Posted in Lifestyle

Childcare services and sustaining the female workforce

Child Care Concept
Image source: mountainskitrips.com

 

Globally, balancing work and family remains a paramount challenge for women. More and more women are joining the workforce and there is an inevitable need to provide care for children especially those within the age bracket 0-3 years. According to a World Bank analysis, childcare – or the lack thereof – may constrain women in both urban and rural areas from participating in the workforce. However, a lot of schools, in addition to normal activities have included early childhood care to the list of services rendered. There is the Day Care (mostly for children between ages 0 and 3) and the After School for ages 0-9. The child care services are welcome developments and it is a very lucrative area of business if things are done correctly. The big question is “How do we ensure the safety of children while away from their parents?”

In recent years, there have been recurrent deaths of infant and toddlers under the care of supposed care givers in day care center otherwise known as crèche. In 2014, a one year old boy was reported to have died as a result of food aspiration in his lungs. In 2012, another seven month old child was reported to have died as a result of cerebral oedema due to marked anaemia with an evidence of diazepam in his body fluid. Diazepam is a sedative that has been reportedly abused by a lot care givers in order to make children sleep so they can go about their own individual businesses.

The most recent one happened on the 26th of October, 2017. A youth corps member was called from the crèche that her seven month old baby had pap coming out of her nose and mouth with terrible shivers. The baby died!

Considering these kind of events, mothers who work outside the home would suffer emotional and psychological instability which could lead to a decline in productivity at work. Women having to choose between their careers outside the home and their obligations at home is unsustainable as women are key stakeholders in driving economic growth and development.

Mothers cannot always be with their children. A woman has a lot of roles to play outside the home. External assistance which could come in different forms is inevitable.  Being good mothers does not necessarily have to cost women other aspects of their lives.

According to NERDC, in their National Minimum Standards for Early Child Care Centres in Nigeria document, the care and support received by a child in terms of good health, nutrition and psychosocial care and protection are crucial in the formation and development of intelligence, personality and social behaviour. In addition to these, safety and security have become pressing issues as a result of the security lapse in the country.

Some crèches in the highbrow areas of Lagos have security cameras, doors and all sorts of sophisticated facilities to ensure safety and security. This is not farfetched and can be replicated with minimal costs even in the middle and lower class areas.

The government, business owners and parents are the key stakeholders when it comes to optimum childcare. They all have important roles that are vital to achieving sustainability in the early childcare sector.

The government

In Lagos State, the Ministry of Women Affairs is saddled with the responsibility of certifying a crèche. There should be intensive monitoring to ensure that set regulations are strictly adhered as chances cannot be taken with lives of these defenceless littles lads. A lot of childcare centres do not have licenses to operate. Our legal system also needs to take the issues of child maltreatment with utmost priority whenever a case is reported.

Business owners

In as much as the business of running a crèche is highly lucrative due to the high influx of mums into the corporate space, owners of crèches should not take the assurance of patronage for granted by offering sub-standard services. The choice of care givers should be such that they are qualified to carry out expected duties efficiently. There are educational requirements that should be met before anyone can be left to take proper care of children.

The safety and security of the children kept in their custody is their responsibility. Security cameras are no longer nice-to-haves, they are now must-haves. An in-house trained first aider should be employed or preferably get all staff trained in basic first aid. A crèche should have access to a good nearby hospital for cases they cannot handle

Employers of working mums also need to take seriously the sustainability of the relationship between mother and child as this will ensure utmost productivity on the part of the mum when she is rest assured of the wellbeing of her child. Some companies now have in-house child care services which allows mothers to check on their children any time of the day.

Parents

As parents, it is our sole responsibility to provide the best care for our children. This can however be outsourced when it becomes inevitable to do so. Getting the best hands to cater to our kids in our absence is very key to their well being and ours. It reported some years back a mum whose newly employed maid kidnapped her three kids while she was at work had to quit her job after the kids were found. Being a good parent does not necessarily have to cost us other aspects of our lives..

Way forward

Childcare is no longer a personal issue. It is a social responsibility that involves everyone. Employers providing on-site childcare facilities will help keep highly qualified mothers at work whilst knowing that their little ones are well taken care of. Furthermore, it will reduce parental stress at work, attract and retain working mothers and create a positive work place environment.

For any facility that renders services to children, environmental health and safety should be at the core of their business. Care givers should be well trained in basic first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency response. Child care is beyond changing diapers, rocking to sleep and feeding. The first three years are the most important in a child’s life and should be treated with utmost importance.

There is also a need for stricter monitoring and penalties for childcare businesses irrespective of their sizes. Minimum standards have to be met else such facilities be sealed up.

All stakeholders should work together to ensure that the safety, health and security of our young ones are not jeopardized. Communities should also make necessary reports of unlicensed child care services around them.

 

 

Posted in Lifestyle

Getting used to doing things the right way.

Image result for doing the right thing
Source: thinksmarterworld.com

This is not another long note on saving the environment. Its rather about learning and cultivating the habit of doing things correctly. You may ask, “who determines what is right from wrong?” I bet we all know when things are done rightly or wrongly, we just choose to follow our desires. The question however, is how long can we continue to follow our desires blindly? The world was not designed to operate in such manner. There is a lot of interdependence in nature that we have to acknowledge and respect else we face the consequences.

Lets start from our individual lives. We all want to live well, enjoy the good things life has to offer, the luxuries and stuff but have ever thought for a second how a lot of the things we enjoy are produced? The communities that are affected by the detrimental effects of some the activities involved? That is just one part. We consume a lot of materials as humans – food, clothes, water, furniture to name few. Not bad at all but if you are a Nigerian living in one of the suburbs where sometimes you do not have access to electricity to pump water into your home, you would understand the value of having so much water. We are a very wasteful species as humans. We waste water, food, clothes, land space and other raw materials. It is always a bad sight to see well-dressed educated individuals toss things out of their car windows on to the streets. Imagine if 20 million people living in Lagos tossed dirt on the road, would we have access to those roads by the next day? NO.

Lets move on to businesses. I was speaking with a couple of young business owners over the weekend and they could not even bear the thought of listening to another “sustainability” sermon. Individuals run businesses and most times the values we hold true to ourselves reflect in the way we run our businesses. For a very long time, when I  hear people talk about focusing on the bottom line in business, that bottom line was and is still in many cases money/profits. Honestly, its not out of place to want to continuously make money from a business but when you are destroying something and making life difficult for some people, then it becomes a big problem.

As humans, we depend on some resources to live our lives well enough likewise as businesses, we depend on certain resources to make products, transport them and run our facilities. If these resources are not given the required attention, we will run out of supplies as humans and run out of business as business owners. Let this sink. You can read the last sentence again if you want. These resources are not provided by money. We only acquire them by money because we need to exchange our access to these resources for some fiscal tool which in many cases is money. Imagine a world where we no longer have access to food, will we eat money? Imagine we no longer had access to potable water, will we drink money?

This is why we need to start shifting the focus from just money and include these resources we depend on – our environment, our communities and our people. That is what the triple bottom line of sustainability is all about. This is just a summary to make the concept of sustainability less scary. We need to see it as a means of empowering us to live life at its fullest – all of us. No one has to suffer because another wants to enjoy some perceived luxuries. Its about innovating so we can solve a lot of the problems we have found ourselves in.

We can achieve so much if we focused on looking out for one another – as individuals, neighborhoods, towns, cities, provinces, states and countries.

The world has so much to go round.

Posted in Lifestyle

In the light of Breast cancer awareness month

The third United Nations Sustainable Development Goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages and one of the targets is to reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination. Breast cancer affects the breasts of women and most times can be detected early with regular breast examinations. This is something that has constantly been promoted in recent years. Just as with other cancers, people still have a chance of surviving breast cancer when detected early.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has explained cancer as a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade other tissues. There are more than 100 types of cancers. Cancer develops over several years and has many causes. The development, causes of all cancers are not completely understood but its strongly believed that lifestyle choices, environmental pollutants, genetics are factors that contribute to the development of the disease.

The National Cancer Institute has it that cancer is caused by changes to certain genes that alter the way our cells function. Some of these genetic changes occur naturally when DNA is replicated during the process of cell division. But others are the result of environmental exposures that damage DNA. These exposures may include substances, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, or radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun. Some of these exposures can be controlled – tobacco smoke,UV rays from the sun. The big challenge is when the exposures are beyond our control – air pollution by scientifically proven carcinogens, polluted water by carcinogenic chemicals from industrial activities and pesticides on our foods. Therefore knowing which exposures would cause potential harm and their sources would go a long way in preventing the disease. It has also been categorically stated that a carcinogen does not necessarily have to cause cancer out-rightly. Level of exposure, the duration of exposure and the individual’s genetic make up influence the development of the disease.

The cancer risks associated with many environmental chemicals have been identified through studies of occupational groups that have higher exposures to these chemicals than general population. According to Breast Cancer Action, a growing body of evidence from experimental, body burden and ecological research indicates that there is a connection between environmental factors and breast cancer. There are over 85,000 synthetic chemicals on the market today, from preservatives in our lipstick to flame retardants in our sofas, from plastics our  water bottles are made of to pesticides on our fruits and vegetables.

This another important reason why we have to really pay attention to our environmental activities. Businesses are not left out as they drive the economy by their various activities which most times involve environmentally unfriendly practices like fracking and mining.

In the honor of the Breast Cancer Awareness month, a renowned surgical breast care specialist — and the doctor who treated Angelina Jolie — discussed the recent advancements made in the battle to fight the disease that affects approximately one in eight women. Dr. Kristi Funk also shared some of her top diet and lifestyle tips to help prevent breast cancer live on “Good Morning America” on the 6th of October, 2017.

New advancements in breast cancer research

According to the doctor, the rise in both the refinement and effectiveness of 3-D mammography is one of the most important breast cancer developments made this year. “One recent study found that 3-D mammography had a 34 percent higher rate of finding breast cancer than 2-D mammography”, Funk said.

She went further to explain that cancer is often hidden by dense breast tissue, so 3-D mammography helps doctors obtain a much clearer image of what’s actually going on, Earlier this year, Reddington Hospital in partnership with GE Healthcare launched a new Breast and Gynecological Centre in Lagos which offers a 3D digital breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography), a 3D Automatic Breast Ultrasound System (3D ABUS), a 3D digital breast sterotaxic biopsy system (3D stereo), a 3D MRI with 1.5Tesla GE Explorer Technology. While 3-D mammography is not currently considered the standard, she adds that perhaps it will become that way in the future.

The role of nutrition and lifestyle

Most diseases have been proven to be reasonably preventable with the right diet and lifestyle choices we make. We have a high level of control over these than the environmental risk factors. Dr. Funk recommended the consumption of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage everyday. She also advised that people surround their homes with household plants, eat anti-oxidant rich berries like strawberries, blueberries and choose organic produce if the skin would be consumed.

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces our risk of contracting many chronic illnesses. Asides from this, including exercises helps to relieve stress that could otherwise lead to overeating and weight gain. To a reasonable extent now, we can control our exposure to toxic chemicals in cosmetics, cleaning materials, furniture, food thereby reducing the environmental risk of developing the disease.

A call to action

The role of nutrition and lifestyle changes should be harnessed in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Health care centers mostly pay attention to the diets of patients with full blown diabetes but not cancer. There should also be regulations on the safety of chemicals included in cosmetic formulations and household cleaning materials.  As individuals, people need to take their health more seriously. We do not always have to wait till that disease shows up.

 

 

Posted in Lifestyle

What Is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit, and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness. According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health — the primary goal of holistic medicine practice — by gaining proper balance in life.

Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.

A holistic doctor may use all forms of health care, from conventional medication to alternative therapies, to treat a patient. For example, when a person suffering from migraine headaches pays a visit to a holistic doctor, instead of walking out solely with medications, the doctor will likely take a look at all the potential factors that may be causing the person’s headaches, such as other health problems, diet and sleep habits, stress and personal problems, and preferred spiritual practices. The treatment plan may involve drugs to relieve symptoms, but also lifestyle modifications to help prevent the headaches from recurring.

Principles of Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine is also based on the belief that unconditional love and support is the most powerful healer and a person is ultimately responsible for his or her own health and well-being. Other principles of holistic medicine include the following:

  • All people have innate healing powers.
  • The patient is a person, not a disease.
  • Healing takes a team approach involving the patient and doctor, and addresses all aspects of a person’s life using a variety of health care practices.
  • Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just alleviating the symptoms.

Holistic Medicine: Types of Treatments

Holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health. Depending on the practitioner’s training, these may include:

  • Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. This may include diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, and more
  • Complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, and others
  • Western medications and surgical procedures.

You can find the rest of the article here.

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