Wondering about diversity

first_imgRecently I watched the movie Wonder. It’s an inspiring and heart-warming movie, based on R.J. Palacio’s award-winning novel of the same name.It centers on Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a genetic facial difference. As an ordinary kid with an extraordinary appearance, Auggie meets both cruel bullies and good friends as he attends school for the first time.As I left the cinema, I found myself thinking that “Wonder” truly can happen when we choose kindness over cruelty; when we appreciate everyone for who they are, and embrace their differences.While the movie centers around a young boy’s school experience, the central tenets and message are just as applicable to the adult world, too. We are all different from some perspectives. We look different, we come from different regions or countries, with different cultures and beliefs. However, we all share common needs: we all want to be understood, respected, appreciated, and valued. continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

NBA free agency: Lakers agree to four-year, $72 million deal with Luol Deng

first_imgDeng, who was born in Sudan, also plans to take advantage of various business and philanthropic opportunities in Los Angeles. He will explore local initiatives with a pan-African investment fund and for his self-named foundation, which builds outdoor basketball courts and hosts clinics in various parts of Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Deng’s L.A-based holding company, D3N9, has invested in JUST Water, which promotes the use of paper-based bottled water. His sports agency, Octagon, also has an LA-based office. Mozgov, Clarkson and Deng will sign their contracts once the NBA moratorium ends on July 7. The Lakers currently have 11 players committed for the 2016-17 season. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Lakers landed an established veteran that could inject both talent and leadership to complement their young roster.The Lakers and Luol Deng agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal, according to league sources. Deng had extensive conversations with other NBA teams, including the Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz. Deng also had a meeting with the Jazz on Friday, sources said.Yet, the 31-year-old Deng narrowed in on the Lakers for a few reasons. He likes the potential of the team’s young players, including D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. Deng talked with Lakers coach Luke Walton and was “pleased with the conversation,” sources said. And the Lakers consistently stayed in touch with Deng’s representatives, reaching out shortly after free agency began Thursday at 9:01 p.m..center_img The Lakers did not establish whether Deng would be a starter or a reserve, but he’s expected to play a significant role after averaging 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his 12-year NBA career with stints with the Chicago Bulls (2004-14), Cleveland Cavaliers (2014) and Miami Heat (2014-16). Although he averaged 12.3 points last season in Miami in what marked his lowest since his rookie season in Chicago (2004-05), Deng averaged 15.2 points and 8.1 rebounds following the All-Star game. That coincided with Chris Bosh’s prolonged absence because of blood clots. Deng has cemented a strong reputation around the NBA as both a versatile forward and positive locker room influence.“Congr[a]ts my brother,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade tweeted. “Now you can afford your own @stance socks..One of my all time favorite teammates. Proud to call you a friend!”The Lakers have around $12 million left to spend on next season’s payroll after also agreeing to deals with center Timofey Mozgov (four years, $64 million) and Clarkson (four years, $50 million). The Lakers offered Deng a contract after Kent Bazemore declined an offer worth the same amount. Instead, Bazemore agreed to stay with Atlanta on a four-year, $70 million deal. last_img read more

The Challenges of Maternal Care in the Midst of the Ebola Epidemic

first_imgDr. Louise Mapleh KpotoLiberia’s immediate pre-Ebola era had a maternal mortality rate of 1072/100,000 live births (2013 DHS key findings), an evidence of disimprovement from 770/100,000 live births in 2007(WHO), and therefore now having one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the sub-region.The devastating Ebola Virus outbreak is no pacifier as it is further exacerbating the statistics of maternal deaths thus producing the greatest challenge in the care of the pregnant mother.There are several factors, both general and specific, that are responsible for the vulnerability of the expectant mother: a) General, i.e. Cultural and traditional beliefs and practices, coupled with a weak health system; and b) Specific.The sudden mass closures of both public and private health care facilities as a result of the Ebola crisis (a) deaths of skilled health workers who were in the early stages neither trained nor equipped to identify or treat Ebola infected patients, (b) consequent fear and panic among health workers who refused to work because they saw their colleagues infected at the rate of, on average, one health worker infected daily and one death every two days (calculated from MOH regular situation report to date).Uniquely for the pregnant mother whose hemodynamic physiology and indwelling fetus also likely serving as a (Petri-dish) medium for the growth and virulence of the virus, the risk is highest and therefore infection almost always leads to the death of both mother and child. To date, there is no known record of a pregnant woman surviving the Ebola virus disease infection in Liberia.  The female to male infection and death ratios, according to the MOHSW is high, skewed toward the females.Maternal care, which includes, care for health of the woman during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the Puerperium (6 weeks after delivery) has suffered a dramatic decline during the epidemic. This has led to expectant mothers seeking care from traditional birth attendants and other unlikely places. In the process, at times, they give birth in streets while shopping for available health facilities.The situation at JFK hospital epitomizes what is happening all over the country where mothers are rushed in weak anaemic and moribund in obstructed labour after running all over the city looking for where to deliver. Majority come with the baby already dead in uterus.  Many of these mothers have died due to obstetrics complications that could otherwise be avoided if handled early in hospital setting. These complications include fistula formation, puerperal sepsis, and postpartum mental disorder, etc., thus making motherhood a tragic and humiliating experience instead of the expected, joyful and fulfilling one.The post-Ebola maternal morbidity and mortality statistics is surely going to increase above the 1076/100,000 live births due to the multiple factors enumerated above, if the government does not take advantage of the positive feedback of this crisis and accelerate opening of health facilities and save our mothers and infants.Although the rate of infection is reducing, thanks to the enormous international goodwill and all Liberians both at home and abroad who have joined in the fight against the EVD, Ebola will remain a public health challenge in Liberia as evidenced from other countries. We therefore need to keep up the best practices and behavioral changes we have learned over the past months. We must also harness the   opportunities provided by the precedent international goodwill to improve our health system and infrastructures, build and strengthen health manpower capacity in order not only to be prepared for future outbreaks but also to have an efficient healthcare system that will help decrease the maternal morbidity and mortality long after the international partners are gone.Finally, I pray for all expectant mothers to be protected from EBOLA and advise them to seek help and advice early in their pregnancies. I also pray for the souls of all those who died including those Liberians who died in their mothers’ wombs even though they do not and will never form part of the vital statistics of deceased Liberians in this national crisis.To my health worker colleagues I say many thanks for the sacrifices and my condolences to the families of those who laid down their lives for all of us during the course of performing their professional duties.Dr. Louise Mapleh Kpoto is Resident, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more