Family Planning London Summit 11th July 2017 #HerFuture

Courtesy of FP2020 #FPVoices #HerFuture

On July 11, policymakers, donors, and advocates from around the world will gather at the Family Planning Summit in London, UK, to discuss efforts to reach our Family Planning 2020 goals and ensure that more women and girls around the world are able to plan their families and their futures.

Family planning is a best-buy in global development. When women and girls have access to family planning, they are able to complete their education, create or seize better economic opportunities, and fulfill their full potential—in short, entire families, communities and nations benefit.




New WHO guidelines to improve care for millions living with female genital mutilation

Courtesy of WHO

News Release

New WHO recommendations aim to help health workers provide better care to the more than 200 million girls and women worldwide living with female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) describes all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has no health benefits, can cause grave harm, and violates the rights of girls and women. Procedures can cause severe bleeding, problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, and death. FGM can also result in complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.

International migration has now made the practice, prevalent in 30 countries in Africa and in a few countries in Asia and the Middle East, a global health issue.

The need for health care

Health workers across the world now need to be prepared to provide care to girls and women who have undergone FGM. But, health workers are often unaware of the many negative health consequences of FGM and many remain inadequately trained to recognize and treat them properly. As a result, many women may suffer needlessly from physical and mental health consequences due to FGM.

“Health workers have a crucial role in helping address this global health issue. They must know how to recognize and tackle health complications of FGM,” says Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director General. “Access to the right information and good training can help prevent new cases and ensure that the millions of women who have undergone FGM get the help they need.”

Since 1997, there have been growing international efforts to stop FGM. These include research, work within communities, revised legal frameworks and growing political support to end the practice, as well as international monitoring bodies and resolutions that condemn it. In 2007, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) initiated the Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting to accelerate the abandonment of the practice.

The WHO guidelines build and contribute to these efforts, underlining the recognition that action must be taken across sectors to stop the practice and help those who are living with its consequences.

The recommendations focus on preventing and treating obstetric complications; treatment for depression and anxiety disorders; attention to female sexual health such as counselling, and the provision of information and education.

The guidelines also warn against the so called “medicalization” of FGM, for example when parents ask health providers to conduct FGM because they think it will be less harmful.

“It is critical that health workers do not themselves unwittingly perpetuate this harmful practice,” adds Dr Lale Say, WHO Coordinator, Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO.

Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing female genital mutilation

In 2010, WHO published a “Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing female genital mutilation” in collaboration with the UNFPA and UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and other partners.

One fundamental measure to prevent medicalization of FGM is the creation of protocols, manuals and guidelines for health providers. These include what to do when faced with requests from parents or family members to perform FGM on girls, or requests from women to perform re-infibulation after delivery.

The guidelines also highlight the need for more research to improve evidence-based practice, so that health workers can better manage the complications arising from FGM, and the health community is better informed about the associated health risks, which also can contribute to effectively work towards the elimination of this harmful practice.

Note to editors:

Recommendations include:

  • de-infibulation to prevent and treat obstetric complications, as well as to facilitate childbirth, and prevent and treat problems with the urinary tract system;
  • mental health including cognitive behavioural therapy and psychological support to treat depression and anxiety disorders;
  • female sexual health covering sexual counselling to prevent or treat female sexual dysfunction;
  • information and education for all women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation, and health education and information on de-infibulation, where appropriate, for both health-care providers and for women and girls.

Peanuts may reduce risk of death, heart disease

Eating peanuts, in small amounts, may reduce the risk of mortality, especially death from cardiovascular disease, a new study Monday showed.The report compiles research from people of varying races, including Caucasians, African Americans and Asians, all from low income backgrounds.

Researchers found that consuming peanuts regularly reduced mortality among men and women from all groups, and suggests that eating the nuts — which are relatively affordable — can be an inexpensive and nutritious way to reduce mortality and cardiovascular disease around the world.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine includes more than 70,000 Caucasians and blacks in the United States and some 130,000 Chinese people in Shanghai.
“We found that peanut consumption was associated with reduced total mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in a predominantly low-income black and white population in the US, and among Chinese men and women living in Shanghai,” said senior author Xiao-Ou Shu, associate director for Global Health at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Centre (VICC).

There was a reduced risk of total mortality of in 17 to 21 percent of participants, the study showed.

The risk of death from cardiovascular disease was slashed by between 23 and 38 percent.
But co-author William Blot warned that because the data was from observational epidemiological studies and not randomized clinical trials, “we cannot be sure that peanuts per se were responsible for the reduced mortality observed.”
“The findings from this new study, however, reinforce earlier research suggesting health benefits from eating nuts, and thus are quite encouraging,” added Blot, who is also associate director for cancer prevention control and population-based research at VICC.

Peanuts are less expensive and more widely available than many other nuts, and are eaten by many cultures around the world.The nutritious nuts — which are actually legumes — are high in and unsaturated fat, fibre, vitamins, and anti-oxidants and can boost cardiovascular health with as little as 30 grams eaten weekly.
“The results suggest that including a modest amount of nuts as part of a well-balanced diet may be of benefit,” said Peter Weissberg, director of the British Heart Foundation, who did not participate in the study.
“The data do not show that the more peanuts you eat the lower the risk of a fatal heart attack, so people should not start eating large quantities of nuts, particularly salted nuts, in the hope that it will protect them from heart disease,” he added.

Previous research has focused on white upper class research subjects.The participants in this latest study were observed for between five and 12 years.

Courtesy of AFP (Agence France-Presse)- an international news agency headquartered in Paris.The oldest news agency in the world and one of the largest.

15 Heart-Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating

by Stacey Feintuch

 To keep a heart-healthy diet, you need to replace the bad—trans and saturated fats, added sugars and salt—with the good—fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. If you’re looking for extra heart-health credit, there are certain foods that are especially good for your ticker.

That’s important, because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). And that number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.

So add these 15 heart-healthy foods to your grocery list:

Walnuts: Purchase them unsalted in bulk and store in the freezer to extend their shelf life. Add them to pastas, muffins, oatmeal and salads, or grab a handful when you have the munchies. They’re a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and folate (a B vitamin). However, don’t overdo it, because they’re high in calories. A serving is about 12 to 14 walnut halves.

Oatmeal: Enjoy oatmeal for breakfast or snack on an oatmeal-raisin cookie. Avoid flavored and instant oats because they’re loaded with sugar. Instead, opt for unprocessed, plain oatmeal and add your own nuts or dried fruit. Oatmeal boasts omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium and other nutrients.

Kidney or black beans: One cup of cooked beans can replace two ounces of fish, poultry or meat for a serving of protein, according to the AHA. Stir some beans into a soup or salad to boost your intake. Beans contain heart-healthy omega-3s and folate.

Sardines: They’re brimming with omega-3s, which raise good cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides, a type of unhealthy fat found in the blood. Opt for fresh sardines instead of salty canned ones.

Kale: Kale-like cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage-is a cruciferous vegetable. They’re known as cancer-fighting powerhouses, but they’re also good for heart health, because they’re rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, as well as vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. Specifically, the sulforaphane in cruciferous veggies can improve blood pressure. This dark, leafy green offers omega-3s, fiber, potassium and more. Add it to soups, pasta sauces or smoothies. Or make a kale salad, adding fruit, nuts or even sweet potatoes.

Cauliflower: This cruciferous vegetable is very versatile. You can eat fresh cauliflower raw as a snack or in salads or you can steam or roast it. You can even mash it, instead of potatoes. Just stay away from the cheese sauce, or you’ll lessen those heart-healthy benefits.

Asparagus: This vegetable boasts vitamins C and D and folate. Serve it as a side dish: Lightly steam, grill or roast asparagus and top with lemon and olive oil. It’s best fresh during the spring and early summer. If you can’t get it fresh, opt for frozen over canned.

Soy milk: It’s loaded with heart-healthy nutrients like niacin, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Add this low-fat beverage to your whole-grain cereal or oatmeal or blend it in your smoothie.

Papaya: Help combat heart disease with this exotic fruit’s vitamins, potassium and fiber. Enjoy it on its own or make a tropical fruit salad of papaya, mango and pineapple.

Salmon: The AHA recommends at least two servings of fish a week, and salmon is a good choice because it’s high in heart-healthy omega-3s. Flavor fish with spices or lemon juice, avoiding cream sauces.

Sweet potatoes: Serve sweet potatoes baked or roasted as a side dish or make a meal of them. They boast beta-carotene, which lowers your risk of heart disease. Available year-round, refrigerate sweet potatoes to help them last longer.

Cantaloupe: Cut and enjoy this sweet and juicy melon any time of day. It boasts vitamin C, folate, potassium, fiber and more.

Red bell peppers: Add bell peppers to your salads, sandwiches and fish. You’ll get a dose of folate, potassium and fiber.

Brussels sprouts: Sure, not everyone likes them, but they’re members of that powerful fiber-rich cruciferous vegetable family, so give them another try. They contain folate, potassium, magnesium and more. Mix thin sprout slices into a salad. For a crunchier texture, pan fry them or roast, tossed with red grape halves, olive oil and sea salt.

Avocado: You’ll get good monounsaturated fats from avocado, helping reduce blood clots and cholesterol. Slice and top salads and sandwiches with avocados.Or use them to make guacamole. Like nuts, both of which contain healthy fats, they’re high in calories, so don’t overdo it.

The Bitter Taste of Liquor among Youths.


By Alex Omari

Peer influence fuels negative health outcomes among young people where the activities are not channeled towards a positive angle. For boys in many societies, the definition of manhood is closely tied to employment. Young men who are unemployed feel a loss of power and identity and are at increased risk of intimate partner violence and alcohol abuse.

The World Health Organization estimates indicate that about 2.5 million people die annually, and many more succumb to illness and injury, as a result of alcohol abuse. WHO points out that alcohol affects younger generations more specifically from developing nations. Kenya was recently (late 2014) listed as a mid-income nation which is a positive measure of socio-economic development but the social aspect of youths interacting with the bottle still remains a tall order.

The 2014 report by Kenyan National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority (NACADA) says alcohol and drug abuse are the major social problems in the country, which is a major public health concern. The reckless consumers are non-other than the youths who do it either for pleasure or as a stress reliever to the unfortunate broken relationships.

During the Monday Special key interactive segment held on 2/2/2015 on Citizen Television, it was so evident that youths have a challenge regarding excessive alcohol consumption. Among the top reasons why they venture into alcohol abuse is due to either unhealthy relationships which deprives them the comfort or just meagre peer influence. “Excessive alcohol consumption” as it is put in many  advertisements is harmful to someone’s health and to make the matters worse, it acts as  a depressant   and lowers brain activity .If consumed  in excess, it will damages body tissues including muscles and brain cells and with severe intoxication it may lead into comma.

Its consumption causes a number of recognizable changes in behavior such that even in low doses it impairs judgment and coordination.


Abrupt withdrawal of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening if the drinkers don’t have a good schedule to their diet and dietary ingredients.

Counter Measure

Sustainable livelihood programs are key in addressing youth’s vulnerability to alcoholism. This approach is not only a source of earning a living but it also pays greater attention to career training and skill development. The programs can take the form of Peer to Peer or Youth 2 Youth interactions in their normal day settings.

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Hidden Remedy for the 21st Century Strain

castard apple

By Alex Omari

The 21st century has got a lot of dynamics from a global health perspective. At the climax of ushering in the millennium, it also emerged that public health took a shift and bore the “double burden” of disease. Well, some may ask, ‘so what about double? Over a number of decades there has been a Communicable disease (CD) scourge ranging from HIV/AIDS to tuberculosis. Effective policy and program activities are being fostered at this side and while doing so, mammoth Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) are surging forward with their menace. It remains to be seen how integration can be done to curtail NCDs and keep the CDs within the scope.

With this in mind, it’s not by chance that even a small child as young as 8 years old utters the word Cancer not knowing what it is and what harm it does. Many individuals are aware that cancer is now the deadliest disease on the planet because it doesn’t understand the language of wealth nor background. People spend millions of money for therapeutic interventions, some seek medic aid in the so called developed nations but still the harm is beyond reach and even the rich. Its high time the world, nations, communities and individuals realized that the ‘greatest investment on earth is earth’ and by this I mean -what nature offers might be a solution to the eventualities.

For instance, Custard Apples from are a sub-tropical deciduous graviola tree belonging to the Annonaceae  family are  full of vitamin C anti-oxidants, which helps to combat many diseases and also enhances the immune system.

Custard apples are abundant with potassium, magnesium and contains vitamin A, calcium, copper, fiber and phosphorous. Eating custard apples will not only  save you from many diseases and disorders but also they are good for heart, skin, and bone, and maintains blood pressure in addition to  curing  boils, ulcers and gum related problems.

The leaves of this fruits work against cancer and bark can be used in case of toothache and gum pain. It is believed by researchers that the fruit is a Cancer Killer 10,000 times Stronger than Chemotherapy. This is an area that needs more research and conclusive studies to unleash the so called “hidden power of the 21st Century”.

 Medicinal Uses of Custard Apple

The anti-cancer properties of custard apple appear to be mainly due to a class of compounds called acetogenins and alkaloids that reduce the risk of cancer and renal failure. The compounds act against cancer cells, without adversely affecting healthy cells.

Behaviour of Cancerous Cells

Tumor cells grow and replicate more rapidly than normal cells.  This is because they are better equipped to receive glucose, a good source of energy for fast replication.  Also, cancer cells quickly develop a network of blood vessels (angiogenesis) to ensure an efficient supply of nutrients and oxygen.  This is partly why cancer patients lose weight; the cancer cells rapidly take up nutrients meant for normal cells.

Furthermore, with chemotherapy the cancer cells develop resistance to the drugs, rendering chemotherapy futile after a long period of exposure.

Cancer cells smartly find a way of protecting themselves from the damaging effects of drugs. They generate what is called the ABC transporter superfamily, which transports a variety of substrates including amino acids, sugars, inorganic ions, polysaccharides, peptides, and proteins into the

In cancer cells, a member of this superfamily, called the multidrug resistant (MDR) protein, is overexpressed and helps to pump drugs out of the cancer cells, making the cancer cells simultaneously resistant to a variety of drugs.  Thus, the cancer cells are protected from the toxic effects of drug combinations.

Side Effects

One might ask, for every good deed, there is also a shortfall somewhere? Well, leaving no vacuum for doubts, it’s advised that diabetic patients should keep off the fruit because of its high glucose levels which might lead to hyperglycemia (excess glucose) in the bloodstream if not monitored well.

Way Forward

Vision 2030 should be geared towards discovering and tapping unforeseen potentials for proper international development. And for the therapeutic interventions, the spirit of prevention mechanisms should surpass the urge for curatives.

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