Love Coffee? There are More Reasons to Indulge than Avoid It

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Published: July 14, 2017


RH Weekly News Roundup – 14 July 2017

Love Coffee? There are More Reasons to Indulge than Avoid It

Study after study is showing that women who drink a couple of cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke. Interestingly, it’s been shown across racial lines and extends to lower prevalence rates of diabetes, cancer, and respiratory diseases.

But, you should remember that coffee alone isn’t going to prevent these diseases (and, indeed, some develop regardless of the factors you undertake to prevent them). So, it’s not a call to action if you’re not interested in coffee; it’s just good news for those that need it to get going in the morning – or enjoy and after cuppa with friends.

Family Planning Part of a Global Discussion

A Family Planning Summit in the UK has increased discussion around the already hot topic of contraceptives and family planning. As Donald Trump reinstated the “global gag rule”, organisations that provide abortion services or counselling have seen their American aid funding disappear. This includes the Marie Stopes clinics operating in Nigeria – even though the aim of this organisation in the country is to increase access to contraceptives rather than the provision of illegal abortions.

At the recent summit, however, more than 60 governments and partners committed to spending $2.5 billion on family planning in developing countries by 2020. That’s good news for Nigeria. It’s estimated that an increase in contraceptive use will prevent one-third of the 40,000 annual maternal deaths. Currently, Nigeria has a target of 27 percent contraceptive use (which is down from a previous pledge of 36 percent).

 

Hepatitis E Outbreak in the Northeast

The World Health Organisation is monitoring an outbreak of Hepatitis E in Nigeria’s northeast. Frequently spread through contaminated drinking water, areas in and around IDP camps are susceptible to the spread of this disease. At least 146 cases have been reported and the WHO reports fatalities in pregnant women.

Hepatitis E is a liver disease with an incubation period lasting anywhere between two and ten weeks. Initial symptoms include a mild fever and loss of appetite along with nausea and vomiting. Jaundice accompanied by dark urine and pale stools are also symptoms. Usually, hospitalisation is not required, but medical diagnosis and intervention are necessary to ensure the disease doesn’t progress to the stage of liver failure.

Go Natural! Relaxers Linked to Breast Cancer

Weaves, braids, relaxers, and wigs are all part of the African women’s hair experience. And, it can be difficult to go against the norm. But, perhaps it’s time to embrace your natural hair. A recently released study shows there is a concrete link between relaxers and breast cancer.

Interestingly, the same applies for white woman using relaxers and black women using dark hair dyes. Of course, singular studies don’t mean everyone that relaxes their hair will develop breast cancer. But, you should be aware of the risks associated with chemical hair treatments. And, women working in salons should take a moment to inform themselves so they can better protect themselves at work.

Malaria Drug May Prevent Mother to Child Transmission of Zika

Significantly more research needs to be done before we can celebrate, but it appears that hydroxychloroquine – a common malaria treatment – may prevent pregnant mothers from transferring Zika to their children. To date, studies have only been done with laboratory animals, and humans have not yet trialled the theory.

However, the latest Zika outbreak has spurred researchers to consider what can and cannot be done to protect children from being born with Microcephaly – a condition where the brain doesn’t develop fully and the head is abnormally small. First, more research must be done on the effects of taking hydroxychloroquine for an extended period.

UN Reviews Nigeria’s Ability to Protect Girls in Conflict Zones

Nigeria was one of the first countries to sign on to the Safe Schools Declaration – a sign that the country is committed to protecting the education of boy and girl children in its borders. And, security around schools has increased in the aftermath of the Chibok girls kidnapping. But, that does not mean women and girls are safe.

With military forces occupying schools and the increasing number of children in IDP camps, the threat of sexual violence grows. So do reports of intimidation and abuse. The Nigerian government, however, has not answered the questions of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). This week, the country will be undergoing a review of its record of the protection of girls and women. When released, perhaps it will spur the country to increase its protections.

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