Expanded data collection and analysis provides better understanding of HIV epidemic in Nigeria
Results released today by the Government of Nigeria indicate a national HIV prevalence in Nigeria of 1.4% among adults aged 15–49 years. Previous estimates had indicated a national HIV prevalence of 2.8%. UNAIDS and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS estimate that there are 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja, Nigeria, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, welcomed the news that there are fewer people living with HIV in the country than previously estimated and launched the Revised National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework 2019–2021, which will guide the country’s future response to the epidemic. Nigeria has made good progress in scaling up HIV treatment and prevention services in recent years.
“For the first time, the end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is truly in sight for our country,” said H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria. “I urge all of us not to relent but to increase the momentum. Let us work collectively and push for the last mile.”
The data from the Nigeria National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) are based a revised and enhanced methodology. The survey provides a clearer understanding of Nigeria’s HIV epidemic and shines a light on progress and the remaining gaps and challenges.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, welcomed the new estimates and said the improved understanding of the country’s HIV epidemic would allow Nigeria to better reach people living with HIV and people at higher risk of acquiring HIV.
“I commend the Government of Nigeria and its partners for conducting this ambitious survey, which provides us with a much better understanding of the country’s HIV epidemic,” said Mr Sidibé. “While it is fantastic news that there are fewer people living with HIV in Nigeria than previously thought, we must not let down our guard. Let us use the results of this survey to better focus our delivery of HIV prevention, treatment and care services to the people in the greatest need and ensure that Nigeria gets on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”
While Nigeria’s national HIV prevalence is 1.4% among adults aged 15–49 years, women aged 15–49 years are more than twice as likely to be living with HIV than men (1.9% versus 0.9%.) The difference in HIV prevalence between women and men is greatest among younger adults, with young women aged 20–24 years more than three times as likely to be living with HIV as young men in the same age group. Among children aged 0–14 years, HIV prevalence according to the new data is 0.2%. Significant efforts have been made in recent years to stop new HIV infections among children.
At the national level, viral suppression among people living with HIV aged 15–49 years stands at 42.3% (45.3% among women and 34.5% among men). When people living with HIV are virally suppressed they remain healthy and transmission of the virus is prevented.
The improved understanding of the country’s HIV epidemic will allow for more efficient investments in the response to HIV and more effective planning for the provision of HIV prevention, care and treatment services, including a focus on key populations, such as female sex workers. It will permit the adoption of a population–location approach to deliver services to the people and areas where they are most needed.
The new data differentiate HIV prevalence by state, indicating an epidemic that is having a greater impact in certain areas of the country. The South-South zone of the country has the highest HIV prevalence, at 3.1% among adults aged 15–49 years. HIV prevalence is also high in the North Central zone (2.0%) and in the South East zone (1.9%). HIV prevalence is lower in the South West zone (1.1%), the North East zone (1.1%) and the North West zone (0.6%).
“The Nigeria National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) findings provide Nigeria with an accurate national HIV prevalence measure of 1.4%. NAIIS also showed we are able to effectively provide antiretroviral treatment,” said Isaac F. Adewole, Nigeria’s Minister of Health. “Everyone infected with HIV needs to get treatment so they can achieve viral suppression, especially pregnant women. We must ensure pregnant women have access to antenatal services and are tested during every pregnancy. We know we can support HIV-positive mothers, hence ensuring the next generation is free from HIV.”
Nigeria has shown steady progress on increasing access to treatment for people living with HIV, with the adoption of a test and treat policy in 2016. This measure has further accelerated referrals to treatment facilities for people who test positive for the virus. From 2010 to 2017, the country almost tripled the number of people living with HIV having access to antiretroviral therapy, up from 360 000 people in 2010 to more than 1 million people in 2018. However, the new estimates released today indicate that more than half of people living with HIV still do not have suppressed viral loads.
The new data are more accurate as they are based on an expanded surveillance system and a revised and enhanced methodology. In recent years, there has been a significant expansion in the country’s response to HIV. The number of sites providing treatment has more than tripled, the number of sites providing services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV has increased eightfold and the number of HIV counselling and testing sites has increased fourfold. A total of 11.3 million adults were counselled and tested for HIV in 2016, four times as many as in 2012.
“It is important that all people living with HIV get treatment and achieve viral suppression. To halt the epidemic, we need to act now,” said Sani Aliyu, Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS. “As a government working with our partners, we have what it takes to support people who are HIV-positive, to provide treatment, to protect their families and to help people live long and healthy lives.”
The NAIIS was led by the Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS. UNAIDS, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria provided support for the work on the survey, which was overseen by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and implemented by the University of Maryland, Baltimore, with a scope that included all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. The survey reached around 220 000 people in about 100 000 households. Fieldwork was conducted between July and December 2018.
United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
Another blood pressure medication recalled
Numerous blood pressure drugs are now involved in the recall that began in late July over a suspected cancer-causing compound.
The list of blood pressure medications under recall notice has expanded once again.
Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in United States, it was recalling an additional 36 lots of its Losartan Potassium Tablets USP and an additional 68 lots of Losartan Potassium/hydrochlorothiazide tablets USP.
The company said it was expanding the recall to “the consumer level” because of the discovery of trace amounts of an impurity found in an active pharmaceutical ingredient.
This was the fourth recall since December of blood pressure medications manufactured by Torrent Pharmaceuticals.
It’s also the latest in a long line of blood pressure medications that have been recalled since late July due to the detection in the products of trace amounts of N-Nitroso N-Methyl 4-amino butyric acid (NMBA), which has been classified as a potential cancer-causing substance.
The week before, Macleods Pharmaceuticals Limited informed the FDA that it was voluntarily recalling one lot of Losartan Potassium/Hydrochlorothiazide 100mg/25mg combination tablets.
Macleods officials said they detected trace amounts of an impurity called N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), another pharmaceutical ingredient the FDA has classified as a “probable human carcinogen.”
The Losartan tablets are used to treat hypertension and hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy.
Macleods officials said they have had no reports of anyone with adverse effects from the recalled products.
Nigeria : Trend of doctors emigrating is at an all-time high
Abuja, Nigeria – In March, hundreds of Nigerian doctors gathered at a hotel in Abuja, the capital, and another in Lagos, the country’s commercial centre, to take a test conducted by the Saudi Arabian health ministry.
In a symbol of the Nigerian medical “brain drain”, those yet to migrate must complete foreign exams in order to get work placements abroad.
Weeks before the attempt by Saudi Arabia to lure Nigeria’s greatest medical talents, dozens had sat the regular Professional Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) exams at the British Council. Once they pass, it will enable them to work in the UK.
According to some estimates, about 2,000 doctors have left Nigeria over the past few years.
Doctors have blamed the mass exit on poor working conditions – only four percent of Nigeria’s budget is allocated to health.
While the annual healthcare threshold per person in the US is $10,000, in Nigeria it is just $6.
“More than half of those seeking visas to [India] are going for medical care that is not available here in Nigeria. Indigent Nigerians would be at the mercy of the dilapidated health infrastructure,” Onwufor Uche, consultant and director of the Gynae Care Research and Cancer Foundation in Abuja, said .
“It has become worse; a doctor [in Nigeria] earns N200,000 monthly ($560), necessitating moving to countries where they can be better paid for their services … This ultimately means that eight of 10 Nigerians are presently receiving substandard or no medical care at all.”
Middle-class and wealthy Nigerians often travel for healthcare. Even the septuagenarian Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, seeks medical care in London.
British, American, South African, Emirati and Saudi Arabian agencies operate in Nigeria to recruit the best doctors.
Nigeria’s polling agency, NOI Polls, in partnership with Nigerian Health Watch in 2017, found that most doctors seek work abroad.
“The trend of doctors emigrating to other countries is at an all-time high,” Chike Nwangwu, head of NOIPolls, said in his release in Abuja. “Our survey … showed that 88 percent of doctors are considering work opportunities abroad.”
Reasons for emigrating include better facilities and work environment, higher salaries, career progression and an improved quality of life.
One doctor in 5,000
Medical schools and residencies are subsidised by government funds, an investment that is now benefiting other countries.
With an estimated population of over 180 million, there is one doctor per 5,000 people in Nigeria, according to Isaac Folorunso Adewole, the health minister, compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of one per 600 people.
There are 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); over half practise outside the country.
“Nine in every 10 doctors are considering work opportunities outside Nigeria. And it is projected to keep rising as doctors continue to face systemic challenges,” said NOIPolls’ Nwangwu. “I actually think [Nigeria] is already at the state of emergency with the availability of medical doctors.”
The country’s worsening health sector also grapples with strikes by health workers.
The government is often in conflict with the Nigerian Medical Association, an umbrella union of doctors, over working conditions. The union argues that government officials fail to stick to agreements, leading to industrial action.
When asked last year why Nigerian doctors had to wait a long time to get residency training, Adewole appeared to make light of the issue, saying: “It might sound selfish, but we can’t all be specialists; we can’t. Some will be farmers; some will be politicians … The man who sews my gown is a doctor. He makes the best gown. And some will be specialists, some will be GPs, some will be farmers.”
As well as angering some doctors, the apparent failure to act seriously also affects patients.
“The government needs to urgently start addressing the issues and concerns of the medical workers and especially the doctors. The truth is, most of these doctors leave for better working conditions and you can’t blame them,” said Mariam Abdullahi, a 38-year-old patient at a hospital in Abuja.
“I am being referred to strange faces and different doctors almost at each of my bi-monthly visits and I’m always told the last doctor left the country. As a patient I feel heartbroken anytime my doctors leave, but what can I do when the system treats them poorly?”
Newborn Dies After Nigerian Migrants Attempt Home Circumcision
Police have arrested two Nigerian migrant women in the Italian city of Genoa after a newborn boy died as a result of an attempted home circumcision.
The mother and grandmother of the newborn attempted to circumcise him inside an apartment in the Quezzi area of Genoa and called police at around 4am after the procedure went wrong, Il Giornale reports.
Paramedics soon arrived on the scene only to find the baby had died and immediately called the police who took the women into custody. Investigators noted that neither relative had neither the required skills nor the appropriate medical equipment to carry out the surgery.
Police also said that they were looking into the women’s mobile phone records to see who they had been in recent contact with and if it bore any relation to the case.
The death is the second baby to die from a home-performed circumcision within a matter of weeks in Italy, with a five-month-old boy dying in Reggio Emilia on March 24th.
In that case, the father of the child, a Ghanian migrant, claimed that God had asked him to circumcise the small boy in a dream.
Following the death of his son, the man was interviewed by Italian media and he told them, “It’s a private affair, why should I pay the consequences?”
“If someone believes that I have killed him, he is wrong. The question, in this case, is to ask God: I saw him in a dream and he asked me to do it,” he added.
The attempted surgery had been carried out by a well-known “holy man” within the local African community who is also being sought in connection with the death of another baby in November of last year.
Since before the height of the 2015 migrant crisis, Italy has seen a wave of mostly African migrants arrive on its shores, with cultural practices such as voodoo being used by members of the Nigerian mafia to force women into sexual slavery.
The resulting mass migration has also led to a surge in migrant crimes with the Italian Interior Ministry, headed by populist Matteo Salvini, releasing figures last August showing migrants to make up nearly one-third of all criminal suspects.
FanYogo Gin, Ginger not Registered- NAFDAC
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has not registered FanYogo Gin and Ginger drink in Nigeria.
Its Director-General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, made the clarification on Thursday in Abuja.
Adeyeye said that the drink, which contained 12.5 per cent alcohol, and being circulated in the social media, was not a product of Fan Milk Plc.
“The attention of NAFDAC has been drawn to the images of Fan Milk “FanYogo Gin & Ginger” purported to contain 12.5 per cent alcohol being circulated widely to the general public via social media.
“The management of NAFDAC is using this medium to reassure the general public that the said product is not registered by NAFDAC; is not known to NAFDAC and is not in circulation in Nigeria.
“NAFDAC has carried out a thorough investigation at the facility of Fan Milk Plc.
“We can confirm that no such product is being developed by the company and no stock of packaging materials of the said “Fan Yogo Gin & Ginger” were found in the premises,” she said.
Adeyeye added that Fan Milk PLC had also notified NAFDAC that the said product did not originate from the company.
“The company, Fan Milk PLC, known to NAFDAC as a producer of milk products, has also issued a letter to NAFDAC in which they referred to the image circulating in the news and social media as a ‘false, mischievous and malicious image’.
“The communication to NAFDAC includes the following statements which we share below for the re-assurance of the general public –
“The product or image in question is not among any of the current Fan Milk Nigeria products currently produced in Nigeria and anywhere within the West Africa Cluster.
“FanYogo is one of the brands produced by Fan Milk Ghana Limited, one of our sister companies. The purported ‘FanYogo Gin & Ginger’ will not be registered in Nigeria.
“The image came to fore just as Fan Milk Ghana started a public poll to decide the release of a new flavor.
“The images are the imagination of some mischief makers that have seized the opportunity to distort the social media space.
“The poll has since been shut down considering that children may be exposed to the images.
“The NAFDAC management wishes to reassure the general public that the agency is fully alive to her responsibilities, ” Adeyeye said.
She assured the public of the safety, wholesomeness and quality of processed foods and other regulated products offered for sale.
Thousands of black men unaware of prostate cancer signs
BLACK MEN are twice as likely to be struck by prostate cancer than white men but thousands are still oblivious to the symptoms, experts have warned.
The latest figures show one in four contract the disease in the UK every year, while the rate is just one in eight among white men.
And research by the Proton Therapy Center, a cancer treatment clinic based in Prague, found more than a third (35%) of those aged 50 and over—the age group most at risk—have no idea how to identify common prostate cancer warning signs.
Dr Jiri Kubes, Medical Director at Proton Therapy Center, said there is no scientific explanation why there is such a high risk, but that should be no bar to raising awareness of the symptoms.
He said: “There is no clear evidence as to why black men carry such a high risk of prostate cancer, but there is strong evidence that awareness is dangerously low.
“You have to be vigilant with prostate cancer as it does not usually immediately reveal itself. In most men, it is there without them even knowing and they often only become alerted when symptoms worsen.
“There is a gap in awareness among men of all population backgrounds.
“Men with even the slightest of concerns should not hesitate to see their doctor, and that is an especially-important message for black men, who are more at risk of the disease starting and progressing.
“The rate of one-in-four, recorded by YouGov, is based on men classed as ‘black African’, ‘black Caribbean’ and ‘black other’. A lack of data means ‘black mixed’ are not included for statistical purposes, but they are also likely to be at a higher risk of prostate cancer than non-black men.
“And it is concerning that our statistics show well over a third of the most at-risk age group have no idea what warning signs they should be looking for.”
A leading European destination for cancer treatment, Proton Therapy Center uncovered the statistics via a poll of 1,000 men aged over 50.
Prostate cancer is Britain’s second most common form of the disease, behind breast cancer, but there is currently no national screening programme.
ONS figures show there were 40,489 cases registered in 2016, accounting for one in four (26.1%) male malignant cancer registrations.
In the same year, there were more than 11,000 prostate cancer deaths in the UK.
Dr Kubes added: “Male cancers have traditionally received less attention than those more common in women, although this is quickly changing.
“While there is an increasing emphasis on tackling male strands of the disease, all men—and black men especially—need to be aware of the warning signs.
“We don’t know exactly why this population group is most at risk, but the gap in scientific knowledge should be no bar to them being clued-up on the symptoms.
“These include an increased need to urinate or thoughts of urinating more frequently, pain during sex, chronic fatigue, sudden weight loss, and feelings of nausea.
“Sufferers may also have difficulty urinating standing up or maintaining a steady stream, and pain in the crotch, thighs or lower back.
“Among all men, the chances of getting the disease increases with age, and the NHS advises all men aged 45 or over to get checked out.
“And those whose father or brother has had it, or people who are overweight or obese, are believed more susceptible.”
The prostate gland sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, and its main job is to produce a thick white fluid that helps to create semen.
While its cancer often starts slowly and may never cause a problem, it can spread quickly via the bloodstream.
Figures from Cancer Research UK show a quarter of all those diagnosed with the disease each year will die as a result.
Tests for prostate cancer include a digital rectal examination and a PSA test which measures the levels of prostate specific antigen in the blood.
There is currently no screening programme for prostate cancer in the UK because it has not been proved that the benefits would outweigh the risks, according to the NHS.
Routinely screening all men to check their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels is a controversial subject in the international medical community for several reasons.
Firstly, PSA tests are unreliable and can suggest prostate cancer when no cancer exists – known as a false-positive result. This means that many men often have invasive and sometimes painful biopsies for no reason.
Also, up to 15 per cent of men with prostate cancer have normal PSA levels – a false-negative result – so many cases may be missed.
The NHS says more research is needed to determine whether a screening programme would provide men with more benefit than harm.
Heather Blake, Director of Support and Influencing at Prostate Cancer UK said: “Early diagnosis of prostate cancer is vital to saving men’s lives. To ensure no man slips through the net we urgently need a test which can be used as part of a routine national screening programme, particularly as men will often have no symptoms until the latter stages of the disease.
“Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, the current PSA blood test has the potential to cause more harm than benefit if used on its own for a screening programme, which is why investing in research to find a more suitable testing method is the top priority of our research strategy.
“In the meantime, we recommend that men over 50 – and men over 45 if they are Black or have a family history of the disease – discuss the pros and cons of the PSA test with their GP so that they can decide if it’s right for them.
“Until there is a better test, a man’s awareness of his risk is his best defence against prostate cancer.”
Nigeria is steering towards another deadly Cholera outbreak
A record high number of 10,000 cases of cholera was recorded in northeast Nigeria in 2018, with more than 175 registered deaths, although the actual number may be higher.
OSLO, Norway, April 1, 2019/ — Overcrowded displacement camps coupled with a lack of basic sanitation facilities and hygiene will cause another cholera outbreak in northeast Nigeria if action is not taken now to prevent it, warns the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
A record high number of 10,000 cases of cholera was recorded in northeast Nigeria in 2018, with more than 175 registered deaths, although the actual number may be higher.
“If the camps are not decongested and sanitation facilities improved, cholera will inevitably return, and vulnerable displaced people will bear the brunt of the epidemic again,” warned Eric Batonon, NRC’s Country Director for Nigeria.
Over the last decade, northeast Nigeria has been affected by cholera on a yearly basis. Now, following a rise of violence in late 2018 forcing over 100,000 people to flee, displacement camps and sites are overcrowded. This has resulted in a deterioration of the living conditions and a lack of sanitation facilities. For instance, 466 people are sharing one latrine at one of the displacement camps in the state of Borno, according to the Humanitarian Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This is nine times above the agreed humanitarian standards, which is set at 50 people per latrine in emergency situations. As a result of lack of sanitation, people choose to defecate in the open, exacerbating an already vulnerable situation and increasing the likelihood of the spread of disease.
“The conflict in northeast Nigeria has now lasted for about ten years, and we should have learned the lessons of past cholera outbreaks and be able to prepare adequately to limit the impact,” said Batonon.
“We are calling for Nigerian authorities to provide additional land to develop decongestion plans and to enable the construction of new water and sanitation facilities. At the same time, the international community should provide the necessary funding to respond quickly and efficiently so we can end the cycle of yearly cholera outbreaks in the region.”
The President of the Republic of Cabo Verde opens second WHO Africa Health Forum
He told participants about the significant progress that Cabo Verde has made towards delivering universal health coverage
PRAIA, Cape Verde, March 26, 2019/ — Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, today demonstrated his support for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) initiatives to transform health care throughout Africa by officially launching the three-day WHO Africa Health Forum in Praia. He told participants about the significant progress that Cabo Verde has made towards delivering universal health coverage.
President Fonseca said: “We are honoured by the fact that our country is the setting for such an important debate with renowned specialists on such an important issue. This is essential for the life and well-being of all people. Crucially, this Forum will have the participation of youth activists who will surely bring their world vision about the way their health issues should be addressed and how they can participate in implementing the decisions that come to be approved.”
During his speech, the President took the opportunity to thank the United Nations for recognizing his efforts in fighting alcohol abuse with the Less Alcohol More Life campaign that has brought more than 100 government organizations and civil society groups together to prevent alcohol addiction.
Under the theme “Achieving Universal Health Coverage and Health Security in Africa: The Africa We Want To See”, the second WHO Africa Health Forum is hosting health care influencers from politics, academia, civil society, development partners and business.
“Since the early years of our independence WHO has been a strategic partner for health development in Cabo Verde, providing technical assistance and financing,” said Cabo Verde Minister of Health and Social Security, H.E. Dr Arlindo Nascimento do Rosário. During his address, the Minister spoke about his country’s commitment to reduce child and mother mortality: “By 2021, we hope to achieve fewer than 13 per 1 000 live births.”
WHO is committed to driving universal health coverage and health security throughout Africa and to ensure that all individuals and communities receive the quality health care they need, without suffering financial hardship. This supports the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 goals, which include the target of achieving universal health coverage by 2030.
“It is not by accident that we asked to bring this Forum to Praia,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We came to be inspired and to learn from the remarkable progress that Cabo Verde has made in improving the health of its citizens. The journey to universal health coverage will not only require that we go back to the basics of primary health care – working hand-in-hand with communities – but that we also optimize innovations and today’s fast-moving technological developments to deliver better health for all.”
Africa typically has more than 100 health emergencies every year, and during the opening ceremony, Dr Moeti called for one minute of silence for the people who have lost their lives in the recent twin tragedies of an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tropical Cyclone Idai, which impacted Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
A highlight of the opening day was an exhibition by the 30 WHO Innovation Challenge finalists, which was officiated by the President of Cabo Verde with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Aiming to source, select and profile innovations, including community-based initiatives that apply new and fresh thinking to address Africa’s unmet health needs, the initiative attracted 2 471 applications. Entries came in from 77 countries, 44 of them from African countries, with 34% of submissions from female innovators.
The first WHO Africa Health Forum, in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2017, resulted in a Call to Action. Significant progress has been made in meeting those goals. New initiatives and multi-stakeholder partnerships have been founded, well-worn mechanisms have been reinvigorated, and countries continue to be supported in strengthening their health systems and preparing for disease outbreaks and health emergencies.
Through the second Africa Health Forum, WHO expects to significantly build on that progress, giving participants the opportunity to share and discuss their experiences in implementing previous commitments and to foster pan-African collaboration between public, private and non-government stakeholders.
During the three-day programme, themes such as the link between health security and achieving universal health coverage, multisector collaboration, youth engagement, private sector investment and harnessing innovations will be explored in depth. WHO intends even more partnerships to emerge from this gathering, with the gains made since the first Forum in Kigali cemented, past lessons learned and the next steps to achieving universal health care clearly shaped.
Painful and dangerous :‘Breast ironing’ is spreading in the U.K., investigation finds
Girls across the United Kingdom are being subjected to “breast ironing,”a painful and dangerous practice that seeks to stunt the development of the breasts, according to a report in the Guardian.
“Margaret Nyuydzewira, head of the diaspora group Came Women and Girls Development Organisation (Cawogido), estimated that at least 1,000 women and girls in the UK had been subjected to the intervention,” according to the publication.
Breast ironing can take different forms, including using a belt to bind the breasts of pubescent girls, or heating a stone and pounding or massaging the breasts in an effort to stop them from growing. The perpetrators of this practice are typically mothers, who want to protect their daughters from premature sexual activity, rape, or an early forced marriage that would require them to leave school.
The origins of breast ironing are murky, but it has been documented in African countries such as Cameroon, Benin, Chad and Togo. It also reportedly takes place in African diaspora communities. While mothers may subject their daughters to breast ironing in an effort to protect them, lawmakers in the U.K. see the practice as child abuse.
Experts say that breast ironing can cause a host of adverse conditions, including burns, infections, permanent damage of milk ducts and possibly cancer. Research also suggests that girls who are subjected to breast ironing suffer from psychological traumas, such as low self-esteem and feelings of inadequate femininity. But breast ironing does not stop breasts from eventually developing.
Advocates say that authorities in the U.K. are not devoting sufficient resources to protecting girls from the practice.
“It’s not only an issue of funding, it is also an issue of political will to tackle something that historically has been accepted as a cultural practice,” MP Maria Miller, who chairs a women’s and equalities committee in parliament, tells the Guardian.
Cawogido head Nyuydzewira, who underwent breast ironing when she was a girl, adds that officials may be reluctant to intervene precisely because breast ironing is regarded as a “cultural practice.”
“British people are so polite in the sense that when they see something like that, they think of cultural sensitivities,” she tells the Guardian. “But if it’s a cultural practice that is harming children … any harm that is done to a little girl, whether in public or in secrecy, that person should be held accountable.”
Read the full report at the Guardian.https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jan/26/revealed-dozens-of-girls-subjected-to-breast-ironing-in-uk
Winning Tuesday with Aesthetic doctor, Ifeoma Ejikeme at the Adonia Medical Clinic. : The Young Netpreneur for the Week.
New year, new skin regime
Advice and recommendations to help make your beauty resolutions a reality
WHAT BETTER time is there than the New Year to set some new skincare goals?
If you struggle with your skin or just fancy a shakeup of your current beauty regime, then you’ve come to the right place. We recently teamed up with Dija Ayodele of Black Skin Directory who hosted an evening with the wonderful aesthetic doctor, Ifeoma Ejikeme at the Adonia Medical Clinic.
An evening full of skincare tips and product recommendations, guests were armed with information and advice to help establish an improved skincare life in 2019.
Dr Ejikeme led the session teaching guests about key skincare items for every routine, understanding ingredients suitable for black skin and the importance of including professional treatments in your regimen.
Guests were thrilled to witness a chemical peel demonstration and left satisfied in the knowledge that with an experienced practitioner, they are perfectly safe for black skin.
Beauty starts from the inside out, so firstly it is important to make sure you are eating the right things and getting those nutrients.
While it may be comforting to eat heavy winter based meals, your skin’s health and radiance depends on a balanced diet.
A daily intake of colourful fruits, vegetables, good quality fats, protein and carbohydrates will feed your skin internally with key vitamins and nutrients.
It’s also a recommendation that people with dark skin take a daily 10mg Vitamin D supplement.
Replace the moisture in your skin by using a lightweight lotion or serum to build a comfortable layer of moisture.
Opting for thick moisturisers or slapping on facial oils and butters is often non-beneficial because they form a seal on top of the skin. This will prevent water loss, but will also stop the skin from attracting moisture from the environment and excreting waste and toxins. Too much oil and too little water will disrupt the skin’s surface pH, decrease the barrier and leave skin susceptible to certain disorders.
Often people can be sceptical when it comes to non-invasive treatments.
If done by a professional, they are completely safe and can be looked at as a boost for your home skincare regime.
Professional chemical peels, laser, dermal rolling, microneedling, mesotherapy and injectables are great at providing extra stimulation for the skin to deliver hydration, firmness, clarity and radiance.
These treatments induce skin health improvements through controlled wounding, so ensure your practitioner is experienced in treating darker skin tones in order to minimise any post treatment inflammation and hyper pigmentation.
Pigmentation, one of the major skin concerns expressed by black women and women of colour. Uneven skin tone, acne scarring, dull, and ashy skin, are a few of the problems that can occur, and can worsen during the summer months.
To combat hyperpigmentation, products containing Tyrosinase Inhibitors (TI) should be used in your skincare regime. TI’s help to reduce excess melanin at source, and subsequently work to prevent hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone is the strongest and quickest TI, which is only available on prescription. Over the counter TIs include serums that contain bearberry, liquorice root extract, kojic acid, and vitamin C.
Always go for the serum format, as that will work quicker on the skin. It is important not to forget your lips as they are very prone to sun induced pigmentation.
It is so important to include sunscreen in your daily routine all year round, even on cloudy days. Pigmentation issues and dullness, which looks worse during the winter, can be improved by using a minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum UVA/UVB.
The many gains of alcohol abstinence in one month
British researchers have found that one’s health stands to reap numerous benefits by abstaining from alcohol for just one month, since drinking regularly is a major risk factor for cancer, liver and cardiovascular diseases, among other issues.
The study by researchers from the University of Sussex in Falmer, UK, shows just how much skipping alcohol for one month can improve your life and concludes that these benefits are long-lasting.
*93 percent of participants reported experiencing a sense of achievement at the end of the alcohol-free month
*88 percent had saved the money that they would otherwise have spent on drinks
*82 percent of participants reported an enhanced awareness of their relationship with alcohol
*80 percent felt more in control of their drinking habits
*76 percent understood when they felt more tempted to drink and why
*71 percent of participants learned that they did not need alcohol to have fun
*71 percent said that they enjoyed a better quality of sleep
*70 percent reported better overall health
*67 percent had higher energy levels
*58 percent of participants lost weight
*57 percent reported improved concentration
*54 percent said that they noticed better skin health
In the UK, a charity organisation Alcohol Change United Kingdom, encourages people to try giving up alcohol for one month at the start of the year. Thousands of people around the world pledge to take part in this campaign, called Dry January, each year. You too can sign on, if you love alcohol.
The research, which Dr. Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex led, found that people who took part in Dry January in 2018 reported higher energy levels and healthier body weight. They also felt less need to drink alcohol, even several months after participating in this initiative.
Dr. de Visser and team analyzed data that they collected from Dry January participants in three online surveys. A total of 2,821 people filled in a survey upon registering for the campaign at the beginning of January. In the first week of February, 1,715 participants completed a survey, and 816 participants submitted additional data in August 2018.
The researchers found that giving up alcohol for a month helped the participants reduce their number of drinking days later in the year. The number decreased from an average of 4.3 days per week before taking part in Dry January to an average of 3.3 days per week afterward.
Moreover, people who went teetotal for a month also got drunk a lot less frequently later on in the year. Rates of excessive drinking fell from an average of 3.4 times per month at baseline to 2.1 times per month on average.
In fact, Dry January participants also learned to drink less. They went from consuming an average of 8.6 units of alcohol per drinking day at baseline to 7.1 units of alcohol per drinking day later on.
“The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term; by August, people are reporting one extra dry day per week,” notes Dr. de Visser.
“There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in 10 people save money, seven in 10 sleep better, and three in five lose weight,” he adds.
Important benefits, however, are also available to those who give up alcohol for shorter periods. An alcohol-free month would be better, but even less than that can still boost a person’s health, Dr. de Visser says.
“Interestingly, these changes in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month — although they are a bit smaller. This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January,” the researcher emphasizes.
“The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January. Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialize,” says Dr. Richard Piper, the CEO of Alcohol Change UK.
“That means that for the rest of the year, we are better able to make decisions about our drinking and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to,” Dr. Piper notes.
“Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol — seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems — but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too. Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight… The list goes on.”
“So, be it this January or later in the year, you may want to try swapping alcohol for tea, juice, or water for a month or even a few weeks. It could make you happier and healthier, and your bank account will thank you too”, said Piper.
*This article was originally published by Medical News Today
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Driving Job Creation for Africa’s Youth: Mentor to Watch.
Ada Osakwe, CEO of Agrolay Ventures
Ada is an award-winning food entrepreneur and investor. She was also a lead in the launch of the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) that supported the rise of a new cadre of food-entrepreneurs in Nigeria through training, mentorship and financing. Ada is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow.
In 2016, she was Entrepreneur of the Year and featured on Choiseul 100 Africa list consecutively from 2016 to 2018. She received the ‘Achiever in Agriculture’ Award and was on the 2014 Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa list. She is also a mentor on the Future Global Leaders Fellowship.
Uzodinma Iweala : CEO of The Africa Center in New York.
Uzodinma is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. He is the CEO of The Africa Center in New York, promoting a new narrative about Africa and its diaspora through a focus on culture, policy and business. He is the author of three books: Beasts of No Nation (2005), a novel also adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People (2012), a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about coming-of-age in Washington, D.C. His books have been mentioned by Time Magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Times and Rolling Stone. ‘Uzodinma Iweala completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and he earned a medical degree at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.’
ENTER NIGERIA Winning Sunday with The Young Netpreneur for the Week :Ken Nwadiogbu @kennwadio
Ken Nwadiogbu (b. 1994) is a Nigerian born Multidisciplinary Artist, popularly known as KenArt, whose practice is primarily centered around hyper-realistic drawings and works on paper.
Nwadiogbu believes that the society speaks- This voice inspires his art, which evaluates, interrogates and challenges socio-political structures and issues within the society. In his reply to this society, he is able to inspire one or two people to also re-valuate their socio-political structures as we know it. The desire to change his society and the way people think is what drives him to create art every day. Gender equality, African cultures, and Black power are a few aspects of his current research and artistic practice.
Nwadiogbu was born in Lagos, Nigeria and holds a B.Sc in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. His art career started in the university, and with no formal training, has pushed him to become one of the most interesting young contemporary artists from Nigeria, creating works that question life- calling out some of the problems and becoming very grounded in human consciousness..
Nwadiogbu has been featured in lots of local and international group exhibitions and fairs, including the Insanity exhibition, sponsored by Frot Foundation, in Omenka Gallery, Nigeria; the TMC’s It’s Not Furniture, curated by Winifred Okpapi; the Artyrama’s group exhibition curated by Mr Jess Castellote; Art X Lagos, sponsored by Artyrama Gallery, in Lagos, Nigeria; the Moniker Art Fair, sponsored by Creative Debuts, in Brooklyn, NYC; the Anti-Trump show organised in UK; the Afriuture Exhibition by Ramati Art Africa in association with Commonwealth Africa Summit, in Toronto, Canada; amongst many others. He has been televised and publicized on different platforms like Guardian Life, Tush Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Candid Magazine, Bored Panda, BBC, CNN, and more as well as inspiring and encouraging young creatives through public speaking appearances like TEDx. He co-founded Artists Connect NG, the largest Nigerian artist gathering that took place at Lekki Leisure Lake, in Lagos, Nigeria.
To Nwadiogbu, Art is indeed timeless, it is his solace and hiding place, a safe haven he has found to be devoid of restrictions, boxes and boundaries.