Tuesday, 19 June 2018

How To Check New Infant HIV Infections

Chioma Umeha
The goals of the national programme for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV include elimination of new infections among children and ensuring safe motherhood by 2020.
Specifically, Nigeria’s target is for 75 per cent of all pregnant women to receive quality HIV testing and counselling as well as their results before target period.
Next, is to ensure that 60 per cent of all HIV positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers receives ARVs by 2020.
The comprehensive package of PMTCT interventions include, HIV testing services (HTS), ARV and Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis for mother-infant pairs and use of lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for women.
A visit to the Heart to Heart Centre (H2H) of the Badagry General Hospital, Lagos State by the Journalists’ Alliance for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Nigeria (JAPIN) underscores why new infant HIV infections and deaths is on the increase.
First, is due to failure of pregnant women in receiving quality HIV testing and counselling as well as their results. Second, is failure of HIV positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers in receiving ARVs.
At the H2H Centre, Oge John (not real names) told Independent: “This is not my first pregnancy, I lost the first one. It was during the antenatal that it was discovered that I was not taking ARV drugs. That is during my first pregnancy, I was not on ARV drugs, so the baby died. It was a stillbirth. After that, I started taking the drugs regularly. It was after I came to Heart to Heart Centre, they counseled me and I started taking drugs.”
Emmanuela Segun said: I already had my first child who is negative before I tested positive to HIV in 2010. My first husband died of AIDs and I remarried. When my present husband came and proposed to me, I told him about my status. He said, there is no problem since it’s not a death sentence that I can live normal life while on ARVs. Since then we have been living together. This second pregnancy belongs to my present husband who is negative. I have started taking my Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) drugs before I met him. We met where I am currently working. I don’t miss my drugs so that the child I am expecting will come out negative.
Mrs. Adeyinka Kunle told Independent, I was in my fourth pregnancy, when I came to Heart to Heart Centre in 2011. It supposed to be my fourth child, a baby boy, but I lost him because I refused to take my ARV drugs. I also lost the next pregnancy which was twins. My thought then was whether I use the ARV drugs or not, I will die and this made me stay away from home for three days. I was affected psychologically.
“My husband is negative likewise my first three children. After the mistake of losing my fourth and fifth pregnancy, during the sixth pregnancy, I took my drugs religiously and my boy came out HIV negative. By the grace of God, this is my baby from this seventh pregnancy will also be negative.”
Mrs. Kadiri Oluseyi, Executive Director, Centre for Positive Health Organisation, Lagos State said we are partnering with the Badagry General Hospital in working towards HIV prevention, maternal health, tuberculosis prevention, treatment, care and support at the community level.
Oluseyi added: “Our focus is that information reaches every individual about HIV counseling, testing, and treatment. We also provide access, care and support, especially to those that have tested positive.
Speaking on how to avoid new infant HIV infection, Oluseyi said, “Once a pregnant member of PLWA refuses to be counselled or receive drugs, we do not give up, we open her eyes on the risk involved by her action on herself, her unborn baby and community.”
Mrs. Bukola Salami, Psychosocial Counsellor for Abidjan- Lagos Corridor, (ACO) support group said her duties as a psychosocial are; “we follow -up PLWA, counsel them to accept their result and register for Anti-retroviral drugs. We do not force the PLWA to register for drugs; rather we educate them on the negative impact of not registering and adhering to the prescription.
“The psychosocial is very important because, the nurses cannot be in the hospital and track down a pregnant woman who refuses to come for clinic and ensure drug adherence as some of them miss their appointments.
“The benefits of registering in a support group like ACO are that, some pregnant PLWA do not know how to go about their new way of life, we educate them on the right path and importance of the drug they are taking.
The Psychosocial Counsellor further explained: “The drugs are free, but not all the tests are free. The two most important that are free is Cluster of Differentiation 4, (CD4) and Viral Load tests. We have recorded great success in this project.
“The PLWA pregnant mothers give birth to negative children. 80 per cent of our clients’ babies are negative. The 20 per cent of babies born positive with HIV is due to negligence of the mother. On breastfeeding, this is dependent on the PLWA CD4.”
Salami also said that the support group which started in March 2017 is in partnership with the Badagry General Hospital Ante natal unit. According to her, at the inception of the group, it had seven registered member but currently has over 20.
She further appealed for government’s support through increased funding and access to anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, saying, “It will help to ameliorate the challenges of PLWHA, especially pregnant mothers and help in the elimination of new infant HIV infections.”
For instance, only an estimated 53,677 (30.16 per cent) of 177,993 HIV-infected pregnant women received antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of mother- to -child transmission (MTCT) of the disease in 2015.
Also, National Coordinator, National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Sunday Aboje corroborated that Nigeria was still home to the highest number of children living with HIV/AIDS in the world.
Dr Aboje spoke at the opening of a three-day Communication Strategic review workshop by JAPIN in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, recently.
Dr Aboje stated that currently 380,000 children are HIV positive in the country, adding that Nigeria is committed to the goal of eliminating new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive by 2020.
The NASCAP coordinator declared: “Nigeria has the second highest global burden of HIV/AIDS and also contributes the largest proportion of new vertically acquired HIV infections among children.
“The country has come a long way in its effort to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly in PMTCT.
“Beginning with the pioneer 11 PMTCT-provider tertiary health facilities in 2002, the country now has 7,265 health facilities providing PMTCT services at all levels of the health care system.”
Dr Aboje, however, stated that Nigeria’s target on eliminating new HIV cases in children among other things for 2018 was to ensure 50 per cent of HIV exposed children have access to HIV prophylaxis treatment and early infant diagnosis services.
Only an estimated 15.44 per cent (27,486) of the 177,993 HIV exposed infants received ARV prophylaxis for the PMTCT within first six weeks of birth as at 2015, according to NASCAP coordinator.
Only an estimated 10.26 per cent (18,263) of the 177,993 HIV exposed infants who started CTX prophylaxis within two months as at 2015, he added.
Similarly, only 8.92 per cent (15,879) of the 177,993 HIV exposed infants whose blood samples were taken for DNA PCR test within two months of birth within the same period.
He, however, declared that funding, inadequate political commitment and funding at state and LGA levels, weak health infrastructure as well as inadequate engagement of the private health sector as some challenges against eliminating new HIV cases in children.

NAFDAC Promises Improved Surveillance, Receives Eight Cars From Dangote, Others

Chioma Umeha
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said it is improving monitoring and surveillance activities with a view to ensure that only safe products are in circulation in the country.
Stating this during a donation by Dangote Group, led by its Acting Managing Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Engr. Abdullahi Sule in Lagos, the Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, noted the hazardous nature of the agency’s mandate and warned importers who engaged in nefarious activities to desist.
Oni stressed that NAFDAC would not only continue to seize fake and banned products imported into the country, but destroy and prosecute every person found wanting.
“The earlier we arose to do good things the better for us. Apart from giving marketing authorization to products that we regulate.
“It behoves us to also carry out surveillance and monitoring activities to ensure that the quality as at the time that product was granted marketing authorisation is retained.
“Apart from that, we also have the issue of some items that are in the prohibition list that are bad and you know Nigerians who they are, they will like to bring in those products. The onus is on us for those ones that are under purview of NAFDAC, not to allow them to come in at all. We will not do it alone, we will partner with other sister agencies like the Nigeria Customs, which is always at the border post.”
Noting that the agency has received so much support from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) she said the donation by Dangote would go a long way in improving their activities.
“Our activities require good vehicles, if you don’t have a vehicle, how do you begin to chase people that are already mobile and they are running away. Now, we can chase them,” the Acting NAFDAC boss said.
Oni who further disclosed that the Inspector General of Police, IGP, has promised to give the agency a set of officers, adding that NAFDAC do not carry arms, hence the need to partner with the Police.
“With adequate number of Police officers and good vehicle, when we are chasing, we know that we have adequate cover because there are times, you want to carry out enforcement and surveillance activities that we are attacked, but with the presence of the Police, it reduces the hazards that we face in the course of carrying out our duties.
“What this means is that as from today, these vehicles will be put into more effective operations of NAFDAC functions, especially our enforcement, inspection, and post marketing surveillance.  We have six pilot vehicles; we are expecting two more, one additional Hilux from Bua and a 16-seater bus,” she added.
Pledging that the vehicles would be put into judicious use, she called on well-meaning Nigerians and cooperate organisations to partner with NAFDAC as the agency cannot succeed alone.
“Our service is for humanity and we must make sure that we improve the wellbeing of the citizenry.”
She however, warned that the fact that a company gave NAFDAC a gift does not exempt such organisation from being monitored.

Fake Drugs: Pharmacists Pledge To Deploy IT For Service-Delivery

By Chioma Umeha

Pharmacists under the auspices of  Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has pledged to deploy appropriate technologies to tackle high prevalence of fake and counterfeiting drugs in the country.
Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, the PSN President said the time is ripe for pharmacists to take advantage of digital evolution and data transformation to monitor medications, create value as well as enhance service-delivery.
He spoke in Lagos during a workshop weekend, tagged; “Convergence of technology and the impact on pharmaceutical practice,” organised by the Education committee of the society.
Commenting on the theme, he said that PSN would incorporate technology as part of a multidisciplinary and collaborative healthcare team.
This, he said, would enhance pharmacy practice and delivery of pharmaceutical services to patients.
Yakassi added that the association would deploy the international standard dispensing software for best clinical practice, patients’ management and intervention therapies.
Yakasai said PSN is working in partnership with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other agencies determined to fight fake drugs using the latest IT technologies.
He noted that technologies had transformed every spectrum of the society and PSN must not be left out in the digital revolution.
“No doubt that we need to harness the power of digital technologies and data transformation to create value and offer better services to the public”, Yakasai said.
According to him, it is the desire of PSN “to leverage on technology to create a better practice and training for all of us.”
He explained: “In our digital age, technology is shaping our world in a big way and its impact in any profession can never be underestimated. Technology is taking people and organisations from the lowest depth of frustration to the greatest pinnacle of achievement and the pharmaceutical sector must not be left out.”
According to him, with the technological devices, there would be efficient standard and evidence-based medication documentation and making of quality products for consumers.
The Chairman, PSN, Pharma Industry IT Platform, Lekan Asuni, added that the workshop was to assess the gaps in the deployment of IT in the pharmaceutical industry so as to bridge them.
Asuni also said that it was also vital to controlling the cases of counterfeit drugs that had permeated the Nigerian market.
He noted that most pharmacists have keyed into the digitisation drive, but more efforts still need to be put in the area of adopting appropriate technologies to drive pharmaceutical practice.
He said: “It is catching fire, but there is still a lot to be done. It is a work in progress. The goal is to see that in different areas of practice, we use different aspects of IT.
“Some are specific for your area of practice, but there are some that we need to see how they link together and speak together so that we know what is going on across different practice areas. This will enable us have a common platform to access data and information by both practitioners and the general public.
“So the essence of this workshop is to assess what we have, what are the gaps and what we can do to be IT ready for the future.”
The Acting Director General, National Agency For Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), Yetunde Oni, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Felicia Enigimi, urged stakeholders to adopt a mobile application software to checkmate the status of NAFDAC-regulated products in the country.
Corroborating earlier views, Pharm Lere Baale, stressed the adoption into law of pharmacy informatics as a required course in every tertiary institution for graduating students of Pharmacy.
Pharmacy informatics is a field that deals with the use and integration of data and medicines usage in the continuum of healthcare, including the acquisition, storage, analysis and medicines knowledge to achieve improved health outcomes.
This inclusion, Baale explained would mean every pharmacist graduating thereafter will be duly equipped to be relevant in the future of healthcare.
Also, they will be in a position to use their skills and knowledge to provide individualised and specialised patient care in an increasingly digital world, he added.
The keynote speaker Pharm Remi Adeseun’s presentation was an expository on the world of technology and how it will benefit the profession.

No Killer Anti-Malarial In Circulation – NAFDAC

Chioma Umeha
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) Tuesday, said there were no ‘killer’ on anti-malarial medicines in Nigeria.
Dismissing fears of circulation of purportedly banned 42 antimalarial drugs in the country, at a press conference in Lagos, Acting Director -General, NAFDAC, Dr Yetunde Oni, urged Nigerians to disregard such misinformation.
Briefing the media in Lagos, Oni said Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) are the current anti-malaria medicine used in malaria epidemic countries like Nigeria.
The Director General, however stated that these antimalarial monotherapies are not recommended for treatment of malaria in Nigeria.
“The recommended anti-malaria medicines for treatment of malaria in Nigeria are Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs).
“The Nigeria National Anti-Malaria Treatment Policy, February 2005 also supports the use of ACTs,” Oni said. According to her, any anti-malaria drugs that do not have the scratch and text techniques should not be in circulation.
“Every anti-malaria drug should have an authentication scratch and text techniques, it is the first line of checking the quality of the medicine.
“We want to douse the tension and correct the misinformation on the social and mainstream media about the 42 Anti-Malarial medicines purportedly banned by the European Union but allegedly circulating in the country.
“It is pertinent to mention that the allegedly banned anti-malarial medicines are oral monotherapies containing single Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) such as Artesunate as contained in Arinate tablet.
“Others are Amodiaquine as contained in Camoquine, Dihydroartemisinin contained in Alaxin tablet and Pyrimethamine contained in Daraprim tablet.”
She advised Nigerians to use ACTs as they were the WHO’s recommended anti-malarials.
“I wish to state categorically that these anti-malarial monotherapies are not recommended for treatment of malaria in Nigeria.
“The use of ACTs in the treatment of malaria is in line with the guidelines for the treatment of malaria, third edition, World Health Organisation(WHO) 2015, Geneva Switzerland.
“The Nigeria National Anti-Malarial Treatment Ploicy, February 2005 supports the use of ACTs. Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) is also a combination anti-malarial medicine recommended by both the WHO and the Nigeria National Anti-Malarial Treatment Policy for the Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) of malaria,” Oni said.
Continuing Oni who advised Nigerians to reject oral monotherapies containing single Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, also added that anti-malaria drug that do not have the scratch and text techniques should not be in circulation.
“Every anti-malaria drug should have an authentication scratch and text techniques, it is the first line of checking the quality of the medicine.
“When you scratch and text; immediately an information comes back to give the status of that particular anti-malarial. We have been able to achieve our deadline on this scratch and text since January 2017.
She further announced that NAFDAC will be deploying a new application in the market that will enable users of NAFDAC registered products to be able to check the status of the products on their phones.
“Nigerians should always demand for ACTS which is the recommended treatment for malaria.”
On the issue of chloroquine, Director of Registration, Mrs Titilope Owolabi ‎explained that Chloroquine was no longer use for malaria but was registered by NAFDAC for other indications.

I Was Overweight, Now I Am Fit, Sexier – Kristyna

By Chioma Umeha
Miss Okpara Uchechi Kristyna, a fashion designer from Imo state, recently told Independent that she used to be overweight, often sick, lazy and unfit, but she is now healthier, fit, and sexier following regular visits to the gym. Excerpts:
Do you exercise regularly?
Yes I do. I have been con¬sistent since registering in a gym barely three months ago. In fact, I visit the gym for fit¬ness exercise daily.
What were your initial complains before you started exercising?
I complained of unhealthy weight. I was prone to diseas¬es and was not fit to do many things.
Can you say there are positive changes?
Yes, obviously. For instance, physical exercise has helped to control my weight.
What other changes have you expe¬riences?
Physical exercise has also helped to reduce my risk to dis¬eases. It has strengthened my bones and muscles and even improved my mental health and mood.
What was your body weight before now?
I was 85kg, but now weigh 70kg.
What can you do now which you could not do before?
I feel healthy, light and fit now. Prior to my regular visit to the gym, I was often sick, lazy, heavy and unfit. A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can be quite help¬ful. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals leaving me feeling happier and more re¬laxed.
I also feel better about my appearance and myself when I exercise regularly. It also boosts my confidence and improves my self-esteem.
Has regular exercise reduced your visits to the hospital?
Yes of course, I do not get sick anymore.
Can you say that exercise has made you to make you to stop us¬ing some drugs?
Yes, obviously. I look sexier than before, I am so in love with my present shape, all thanks to darling exercise.

How To Keep Fit In This Rainy Season

By Chioma Umeha
Are you exhausted at home or stressed at work with little or nothing to do during the raining season? You are not alone. This is the plight of many people in this country and across where adverse weather conditions affect one’s movement. Under such adverse weather condition, there is a tendency that you would add up a few pounds or kilograms.
Many would end up with a little bulging either at the hip or around the tummy. This is particularly so if you are among those with a genetic make up which allows you retain more calories than you exhaust. Sorry to tell you that, you are out of luck.
Unfortunately, the rainy season brings with it other draw backs other than flooded roads and constant power outage. The cold weather may also influence your moods.
Research has also shown that what you eat may determine your mood; so your mood can be influenced by your eating habit. Similarly, lack of activity creates a vacuum, which many people opt to use food to fill. However, foods like sweet potatoes and walnut can lift your mood. It doesn’t mean that you should load up on sweet potatoes and walnut or consume far less calories in order to maintain a quality lifestyle. Moderation is the key to everything you do. Generally, activities of many people get reduced in rainy weather, while calorie intake remains unchanged. In other words, whenever your food intake doesn’t commensurate with your caloric ‘expenditure,’ that leftover would be stored in your body as fat.
Now, the question is, what steps can one take to avoid excessive accumulation of fat during this rainy season? Here are some tips that may help you get your body to be the envy of your friends.
Modify your eating habits
This is where many of our defeats occur, and it requires the change in our psyche regarding food consumption. Often, we eat food because we think it is the essence of living, not for nourishment. Think of the food that you eat as a fuel in a car. You wouldn’t fill up your car with fuel and abandon it in the driveway.
A vehicle filled with fuel must have an intended task to accomplish, likewise your body. It is the vehicle that conveys your soul and spirit.
Also, you should be mindful that once your body stores carbohydrate as fat, it is hard to get rid of. Consequently, your goal should be to maintain a five per cent reduction on your carbohydrates, protein and fat, and if anything, you should consider the consumption of leafy food like salad and vegetables with an increase in water intake.
Firing all cylinders
Exercise is the most important thing that can have all the neurons in your body fired up. However, it doesn’t require you to be a fitness fanatic to score a considerable measurable result.
For instance, a 30-40minute of brisk walking or jogging up and down your one-story staircase can be just as effective as, or better than your traditional treadmill.
If you doubt this, measure your heart rate during the performance of each activity and you will discover that your staircase exercise ranks higher.
And this actually translates to good metabolic rate with a sustainable caloric expenditure.
This is not the only exercise programme that could have physiological changes to your body. Any activity, which would tax your body beyond the level of your daily energy to exhaustion, can have the same effect.
This explains the difference between physiology of a man/woman whose job involves push, pull and lift, and one behind the desk.

Pills, Magic Teas, Cannot Replace Physical Exercise – Anita

By Chioma Umeha
 ania Anita is a Business Administrative Executive with a Human Resource (HR) firm in Lagos. In a chat recently, Anita told Independent that pills and magic teas will not give the same results as physical exercise. Excerpts:
Do you visit the gym regularly?
Yes, I visit the gym about four to five times in a week.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been going to the gym for two years.
Did you have any complaint physical exercises have resolved?
I never had any complaints, but I just wanted to get fit and transform my body.
Have there been positive changes in your health, since you started exercising?
Yes. There are lots of changes.
Do you have other benefits?
I learnt to set and achieve goals, and my work performance has improved. My energy level now is balanced. My strength and flexibility has increased.
My memory and self-confidence has also improved, among other things.
What were you weighing before and now?
I was weighing 90 kg in 2015, now it is 68 kg.
What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
Well, I can squat 140lbs for starters
… lol
Can you say that this has reduced your visit to the hospital or made you to stop using some drugs?
Yes, it definitely has.
Surprisingly, I thought you would have resorted to fasting and praying to keep fit.
Lol.. Well, if fasting and praying was that easy, then we won’t have to do any form of exercise.
What’s your advice to others?
Shortcuts, pills and magic teas will not give you the results you are looking for. Any result you get from these gimmicks will be temporary, and it’s likely you will start over again.
You have to be honest with yourself and put in some work, it’s a process and you have to trust it. You can’t skip the struggle because it makes you who you are; it gives you the motivation to keep going.
Get more active, be consistent and remember that anything worth having is worth working for.
Always remember that nutrition is key – you can live in the gym, but if you don’t eat right you’re wasting your time.

Fitness Tips And Strategies From Experts

By Chioma Umeha

Are you tired of putting in the effort at the gym and not seeing results? Many people show the drive, determination, and consistent effort, but don’t reach their goals. If this sounds familiar, the next logical step is usually to find an ed¬ucated personal trainer with proven experience. But, if you would prefer to go it alone, here are insightful tips and strategies specifically designed to help you build strength, gain muscle mass, lose fat, enhance your endurance and maintain healthy eating habits from finest personal trainers.
Nutritional basics
Ask almost any personal trainer and they will tell you that regardless of your training goals, healthy eating is the backbone. Food is what fuels your body to reach your goals and without proper nutrition through quality foods, you’re likely to stall. As a result, if possible, eat organic foods and, above all else, maintain a balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, complete proteins, and fats including such things as fish oils and flaxseeds.
Prepare ahead
Regardless of what you’re doing, preparing yourself in advance gives you the best chance to accomplish your goals. Your approach to nutrition should be no different according to experts, who believe it’s best to prepare for your upcoming day by prepping all your food in advance. This will ensure you do not eat bad foods or skip meals.
Eat more
Eating only three daily meals? Research has shown that half the people that engage in exercise aren’t losing weight because they don’t eat enough. Some studies suggest that you eat five times a day, about every three hours to stimulate your metabolism, including two mini meals between their three basic meals.
However, with activity levels decreasing throughout the day, experts advise that you eat less as the day goes on.
Muscle-building basics
Talk to any personal trainer and they’ll tell you there are certain muscle-building basics. First, increase your caloric and complete protein intake. Then, when you enter the gym, focus on your form. Perform compound movements and train with weights on average around four times a week. Never underestimate the importance of rest. Remember, muscle tissue grows outside of the gym when you are giving your body time to relax and recover following your workouts.

How To Deal With Job-Related Stress

By Chioma Umeha

Oil your body through exercise
The type of exercise depends on your choice, but it must be something that you like to do which would allow you to exhaust energy.
A friend once boasted that he exercises regularly. How¬ever, when I probed him on the type of exercise he indulges in? I was surprised to learn that his exercise constitutes less than three minutes interval walk from the ground floor to the first floor of his apartment.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to condemn him, but it doesn’t commiserate with his daily exercise re¬quirement.
Exercise regimens have a way of slowing down the effect of stress, and afford one the opportunity to operate in nor¬malcy. The cost of enrolling in a gym or fitness programme is infinitesimal when compared to the cost of health care or loss in production.
Stress and Diet
Stress is a brain drain and if it is left uncontrolled, can lead to various illnesses. When you are under stress, the brain would send a signal to the adrenal glands to release hormone called cortisol that may be responsible for craving of foods rich in fat and sugar – comfort food.
As these foods are consumed, they tend to counteract the effect of stress in the brain. Cortisol is responsible for increase in appetite or craving to eat.
Research has also shown that when people are stressed, they tend to make bad choices of unhealthy snack.
Have you heard the saying that, you are what you eat? Believe it or not, it is true and your diet can make a difference in your life. Good food which is often called ‘Happy Foods’ are responsible for lowing one’s stress level.
Let us examine some of the foods considered as brain boosters. These foods are rich in nutrients and leave you with less bully fat.
Vitamin C: This category includes – green pepper, straw¬berry and berries, orange juice, brussels sprout which are enriched with vitamin C. They are known to boost the im¬mune system and help you ward off stress.
Foods like plain yogurt, salmon, chicken, oatmeal and asparagus produce vitamin B and enhance the neurotrans¬mitters – serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. These neurotrans¬mitters are called “feel good hormones.”
Are you often tensed and apprehensive? Try almond seed, spinach, and sunflower. These are enriched with magnesium which helps you relax.
Take time off your job
To many Nigerians, vacation time is at Christmas break. Sadly, when such time comes, it is often consumed with fes¬tive activities that are quite stressful. Christmas break should be separated from vacation time. The vacation time should entail a complete break from everything, which may tax the very energy that you were trying to rejuvenate.
A perfectly planned and expensive vacation can be ruined by mixing it up with business. Vacation should be a period to reset your mind so that when you return to work, you should feel re-energised.
Learning to use your afternoon break wisely prolongs life and improves job performance. Walking out of the work environment is a good way of refreshing your mind if you do not desire to eat lunch. Lunch time which comes in between work hours is there for your good and therefore must be utilised maximally.
Religious activities
Religious activities add value to any stress relieving mea¬sure that any one may chose. It offers a sense of belonging and the ability to seek a higher being for solution.
Finally, remember that stress is real and does affect your job performance. Learn to control your stress level through good diet, exercise and relaxation.

Nigeria To Increase Health Facilities, Providing Family Planning

Independent Newspaper
Nigeria Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, at the recently concluded Family Planning Summit in London has pledged, in collaboration with its partners and the private sector, to achieve a modern contraceptive rate of 27% among all women by 2020. The government also pledged to increase the number of health facilities providing family planning.
Nigeria committed increasing its annual allocation for contraceptives to $4 million, and to ensure total disbursement of $56 million to the states, through its participating in the Global Financing Facility and via international development assistance loans. Nigeria will expand the implementation of its task-shifting policy to include patent medicine vendors and community volunteers to improve access to family planning services in difficult-to-reach areas and among disadvantaged populations. Nigeria will use its Minimal Initial Service Package for sexual reproductive health to provide family planning supplies within its national crisis preparedness and response.
According to a statement made available to Saturday Independent, Nigeria pledged to remove regulatory barriers and to scale up access to new contraceptive methods such as sub-cutaneous Depo Medroxyprogesterone Acetate injections (Sayana Press). To transform its last-mile distribution of health and family planning commodities, Nigeria will use a push-model system, and collaborate with the private sector to optimally transport, store and track commodities, using an electronic logistics management system.
A new tracking and accountability system will report annually and real-time, expenditures for family planning at national and state levels. The government will increase the number of health facilities providing family planning services in each of its states and federal territory to 20,000 and leverage its 10,000 functional primary health care facilities to raise awareness about family planning. In this vein, Nigeria will partner with stakeholders and gatekeepers to reduce socio-cultural barriers for family planning services, including by collaborating with line ministries to ensure the provision of age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information to youth through the Family Life Health Education Curriculum and youth-friendly services in health facilities and other outlets.
To address financial barriers, the government will collaborate with states, donors and other stakeholders on a health insurance scheme to make household family planning expenditures reimbursable.
This commitment will go a long way in reaching thousands of women and girls with critical reproductive health information. According to the report, Nigeria has over 3.8 million married and sexually active adolescents (ages 15-19) of whom 19% have an unmet need for contraception.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Wearing A Waist Trainer Is Bad For You

By Chioma Umeha

Wearing a corset-like contraption to cinch your core, hips, and back. The idea is to wear it for a certain amount of time every day, and eventually, your body “molds” itself into a slimmer figure. Sounds easy enough.
Now the big question is should you try it? Probably not.
When you wear this 500-year-old de¬vice, you squish your lungs and ribs, which makes it hard to breathe. Some women have actually passed out from wearing one for too long, says Christo¬pher Ochner, Ph.D., weight loss and nu¬trition expert at Mount Sinai Hospital.
If you keep wearing it for an ex¬tended period of time? You could get crushed organs, compressed lungs, and fractured ribs.
Plus, experts say it doesn’t really work. “Spot reducing doesn’t exist,” says Ochner. You can’t reduce the col¬lection of fat in any one particular area of your body. If you push your stomach in, all the fat will go right back to where it was no matter how long you wear the corset for. Yes, some people can get away with wearing the waist trainer without any real harm done. But for a real, long-term weight-loss plan, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Fitness Facts You Should Know

By Chioma Umeha

The key, experts say, is to use your time more wisely. Think about killing two birds with one stone. Take your kids to the park or ride bikes together, and you’re getting physical activity while enjoying family time, he says. Beyond that, go for a hike, take the kids swimming, or play hide-and-seek, tag, softball, or horseshoes in the backyard.
At work, they say, schedule a meet¬ing on the jogging track or on the golf course. Also, forget the idea that you have to trudge to the gym and spend an hour or more doing a formal workout. Instead, you can work short spurts of physical ac¬tivity into your day.
Squeezing in two or three bouts of 15 or 20 minutes of activity is just as effective as doing it all at once. Vacuuming the house in the morning, riding bikes in the park with the kids in the afternoon, then taking a brisk walk in the evening can add up to an active day.

I Was Stiff, Overweight; Now I Am More Energetic – Estelle

Queen Estelle, a Lagosbased jeweller and web developer recently told Independent that she used to be overweight, stiff and hardly engaged in any physical activity, but regular visits to the gym has reversed this. Excerpts:
How long have you been engaging in physical exercises?
I have been engaging in fitness for about a year and few months.
How many times in a week do you engage in exercise?
I exercise five times a week.
What were your initial complaints before you started exercising?
I was overweight and could barely engage in any physical activity. I was very stiff.
Can you say there are positive changes?
Oh yes, a lot of changes.
Can you specifically outline the changes?
I feel lighter, more energetic and flexible. Exercising helps me sleep better. Exercise has helped me prevent excess weight gain and maintain weight loss. By engaging in physical activity, I burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories I burn.
What were you weighing before and now?
Before I started exercising, I was weighing 110kg, now weigh 87kg.
What can you do now which you couldn’t do before?
The list is endless, but I will say my endurance level has increased. Regular physical activity improves my muscle strength and boosts my endurance.
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to my tissues and helps my cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when my heart and lung health improves, I have more energy to tackle daily chores.
Has regular exercise reduced your visits to the hospital?
Yes it has. Besides, regular physical activity gives me an emotional lift. It also helps me to blow off some steam after a stressful day. A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can be quite helpful. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals leaving me feeling happier and more relaxed.
I also feel better about my appearance and myself when I exercise regularly. It also boosts my confidence and improves my self-esteem.

Exercise Has Made Flaps Around My Waistline Disappear – Richard

By Chioma Umeha

Mrs. Bernice Richard, Chief Executive Officer, Skin Glamour, narrates how exercises have helped her gain more vigour in this interview. Excerpts:
How often do you exercise in a week?
I exercise at least three times a week.
How long have you been engaging in exercises?
I commenced regular fitness exercise since six years ago.
What were your initial complains before you started exercising?
I had flaps around my waist¬line, difficulty to withstand anything strenuous and could neither walk nor run a long dis¬tance. In fact, I had no vigour.
Can you say there are positive changes?
Yes, there are a lot of pos¬itive changes since I started exercising. For instance, I feel a lot better psychologically and physically. My self-confidence has also increased. Before now, I had flaps around my waist¬lines, difficulty to withstand anything strenuous and could neither walk nor run long dis¬tance, but this has resolved. In fact, I had no vigor, then. However, the reverse is the case now.
Can you specifically outline the changes?
My muscles are more toned and now I have more strength. I experience faster metabolism and I now look a lot younger.
What was your body weight be¬fore now?
I was 97kg, but now weigh 64kg.
What can you do now which you could not do before?
I have increased vitality unlike before. I can now with¬stand even strenuous activities as well as walk or run long dis¬tance.
Has regular exercise reduced your visits to the hospital?
Yes, it has.

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