ROHSI SOS CALL TO OUR POLICYMAKERS AND THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AS WE MARK THIS YEAR WORLD HYPERTENSION DAY!

ROHSI SOS CALL TO OUR POLICYMAKERS AND THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AS WE MARK THIS YEAR WORLD HYPERTENSION DAY!

Today, the number of the people living with hypertension has doubled to 1.28 billion, says World health Organisation (WHO), and nearly half of these people did not know they had it (More than 700 million people with untreated hypertension).

As an organisation working within the NCDs space, we know some of the effects of hypertension on our people! That hypertension significantly increases the risk of heart, brain, and kidney diseases that has caused many sudden death and disease among our people.

That, about 25-30% of medical emergencies at our medical centres got to do with issues related to high blood pressure and other Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs). That hypertension does not show signs or symptoms, but it can be detected through checking of ones’ blood pressure either at home or in a health centre. That hypertension can often be treated effectively with medications that are low cost (but not often affordable).

From our field experience and conversations with our community people, we saw the prevalence of hypertension to be so high. We are asking our policymakers, international organisations such World Health organisation (WHO), International Hypertension Federation and community influencers to arise and help with a framework that can help in reducing the risk and burden that come with this ailment among our people.

We ask that they make our primary health centres a working one (be equipped to meet up the need of the people as the first point of contact) where our people can have access to the best treatment and possible medical referrals in case.

The cost of hypertension treatment per person in Nigeria is on the high side. It has led majority of our people to source for alternative means or abandoning treatments due to the high cost of treatment and medications with little family income (that is to tell us that there is poverty in the land). For people to access medical treatments and medications in a month, it cost; them over #5000 (in a population where the majority survive on less than a few hundred Naira per day).

We are asking, let there be an increase in awareness, screening, treatment, and control of hypertension among our people. They must be encouraged to visit our Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) with the assurance of having access to best of medical treatment.

Let there be considerations to the cost of procuring high blood pressure medications. If they can do it with HIV/AIDS and TB something like that can be done with hypertension treatment and other NCDs.

We must know that hypertension and other NCDs worsen our people’s poverty levels since it would not allow them to make a viable contribution to national income that can lead to growth and development.

We at the  Rays Of Hope Support Initiative -ROHSI are saying; we can stop the surge of hypertension among our people if we all do our part.

We care for the  health and wellbeing of our people. That is why we are #ROHSI3.

HE ALMOST DIED FROM HYPERTENSION; NOW HE HELPS OTHERS LIVE FREE OF THE DISEASE – Prime Progress News

HE ALMOST DIED FROM HYPERTENSION; NOW HE HELPS OTHERS LIVE FREE OF THE DISEASE – Prime Progress News

HE ALMOST DIED FROM HYPERTENSION; NOW HE HELPS OTHERS LIVE FREE OF THE DISEASE

 

Benjamin Olorunfemi had strong headaches and felt body weakness amid racing heartbeats. When self-medication did not help, his wife persuaded him to see a doctor. What followed was slightly scary.

“I went as advised, and the doctor that attended to me raised an eyebrow about my blood pressure numbers [198/125 mmHg, way above the healthy average of 120/80 mmHg),” 49-year-old Olorunfemi said.

His condition was hypertension stage 3, the doctor explained further. The doctor prescribed some drugs for Olorunfemi, which he took and, fortunately, became better.

But during his recovery process, Olorunfemi wanted to know more about hypertension and how to control it, so he started reading online articles on the subject. This led him to discover that millions of Nigerians live with hypertension and other non-communicable diseases without knowing it.

His finding was consistent with a World Health Organisation report that says “most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms.”

Available data further confirms that at least 31% of Nigerians (66 million) are suffering from hypertension. And most of the 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 who live with the disease globally are from low and middle-income countries like Nigeria.

Olorunfemi takes action to help others

Inspired by his discovery, in 2017, Olorunfemi started a nonprofit organisation, Rays of Hope Support Initiative or ROHSI, to create awareness about hypertension and diabetes (another deadly disease affecting 5.77% of Nigerians) among rural residents of Oyo State in Southwest Nigeria, where he lives.

Olorunfemi started with a post on Facebook explaining what he planned to do and asking for volunteers. He got several responses, including from a pharmacist and three medical doctors who are now part of his volunteer pool of 19.

Operating from Plot 5. Block C, Oke Bola(CICS) Layout,Ondo Road, Otun Abese in Ibadan, Oyo State, ROHSI also provides free screening, medical advice, and free medications to patients with hypertension and diabetes via biannual community outreaches.

Once every six months, the group holds a health outreach in a rural community in either Oyo or Lagos State. The outreach is done in consultation and collaboration with community leaders, targeting young adults and the elderly.

Months before the outreach, the group runs physical and social media fundraising campaigns to raise money to buy drugs and handle other logistics during the one-day campaign.

On the day of the outreach, people come to a designated location. Medical experts in ROHSI’s team brief the attendees about hypertension and diabetes mellitus, the risk factors, dangers, symptoms, preventive measures., and what to do if they have symptoms of the diseases.

After that, each participant can proceed to see a doctor for testing. Those with positive results are directed to see another doctor who counsels them privately and sends a list of prescribed drugs to the pharmacist, who hands the medications to the patient for free. 

“We test for their blood pressure, blood sugar level, as well as their weight. We offer medical education and treat them where necessary,” said Charles Fajonyomi, a volunteer medical doctor with the organisation.

“Our mandate is to reach out and impact the lives of Nigerians in our rural communities who are not aware of the life-threatening effects of hypertension and diabetes and the preventive methods,” adds Olorunfemi, who studied Banking and Finance but works as a security expert for a private security firm in Oyo.

Olorunfemi said the organisation had its first outreach in August 2017 at Irewumi community in Oyo State. Since then, it has reached about 10,000 people with information about hypertension and diabetes mellitus, including nearly 3000 people (across six communities in Lagos and Oyo states) it has screened and provided with health advice and free medications.

“At first, we thought it was a joke, but they treated us free of charge when they came to our community,” said 50-year-old Imam Ibraheem’, who benefitted during that first outreach in Irewumi.

For 59-year-old Taiwo Odukoya, a November 2019 beneficiary from Otun Abese community in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State, “They checked my blood pressure, and it was high. They also told me my sugar level was high. “[Then] I was given drugs, and they followed up on me from time to time to be sure I was sticking to my medication and recovering well.”

As a means of follow-up on its beneficiaries, the organisation created a WhatsApp group where beneficiaries can always ask questions about their health and get advice from its volunteer doctors in the group. The group now has 256 members.

“We ask questions and talk to doctors [on the group] when we need to,” said Ibraheem’.

Fajonyomi, the doctor, said ROHSI is trying to change rural dwellers’ attitudes toward their health. And that is because “people’s attitude to their health is poor in our part of the world. Once people are not very sick, they don’t care about going for medical check-ups.”

According to Olorunfemi, the nonprofit conducts just two outreaches per year because, for now, its funding and funding sources are limited, mostly from family, friends, and colleagues and whatever they get from their social media calls for support per outreach.

He said none of the group’s regular calls for support from pharmaceutical companies, local authorities and donor organisations had yielded any significant fruits.

“Getting support isn’t always easy. Most times, we write to pharmaceutical companies seeking drugs, but that support never comes, and we have to purchase the drugs ourselves,” he said.

He said in the future, ROHSI hopes to build a medical centre in Oyo State, where people could have access to healthcare when they need it for free.

“Our primary healthcare system is not there yet, and it is supposed to be the first point of call for the majority of these preventable ailments in our communities, but that’s not the case. Also, the cost of accessing treatment and medication is so high that it discourages a lot of people from visiting health facilities when they have symptoms of these ailments,” Olorunfemi said.

First Published By Prime Progress https://primeprogressng.com/posts/he-almost-died-from-hypertension-now-he-helps-others-live-free-of-the-disease-55

ROHSI MAKES CASE FOR WIDOWS, SINGLE MOTHERS IN NIGERIA – Dispatch News Online

ROHSI MAKES CASE FOR WIDOWS, SINGLE MOTHERS IN NIGERIA – Dispatch News Online

ROHSI MAKES CASE FOR WIDOWS, SINGLE MOTHERS IN NIGERIA

The Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI), a non-governmental organisaton has proffered solution to the plights of widows and single mothers in Nigeria, following the difficult challenges they face after the death of their spouses.
This was made known in a paper presented by Oyeronke Olorunfemi, director at ROHSI during a programme organised recently by Heart For Widows International, a charity organisaton, to commemorate the United Nations (UN) International Day 2021 held at Alagbaka in Akure, Ondo State with theme: “Invisible Woman, Invisible Problem”.

Olorunfemi said that in the course of her community work, she noticed that more of women especially, older women are having high blood pressure than their male counterparts as majority are widows, handed over the mantle of family leadership without much preparation after the death of their husbands.
She therefore, prays that, God should continue to protect the men as they go out daily, not to die young as not to relinquish the mantle of family leadership to the woman should such suddenly happens.

“We know the loss of a partner is devastating. For many of our women around the world especially in developing countries such as ours, the loss is magnified by a long-term struggle for their basic needs, their rights and dignity”, Olorunfemi said.

She stressed on what befalls the woman should she loose her husband to include evicted from their homes or physically abused, or where their social status is linked to that of their husband’s and such husband passed on suddenly without a solid plan, what would happen to the health of such a widow?

Olorunfemi lamented that such a widow among other things have to accept unwillingly what nature has brought to her because of the children, unwarranted conditions from their husband relatives, social norms, which results in many women dying prematurely.

“So we can all imagine how burning this issue is? I have this question, should our women identity be defined by their husband or should be viewed on their own merits?” she asked.

To this end, she suggested ways by which government and society must improve the lives of widows, single women and their families to include:

“We must come up with poverty-reduction strategies like access to credit or other economic resources and provide educational opportunities for our widows and their children to make life easier.

“Our widows should have unlimited rights to their husband inheritance or land ownership under the law of the land.

“Violence towards widows must be stopped and it has to be now.

“We must all advocate for equitable access to healthcare for our widows. They must not be denied such an opportunity.

“We must them secure against economic insecurity stemming from widowhood that has driven some of our widows and girls to sex work.

“We must keep talking to authorities to take action to uphold their commitment to ensuring the rights of the widows as enshrined in our laws and conventions.

“Let us keep advocating for programmes and policies for ending violence against widows and their children.

She concluded that the above would make life more meaningful to widows, as the health and the wellbeing of their children would not be an issue anymore, because these solutions if implemented would have taken care of those needs.

Eelier in their welcome addresses, Prince Adetayo Adesida and Mrs. Britt Schulze Adesida expressed the gratitude that God had used them to reach out to widows across Africa and the world at large by empowering them, so that they can fend for themselves on the event of the loose of their husbands.
“God has been able to help spread our tentacles to some countries in Africa as well where we have been able to reach out to the widows in Rwanda, Kenya, Lesotho, Seychelles, Uganda to mention but a few.
“We thank God that we did not only give widows fishes to survive on, but also teach them how to fish through various vocational developmental schemes, which empowers the widow to be self-reliant and self-sufficient to the point that their product which is been displayed at this event, is not only sold in the country, but also shipped out of other countries so that it becomes an economic empowerment for our widows.”
“God has been so faithful to the point that we are able to establish this foundation in the USA, The Netherlands, Germany, India, Nigeria, Tanzania and Bulgaria.
Dignitaries at the event include The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Adelusi represented by Chief Aro of Akure kingdom accompanied by some chiefs from the palace; delegation from the Ondo State government, which included Mrs. Olubunmi Ademosu, Special Adviser to the Ondo State government on Intergovernmental Relation and Oluwafemi Dennis Fadairo, Director of Administration to the Senate President of Nigeria, Ahmed Lawan.

First Published By Dispatch News Online http://dispatchnews.com.ng/2021/08/02/rohsi-makes-case-for-widows-single-mothers-in-nigeria/

ROHSI CALL TO ACTION

 

ROHSI CALL TO ACTION
I am writing to say thank you and to show my appreciations for all that you have made us to achieved in terms of being able to provide access to healthcare treatment to our targeted community members. A huge thank you!
I am also using this as a call to action to my other friends to be part of what we are doing at Rays of Hope Support Initiative – #ROHSI3

Within my work as a social development worker, whenever I hear of people battling with health-related issues especially hypertension and diabetes that have led to strokes, heart attack, sudden death, or stories such as he/she wasn’t sick, we were still together yesterday give me and my team great pains because death such as this could be prevented with access to information, measures and monitoring of our health numbers, medication, and change in lifestyle.

I do wish we saved many of these lives by influencing their diets and lifestyles in a way that would keep them healthy and strong to be able to be alive for their loved ones! We know how unbearable it is; to lose a loving and dependable member of a household. I do not want this to happening again because many of these deaths could be prevented with our efforts at Rays of Hope Support Initiative.

I am asking you to join my team with your resources, time (as our ambassadors/Volunteers), network, collaborations, recommendation, money, donations. Let us save lives by inculcating healthy lifestyles through awareness and access to equity healthcare treatment among people when we were able to take the good news to their doorsteps.

You can start from here:

For the donations, use any of our secure links:
STANBICIBTC BANK PLC: Rays of Hope Support Initiative
Naira: 0022069426
Dollar: 0027047650
Or through
www.rohsi.org/donate

If you could support this by donating and then sharing it with your network. I would greatly appreciate it. I know that money can be tight, so please know that every donation makes us closer to our goal.
Kindly reach out to me in case you have any questions, and I will be happy to answer them. I thank all for rejoicing with me and joining me in this mission of impacting and saving the majority of our people from avoidable/sudden death.


Let’s do this together! Love, Health and Joy,

Benjamin Olorunfemi

Executive Director

ROHSI CREATES AWARENESS ON SALIENT ILLNESSES – Dispatch News Online

ROHSI CREATES AWARENESS ON SALIENT ILLNESSES – Dispatch News Online

ROHSI CREATES AWARENESS ON SALIENT ILLNESSES

By Canice Opara

The Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) has been creating awareness on salient sicknesses in the country, such as hypertension and diabetes through education on their health implications.

According to Mr. Benjamin Olorunfemi, founder of the organization, these ailments have been causing a lot of problems in the country, and unfortunately people are not always taking them seriously, hence his organization has embarked on an awareness campaign to education citizens.

Olorunfemi, who narrated how he almost died through these sickness, said he later researched on them only to discover that high blood pressure and diabetes are among other non-communicable diseases millions of Nigerians are battling with without knowing what they are, that this has led to his desire to raise awareness, provide health education, get people screened for hypertension and diabetes with the vision to reducing the untimely death resulting from complications caused by these ailments. Hence, Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) was born in March 2017.

“We found out that if people had access to information and medical services early, deaths and other health complications arising from these ailments could be prevented. Then we decided to fight against these diseases with one-on-one talk Initiative, which was later extended to our communities because of the increasing number of people who need information and treatment”, he said.

Olorunfemi, quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), said hypertension and diabetes are responsible for an estimated 45 percent of adults’ death due to heart diseases, and 51 percent of deaths due to stroke globally, with studies blaming the increasing prevalence of the condition on lifestyle and dietary factors such as physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and a diet high in sodium usually from processed and fatty foods. That unfortunately, the control of hypertension and diabetes has become a priority in many countries of the world, but remains a crisis in Nigeria in terms of awareness and management as the condition continues unabated.

He stated that studies continue to show from experts that more Nigerians are daily battling with these ailments without laid down measures, and asked why?

The ROHSI founder believes that economic downturn and the astronomical increase in managing these ailments are forcing many people to go on compulsory “drug holiday’’, as they found it hard to get funds in getting medical screening and medication on real-time. And that it could be why today people are seeking an alternative to orthodox drugs and treatment, as the economic situation has not allowed the majority of them to be able to cope with continuing medication.

He wondered why government, whose responsibility it is to create awareness and help pharmaceutical companies in curbing these sicknesses, is not doing much in that regard.

“Our government that was supposed to help in terms of awareness, providing relief and subsidies to pharmaceutical companies and the people with hypertension and diabetes to ameliorates their health conditions are not doing much even; our primary healthcare centres that supposed to be the first point of call for screening, detecting and helping in alleviating these ailments are not functioning to their name. Today, many of these patients are going back to alternative medicine or ‘’drug holiday’’ as I have said earlier, which often worsens the condition resulting in more health complications”, Olorunfemi lamented.

He said based on this, they are coming in to bridge that gap by coming in today as an organization to provide means by which more of people with these ailments could be reached through programmes like community outreaches, where they have provided free screening and medication to over 3,000 Nigerians.

“We all know there are significant health and economic gains attached to early detection, adequate treatment and good control of hypertension and diabetes than treating the complications of these ailments”, he reminded.

While saying that his organisation has the vision of supporting the health and well-being of people through health education and enlightenment, Olorunfemi said “but it’s not what we can do alone as an organisation; we need like minded people like you to help us with your time, network, resources among others in achieving the following:

“To create awareness on the effects and management of hypertension and diabetes among our people with special interest among the low income and the less privileged members of our society.

“To help increase the understanding among the communities, especially the less privileged members of the communities battling with these ailments about its impact on their health.

“To reduce the percentage of people with these diseases significantly through our awareness, health education and community outreaches respectively with follow-up on a great percentage of the people.

“To provide people living with hypertension or diabetes with comprehensive information on the causes and management.

“To provide our targeted audience with ongoing follow-up information on hypertension and diabetes.

“To reach a larger number of the communities with pamphlets, handbill, lecture in local dialects for clear and better understanding of what hypertension and diabetes are all about, and how deadly they could become if not discovered and managed on time”.

Olorunfemi advised that Nigerians should discourage people from resorting to self – medication, but instead seek for proper medical attention.

He added that all of the above cannot be achieved without Nigerians’ efforts and contributions, and that is why his organisation is asking people to join them with all that they have in achieving these.

First Published By Dispatch News Online http://dispatchnews.com.ng/2020/09/19/rohsi-creates-awareness-on-salient-illnesses/

 

MY STORY WITH RAYS OF HOPE SUPPORT INITIATIVE

MY STORY WITH RAYS OF HOPE SUPPORT INITIATIVE

 

 

 

 

  Awareness 

MY STORY WITH RAYS OF HOPE SUPPORT INITIATIVE-ROHSI

BY: Benjamin Olorunfemi

 In July 2016, after being away for weeks I came home to observe some off-duty days with my family. I knew I was having symptoms of not being in good health but I cannot say precisely what was wrong with me. My wife and I was a bit worry because I hardly fell sick.

I took some medication (just as we like to do in this part of the world without consulting a doctor; or any medical personnel). I was a bit ok as I went back to my place of work after observing the few days off. But by the time I resumed back, it became an issue as I couldn’t comprehend or coordinate myself. I was advised to visit a hospital to see a doctor. I went as advise, and the doctor that attended to me raised an eyebrow about my blood pressure numbers (to me it was nothing because I did not know the health implications of the numbers).

I was given medication for few days with advice to come back in a matter of days but within two days my blood pressure numbers rose from 140/100 mmHg  to 198/125mmHg  (at this stage, all was happening to me as I could not see, the headache, the heartbeats among others). I was rushed back to the hospital by my colleagues, where I was admitted and put under observation for over 12 hours (Their actions saved my life from some health complications I got to know later).

I got advised of my life through the medical doctor that attended to me on what was happening to me, the prevalence in Nigeria and the health implications it could cause me if I did not get to manage it on time. He made me understand that it has led to many dying at their prime but; I wondered why with all my education and exposure I did not get to know this

With that, consultations were made within the circle of friends, family, and community members among others. Books and Journals were read researching on what is high blood pressure, diabetes among other non-communicable diseases and what I found out (that millions of Nigerians are battling with these diseases without in knowing of what it is) led to the desire to raise awareness, provide health education, get people screened for hypertension and diabetes with the vision of reducing the untimely death resulting from complications caused by these ailments

We found out that if people had access to information and medical services early, deaths and other health complications arising from these ailments could be prevented. Then we decided to fight against these diseases with one on one talk Initiative, which was later extended to our communities but because of the increasing number of people who need information and treatment, Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) was born in March 2017

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension and diabetes are responsible for an estimated 45% of adults’ death due to heart diseases and 51% of deaths due to stroke globally with studies blaming the increasing prevalence of the condition on lifestyle and dietary factors such as physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and a diet high in sodium usually from processed and fatty foods. Unfortunately, the control of hypertension and diabetes has become a priority in many countries of the world, but remain a crisis in Nigeria in terms of awareness and management as the condition continues unabated.

 Studies continue to show from experts that more Nigerians are daily battling with these ailments without laid down measures why? The economic downturn and the astronomical increase in managing these ailments are forcing many of our people to go on compulsory ‘’ drug holiday’’ as they found it hard to get funds in getting medical screening and medication on real-time.

Today people are seeking an alternative to orthodox drugs and treatment as the economic situation has not allowed the majority of them to be able to cope with continuing medication.

Our government that was supposed to help in terms of awareness, providing relief and subsidies to pharmaceutical companies and the people with hypertension and diabetes to ameliorates their health conditions are not doing much even; our primary healthcare centres that supposed to be the first point of call for screening, detecting and help in alleviating these ailments are not functioning to their name. Today, many of these patients are going back to alternative medicine or ‘’ drug holiday’’ as I have said earlier which often worsens the condition resulting in more health complications.

Today we are coming in as an organization to provide means by which more of our people with these ailments can be reached through programmes like our community outreaches where we have provided free screening and medication to over 3000 Nigerians. 

We all know there are significant health and economic gains attached to early detection, adequate treatment and good control of hypertension and diabetes than treating the complications of these ailments. 

Through my organization, we have the vision of supporting the health and well being of our people through health education and enlightenment but it’s not what we can do alone as an organization we need like minded people like you to help us with your time, network, resources among others in achieving the following:

  • To create awareness on the effect and management of hypertension and diabetes among our people with special interest among the low income/ less privileged members of our society
  • To help increase the understanding among the communities especially the less privileged member of the communities battling with these ailments about its impact on their health
  • To reduce the percentage of people with this disease significantly through our awareness, health education and community outreaches respectively with follow up on a great percentage of the people
  • To provide people living with hypertension or diabetes with comprehensive information on the causes and management
  • To provide our targeted audience with ongoing follow up information on hypertension and diabetes
  • To reach a larger number of the communities with pamphlets, handbill, lecture in local dialect for clear and better understanding of what hypertension and diabetes are all about and how deadly it can become if not discovered and Managed on time.
  • Discouraging people restoring to self –medication instead of seeking proper medical attention.

All of the above cannot be achieved without your efforts and contributions and that is why we are asking you to join us with all that you have in achieving these.

I am asking for whatever assistance you are ready to give as an individual and organization. Be your brother’s keeper; let us put an end to curtail the effects of these ailments among our people

 

 

KNOWING YOUR BLOOD TYPE! A CRUCIAL STEP BEFORE SAYING “I DO”

KNOWING YOUR BLOOD TYPE! A CRUCIAL STEP BEFORE SAYING “I DO”

Love is beautiful, and for many singles, the path leads towards marriage and starting a family. But before we walk down the aisle, there’s an important conversation and a simple test that can significantly impact our future children’s health: understanding blood genotypes.

Blood genotypes refer to the specific genetic makeup of our red blood cells, particularly the haemoglobin protein that carries oxygen throughout our body. Knowing our genotype, especially for conditions like sickle cell anaemia, empowers couples to make informed decisions about their family planning.

Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disorder. People with sickle cell anaemia have an abnormal form of haemoglobin, causing their red blood cells to become sickle-shaped instead of round and flexible. These sickle-shaped cells get stuck in narrow blood vessels, blocking oxygen flow and causing immense pain, organ damage, infections, and fatigue.

Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic condition passed down from parents to children. Here’s how genotype plays a crucial role:

AA Genotype! This is considered the normal, healthy genotype. Individuals with AA have two healthy copies of the haemoglobin gene and are unlikely to pass on sickle cell disease.

AS Genotype: This is the carrier state. People with AS have one normal copy and one sickle cell copy of the gene. They typically don’t experience symptoms themselves but can pass on the sickle cell trait to their children.

SS Genotype: This genotype signifies sickle cell disease. Individuals with SS inherit two sickle cell copies, resulting in the development of the disease.

Now, let’s see how genotype compatibility comes into play when planning a family:

AA and AA couple: There’s no risk of passing sickle cell disease to children.

AA and AS couple: There’s a 50% chance each child will inherit the sickle cell trait (AS) but won’t have the disease.

AS and AS couple: There’s a 25% chance of having a healthy child (AA), a 50% chance of having a child with the sickle cell trait (AS), and a 25% chance of having a child with sickle cell anaemia (SS).

SS and any other genotype couple: All children will inherit the sickle cell trait (AS) and have a 50% chance of developing sickle cell anaemia if they inherit another sickle cell gene from the partner.

While sickle cell anaemia is a major concern, there are other blood genotype considerations for couples:

Rhesus factor incompatibility! This incompatibility between the Rhesus factor proteins in a mother’s and baby’s blood can lead to complications during pregnancy. A simple blood test can identify potential issues and allow for proper medical management.

Blood type compatibility! While not directly linked to genetic diseases, blood type incompatibility can cause problems during pregnancy and delivery. Again, a simple blood test can determine compatibility.

Getting a blood genotype test is a simple and painless process. Many hospitals and clinics around us offer these tests, often included in premarital screening packages. Knowing our genotype empowers you to:

Reduced risk of sickle cell anaemia in children! By understanding ours’s and our partner’s genotypes, we can minimise the risk of our children inheriting sickle cell disease.

Early diagnosis and management! If you’re a carrier (AS), prenatal testing can help identify sickle cell anaemia in the developing baby, allowing for early intervention and improved outcomes.

Informed family planning! Knowing our genotype allows for open communication with our partner about potential risks and exploring options like genetic counselling or prenatal diagnosis.

Prepare for a healthy pregnancy! Early detection of potential risks allows for proper medical management during pregnancy, ensuring the best possible outcome for both mother and child.

We must all understand that our blood genotype doesn’t diminish our love or commitment. It’s a proactive step towards a healthy future for ourselves and our potential family. By getting tested and having open conversations, we can embark on a journey of informed parenthood, minimising risks and maximising the chances of welcoming healthy children into the world.

Remember, as Christians, a happy marriage is built on love, trust, and open communication. We must add informed decision-making to that list for a truly fulfilling journey together.

Courtesy: Benjamin Olorunfemi For Rays of Hope Support Initiative

BLOOD SUGAR AND THE POWER OF MEAL PLANNING

BLOOD SUGAR AND THE POWER OF MEAL PLANNING

 

Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the main sugar our body uses for energy. It comes from the food we eat, especially carbohydrates. After digestion, our body breaks down these carbs into glucose, which enters our bloodstream. Here, a hormone called insulin acts like a key, unlocking the doors of our cells, and allowing glucose in for energy.

However, problems can arise if our blood sugar isn’t well managed. Chronically high blood sugar, often associated with diabetes, can lead to serious health issues. This is where meal planning comes in as a powerful tool.

For ROHSI members living with blood sugar concerns, meal planning can be a powerful tool. It goes beyond just choosing healthy foods; it’s about strategically creating a roadmap for your diet and empowering you to manage your blood sugar effectively.

Meal planning involves strategically choosing and preparing your meals and snacks in advance. Here’s why meal planning is a game-changer:

Stability! Regular, balanced meals keep our blood sugar from spiking or dipping dramatically. Planning ensures we have healthy options readily available, preventing unhealthy choices made in a rush.

Portion Control! Planning meals allows us to measure ingredients (appropriate serving) beforehand, avoiding overeating, a significant factor in blood sugar control.

Nutritional Balance! Planning helps incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Think lean protein for sustained energy, fibre-rich vegetables for slow digestion, and healthy fats for satiety.

Carb Awareness: You can plan meals with a focus on complex carbohydrates, found in whole grains and vegetables. These release glucose slowly, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar compared to refined carbohydrates like white bread or sugary drinks.

Predictability! Following a meal plan establishes a consistent eating pattern. This predictability helps your body anticipate and regulate insulin release, leading to better blood sugar control.

Reduced Stress! Knowing what you’ll eat eliminates decision fatigue and grocery store overwhelm. This translates to less stress, which can also impact blood sugar levels.

We must add the following to our meal planning so as to achieve working blood sugar!

Inventory! We must check our pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Plan meals around what we already have to minimize waste.

Set Goals! We must consider our preferences and dietary needs. Focus on incorporating more non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Plan our meals! We must create a weekly schedule with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and healthy snacks.

Batch Cook! We must try and dedicate time to cooking larger portions of protein or grains that can be used in various meals throughout the week.

Get Creative! Try and explore healthy recipe options online or in cookbooks. Find low-carb alternatives for your favourite dishes.

Remember, meal planning is a journey, not a destination. Be flexible, adjust as needed, and most importantly, celebrate your progress! With consistent meal planning, you’ll gain control of your blood sugar and feel empowered on your path to a healthier you.

Courtesy: Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) Dietary Unit

ROHSI IS SAYING, ‘’NO GREE FOR SICKNESS; EMBRACE WELLNESS IN 2024’’!

ROHSI IS SAYING, ‘’NO GREE FOR SICKNESS; EMBRACE WELLNESS IN 2024’’!

  

Friends and ROHSI Community Members, we forget lukewarm resolutions and tired cliches; this year, we’re saying “No Gree for Anybody” when it comes to our health! It’s time to channel that Nigerian warrior spirit into building a fortress of well-being that leaves anything unhealthy shaking in our boots.

First, we must reclaim our power by prioritising preventative care. We must ditch the negativity. Stop letting whispers of “what ifs” and “can’t-dos” drown out the roar of our potential. Swap the “should haves” for the “will dos.” We must ditch the doctor-only-when-desperate mentality. We must adopt regular checkups, screenings, and even simple self-examinations. They must become our weapons against stealthy threats.

Whether it’s monitoring blood pressure or keeping tabs on that nagging mole, early detection is our battle cry in 2024 and beyond.

Next, we must unleash our inner nutrition, Ninja. We must fuel our bodies with rebellion. No gree for sugary treats, processed junk, or emotional eating. Fill our plate with colourful warriors: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and whole grains. Let them be our health-boosting arsenal. Let them fight for our well-being.

Sugar and processed junk? Those are the invaders lurking at the gates, ready to weaken our defenses. Remember, we are what we eat, so choosing wisely is the key this year!

Stress? We should not let it be our landlord. We must find our stressbusters, our peaceful warriors. Meditation, yoga, laughter with loved ones—let us build a fortress of calm around us. We must prioritise sleep, the ultimate health reset button. We must hit the pillow knowing we’ve claimed our day; we must not succumb to its pressures.

Movement is our shield; we must be ready to sweat our battle cry. Embrace activities that set our soul on fire, not just our feet. Dance, swim, cycle, climb—we must find joy in physical expression. Regular exercise tones our body and bolsters our mind, making you and me an unstoppable force against sluggishness and stress.

We must not also forget that the real enemy sometimes lies within. We must tackle our mental well-being with the same tenacity. Prioritise our sleep, embrace mindfulness, and learn to say “no” when our cup is full. This year, self-care is not a luxury; it’s a superpower. We must recharge our batteries for this and be battle-ready.

This year, the ROHSI Team is saying that health isn’t just a goal; it’s a revolution. It’s saying no to limitations and yes to possibilities. It’s about reclaiming our energy, our strength, and our healthy lives. No more tolerating aches, ignoring checkups, or succumbing to unhealthy habits.” So, let us all spread the word and shout it from the rooftops: “No gree for anybody with our health in 2024!”

Health is our birthright, not a privilege. We are claiming it, owning it, and making this year our healthiest yet. ‘No gree for anything less’!

Courtesy: Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) Board and Management Team.

MONITORING BLOOD PRESSURE AT HOME MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THESE STEPS.

MONITORING BLOOD PRESSURE AT HOME MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THESE STEPS.

MONITORING BLOOD PRESSURE AT HOME MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THESE STEPS.

By Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Learning how to take accurate at-home measurements can help your doctor diagnose or treat high blood pressure, a common condition that can harm the heart, kidneys, and brain.

When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? All adults should have this simple test at least once a year.

If a blood pressure reading at your doctor’s office is elevated—that is, higher than a healthy range—current guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force recommend repeating the measurement outside of a clinic setting before starting treatment. But that’s not the only reason why your doctor may suggest regularly tracking your blood pressure at home.

Why monitor blood pressure at home?

“Some people have blood pressure elevations only at the doctor’s office, which is known as white-coat hypertension,” says Dr. Stephen Juraschek, associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. One of the best ways to know if your blood pressure is truly higher than normal is to measure it multiple times at home.

Home monitoring is also a good idea.

  • if your doctor asks you to track readings to help decide if you need to start taking medication to lower blood pressure.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure and need to adjust your medications to make sure you’re reaching your blood pressure target
  • if you’re pregnant or have had a baby in recent months and your health team is concerned about preeclampsia. This condition is a severe form of high blood pressure that can harm vital organs like the kidneys. When not promptly treated, it sometimes leads to seizures, strokes, or even death.

Which home blood pressure monitor should I buy?

  • Look for a monitor that’s been validated, which means the device has been independently reviewed for accuracy.
  • Avoid monitors that feature cuffs used on the wrist or fingertip. These aren’t as accurate as upper-arm cuffs.
  • Choose and use the right size cuff. Measure the circumference of your upper arm midway between your elbow and shoulder. Most home monitor cuffs can accommodate arm circumferences of 9 to 17 inches, but smaller and larger cuffs are available. A too-small cuff can lead to an artificially high reading, while a loose cuff can give a falsely low reading. For example, a 2023 randomised study of automated blood pressure monitors tested a regular-size cuff on adults who needed a different-size cuff. The researchers found systolic blood pressure readings increased by 19.5 mm Hg for participants who should have used an extra-large cuff and by 4.8 mm Hg for participants who should have used a large cuff.

Very basic models cost as little as $25. But more expensive models, which range from about $50 to $100, may be more convenient to use. They can store multiple readings and send the data to your computer or smartphone—or even directly to the patient portal at your doctor’s office.

Three key points about blood pressure readings

Home blood pressure monitoring is a bit more involved than some people assume. “It’s not something you just do sporadically or whenever you have time,” says Dr. Juraschek.

  • Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, which means one isolated reading doesn’t provide accurate information.
  • If you check your blood pressure when you’re upset or stressed, it’s likely to be high. If you take it again right away, you may get another high reading, which feeds a cycle of anxiety and elevated readings, he says.
  • Consistent, repeated measurements provide a far more useful assessment than occasional measurements.

How often should you take your blood pressure at home?

Ask your doctor how often and what time of day to take your blood pressure.

“The gold standard for home monitoring is to take 28 separate measurements, which you can then average to get a representative reading,” says Dr. Juraschek.

That means taking your blood pressure four times a day—twice in the morning and twice in the evening—for seven days in a row. However, even 12 measurements over three days is reasonable, especially if you include one weekend day, Dr. Juraschek says. Your doctor can advise you about what makes the most sense for your situation.

How can you get an accurate blood pressure reading?

Common mistakes can raise your blood pressure reading by a few points, or as much as 10 or even up to 25 points in some cases. Here’s what to do or avoid—and why—for an accurate blood pressure reading.

Wait at least 30 minutes after smoking, consuming caffeine or alcohol, or exercising before taking blood pressure.

Why? Caffeine and nicotine constrict blood vessels and boost your heart rate, which can raise blood pressure. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, possibly lowering blood pressure. And exercise increases heart rate and blood pressure.

Empty your bladder.

Why? A full bladder can put pressure on and reduce blood flow to your kidneys. Your body’s natural response is to raise your blood pressure to make sure your kidneys are getting enough blood.

Sit comfortably, supporting your arm near heart height.

Sit back in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, legs and ankles uncrossed, and your arm extended, palm up, on a table so that your elbow is positioned roughly at heart height.

Why? Crossing your legs, especially at the knee, temporarily raises blood pressure. If your feet or your arm are not supported, your muscles will contract. Even this small amount of isometric exercise can raise your blood pressure. Also, supporting your arm below or above the level of your heart may affect the accuracy of the reading.

Wait a few quiet minutes before taking a reading.

First, wrap the proper-size cuff around your bare arm, about an inch above the crook of your elbow. Sit quietly for a few minutes without distractions like TV, reading, phone scrolling, or talking. Then start the machine to take your blood pressure.

Why? Putting the cuff over clothes—or pushing up your sleeve so that it’s tight around your upper arm—may interfere with an accurate reading, though evidence on this is mixed. Ideally, you want to record blood pressure while feeling relaxed, not distracted, because even minor stress or tension can raise your blood pressure.

This video from the American Heart Association demonstrates the correct technique.

Why is diagnosing high blood pressure so important?

Nearly half of all adults have high blood pressure, but about a third of these people aren’t even aware they have the problem. An accurate diagnosis and treatment are vital, says Dr. Juraschek. Few things in medicine have shown such consistent results as the harms of high blood pressure, which is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and cognitive decline.

“It’s called the silent killer for a reason. We don’t feel or experience any of high blood pressure’s effects until it’s too late,” he says.

HEALTH ADVOCATE AND AWARENESS AS A TOOL FOR CURING THE DIABETES SURGE AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN IN IBADAN

HEALTH ADVOCATE AND AWARENESS AS A TOOL FOR CURING THE DIABETES SURGE AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN IN IBADAN

 

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body turns food into energy. It is a major public health problem in Nigeria, with an estimated prevalence of 10.2% in adults. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack the cells that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body’s cells use glucose for energy. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin.

Pregnant women are particularly at risk of developing diabetes, a condition known as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It usually goes away after the baby is born, but it can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Gestational diabetes can cause complications for both the mother and the baby, including premature birth, high birth weight, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in later life, as stated earlier. That is why our present and potential pregnant women must attend antenatal care throughout their pregnant period.

Health advocacy and awareness campaigns can play a vital role in curbing the surge of diabetes among pregnant women in Ibadan and other parts of Nigeria. By educating our women about the risk factors for gestational diabetes and the importance of early detection and treatment, these campaigns can help reduce the prevalence of this condition and its associated complications.

The Role Of Government Through The Health Agencies:

Government health agencies have a key role to play in promoting health advocacy and awareness around gestational diabetes. These agencies can develop and implement educational programs for pregnant women and healthcare providers on the risk factors, symptoms, and prevention of gestational diabetes. They can also provide support for women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, including access to screening, monitoring, and treatment services.

The Impact Of International Organizations

International organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) also play an important role in promoting health advocacy and awareness around gestational diabetes. These organizations develop and disseminate global guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gestational diabetes. They also provide support for national and local health agencies in implementing these guidelines.

How the government and international organizations can work with local nonprofit organizations to reduce the prevalence of gestational diabetes

The government and international organizations can work with local nonprofit organizations such as the Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) to reduce the prevalence of gestational diabetes in Ibadan and other parts of Nigeria. These organizations can work together to develop and implement educational programs for pregnant women and healthcare providers, provide support for women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and advocate for policies that promote the prevention and treatment of gestational diabetes.

Here Are Some Specific Examples Of How The Government, International Organizations, And Local Nonprofit Organizations Can Work Together To Reduce The Prevalence Of Gestational Diabetes In Ibadan:

  • Develop and implement educational programs for pregnant women and healthcare providers. These programs should cover the risk factors, symptoms, and prevention of gestational diabetes. They should also provide information on the importance of early detection and treatment. That is, we must educate our women about the risks of gestational diabetes and how to prevent it. This can be done through health education programs, public awareness campaigns, and one-on-one counselling with healthcare providers, as earlier explained here.
  • Provide support for women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This support may include access to screening, monitoring, and treatment services. It may also include emotional and practical support, such as help with meal planning and exercise.
  • Training healthcare providers in Ibadan to identify and manage gestational diabetes. This will ensure that pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes receive the care they need to protect their health and the health of their babies.
  • Advocate for policies that promote the prevention and treatment of gestational diabetes. This may include advocating for increased funding for gestational diabetes prevention and treatment programs, as well as for policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity among pregnant women.

In Conclusion:

Health advocacy and awareness campaigns can play a vital role in curbing the surge of diabetes among pregnant women in Ibadan and other parts of Nigeria. By working together, the government, international organizations, and local nonprofit organizations can make a significant difference in reducing the prevalence of this condition and its associated complications.

In addition to the above, here are some additional tips for safeguarding present and potential pregnant women in Ibadan and its environment:

  • Encourage pregnant women to eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet for pregnant women includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also important to limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
  • Promote physical activity among pregnant women. Pregnant women should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Provide access to prenatal care for all pregnant women. Prenatal care is essential for detecting and managing risk factors for gestational diabetes and other complications of pregnancy.
  • Raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes. Some of the signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. Pregnant women who experience any of these symptoms should see a doctor right away.

By following these tips, we can all help to protect the health of present and potential pregnant women in Ibadan and Nigeria as a whole.

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