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Being a mother…what it really takes!

DR BOIMA

HEALTH ISSUES

 

This Sunday we will all be chanting “happy mother’s day” phrase. It is a widely celebrated day where mothers get showered with gifts and words of appreciation but do we ever pause, look at it on a much deeper level and try to understand what it really means to be a mother?

 I am not yet a mother but I deal with potential mothers, new mothers, women who desperately want to be mothers and women who die trying to become mothers on a daily basis to know! While many know a mother as a person who is everything to everyone in the house;

a planner, a cook, a driver, a counselor, a doctor, a companion and the list goes on; the image of a mother that is stuck in my mind is that of a woman who enters the consultation room barely able to walk with visibly swollen legs, and almost out of breath while trying to find a comfortable position in her seat; that woman with clenched teeth and a hand rolled into a fist in the delivery room who is determined to finish what she started; that woman pouring buckets of blood in the operating theatre in a bid to bring a healthy baby into this world, and still managing a “where is my baby” after anesthesia wears off despite the pain that she is in. Now this is the mother that my profession has accustomed me to. Before then I would never have known!

Pregnancy

While it takes both the mother and the father to contribute towards conception of the baby, it is the woman who actually carries the unborn baby for nine full months before she eventually delivers it.  There is no doubt that pregnancy is a blessing, but with that blessing comes a few woes. Pregnancy can be tough on both the body and mind and this is the time when the woman needs utmost support especially that of her partner.


Morning Sickness – Ask any mother hunched over the toilet or diligently sipping on warm water and sniffing on ginger if she is excited about the pregnancy and she will most likely tell you yes, she cannot wait for the baby, but she did not really plan for THIS! Morning sickness, which is really all day and even all night sickness, hits about 80% of pregnant women. Expectant women experience morning sickness differently, for some it is on the extreme and requires medications and even recurrent hospitalization to control.

 

They will vomit just about anything and everything that does not only come through their mouth but pass by their noses too. Some women find it hard to even stomach the taste of toothpaste and you can imagine this having to be a daily (twice daily) torture. These symptoms are usually the first clue to a newly pregnant woman that making a baby is not all fun and games.


Weight changes -The biggest dreaded pregnancy woe for many women is weight gain. Many women feel pregnancy would be a lot less painful if there weren’t “recommended” amounts of weight gain. Some women feel stressed because they lose weight in the first trimester thanks to severe morning sickness. Others gain “too much” weight initially as they eat to quell that same nausea and from the non-ending cravings.  So it is a vicious cycle honestly.


Sleeping woes – Peaceful sleep is a luxury during pregnancy. First one has to use the bathroom more often around the clock. That means making frequent night trips. Also finding the most comfortable position is almost a nightmare as the belly grows; it is frankly uncomfortable to lie on your side without the right kind of support.


Body pains – As pregnancy progresses, the body is undergoing significant changes. For one thing, the uterus will ultimately grow to about 1,000 times its normal size! As a result of these changes, many women experience discomfort. Round ligament pain, is particularly the common pain that troubles most women during pregnancy. It can be a general ache in one’s joints and abdomen (sharp in nature). Carrying extra kilograms can put stress on one’s back muscles too.


Constipation and haemorrhoids – hormonal changes during pregnancy and iron supplements can slow down the digestion and cause constipation in pregnant women. Plus, near the end of pregnancy the pressure that the uterus exerts on the rectum can add to the problem. The constant constipation as well as the pressure of the uterus on the veins can cause haemorrhoids hence why this is common during pregnancy.


Oedema – having a puffy face, big nose, swelling on the hands, legs, ankles, and feet is quite normal in pregnancy. It is caused by the extra fluid that develops in one’s body during  pregnancy. This swelling tends to be worst in the third trimester. This can cause quite a cosmetic discomfort for many women and even disfigure them. Others – Heartburn, recurrent vaginal yeast infections, recurrent urinary tract infections are just some of the conditions that are synonymous with pregnancy that one has to deal with.

Child birth

To save time we will only discuss normal childbirth and spare the complications for another day. Labour Pain –labour pain has been described as the worst pain ever to be experienced by a human being. It has been likened to fracturing 20 bones at the same time. Let’s just say, while this analogy is a myth, labour is painful but we just cannot measure how painful it is! The amount of pain the woman feels at childbirth is a completely individual experience. Some women vow never to allow themselves to go through that again while some even enjoy the experience (with adequate analgesia though). Having a partner in the delivery room is one of the favours that men can do for their women as this has been proved to reduce labour pain significantly.


Bleeding – there is significant amounts of blood lost during and even after childbirth (both vaginal and Caesarean-Section). If this is not controlled enough, it can even claim the life of the birthing mother. Infections – let us face it, a lot happens around the time of delivery; with lots of poking, pricking, cuttings, suturing etc. exposing the mother to lots of infections. As with bleeding, if this is not adequately managed, it has a potential to kill.


Death – Maternal death is nothing new especially in our country. This is an unfortunate time that anyone can ever die.  Unfortunately there are couples that have gone into the delivery room with only one thing in mind – ‘bringing a new life into this world’, only to lose life in there. No woman should die while giving birth, but unfortunately this is just how much risk women get exposed to during both pregnancy and childbirth compared to their male counterparts. A lot of lives have been lost during something that is supposed to be as natural as giving birth.


That is why I am saying it takes a lot to be a mother. Lives are getting sacrificed every day to be a mother. Lives have been lost to be a mother. This is a fact that we cannot run away from. Mothers are amazing beings! Even more amazing are those single mothers that had to deal with the ordeal of an absent partner who immediately disappeared the moment he learnt about  the pregnancy and they were forced to go through it all alone, and raise the kids without a  tinge of support (financial, physical or emotional) from the partner.

Happy mother’s day to all!

For comments or questions please email agboima@yahoo.com

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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