review the 2007 mining act to reflect present realities in the sector as it affects local communities and artisan miners.
While-making contributions on #saveshikira, Umaru said the Senate is shocked at the survey result of the Federal Ministry of Health, confirming that 149 children who were under age five were tested for lead.
He added that the Senate is worried that environmental testing of residential buildings during the same survey indicated that there was a severe contamination of the environment.
“That early childhood exposure has been linked to violent criminal behavior later in the early adult life,It is therefore estimated that childhood lead exposure is costing developing countries 992 billion dollars annually due to reduction in IQ’s and earning potential according to a new study published recently,”he said
He noted that “The potential of lead poisoning to irrevocably inflict long term neurocognitive deficits on generations, there is need to urgently address this issue of national importance,
“This is a community that is already living below poverty line. All the children are already infected by this epidermic,” he said.
Also speaking , Shehu sanni representing Kaduna central senatorial district said the nation should work towards establishing a nuclear act.
“What the senate can do is to take the activities of illegal matters seriously. We have seen foreigners and Asians siphoning our resources. We should take an action that will address the problem,” he said.
There was a lead outbreak epidemic that recorded 65 cases in May 2015 in Rafi local government, which killed more than 28 children below the age of five. Many of which have  died in Shikira village of Madaka district, Rafi local government area of Niger State.
The affected children suffered convulsion and weakness of limbs as medical examination proved that the children died from lead poising arising from illegal artisan gold mining activities in the area.

5 ways to prevent LEAD poison

Hamzat Lawal May 20, 2016 0

Earlier, we talked about what LEAD poison is and ways one could get in contact with it. This week I will be talking about the ways in which it could be prevented. As the saying goes “prevention is better than cure,” the essence of this is to ensure that we are all aware of the deadly disease and strife to end it. Additionally, to lend a helping hand to victims across the world. It is noteworthy to bear in mind that it is easier to prevent LEAD poisoning infections than to reverse its consequences;

1.  Ensure your Homes are Clean – Remember in the previous edition I noted that LEAD could be found in paints of old houses, therefore houses mostly those with over 20 years record of construction should at all times be kept clean by dusting regularly, mop as often as possible.

2. Always Wash your Hands  – Many people find it more stressful or tiring to wash their hands as expected. I have met lots of people who would “ abeg I don bath in the morning watin i wash again, abeg I no get sopa to waste.”  Most importantly it’s advisable to teach children to always wash their hands after playing before eating.

3. Use Cold instead of Hot Water – For many homes with access to water heater, it is highly advisable to use cold rather than hot water especially homes with old plumbing system.

4. Buy LEAD Free-products – Many Nigerians for instance are found of buying old things, popularly known as second hand products. Try to avoid old or products that have no label to guide you on their uses.

5. Conduct regular Blood test – It is advisable to always have a regular blood test and check-up to ensure physical fitness and free from not just LEAD contamination, but any other possible disease.

8 things to know about LEAD Poison

Hamzat Lawal May 13, 2016 0

Many Nigerians only hear about LEAD Poison and how it is affecting children in most of the mining states in Northern part of Nigeria. But careless of how its been contacted or passed on.

Many people have that tiny voice in their head that tells them (any way, wetin concern me, na village people na, dem get the sickness,dirty people, farmers dem).

Many of us already have a nonchalant attitude towards the disease, not knowing the mode of transmission, causes, symptoms or even how deadly it is. I am so sure i just spoke your mind. Not to worry i will give you an insight to it.

Let me start by explaining what LEAD Poison is?

According to research carried out by scientists, LEAD Poison is a very serious and highly fatal condition which only occurs when it builds in the body system. Aside from that, it is also a highly toxic metal and very lethal poison.

From that definition, one would know that in one way or the other we touch or hold metal which simply means it affects us all. Having said all of that, here are eight (8) things you need to know about LEAD poison.

1) It is found in lead based paints (Paints on the walls of old houses); Ever since we all heard about the poison, all we hear is, the farmers from one community went into illegal mining and as a result of that came in contact the poison. But here it is, go to urban areas; you would find old houses with paints falling out.

2) It is also found in toys; Let me ask, how many villagers buy toys for their kids? I am sure your answer is none. Ninety percent (90%) of our kids today all have toys with which they play with it. For instance, it could be seen in old toys or imported toys. It gets to them while making them in the factories.

3) Pregnant women are at a high risk of getting it; All over the world today, from villages, to communities, to town to city, we have women who get pregnant and also give births on a daily basis. They are at higher risks of getting it.

4) Drinking water also can be contaminated by the poison; It is often said that “Water is life” and we all drink water, but ironically LEAD poison can be found in water. This happens through metal corrosion or the wearing away of pluming materials in the water system and households.

5) It also breeds in soil; Do you know that soil and walkways around industrial areas may contain LEAD. It could get contaminated through past use of LEAD in gasoline.

6) Children are also at risk; Children below the age of six (6) can contact the poison because their brain and nervous system are still developing, and they often play with soil, aside from that pregnant mother could pass it on from the womb through the intestine.

7) If discovered early, it could be treated but if not it cannot be reversed; Once it’s detected early enough, it can be treated with Chelation therapy and EDTA , but in  cases where it leads to severe damages, it cannot be reversed. Chelation therapy is a series of intravenous infusions containing disodium EDTA and various other substances. It is sometimes done by swallowing EDTA or other agents in pill form.

8) Basic symptoms of LEAD poison; This is a list symptoms of patience with Lead Poison; i. Abdominal Pain, ii. Abdominal Cramps, iii. Aggressive Behavior, iv. Constipation, v. Sleeping Problems, vi. Headaches, vii. Irritability, viii. Loss of Developmental Skills in Children, ix. Loss of appetite, x. Fatigue, xi. High Blood Pressure, xii. Numbness or Tingling in the extremities, xiii. Memory Loss, xiv. Anemia, xv. Kidney Dysfunction.

One would realize that LEAD poison is not only restricted to the people from the mining states. Yes, they might have one way or the other gotten exposed to the poison due to ignorance and lack of job by going into illegal mining. But anyone could be a victim of Lead Poison.

Let’s give a helping hand to the affected victims, as it is often said “Health is Wealth”.

Next episode promises to be interesting as we talk about prevention of the LEAD poison.

 

Tighten Your Belt!

Hamzat Lawal February 15, 2016 0

As the winds of austerity blows, Nigerians eagerly await the 2016 Budget Approval

February brings with it arguably the most celebrated day of love, Valentines, but that love might not be extended to the federal government of Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as many Nigerians are soured at the current state of affairs.

February 15, counts 262 days i.e. 10 months since a new government came into power for Africa’s most populous nation, 10 months, that many argue hasn’t transpired to “change”.

The current increase in electricity tariffs [45%], a possible increase in VAT, declining oil prices, the exchange rate of the naira on the forex and most importantly, the 2016 budget that is yet to be approved, has the masses wondering where the country is heading.

We present to you a timeline of some events shaping Nigerians reactions and Buhari’s tenure: –

Well, it is necessary to note and give credit to the National Assembly for spotting errors in Nigeria’s 2016 budget as seen below:

  • Lai Mohammed, Minister for Culture flatly rejected any knowledge of N368 Million in the budget item of the Ministry of Information for the procurement of computers;
  • Ministry of Solid Minerals To Update Website With N795 Million;

Some other funny [well suspicious] figures most Nigerians will be watching to see if they get approved include: –

  • The State House Rent – N30.8 million [is the Aso Rock for rent?]
  • Office Furniture for Ministry of Power, Works & Housing HQ – N1.2 billion
  • Purchase of Photocopying Machine by APCON – N6.5 million

Whether it’s the revised version, Minister’s version or Budget Mafia’s version that is finally approved, we do hope for immediate action as many local communities who most likely would not read this post live in abject poverty. Families are living a hand to mouth existence, with no electricity, water, nor adequate health facilities.

If 10,000 Primary Health Centres are provided …

Hamzat Lawal February 5, 2016 0

If the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, and his Ministry complete the building and upgrading of at least 10,000 Primary Health Care Centres [PHCs] across the entire 774 local government areas of Nigeria in the next one year, millions of Nigerians living in communities will reduce approaching secondary and tertiary health institutions with common ailments like headache, malaria, cough and catarrh.

If the supporting announcement by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, for the ambitious project across Nigeria ensures its achievement, then overcrowding at the tertiary hospitals would reduce.

Ehanire said that the architectural plan of healthcare in Nigeria were 4: Preventive, Promotional, Curative and Rehabilitation.

The preventive aspect entails safe water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and immunisation which many local communities lack and existing infrastructure are not working.

Getting down to it …

The Total Proposed Health Budget stands at 257.7 billion naira from 221.7 billion [a 16% increase]

Out of which the total proposed for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency [NPHCDA] is 17.7 billion naira [It is the assumption of the author of this article that the NPHCDA would be have a major stake in this project]

Well, according to the budget for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, there is no proposed spending for the upgrading and building of the PHCs as capital spending revolves arounds developing a national logistics supply; and procurement of vaccines and devices.

Visiting the website of the agency [http://www.nphcda.gov.ng/], reveals no information about Primary Health Centres, which should raise a few eyebrows given that the project is supposed to be completed within the year 2016.

So I return to where I began this post “If

Also, if the funds are eventually released [from who knows where] and you want to probably get involved to support the completion of the project, you could activate us to track spending.

If


For Further Reading

2016 Appropriation Bill – Budget Office of the Federation

News article – FG to build 10,000 PHCs in 774 councils – Minister