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Over 5 Million children aged under 5 years died in 2017-WHO

World Health Organization’ s 2019 Statistics report says substantial progress has been made in reducing child deaths since 2000, with the global under-5 mortality rate dropping by 49%, from 77 deaths per 1000 live births in 2000 to 39 in 2017. This is equivalent of 1 in 14 children dying before reaching age 5 in 2017, compared with 1 in 13 dying before age 5 in 2000. 

An estimated 5.4 Million children aged less than 5 years died in 2017, of whom 2.5 Million were female and 2.9 Million male. Of these deaths, 2.5 Million occurred during the first 28 days of life. Globally, death rates in the first month of life fell by 41% from 31 per 1000 live births in 2000 to 18 in 2017, a smaller reduction in mortality compared with the 54% reduction in mortality for children aged 1.59 months. Under-5 mortality rates are highest in the WHO African region and in low-income countries, where one child dies out of 14 born. More than half of under-5 child deaths are due to diseases that are preventable and treatable through simple, affordable interventions. The leading causes of death in young children over 28 days of age remain pneumonia, diarrhoea, birth defects and malaria. Rates of death from all conditions are higher in low-income countries, but children in low-income countries are more than 100 times more likely to die from infectious diseases than those in high-income countries.

 

Children who die within the first 28 days of birth suffer from conditions and diseases associated with lack of quality care at birth, or skilled care and treatment immediately after birth and in the first days of life. Preterm birth, intrapartum-related complications, infections and birth defects caused the most neonatal deaths in 2017.  Most new born deaths take place in low and middle-income countries, and two regions accounted for almost 70% of new-born deaths in 2017- the WHO Africa Region and South-East Asia region. WHO says it is possible to improve the survival and health of new-borns by achieving high coverage of quality antenatal care, skilled care at birth, postnatal care for mother and baby, and care of small and sick new-borns. In 2017, male children were 11% more likely to die before the age of 5 years. Boys have a higher probability of dying before reaching the age of 5 years than girls for biological reasons, including less lung maturity at birth and less resistance to infectious diseases. New-born boys often weigh more at birth, but have higher perinatal mortality and more frequent congenital malformations. Immunoregulatory genes linked to the X-chromosome confer greater resistance to infectious diseases on girls, who have two X-chromosomes compared with boys, who have one X-chromosome.

The report further said because boys have a higher biological risk of death than girls, as assessment of gender bias in health outcomes cannot be based on equality of the under-5 mortality rate. Rather, mortality rates close to unity are indicative of female disadvantage. The risk of dying before the age of 5 years is higher in boys in all income groups set by the World Bank and in all regions. However, in the WHO South East Asia Region, the risk is almost equal, indicating high rate of avoidable mortality among females under the age of 5 years. Nutrition-related factors contributed to about 45% of deaths in children under the age of 5 years. Malnourished children, particularly those with severe acute malnutrition, have a higher risk of death from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. In most countries, a higher proportion of boys are malnourished than girls in the age group of 0-5 years. 

 

Sex differences in nutritional status have been attributed to biological differences in morbidity between boys and girls in early life. In addition, boys grow faster during infancy, resulting in greater energy needs. Use of health care services can contribute to differences in mortality rates between boys and girls. However, most studies find that both girls and boys are equally likely to be taken for care when ill, although a bias is observed in some locations.  In a United Nation’s Children Fund review, a higher proportion of boys were taken to treatment centres for pneumonia in six countries out of 67 with data, whereas in one of those 67 countries. Hospitalizations for pneumonia, diarrhoea and fever were found to be higher in boys than girls, whereas case fatality rates were higher in girls than in boys, perhaps as a result of greater delays in care –seeking or poorer quality of care. Gender-based discrimination in health care affecting girls is reported mainly from South Asia and China, with sporadic reports from Africa and South America. WHO stressed that vaccines are available for some of the most deadly childhood diseases, such as measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, pneumonia to Haemophilus influenza type B and Streptococcus pneumonia and diarrhoea due to rotavirus. Vaccination rates are similar between boys and girls. Use of pneumococcal conjugate and rotavirus vaccines is lagging, especially in middle-income countries without donor support. Vaccination against both these diseases has the potential to substantially reduce deaths of children aged less than 5 years, because pneumonia and diarrhoea are the leading causes of death in this age group.

 

Globally, countries with a low under-5 mortality rate have high male female ratio of 31; 32, partly because congenital diseases predominate when mortality is low. Countries with a high under-5 mortality rate have low male female mortality ratios. Both high under-5 mortality rate and low male female ratios are associated with low socioeconomic status and gender inequality. Progress in reducing the under-5 in the male female since 2000 was accompanied by an increase in the M/F mortality ratio from 1.06 in 2000 to 1.11 in 2017, indicating that the decline in the female under-5 mortality rate was faster than that for males. Reductions in the under-5 mortality rate are accompanied not only by higher M/F ratios but also by reduction in fertility. Smaller families reduce the chances of a couple having a child of any givens sex. In societies with a preference for male children, reductions in the under-5 mortality rate have been accompanied by another type of female disadvantage- that is, a disadvantage in nasality- through selective abortion of female foetuses.  Increases in the M/F sex ratio at birth have been seen in parts of East Asia, South Asia and the South Caucuses. Male female ratios at birth have been seen to be higher if a couple’s previous children have been female; also, multiparous women are more likely to have prenatal knowledge of the sex of their foetus, resulting in sex selection and more male births than in premiparous women.

 

A number of actions can be envisaged to address female disadvantage in populations with an atypically high female under-5 mortality rate, including policies to discourage sex-selective abortions, financial incentives to have female children, and policies that address the marginalized status of women or the provision of social protection in old age. The development of policies that will improve child health morbidity and mortality, and more qualitative research that can reveal the harmful gender norms and expectations that result in discriminatory treatment of boys and girls. Female disadvantage is of widespread concern and must be tackled. In addition, the WHO added that the specific needs of boys should be addressed. ‘’boys experience higher rates of mortality than girls in most of the world, and as the under-5 mortality rate falls globally, the M/F mortality ratio is increasing. In countries that have achieved large reductions in the under-5 mortality rate, additional actions may need to be taken to improve health outcomes for boys, to ensure continued progress towards SDG Target 3.2.

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WeekendLife

The art of mastering instrumentals

12th April 2021
Kagiso "Fella" Kenosi

You will know a tree by its fruits, the same way you will know a music producer by their works.

Top music producers in the country have set themselves apart through the quality music they produce and reap the results of international recognition from as far as the United States of America.

These producers are behind every star performer, listening and analyzing each and every note. When artists perform a vocal swell, rising to an octave that sounds like it’s going to shatter voice box, it’s easy to forget that someone was on the other side of the glass asking questions like, “Can you hit that note every night, or will it hurt too badly? Maybe we should lower the octave to save your voice?”

Producers make hundreds of decisions in each song, not to mention the push and pull relationships they have with talented performers.These relationships can make or break careers. Some of your favorite bands and artists wouldn’t be so memorable without a great producer helping to guide their distinct voices.

Kagiso Kenosi, or better known as Fella in the entertainment industry, is only 31-years old but he has already left his imprint in the music industry. The young chap, originally from Palapye, is not in the industry to add numbers, but to do his magic working behind the scenes producing hit song after hit song.

When most producers went to school to produce the hits that we hear today, Fella’s foundation and passion for producing came from being active in church.

“I grew up in a catholic orientated family where music is the essence of our religion. The love for music in its entirety emerged from enjoying singing at church and blossomed over the years as I grew up, being exposed to the internet and software’s such as fruity loops.”

Fella says he then learnt how to make beats and proceeded with vocal processing so besides the love for music, he had an amazing group of people who helped him reach his life dream; being the best in music production. The sky was the limit for Fella.

Unfortunately for so many music producers locally, this kind of hustle is basically about being famous. Some of them bite off more than they can chew just for a quick buck that doesn’t even go a long away for them. At the end of it all, these fly by night prima-donnas end up cutting corners and producing subpar records which eventually leads to a premature death for their careers.

Fella’s advice is that fellow colleagues should be patient and continue learning the craft, even if it means taking online tutorials. “Even though I’m still learning too, for I believe music is a fast infinite universe where no one can never say they know it all, I think believing in what one does, the level of creativity and being able to stand alone can do magic.

We living in an era where people go through a lot, so it is imperative for a music producer to be able to relate to those kind of situations. This takes only the right instrumentals, which will compliment emotions of an artist.”

The most asked question outside the music industry is; who chooses the instruments for a song, is it the artist or the producer? Fella gave his take;

“I make instrumentals and keep them until an artist comes to work on a song. That’s when I advise on whether I think the concept they chose goes hand in hand with the instrumentals. We will then look for a more appropriate song.

In some cases, artists can come and we record vocals without an instrumental and then get to make a beat on top of the recorded vocal which in that case guides me to make a relevant instrumental,” he said in an exclusive interview with WeekendLife on Wednesday.

Digging more into finding the difference between a producer and an engineer, Fella clarified that there is not much difference. There is actually a thin line between the two even though an engineer does more than a producer when dishing out a song.

“We use the word production to credit people who only make beats. Engineers are people who record vocals, clean them, do the mixing and master the song preparing the record for radio. I must say an engineer, does the critical components of a song.”

As young as he is, Fella has been through thick and thin with young artists. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions, because, frankly some of these fledging artists are way too complicated to work with. Fella admits that he too has flaws but c’est la vie, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

“It’s always a blessing and quite exciting because these different people of different energies and mind-sets and creativity will humble you. It’s a chastening experience and also accords me with experience to manoeuvre and adjust to people with different characters.

So truly, it has helped me grow as a person, and a producer.”

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WeekendLife

BOMU spruce up dirty laundry

30th March 2021
BOMU awards

Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is known for its bad reputation that has been getting worse over the years. There has been a lot of chinwag, squabbles and the organization literally lost touch. It has gotten so bad that stakeholders pulled out, and members were left with no choice but to face the music alone.

Just when you’d think the waters are calm, the new Executive Committee awarded a fledgling company, Total Music Group, to handle the 2021 music awards. This move was seen as a biased decision that got BOMU members bent out of shape.

However, BOMU Secretary General, Rasina Rasina told Weekendlife that the Executive Committee that it has many irons in the fire. He indeed admitted without reluctance that, BOMU has been clouded by hubbub.

“We pledged when the new administration took over that it would begin with cleaning our own house. We have built structures as we had promised and we are glad that they are fully functional. One of those is the disciplinary committee.”

“BOMU has for a long time appeared to be lacking discipline and proper laid down procedures. This has led to the organization losing out big in its endeavour to serve its members and the entire music fraternity. The National Executive Committee, chapter committees and sub-committees have committed to ensuring that non proper governance and accountability shall take centre stage and this is all that is happening,” Rasina told Weekendlife on Tuesday.

Rebuilding and rebranding a disintegrated intuition such as BOMU is not just a walk in the park, it needs concerted efforts and team work to actually reach that goal. A stitch in time saves nine, but as for BOMU, the entire union failed to address its dares a long time ago, but the union says everything is on track in recuperating public trust and fixing the mess created then.

BOMU Research and Policy Committee is hard finalizing a new code of conduct which will contribute significantly to how members and leadership conduct themselves and relate with each other for the furtherance of BOMU’s mandate, Weekendlife has been reliably informed.

“We are doing everything according to our constitution, logic and reason. We advise our members that they should point out where the constitution has been breached and that they are at liberty to follow due process and report any misconduct to the disciplinary committee,” said Rasina.

This is following the suspension of some executive committee members and BOMU subscribed members for questioning the integrity in awarding the music awards tender. Some members, told Weekendlife that they will seek legal advice on the matter.

“We do have members who have already appeared before the disciplinary committee on various charges and decisions are yet to be taken. We also have members who are yet to appear before the committee for various complaints levelled against them. Current suspensions are related to various complaints and offences.”

With regard to appointing Total Music Group, BOMU National Executive Committee says it used Article 9.3.19 of its constitution. The article says; “The National Executive Committee of BOMU shall have the authority to enter into legally binding contracts on behalf of the Union.’’

Rasina says the leadership needed a company to manage, host and sell the BOMU awards for five years consecutively so as to attain stability and refurbish the brand image of both the music awards and the organization. “Without any money at our disposal, we debated on the best model and agreed that we should engage a company that also has the capacity to mobilize resources. We used our discretion and decided on a direct appointment model which is perfectly legal and constitutional.”

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WeekendLife

SENEO PERRY: Beauty with a purpose

24th March 2021
Seneo Perry

To a stranger, Seneo Perry would describe herself as a young darling zealous about wildlife conservation, international travel and tourism enthusiast.

She is also a staunch believer in empowering young children through educational programs that could expose them to live improved livelihoods.

Perry is a former beauty queen (Miss Earth Botswana 2020). For her, a beauty queen should get down and put in some work, get dirt and make an impact. Of course a picture paints a thousand words, and judging from her successful projects, she lives the talk.

During her reign, Perry adopted the SOS Children’s Village. This is a home for 92 orphaned and less privileged children. She introduced few projects to aid the running of the children village, at the same time sourcing sponsors. She named one of her projects ‘Restoring the Prime Colors of the Earth.’

Restoring The Prime Colors of the Earth was founded on the basis of teaching children about the importance of conservation and environmental protection through tree planting and vegetable gardens.

The project, she told Weekendlife this week, gained local and international recognition, particularly from tourism magazines.

COVID-19 came over and messed up her strategies for the year. Perry however did not cry over spilt milk instead she was smart enough to divert into other streams of raising funds to execute her obligations.

Perry did not put all of her eggs in one basket by doing something that could make her get infected, but rather sold t-shirts that would double as a promotion strategy dubbed #PeopleWildlifeEnvironment. To this date, she raised over P7000.

“I love being out in the wild and promoting sustainable tourism. I would then pick the best 10 children that worked very hard at the project I have with them and introduce them to the wild with the money I raised,” she said in an exclusive interview.

“The idea is to stick to making the trip for the children educational especially on the aspect of conservation because realistically speaking tourism is the backbone of conservation.

I want them to have first-hand experience with the African elephant and visit the Elephant Havens Wildlife Foundation in Maun. Unfortunately due to floods in Moremi Game Reserve, the plan of a game drive has been aborted.”

Initially, Perry says she wanted the children to have been those from the SOS Children’s Village. She had to put them on ice due to insufficient funds to transport them to Maun. This however did not dishearten Perry, instead she located Bana Ba Letsatsi (in Maun) to embark on this journey.

She told Weekendlife that the trip will be undertaken today (Saturday 20th March 2021).“Tourism has always been the backbone of conservation and it needs to be protected. Therefore, it is imperative to introduce children to wild spaces so they get to appreciate the ecosystem in the wild.

These young children will be leaders and decision makers in the near future. Decisions made will either cause a catastrophe to the wild or help it recover to a point wherein both humans and animals co-exist.

Seneo Perry is an environmentalist equipped with a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University and Miss Earth Botswana 2019 finalist. She was crowned Queen in 2020.

She is also a member of Kalahari Conservation Society, a conservation society which is instrumental in environmental initiatives and activities that concern the environment.

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