World AIDS day; HIV and Gender

Hi readers. On 1st December, the world marked world AIDS day. Therefore, this post is about HIV.

I am writing this post with the assumption that we all know certain things;

1. HIV is transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected person, through blood transfusion with infected blood, and through an infected mother to her child during childbirth, among other routes of transmission.

2. HIV is not transmitted through mosquito bites, sharing of spoons, toilets, etc.

3. Mother to child transmission of HIV during childbirth and breastfeeding can be prevented. It’s really not that difficult.

4. HIV treatment is freely available.

5. HIV is not a death sentence.

6. No one should stigmatise or discriminate against anyone because of their HIV status (or for any other reason). Stigma is bad. Period.

(NB: On second thought, I know a lot of people do not know not to stigmatize and discriminate. That will be a topic for another day.)

Now that I have written some of the things we all should know, I have to ask, do we know some of the driving forces of the HIV epidemic? Do we know that; Continue reading

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Men and their prostates

Hi, dearly beloved. It’s been a while. My laptop crashed, got repaired and crashed again. I had seminars, term papers and many other engagements. Unfortunately, blogging fell by the wayside. but now, my laptop is up and running. And I think I have less to do, or I have been able to better manage the different engagements that I have. So, fingers crossed.

This post is about prostate cancer. It’s only fair, since I have ranted on about breast cancer and cervical cancer already. (That reminds me; Ladies, have you checked up on your breasts this month? Have you gone for your regular pap smear screening, or had your child vaccinated against HPV? If your answer is no to any of these, please do the needful).

Now, back to the topic. Prostate Cancer is a cancer that occurs in men only, because men alone have prostates.  There are other forms of cancers particular to men, like penile cancer, occurring in penises, and testicular cancers occurring in testes, but prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, particularly among blacks, hence the focus. Continue reading

Breast cancer, “Jog for life”, religion and I

On Saturday, 8th of October 2016, the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) organized an activity to create awareness about  breast cancer in Ibadan. And I was a part of it. I always love such activities, by the way.  We wore customized t-shirts with “Jog for life” boldly written on it and jogged for 5 km. We jogged/walked behind a truck with speakers that played some nice and really loud music.   Continue reading

Accepting reality and mental health

I had a discussion with someone a few months ago about a man who was reported to commit suicide. I remember talking about how the man was probably depressed and how this may have led to his suicide. And I remember clearly that my friend laughed and said “But, Nigerians do not get depressed”. This is a typical opinion among many of us. We do not believe in mental illnesses. And if we do not believe it exists, how do we even begin to understand it?

Nigeria is in denial about mental illness.

It is never schizophrenia, it is possession by the devil. And so we isolate them and pray and pray. We deprive them of love and care and understanding. And sometimes food and basic personal hygiene. And when prayer fails, we abandon them and leave them to wander about in the streets, barefoot, in tattered clothes, vulnerable to hunger and abuse and diseases.

It is never depression, it is prolonged sadness or weakness or laziness. And we wonder why that person cannot get over whatever is wrong and get on with life. “We are Nigerians after all. We are supposed to be tenacious and resilient and religious. What the hell is this depression nonsense?”

It is never suicidal thoughts. It is selfishness and a joke. And we laugh about it. It becomes material for comedians. We tell them to go ahead and kill themselves. I mean “if they really wanted to die, why didn’t they just go and kill themselves already, why announce it to the whole world? It’s because they are seeking for attention”.

It is never panic attacks or anxiety disorders. It is being a drama queen. “What? Eating disorder? Hahaha. It is because she has enough food. That is why she is wasting it”. It is never post-traumatic stress disorder. It is just an exaggeration of a minor traumatic experience. “I mean, Hassana went through a worse experience and she got over it. So what’s the big deal?”

No, it is never a mental illness. Because Nigerians do not get depressed.

Well, we need to stop. We need to stop denying that there is a problem. One in Six Africans are suffering from a form of mental illness. And this statistic is just a tip of the iceberg. We need to learn not to blame or mock. We need to learn not to be so quick to brush it aside or discriminate. We need to learn to stop feeding the stigma. We need to learn to accept and show support and love. So that we do not make those suffering from a mental illness retreat into themselves and refuse to seek help or remain in denial.

Mental illness is not a joke or a myth. It is not someone’s fault or under someone’s control. And it can be treated or managed. Let’s stop living in denial. Let’s start recognizing the truth. Because our mental health matters. We all matter.

Happy World mental health day, everyone.

PS: Just in case you need help or you know someone who does, refer to the phone number in the image posted below. Its courtesy Playback Nigeria. 

Dear smokers, be selfish

Dear smokers,

Hi.

This post is dedicated to you. It is not a post telling you to quit smoking. Because that’s just a waste of time. Instead, this post is telling you, to be selfish.

This post is begging you to keep all that smoke to yourself.

When you smoke and exhale, you are releasing what is called second hand smoke. When you light a cigarette, its end releases what is called second hand smoke. This form of smoke is even more dangerous than the smoke you exhale. This is because the end of a cigarette is like a dump that contains the waste of the cigarette’s toxins. Hence, it emits even more dangerous chemicals than what you inhale. Continue reading

Generators and their fumes of death

I read about a man who was killed by generator fumes a few days ago. A few weeks before that, my sister told me about a family killed by generator fumes. And the list goes on and on. A lot of people have lost their lives because of generators.

We need generators. They are necessary back up when there is power failure (which is a lot of the time). Let’s be honest, our electricity provision issues will not be resolved any time soon. People are going to continue to rely on generators. Consequently, people are going to keep dying from generators.

Let me tell you how generators kill.
Continue reading

Seven reasons to eat (more) dates.

Dear readers,

Sorry, this is a very late post. So many factors contributed to the lateness of this post. Electricity and Internet, I am looking at you. But anyway,

I decided to start a new series to post at least once a month. And that is the “eat more” series (working title). This series will talk about common foods in our locality and how they are so important for our health. Hence, we need to eat more of them, Hence the “eat more” working title.

So today, in the spirit of Ramadan, I will be writing on why we should eat more dates. Continue reading

Breasts need love too.

 

Dear Ladies,

Before I begin, MEN, HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. I know some of you are already trying to close the page, and are thinking “This is not for me”.  It is also for you. Keep on reading. Then be a good brother, boyfriend, or husband and spread the word. You can read this post How men matter to know more.

Okay, Now I may begin. Where was I?

Dear Ladies,

My name is Lonely breast and I am writing this open letter on behalf of every breast out there. I write this out of a deep feeling of abandonment and loneliness. Of betrayal and bitterness. I am saddened by the fact that, even though we make you feel feminine, beautiful and productive, you hardly bother to say hi once in a while. Continue reading

Men: How they matter (in maternal and child health)

Dear Readers,

This week (15th May), we celebrated the International Day of Families. This day is about celebrating families and recognizing that family as a unit plays an important role in healthcare.  Especially in the care of children and the elderly.  We all know that mothers have a crucial role to play in the wellbeing of the family. Hence, many programs have been developed to ensure optimal maternal health. But recently, these programs have recognized that the men have an equally essential role to play. Hence, they have sought to include men in these programs.

So, today I dedicate this post to the Men. Because it is important that you understand the role you need to play for the survival of the mother and child. I did a small survey a few months ago on what aspect of health people were most interested in learning. And I realized something. Continue reading