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“Nigeria: Text messages bolster world’s largest distribution of mosquito nets”

Children in Nigeria’s Kano state receive insecticide-treated bed nets at the launch of a recent malaria prevention campaign. RapidSMS text messaging is supporting the distribution of the nets, which are essential to preventing malaria.

By Geoffrey Njoku and Paula Fedeski – UNICEF. World Malaria Day, 25 April, focused this year on the challenge of achieving universal coverage with essential malaria-control interventions. Here is a story of progress and challenges in one malaria-endemic country, Nigeria.

As communities across the globe commemorate World Malaria Day, UNICEF Nigeria and its partners are bringing a tech-savvy twist to their work in preventing this deadly disease.

This year, Rapid Short Message Service (SMS) text messages across Nigeria are helping to track the distribution of some 63 million mosquito nets – the largest campaign of its kind to date. Read more

Breast and Cervical Cancer screening in Abuja

From April 22nd to the 24th, Stand up to Cancer Naija will be holding a cancer screening event in Abuja.

Stand Up To Cancer Naija a non- profit organization based in Nigeria is conducting a Mass Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening in Abuja. Time is 9:30am to 5pm everyday, at Limi Hospital Behind ICPC/NDIC Central Area Abuja,Nigeria.

This exercise is tagged “Mass Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening”. The cost for the screening is N2,000(two thousand naira) for each woman.

Cancer is one of the most significant killer diseases around the world although in fact, it’s more accurate to say it’s a collection of about 100 similar diseases. Cancer can be cured, but the cure rate depends on which variety the person has, how soon it was diagnosed, and how healthy the person’s body is. Throughout this non-profit organization, we’ll be discussing the most common or best-known forms of cancer, examining their possible causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options. Specifically, each article will address these factors. We invite everyone to join this community to share your connection to cancer. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, but if we stand together to create efficient progress in cancer research, those statistics can change – From Stand up to cancer Naija.

OUR WINNERS! CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!!!

And the winners are:

1. Franklin Chidi Uzor

2. Ucheoma Nwanguma

3. Our voter (chosen through a random draw!) Uche Mbadiwe

Congratulations everyone!!! We are so proud of you!!! We did not know we had politicians in our midst oh!!! :)

It was a very, very close competition!Congratulations to everyone once again!!! The competition was very tough for the top 3 contenders so we are considering giving Ayeni Shayman a prize too! He was very close!!! If you want him to get a prize, leave a comment that says “I vote Ayeni” on the Emzor Facebook page!!!

An Emzor official will get in touch with each and every one of you to give you your prize of N50,000!!

Overall we had more than 800 people voting in this contest!!!

We have the best Facebook Fans!! Yayyy!!! Congratulations our dear Emzorites!!! (P.S. one of our friends on the Fan page suggested the name, Emzorites! We love that name!!! Thank you all!!!)

With love,

Emzor

It’s about the process.

I’ve always been very good at math. It was my favorite subject. The concepts came to me easily and as a result I was prompted by my math teacher to take a class that not many did called additional math. On my first homework submission, he gave me a poor grade. I confronted him because I was sure my answers were right. He told me that indeed they were but that I didn’t show my work, I didn’t reveal to him the process by which I came to the answers. I was annoyed. “It’s not fair” I said, after all I had got the right answers, wasn’t that the point. He told me that actually it was not, he explained that getting the right results doesn’t necessarily mean you understand the right process. Once you have really learnt how to process the information properly then you will always get the right result, so in his class he focused on the process.

This is the same principle that we can apply to life. Sometimes we find ourselves going to and fro looking for what we consider the right result, but we have not stopped to consider the process. Given the proliferation of false churches home and abroad; this man of god and that one promising to make your problems go away and provide the answer to your needs, it leads me to think that we have become very results oriented. As long as we get what looks like the right answer, we don’t care about the process by which it comes.

Problems in life, much like problems in math are meant to increase you; Increase your knowledge, understanding, wisdom. They make you better. God is always God. His strength is unmatched. He created the universe and everything in it, so do you think your problem is too difficult for him? Certainly not, but I have come to believe He is focused on the process. Consider the children of Israel who wandered in the wilderness for forty years. When God delivered them it was with great signs and wonders. He parted the Red Sea, sent manna from heaven and more, yet they wandered. He could have probably spirited them all to the Promised Land if He so chose, but they needed to go through the process in order to grow and transform.

Sometimes the process seems to suck. I mean I’ll be frank. It is hard work. Sometimes you need to feel pain, sometimes even shame. It is not always easy, you may have to work and rework your approach to it, but it is necessary. When a pupa is being transformed into a butterfly, I wonder if it hurts. We have all heard the term growing pains. This life is not about having the most money, the best marriage, wonderful kids and more, those are all just perks and if that is all life is what a passive life, we might as well never leave the baby phase.
The real deal about the life we lead is transformation, becoming more who we are meant to be, so that we can actually recognize and fulfill the purpose for which we were born. Right now I am in the midst of a process; it is no fun at all. I am a crier so I have had moments when the tears fell and I remember going to God and saying “Enough, you said you won’t give me more than I can bear, e don do!” and My heavenly father responded patiently, “my daughter, you have much growing to do, (so suck it up, you have the strength inside of you, besides I am with you always kapiche!)

I am always wary of the concept that you have to force your answers down from heaven, so that if you haven’t got what you want it’s because you haven’t prayed or fasted enough. By all means pray, it is imperative that we do so. I believe that it is not only about telling God what we need, but hearing from Him and connecting to Him, its about learning how to be still and how to walk with Him.
By all means fast. That is teaching you how to feed your spirit and not just your flesh. It is teaching you how to bring some things in your life under submission. As I write this I recognize that I have to bring some emotions under submission in my life even now. I get angry too easily and I feel hurt too often. I need to learn to stop, pray and then act, too often I do it backwards by acting, then stopping and finally praying, by then life is invariably in a big mess but thank God for God, He is always there, tsk, tsking but fixing all the broken things just the same and if I haven’t learned my lesson, he gives me the same homework in a different way, so that I can understand the process.

In life we will not always get what we want and in fact bad things may happen to us. Problems like storms are sure to come. It is the natural order of things, just like the rains have to come for the land to produce life; challenges have to come in order for us to produce our best selves. So when a problem comes, yes pray, fast but also take some time for introspection. Let us ask ourselves if there is something to be learned here, something that can add to our growth. Let us not spend so much time ascribing blame to “our enemies”. I was thinking about how Christ asked us to pray for and bless our enemies and I wondered why if someone is the source of torment for us that we must still bless them. Then it hit me, Jesus is more concerned with who we are and who we become, what happens to them is of less consequence. As we pray for our enemies we become transformed and that my dears is the bottom line.

So if you are in the midst of a storm, don’t panic. It will pass. Always does. But the question you and I need to ask ourselves is if we understand the process.

Skip the icecream, Grab a smoothie!

Skip the ice-cream, go for a smoothie!

In the heat of the tropics it is completely understandable to crave a cool treat, however ice cream can be more of a trick as it can be laden with an excess of sugar and a large amount of fat. The one cup of ice-cream sans toppings can run between 400 – 600 calories, contain about 40g of sugars and around 22g of saturated fat. Clearly it can wreak havoc on a healthy eating plan. But when one is craving something sweet and cool, what is one to do?

Smoothies are great alternatives, by adding milk or yogurt you can get the creamy texture associated with ice-cream and you can enjoy a sweet cool treat without all the added sugar and fat. And if you have whey protein powder you can take it from a treat to a meal by adding protein powder to it.

Here are some great simple recipes to sweetly beat the heat.

Mango and Coconut Smoothie
1 banana
½ cup coconut (grated)
½ cup mango (peeled and cut up into chunks)
1 cup of low fat milk
½ cup of vanilla yogurt
½ cup of ice

Directions:
Blend the banana, milk, mango, and coconut and yogurt until smooth. You can add honey for added sweetness. Pour into glass and dream about digging your toes into the sand as you sip this tropical delight.

Pawpaw & Guava Smoothie
½ cup chopped papaya
½ cup guava
½ cup pineapple
1 cup of pineapple juice
½ cup ice cubes

Directions:
Blend the pineapple, pawpaw and guava with the pineapple juice and ice cubes. You can add a banana if you desire a thicker creamier texture and you can drizzle honey for added sweetness. Choose fruits that are ripe for best taste.

Lime and Mango Smoothie
This is a refreshing smoothie, perfect for the end of a long day.
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 cup orange
2 cups mango, sliced
2 cups ice
1 teaspoon lime juice

Directions:
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

Can emotions make you sick – Part 2


Exploring grief and sadness

When difficult and hurtful things happen to us, such as the loss of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship it is normal to feel sad and grief is part of the normal healing process. Some people cry or talk to express their sadness and that is an important part of grieving, it allows the emotional pain to be released from the body. Crying allows the pain to be expelled gradually and talking about it allows the person to begin to process what has happen and proceed towards acceptance.

When people are not allowed to fully articulate their grief, for example when a new widow is reprimanded to be strong or a man is rebuked for behaving like a woman then the natural healing process can be halted.

This is why funerals and memorials and more are essential to our lives because they facilitate the expression and resolution of grief, they give closure. It may seem indulgent but creating such events for less typical purposes can also be helpful; People have memorial services for their pets, women have independence parties, or private occasions with friends where pictures and paraphernalia are destroyed to come to terms with divorces and relationships that may have ended bitterly etcetera. While this may make for amusing dinner conversation, it is actually a healthy manifestation of the grieving process and should be encouraged.

Suppressed grief

Chinese medicine believes that grief weakens and overwhelms the energy in the lung called qi, and as a result suppressed grief or excessive sadness (which happens when a person refuses to move from pain to acceptance) can wreak havoc in the respiratory system. It is believed that suppressed grief can lead to pain in the chest and shortness of breath, along with bronchitis and adult onset asthmatic problems. It can also bring on anxiety attacks which exhibit themselves through difficulty breathing and feelings of suffocation.

It can also result in loss of appetite, constipation and stomach issues like nausea.

Excessive sadness
This can be equally dangerous to your physical health and it happens when a person refuses to move on from a painful event. When an Igbo person experiences something painful, it is common to hear the phrase is this how I went, in other words, is this my life? Woe is me! While these are fairly common and natural reactions the problem is when this becomes the only reaction and there is no progression from pain to acceptance and understanding. When a man abandons his wife for another woman and treats her despicably, one has a choice at that moment, to wallow in the disappointment and sadness or to accept responsibility for one’s own happiness and move into a place of acceptance and even forgiveness. A refusal to do this is to take on the victim mentality and many healers would say it is to begin a slow march towards death.

Why do people choose to act like victims?

Well some become addicted to the negative attention, the pity is misconstrued to them as love and compassion, so they rehash their story over and over again to anyone who will listen and stay in a place of perpetual pain instead of moving towards healing.

This sort of behavior can be destructive on the body as well, also resulting in some of the same symptoms described above as well as tension and pain in the back and shoulder areas.

How does one move from pain to acceptance?
1. Give yourself room to express your grief and feel your feelings. Cry, write in a journal, talk with a few friends and family and pray if you are faith based.
2. Seek closure through a symbolic event such as a funeral
3. Accept what has happened and reclaim your power by recognizing your ability to heal and move on. Don’t let any one even define your life.
4. Do loving things for yourself in order to combat any remnants of pain. Exercise, eat healthfully, take on a new interest, and pursue a new dream. Don’t wallow, choose to celebrate and enjoy the life you have now.

Can emotions make you sick – Part 1

Can your emotions make you sick – Part 1?

Most Africans believe the spiritual can affect the physical and according to current research and thinking, we may have been ahead of the game. Medical practitioners are beginning to recognize the mind-body-spirit connection and are factoring this into provisions for therapeutic care. Increasingly alternative medicinal practices are being adopted or at least included into regimens of care.

Traditional Chinese medicine has long since recognized the role of emotions in the health of the body and scientific research is now backing up these beliefs. According to the Chinese, anger, grief, fear, worry, shock and even joy are all emotions that can lead to disease if excessive.

Anger
Anger is considered the worst emotion of all as unresolved anger can do immense damage to your bodily functions. It also includes resentment, frustration, irritability and rage. It can not only affect the person manifesting the emotion but also the community around said person. A Yale university study showed a strong link between anger and heart disease, including an increased risk for sudden cardiac arrest and death.

Anger and Rage
In moderation, anger can be healthy. When expressed appropriately and resolved it can be positive, protecting the individual from being abused etcetera. However when one allows themselves to let their anger go unchecked and the person becomes enraged for a prolonged period of time, manifesting in physical and/or emotional violence, it can destroy the body over time as well as relationships which are also necessary for a whole healthy life.

Hidden anger
Suppressing anger is not the answer either because when anger is expressed quickly and within reason it can actually help the individual feeling anger to release the emotion, however when it is suppressed and not discharged, it can fester and grow and even transform emotionally into depression.

Chinese medicine asserts that headaches, hypertension and stroke are as a result of unresolved anger issues. And many doctors are now taking a holistic approach to caring for their patients. They address the hypertension by prescribing pharmaceuticals, they instruct the patient to monitor their diet and add exercise to their daily routine, but they also address the patients emotional health by collaborating with health care professionals that work in that area.

How do we curb excessive anger?
1. By practicing active relaxation. When we find ourselves losing control, we should stop and take a deep breath. At this point if we are still angry, we should take a few minutes to monitor our breathing, exhaling and inhaling deeply and focusing on this deep breathing until the intensity of the emotion subsides.
2. If you are in the midst of an argument that continues to escalate, give yourself permission to step away from the situation and collect your emotions. If you are dealing with a partner who doesn’t understand, verbalize your intent to discuss the matter further but inform them that at this moment you need some time to process and control your emotions.
3. Do something physical. Anger is sometimes described as pent up energy, imagine the pictures you have seen of anger represented by a person who has steam coming out of his nose and ears. Doing something physical like running or playing soccer will release that pent up energy and allow you to address the situation rationally.
4. Develop a plan for addressing the situation. A lot of anger comes from a feeling of powerlessness, by developing a plan you regain your sense of power and as such can proceed without losing your temper.

We should all be mindful of our emotions, because it appears they can indeed make you sick.

Watch for Part 2 in the series which will feature the effects of grief and sadness.

Fat Free Okro Soup

Fat Free Okro Soup

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

1.5 lbs finely chopped FRESH okra
0.5 lb spinach
1 large red bell pepper (oil substitute)
2 cans fat free chicken broth
1.5 cups ground dried shrimp (popularly called crafish)
salt (to taste)
0.5 scotch bonnet pepper (optional, it’s extra hot)
Two cups water
1 large or 2 medium sized onions
three of four fresh or frozen croaker scaled, cleaned) fish (each cut in twos or threes)
—you can substitute croaker for tilapia, red snapper, or any scaly fresh water fish)

Equipment:

A blender
1 large pot
A cooking spoon
Knives

Chop the onion(s), red bell in quarters. Blend onions, red bell pepper, and optional scotch bonnet pepper in one can of chicken broth.Consistency should be semi-liquid frothy mix.

Combine the fish and the blended mixture in a larged sized pot. Use a large sized pot so the fish is as spread out as possible, and so will cook in less time. Add salt to taste. Bring to a rolling boil and turn down heat to medium -low -(Cooking the fish on low heat prevents it from disintegrating in the sauce). cook for about 10-15 minutes, but check fish to see if its done. Fish is done when it’s flesh is white all the way through. Using a spoon or spatula, care fully remove the fish, piece by piece from the sauce and place in a bowl (this will prevent the fish from disintegrating in the sauce).

Add one can of broth to the sauce, and increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, add salt to taste (if necessary). Add dried shrimp(crafish), and okra. Bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add spinach, Stir, and turn off the heat. add fish to the sauce before serving.

(if the sauce is too thick , add one cup water and bring to a boil). Serve with Garri, Pounded yam, farina, or just eat on its own.

Look good, feel worse?

We all take for granted that our health and beauty products are just what they claim to be, products that will keep us healthy and make us beautiful. However many of these cosmetics are filled with toxic chemicals that can actually cause great damage to our health and well being.

EwellAfrica will explore the usual health and beauty products and services and will bring you information on dangerous trends and chemicals you should be watching out for.

Nail Salons

Have you ever walked into a Nail salon and been overwhelmed by the poor air quality. The air is filled with fumes from the various chemical ingredients found in everything from Nail polish to acetone. Health problems like respiratory disorders are common among salon workers who take in this air for several hours a day. In fact a 1994 study found a increased risk for miscarriages among salon workers specifically involved in nail care.

There are more toxins in house paint than in nail polish, yet we take it for granted that the latest hot color and nail art on our feet, could not possible make us sick. There are over 10000 chemicals used in the nail care industry.

Take for example acrylic nails also called sculptured nails, that are so common among today’s fashionistas. Before acrylic nails are applied, the nail is sanded to create a rough surface but actually the sanding also makes the nail weaker and more permeable. Then the nail technician dips a brush into liquid ethyl methacrylate and then into a powdered primer, and then onto the nail at which points it becomes solid once dried. Then the nail is shaped, and filed. During this process, both the tech and the client are exposed to fumes and dust.

Is Ethyl methacrylate (EMA) safe? Rats exposed to EMA showed damage in their brains and spinal cords. Although the cosmetic industry review insists that EMA is safe when used according to directions to avoid skin contact. However for years the tobacco industry fought activists who proclaimed the dangers of cigarettes.

If EMA was the only chemical one was exposed to in a nail salon that would be one thing, however it is only one of the many chemicals found. Formaldehyde, a common ingredient in nail polishes, is classified as a carcinogen. Polishes also contain parabens, phthalates which are hormone disruptors. Many polishes also contain the phthalate DBP. In fact the Centers of Disease control in the US found chances were that majority of people have DBP in their systems and that the maximum levels were found in women between 20 and 40 years of age. DBP has been linked to birth defects and reproductive problems. Meanwhile fertility is on the decline.

Major nail polish makers like OPI and Sally Hansen have phased out their products containing DBP along with toluene. Toluene is a chemical that is also classified as a carcinogen as well as known to cause reproductive abnormalities.

As if the chemical threat were not enough, many clients are exposed to microbial dangers as well. Bacterial and fungal infections can be caught through the use of unsanitary equipment, particularly when tools that have sharp edges like blades.

Here are some tips to keep your nails beautiful while staying healthy.

  1. Limit or reduce the number of trips to the nail salon. Try doing a manicure or pedicure at home. Your wallet and your lungs will thank you.
  2. Pay attention to the chemicals in the products you are using. Also be mindful that the word natural does not mean safe. Some so called natural products actually contain more than ten toxic ingredients.
  3. Ask if your nail salon has a ventilation system (not airconditioners) but something that brings the good air in and takes the bad air out.
  4. Consider whether or not acrylic nails are really necessary.
  5. Ask if your salon has an autoclave which will help them sterilize their equipment and observe their cleaning practices.

Five Superfoods you should add to your diet

Usually when we think about our diet, we think about what we need to take out of it, less sugar, less fat and so on. However food is fuel and if you eat the right foods it can heal and preserve our bodies. Here are five simple foods that you can add into your diet and reap significant rewards.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal lowers cholesterol and because it is rich in fiber it also improves your digestion and is great for weight control because it helps you feel full. The American Heart Association recommends 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber a day and one serving of oatmeal has about one sixth that amount so add oats and other whole grains into your daily menu.

Avocado

Avocados are high in fat, but good fats, monounsaturated fatty acids. These can actually help you lose fat around your middle. If your waistline is at 35 inches or higher, you are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Avocados also contain high concentrations of crucial minerals and vitamins like potassium, magnesium, folate, protein, and vitamins B6, E, and K. Although these can be added in moderation.

Beans

Beans are loaded with antioxidants and protein and fiber. Experts suggest that adding beans to your diet can increase your body’s capacity to burn fat and control blood sugar and even reduce the risk of cancer.

Olive Oil

Most people know that Olive oil is heart healthy, however new research suggests that in can be can be brain healthy too. It has been recommended for prevention against Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been proposed to combat certain kinds of cancers.

Dark Chocolate

Go ahead, indulge in a little chocolate, but make it dark. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and can help to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. It also has tons of minerals and some studies even say that it can be good for the skin. So enjoy, just remember, it’s still chocolate so proceed with restraint.