African Women Shine…in Transportation?


Published: December 15, 2017

RH Weekly News Roundup – 15 December 2017

African Women Shine…in Transportation?

 Anyone that’s ever flown will have noticed that there are usually more women than men stewards working as cabin crew. So, when Ethiopian Airways announced an all-female team on their 16 December flight between Addis Ababa and Lagos, it’s possible that many people missed the news. But, this trip doesn’t just feature all women in the cabin – it’s the entire crew including the pilots and the technicians. And, given the relatively low number of women in technical and highly-skilled aviation positions, it’s definitely something to celebrate.

On the ground, Uber is ramping up its commitment to African female drivers in Nigeria. They aim to have over one million female driver-partners globally by 2020, and they definitely want to focus on scaling the number of women drivers in Nigeria – as evidenced by their recent “Uber for Her” event in Lagos. There may not be that many women drivers in the country yet, but don’t be surprised when you see more and more every day.

Constant Dull Pain and Fatigue? Eat More Yoghurt

 You may not know it, but chronic inflammation is a killer. Okay, maybe not directly, but it’s at the root of many dread diseases, and it’s something women should be concerned about. Inflammation as a reaction to injury or an intense workout is expected; but when your body fails to return to its normal state, the condition drains your body’s resources to fight actual diseases and infections. Symptoms of chronic inflammation include muscle and joint pains, fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues (abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and acid reflux).

Apart from injuries (and other moments when inflammation is justified), you want to reduce your body’s inflammation levels as much as possible. And, it seems that yogurt may just be one of the best ways to do it. A little less than one and a half cups of low-fat yogurt every day reduced several biomarkers of inflammation in both normal-weight and obese premenopausal women in a recent study undertaken by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Yoghurt also provides calcium, vitamins B2 and B12, plus potassium and magnesium, so it seems to be a win no matter what.


An Old Business Model Is the New Way of Delivering Healthcare

 In the rural areas of Africa, access to healthcare can be counted in terms of distance, as well as the availability of professionals and medicine. And, it’s one of the reasons for high infant and child death rates across the continent. Governments struggle to support rural communities, and even the closest clinics and pharmacies face difficulties in maintaining medicines and supplies.

But, one organization operating in Kenya and Uganda is hoping to make a difference by empowering community leaders that can assist with the sale of medicines (as well as other items that contribute to healthier lives, such as clean cookstoves). Working in a model similar to Avon (where entrepreneurs are responsible for buying the goods to then resell), Living Goods and their Smartphone apps have been able to reduce child mortality by 27 percent in the areas they serve. Isn’t it time we had something like that in Nigeria?  

 More Malaria as Drug-Resistant Strains Spread

 Nigeria claims the highest number of malaria deaths, with about 30 percent of the total number of global deaths. That’s twice as much as the DRC, which stands in the second position. And while a lot of attention was previously paid to controlling and eradicating this disease, it looks as though it’s beginning to outrun efforts made, with the numbers of infected growing.

On top of that, it appears as though the disease is evolving insecticide resistance genes. That jeopardizes efforts already in play as well as new measures that might be taken. But, that doesn’t mean you should stop using insecticide-coated mosquito nets and other measures to protect yourself; indeed, you should be more vigilant. And, it’s important to report to a healthcare facility if you suspect infection.

The Consequences of Early Marriages

 The legal age for marriage in Nigeria is supposed to 18 (according to the Child Rights Act of 2003), but recent (and verified) reports suggest that as many as 45 percent of Nigerian girls are married before their eighteenth birthday.  Almost surprisingly, that’s not even the highest rate of child marriages, globally speaking. Southeast Asia has a higher percentage.

That made the area the perfect place to consider the effects of child marriages – and it may be as bad as many have long suspected. Not only does it affect the health of the young wife, but it’s also likely to negatively impact the health and well-being of the next generation according to a study published in open-access journal Frontiers in Public Health. Researchers believe the lowered levels of health and the number of women and children affected make child marriages a public health concern we can’t ignore.

FG Healthcare Spending in Nigeria

 When the President departed at the beginning of the year to undergo extended medical treatments in the UK after publicly and continually lamenting the losses suffered due to medical tourism, everyone wanted to know why he couldn’t have been treated domestically. After all, the State House Clinic received N3.87 billion in the 2016 budget. The center is reserved for the President and the upper echelons of the government – and it’s worth noting that no other state or university hospital received more than N280 million in the same year.

Surely, we would have seen a greater commitment to healthcare in the 2018 budget, given the President’s condition and stance on the matter. But, in the current budget, a mere N1,688 per person was allocated to healthcare. That’s nowhere near enough. The Minister for Health, Isaac Adewole, claims the country is committed to achieving universal healthcare. But, journalists and civil society organisations definitely believe the opposite to be true – at least until the government shows some sign of committing the one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in the 2018 budget to fund basic healthcare services as promised in 2014.

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