His mother may have died many years ago but her memory still lingers on in the mind of Dr. Adegboyega Akenroye of BalmGilead Life Support, a non- governmental organisation, NGO. Dr Akenroye recently concluded a two-day health awareness and free medical services for residents of Ilutitun, Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State in memory of his late mother, Victoria Aderemilekun Akenroye
According to the Doctor, “My mother lost her life 50 years ago as a result of complications from childbirth and it was challenging growing up without a mother, though my father was supportive,” he explained. Further explaining the circumstances of his mother’s demise 50 years ago, Dr. Akenroye said that his mother was in labour for three days and three nights because the baby was breached and there was no available medical facilities and personnel on time that could have saved both mother and child.
Akenroye, who heads BalmGilead Hospital in Lagos, regrets that 50 years after, maternal mortality rates remain high. Women should not die because they are pregnant and people should get enough information necessary to stop the unnecessary deaths. “That is why we are raising a foundation in remembrance of my mother. It is wrong that many women still die out of ignorance to access the available medical facilities and to utilize them, he said.” He said.
Participants trooped out in their hundreds to the Comprehensive High School, Ilutitun venue of the health outreach as early as 7am to take advantage of the services. About 1000 people came for the free treatment that included check-ups for blood pressure, blood sugar level, BMI, and treatment of various diseases. There were free surgical operations while free medicated eyeglasses were handed out as well. There were also counseling services session.
On the various ailments treated, Akenroye said the medical team encountered different cases. “There were cases needing surgical intervention. We had cases of hernia, infertility, fibroids, and dental cases among others. Many malaria and bacteria infectious cases were also treated. Some have chronic diseases, like arthritis, diabetics, hypertension, insomnia and geriatric diseases and were assisted. A lot of people with high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases were screened, counseled and treated for the first time. This program has helped them to know their health status,” he stated.
He also lamented the ignorance the people live with regarding their health. “There is a major problem while the people are not aware of what the hospitals have in stock. We had to educate them about medical facilities we have brought. Many in the community had problem with going to hospitals to get information about their health and available health provisions.
Dr Akenroye recalled how his mother died young because of delay in accessing medical facilities. “She was in labour for three days and three nights because they could not even transport her to where to get medical assistance. Even when she was eventually transported to the general hospital, the only doctor had travelled. She had to wait for another 24 hours to get the emergency treatment she needed. However, despite a surgical intervention, she lost her life due to post-operative complications.’’
“Unfortunately, even 50 years after, according to the statistics available there are about 5,000 mothers that still die after child birth last year and those were the ones reported.’’
Also helping at the health outreach was a retired Chief Medical Consultant at the Ondo State Specialist Hospital Akure, Dr. Manuwa Idowu Akenroye and Dr Ilesami Ogunsuyi, the director of Medical services at the Federal Prisons in Ondo State.
The Consultant and uncle to the initiator of the project added that, “Dr. Akenroye’s mother died during childbirth when he was a little boy. “Fortunately, I was with him, I know all the story and when he turned around and told me he wants to do this I said that is a good thought and I wish him well.
“The program is about preventing mothers and children from dying. To me if we can dedicate a day every year to remember this woman with this kind of event, it is worth it.” He said.”
Mrs. Monisola Akenroye, accountant and wife of the initiator of the project who was deeply involved in the planning, expressed satisfaction and fulfillment at the success of the outreach. “I feel fulfilled. I know that what we are doing now is exactly what God really wants us to do.
This is not the first outreach but this is the first major one because we have had series of outreaches in America where we raised fund for children living with cancer. We have also raised fund for St. Joseph’s home, a motherless babies home, and for abandoned mothers homes. We have been doing it in our small ways but this is the first major outing and we are thrilled about the outcome’. She promised that it would henceforth be a regular event.
On the NGO’s future plan, she revealed that, “What we intend to do is to put up a mother and child health centre. Not really a full-fledged hospital but somewhere they can get them information awareness on what is going on. Majorly we intend to have an ambulance service so that in case of emergency they can easily use it to move people around to the nearest hospital.”
One of the beneficiaries Mrs. Grace Daso, 75, a retired teacher expressed appreciation for the initiative. “I thank the organisers for this kind gesture. I have been battling an eye defect and this is coming at the right time,” she said, adding that, “I am a lay reader in church and that was why I made sure I got here early enough because I am also officiating at the church program in honour of Doctor Akenroye’s late mother,” she said.
In all, about a thousand participants were registered and attended to including those in need of surgeries who were operated upon at the outreach.
One of the patients treated was Success Akindoju, a two-year old boy who has a congenital bilateral corneal opacity, a condition of the eye that causes total blindness.
The remembrance events which was kick-started with a thanksgiving and launch of the Victoria Aderemelekun Akenroye Foundation on November 12 (including the launch of her biography titled The Ultimate Sacrifice at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Grace Sanctuary) in Lagos, followed by the medical outreach, climaxed with a two –day gospel crusade at Ilutitun.
For Akenroyes, it was an absolutely glorious way to remember a beloved mother and save thousands more at-risk women and fellow humans.
How indecent dressing, exposure to other cultures heighten rape cases
Imagine a teenage girl in one of the private secondary schools in Lagos who enjoys unhindered benefits of hanging out with her friends on many occasions, dressing seductively; all in the name of “trending lifestyle.’’
Her indecent modes of dressing and behaviours, even with the permission of her mother, have been a source of concerns to neighbours but the mother believes that her daughter’s lifestyle is the one in vogue; the western way.
For mother, her ways of life is always “satisfactory’’ in her view until the mother got a phone call one day that a group of boys drugged and raped her daughter during one of her outings to a friend’s party. It was at the hospital where her daughter was taking treatment that she realised the implications of her viewpoint on child’s training, regretting how indecent exposure and belief in western lifestyle have affected her only daughter.
This case is just one of several cases of rape across the country although many are not reported for some personal reasons. For instance, in Lagos State alone in 2016, 180 cases of rape and sexual violence were reported out of which 162 cases were rape and defilement. Mr Fatai Oweseni, former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, who gave the number, described the situation as pathetic and advised victims of rape to speak out and bear the shame to stop recurrence.
But concerned citizens argue that rather than advise rape victims to speak out or report such cases, the causes of increase in rape cases and how to check the practice should be paramount in the agenda of stakeholders. In the light of this, perceptive observers have noted that western lifestyles have telling effects on Nigerian youths so much so that the lifestyles have increased the rate of indecent practices, including rape.
A psychologist, Dr Charles Obaze, noted that when a lady dressed to seduce in the public, she might be susceptible to rape. “We see indecent dressings all over the places; social functions, weddings, churches ladies that are almost nude in the name of fashion; this behaviour promotes rape and violence against women,’’ he said.
Sheikh Muhammad Bashir, the Deputy Chief Imam of Area 10 Abuja Mosque, therefore, advised the Federal Government to disallow people from indecent dressing in public places to check cases of rape. According to him, indecent dressing has become a major factor responsible for high rate of rape cases in Nigerian society.
He also called on governments at all level to evolve strategies that would boost the moral value of the people in the society. But sociologists note that culture is an integral part of life that is dynamic and its changes ought to add value to the existing cultural values, rather than destroy it.
Mr Femi Olopade, a sociologist, argued that in civilised countries, the law and its regulations guarantee the safety of the citizens and their lifestyles unlike in developing countries where there are no such regulations.
In the absence of such laws and regulations on modes of dressing, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the President of Muslim Rights Concern, therefore, called on ladies to avoid provocative ways of dressing and presenting themselves in the public to reduce the rate of rape cases. According to him, rape is an affront to the dignity of womanhood and should not be taken lightly. “Rape is on the increase mainly because moral bankruptcy has hit its peak; women are no longer ashamed of exposing sensitive parts of the body in public.
“Even dresses which do not expose the sensitive parts are sewn so tight that no one is left in doubt about the objective. “It is the age of dress-to-kill but women forget that many of them will fall victim of rape because the dressing is seductive,’’ he said.
Sharing similar sentiments, Mrs Sa’adat Babire, the Founder of Saab Foundation, appealed to all levels of governments to step up campaigns and efforts against rape and other domestic violence against women. She also advised rape victims to speak out and seek for help as the trauma if not properly handled, could last for a life time.
Expressing concern that no fewer than 1,000 women were raped in Kwara in 2016, quoting the Ministry of Women Affairs in the state, Babire called on the National Assembly to make laws against rape and other violent conducts against women.
She said that there should be review the laws, observing that “although there are laws against rape but they are rigid, they actually favour the rapists. “Because you have a law that says there has to be an evidence of penetration and this favours the rapist; the law needs amendment,’’ she said.
In his view, a clergy, Pastor Ephraim Adeyemi, said cultural values seem to have broken down completely to the extent that some ladies did not even know what had been the African culture and practices.
“So many pastors avoid preaching sermons on morality, but would rather concentrate on sermons that suggest people should be coming to church in any manner of dressing just to keep them in the congregation,’’ he observed. However, a resident of Abuja, Mrs Grace Isah, recently observed that parents should do more work on their daughters, especially the younger ones in the area of dressing. She observed further that some ladies were in the habits of wearing skimpy dresses that exposed inner parts of the body which could lead to sexual harassment from the opposite sex. She expressed concern that cases of rape were prevalent as result of the ways some ladies dressed and conducted themselves in public places.
In his view, Malam Audu Haruna, an Islamic educator in Kuje, Abuja, said a woman was expected to cover her entire body with the exception of her face and hands because Islam considered the body of a female too special and important to be displayed in public.
According to him, some females sometimes copy dressing modes that are alien to African culture and tradition. He, therefore, insisted that although there could be other reasons for rising cases of rape, exposure of sensitive parts of female body, especially among the youth through indecent dressings, is a one of the major causes of increase in rape cases and sexual harassment.
• News Agency of Nigeria
Making babies without mothers?
There is really no end to what is possible with the advancement in technology. In what can easily be termed a landmark achievement, a team of British researchers led by Dr Tony Perry have managed to conceive baby mice without fertilizing an egg cell with sperm which you and I know is the natural, highly popular and acceptable way of producing offsprings.
The technique involved fusing the sperm cell with ordinary cells derived from skin or other tissue to create viable embryos a reprogrammed process of what scientists previously thought could only occur as a result of egg fertilization.
In the study, 30 mouse pups were born with a success rate of 24% compared to the 1% to 2% success rate for offspring created by the Dolly the Sheep method of cloning by transferring DNA to donated eggs. Now it is possible or safer to say, almost possible that babies can now be made without mothers, meaning that sperm and skin cells or any other kind of non-egg cell might be all you need for conception! Ha!
So where does that leave mothers? If this ‘breakthrough’ is anything to go, by here is what we are likely to expect: it could allow gay men to have babies with each other or let a man fertilize his own cells to produce offspring containing a mixture of genes inherited from him and his parents.
The technique could allow women whose fertility has been wiped out by cancer drugs or radiotherapy to have their own children, or even aid the preservation of endangered species, since it avoids the need to recover eggs.
Futursim.com gives us more insights to what is possible with this technique: “Obviously, IVG is revolutionary for the field of fertility medicine. It gives infertile people hope, especially those who are unable to have children because of cancer treatment. For example, collecting skin cells from patients undergoing chemotherapy means scientists can turn them into healthy eggs or sperm in case they become infertile as a result of treatment. In short, the technique could render egg donors obsolete.
For couples undergoing fertility treatments, they no longer have to choose from just a handful of viable embryos, they could potentially select from a bigger pool. It also makes the biological process of conceiving more democratic.
Theoretically, the method can be used to produce egg cells from male skin cells, making it possible for a baby to be created from same-sex couples. It’s important to note that the technology is still in its infancy.
Creating eggs from skin cells is a possibility, but at this point, there is still some work to be done before it is truly viable in humans. The success of the mouse model, however, illustrates the opportunities that this technique could offer.”
Let’s take a look at some ethical issues or possible consequences that might be associated with this technique and Futurism.com has some good thoughts on this: “For instance, should the procedure eventually become accessible and inexpensive, we could face the possibility of ‘embryo farming,’ which for some, puts a focus on how this method can devalue human life. Perceived advantages, like making it possible for parents to select from a bigger pool of embryos, also has obvious downsides like high-tech enabled eugenics.
Blame legal system for increase on rape cases – Dr. Somefun
The adolescent Sexual and reproductive health officer of UNFPA, Dr. Esther Somefun has given reason why there are many rape cases in Nigeria. She said it is largely due to the legal system that does not reprimand the perpetrators of rape cases or other sexual abuses in Nigeria.
She declared this at the launch of 2000 young girls as participants in the adolescent health project for girls organised by the Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative(YEDI), funded by the German government‘s Federal Ministry Economic Cooperation and Development held in Lagos.
The adolescent health project tagged; BMZ Skillz Girls project, strictly for young girls between the ages of 13 and 19. She explained that the reason for rape cases in Nigeria was,“because we have legal system that does not reprimand the perpetrators of rape cases or abuse. Even when they are reprimanded, the punishment is so mild that they buy themselves out.
We have individuals who do not respect their fellow human rights coupled with cultural issues where, if a woman is rapedit is brushed aside or if a girl is raped, gets brushed aside.”
On the collaboration between UNFPA and YEDI, she said, for them in UNFPA, they have worked with YEDI and YEDI’s support for ‘Hello Lagos’ centres. They are centres which provide comprehensive health, friendly services.
“These centres at different places where young people have access to information with all accurate information, on their health, sexual reproductive health unit. If they are not feeling well, they can have access to healthcarefacility and if thereistheneed for referrals, we do provide that,” shesaid. Somefun explained further that it also has to do with societal values and self-esteem.
“Example is the abuse of Codeine that is going around town. It has become an easy drug for youths to take and feel high. So, the fact is that they have easy access to drugs, and their self-esteem is on the high and at this age range young people tend to want to feel high, feel good and they believe that by feeling good and feeling high, you need to use something to enhance your feeling good, but knowing that you can feel good with so many other things, go out with friends watch movies, you don’t have to take drug to enhance your self-esteem.”
She however commended the regulatory agencies, “I will still go back to say that it is because our regulatory agency are trying, but they need to do more because if you go to other countries or other African countries, you can’t just walk into a medicine store and get medication freely. She explained that there must be need for the patient to have a prescription.
“Although, we know that young people have their own issues, if you have a system that is porous that allows easy access in drugs on those that should not have the drugs, it is called why drugs, why use, why prescriber?” Obviously, the country is having people who should not be holding such drugs in their hands without prescription to use it.
On her admonition to youths, “As a young man you don’t have to rape to feel good. Remember that that other person has a right and by raping does not improve your ego or does not make you a man. It only makes you a coward,” Dr. Somefun said. Psychologically, she explained that the youth could be traumatised trauma especially holding onto the pains.
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