GLOBAL CRISIS:THE MICRONUTRIENT DEFICIENCY

As African countries transition from low income economies into middle income ones there has been a rise in the number  of health challenges these economies are facing. Increasingly we are seeing a rising number of individuals with non communicable lifestyle conditions like heart attacks,cancer,diabetes and other respiratory diseases like asthma on the rise.

Individuals living in urban and peri urban areas are at risk as we have seen the mushrooming of convenience fast food stores that are selling energy dense foods high in trans fats,sugar ,salt and low density lipoproteins which contribute to high cholesterol levels .

These change in eating habits is not just an African problem but it is a global epidemic and health analysts are warning of an epidemic if we do not change our eating habits.The rise in the consumption of energy rich,protein dense foods in lieu of nutrient rich foods has affected about 2 Billion people globally who are affected by micronutrient deficiency.

WHO defines micronutrients as the “magic wands” that enable the body to produce enzymes,hormones and other substances that are essential for proper growth and development.

While emphasis has been placed on overnutrition and issues like obesity and the dangers of being  overweight have been discussed extensively ,deficiencies in micronutrients have not because very few people understand them.This lack of information on the health risks associated with micronutrients has fuelled a narrative where we have focused more on maintaining healthy weight while losing focus on emphasising the need for a more informed approach to the health challenges we are facing.

The lack of micronutrients especially among growing children,pregnant and lactating mothers and the elderly has been associated with risks such as lack of resistance to infectious diseases,blindness,lethargy,reduced learning abilities,death during childbirth,and impaired physical and mental development in children.

The WHO classifies Vitamin A ,,Iodine and iron as the most important in term sof global public health  and their deficiencies can cripple the affected populations.

Let us try to go through what the lack of these micronutrients results in and in our next article we will tackle how to ensure elimination of these deficiencies.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a starring role in vision,bone growth,reproduction,cell division and differentiation and in growing children and pregnant women these processes are essential for proper growth and development in children and healthy pregnancy outcomes in childbearing women.

Vitamin A also plays a very important role in the promotion of a healthy mucous lining of the respiratory,urinary and intestinal tracts which make it hard for bacteria to enter the body and cause infections.

Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and due to a weakened immune system as the body is more prone to infection individuals are more at risk of disease and even death from severe infections.

 

Iodine

Iodine is needed by the human body for the production of the thyroid hormone ,the body needs the hormone to aid it in metabolism.

Iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers has been associated with miscarriages,preterm deliveries and congenital abnormalities in babies.

In children iodine deficiencies is associated with cretinism which is exhibited by children having stunted physical and mental growth .

The most common symptom of iodine deficiency in the body is a swelling at the front of the neck which we know as goitre that results from the overexertion of the thyroid gland.

 

Iron

Your whole body contains about 4 g of iron .Iron is an important micronutrient and its role is in the body processes that involve energy release .Iron is a component of the oxygen carrying blood compounds like haemoglobin which is found in the red blood cells and myoglobin which is found in muscle tissue.

In a World Health Organization report titled The Global Prevalence of Anaemia 2011,it was found lack of dietary iron which results in anemia was prevalent across all sectors of the global economy from low to middle to high income countries.

 

“Anemia, defined as a low blood hemoglobin concentration, has been shown to be a public health problem that affects low-, middle- and high-income countries and has significant and adverse health consequences”

Iron deficiency  had adverse effects on the development of cognitive and motor functions and the result is  fatigue,low productivity,in pregnancy it was seen in children born with a low birth weight and was also associated with maternal and perinatal deaths.

 

Zinc

Zinc is involved in over 100 metabolic enzymes and specifically those that are needed for metabolism,cellular division and DNA and RNA synthesis and structure.

Zinc deficiencies are exhibited in a lack of appetite,retarded growth in children,poor bone growth,problems with  male and female reproduction,poor skin,hair ,nails and a poor sense of smell and taste.

 

Micronutrient deficiency has become such a global public health issue that the World Health Organization has endorsed a policy plan which sees to address this issue by 2025.The plan focuses on maternal,infant and young children and it aims to :

 

1.achieve a 40% reduction in the number of children under-5 who are stunted;

2.achieve a 50% reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age;

3.achieve a 30% reduction in low birth weight;

4.ensure that there is no increase in childhood overweight;

5.increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months up to at least 50%;

6.reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.

Individuals raising children or those that want to take active charge of  their health as well as those of their families,staff members need not wait for governments to implement policies that will tackle these micronutrient deficiecnes.By seeking information healthy lifestyle choices and making more well informed food choices  s we can help reduce the risks associated with micronutrient deficiencies.

By tackling micronutrient deficiencies we also help reduce the crippling cost of public health as well as private health insurance costs that have been on the rise annually.

In our next post we will tackle how you can do this through making better and well informed lifestyle choices.

SALE OF MARIDADI BED THROWS

Get our beautiful Ankara Bed Throws and bring character to your space.

Because I am extremely fond of the bright prints of Ankara,a friend and I are making these beautiful throws which are big enough to fit a couple of kids for movie night and are a great way to add character to your rooms.

Get yours today by getting in touch.

Email me at santinanyagah@gmail.com

MARIDADI YOGA AND BRUNCH TOUR KICKS OFF THIS SATURDAY

The Maridadi Yoga Tour  kicks off next Saturday at the Coffee Casa on  3rd Parklands Avenue,Doctor’s Park .

This Yoga + Brunch   event will take place at a different venue each month till the month of November and participants will have a chance of experiencing something different and exciting at each of the participating restaurants/venues as well as enjoy the health  benefits that come with practicing yoga.

Yoga improves your muscles strength,posture,flexibility,respiration and increases your energy levels.Would love to have your company as we kick off this exciting tour.

Pay for your tickets well  in advance as we have limited slots available,just 15 for this month,looking forward to seeing you all on the 16th.

 

Regards,

 

Santina Nyagah Bii

THE POWER OF LOVE AND OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ROYAL WEDDING

 

Image courtesy of the BBC

Unbeknownst to many the British Royal Family is not as stuffy as we would like to think because Queen Victoria who is Prince Harry’s great great great great grandmother had an African god daughter who was Sarah  Forbes Bonetta.

Millions of royal watchers were waiting with bated breath for the 19th of May to watch as Harry and Meghan took their vows , when they did  on what was a glorious bright May Saturday morning,millions were smiling through out the ceremony and the world would not be the same again.

When we though we would not see another earth shifting moment after Barrack Obama became the first African American president of the US,we were here  witnessing a person of color being welcomed into the British Royal family with all the pomp,color,good cheer and pageantry that the Brits are well know for.

Something you may have missed  which for me takes the picture of the day was Prince Charles  ever  the gentleman walking down the 22 steps of St Georges chapel after the wedding with Meghan Merkel’s mother on one arm and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall on the other .

Image courtesy of the BBC

Being a huge fan of the Royal family and having followed them closely over the years , I was quite excited when their nuptials were announced and was looking forward to watching the Royal wedding.Contrary to what we read in the press many people in Britain are in favor of . the monarchy being retained as it is seen as being good for the country

Of all the things that took place on that day , the most  enduring memory of the Royal wedding of the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex  has to be the sermon that was delivered by the Most Reverend Michael Curry of Chicago.His sermon that lasted 13 minutes and 36 seconds minutes was titled the Power of Love and was a based on text  from the Song of Solomon.

This is a sermon that was watched and  discussed by  millions that watched the wedding and  will continue to be a conversation piece in many homes and social places for days to come.

The Reverend Curry  is the first African American Bishop of the American  Episcopal Church and he was presiding over a wedding where the bride boasted of an African heritage ,  getting married into the British Royal Family,something a lot of people alive today  did not expect to see in their life time.

The sermon  delivered to 600 invited guests of the couple in a  packed  1000 year old St Georges chapel at Windsor Castle was also  watched by an estimated 1.9 billion people across the world.And what a timely sermon that was at a time where we are seeing heart breaking events across the world.

A significant thing about this wedding that took place   at the burial place of many British monarchs in a place  steeped in history by an African American clergy man a descendant of slaves  , where  the Kingdom choir, a gospel choir of people of color from South East London  sang a beautiful rendition of Stand by Me  is  that is was  precedent setting.As Reverend Michael Curry quipped,two young people fell in love and we all showed up.People from all walks of life ,varying skin shades   showed up at the chapel or watched the event were aware time had stood still,we were  witnessing the power of love,of what it can do when it brings people together.

We were witnesses to  history being made and the world hopefully will become a better place,a more tolerant place where we all experience the redemptive power of love no matter where we come from or what history we carry.

Love has been likened to an energy like fire and we know that when we harness energy we can use it to move from place to place,change the form of things ,bring warmth,color,give life,love like all forms of energy is powerful and if  harnessed it it can change the world for the good of everyone.

You can watch the whole sermon here.

Also of interest was that the dress Meghan Merkle wore,designed by the first female  Art Director of Givenchy British born  Claire Waight Keller   had a silk tulle veil that was  5 meters long ,embroidered with flowers from each of the 53 commonwealth countries,19 of which are from Africa.

With the royal wedding over and with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex now a couple,I hope we all realize where we are headed to in the world, we are  living in a world where the color of our skin should not define how we treat other people.We can use the power of love ,the redemptive power of love to change the world into a place where the earth can become a sanctuary of God’s love.

 

At Maridadi,we want to send our best wishes to the couple and wish them the best as they start a new life together!

WHY I STARTED DOING YOGA

 

Have you ever lived in denial like I have been doing for the last couple of months?

We all do .At least I know there might be at least one person reading this that will identify with living in denial about some aspect of their life.

For me it is the fact that I need to be taking better care of myself.

Am a fastidious eater and I exercise,though not much  .When I started having stiffness in my joints especially when the cold season started I knew it was time to get out a yoga mat and engage in some exercise that would do my joints some good.

Yoga would also give me some me time,Nairobi is such a fast paced city and one can easily forget to take time out for themselves,which might explain why we are seeing a rise in the number of people having to deal with stress related conditions getting younger by the day.

I have tried yoga before  and I like the fact that it is a low impact work out program that will be easy on my joints because I cannot run !

Yoga  is a great option for me because as I said I cannot run and I did not want a work out program that would hurt my joints .

In the short time I have done the yoga workouts which take me about one and a quarter hour every morning,I have righted my posture,learned to listen to the cues my body is sending me and not push it too much.My knee joints feel much better already and I thought to myself why not organize a fun work out for a Saturday morning then follow it with lunch at a swanky upmarket in Nairobi ?

In the hope that some one else out there might be interested,I have space for just 20 people who would like to enjoy a low impact fun work out with some amazing people.

If you feel some time out for yourself on a Saturday morning feels like fun,then by all means sign up for the event.

Use this Yoga Brunch Sign Up Link.

The details of the cost,venue and date will be communicated.

We hope to have our first class on the 26th of this month at a great outdoor venue.

Sign up and invite a friend.

HYPER-REALISM AT THE DUSITD2

When I walked into the Den at the DusitD2 which is  the new location of the Pop Art Gallery I immediately knew it would be a treat,the exhibition had changed locations and anyone who drives into the cul de sac that is 14 River Side cannot miss it.,it is held every last Saturday of the month from 11am-6pm. During these 7 hours you get to meet some amazing Kenyan artists,see their work and hopefully I hope you can engage them on their work which is something I do every time.

The Den’s over head and natural lighting make it  perfect for displaying  art  work and can accommodate more artists and art work.Immediately I walked in  I was drawn to the far left side of the room by what I thought looked like photos..wait I thought this was  an art exhibition…I would soon be pleasantly surprised when I  met Lee Gitahi a hyper realist.

Lee  Gitahi is a student at Kenyatta University he is exceptionally talented and the art form he has taken, hyper realism is extremely rare in Kenya and only goes to underline his talent.Hyper realism is defined as an art form that mimics high definition photography.

He started out doing pencil work and was really good at it till his lecturer took them out on a trip and challenged him to try painting and see how it would go.He did and 6 months later it is hard to tell that he has not been painting for longer than that.

Hyper realism is extremely painstaking , very detailed , involving and at first Lee faced disbelief when he put out his work ,no one believed that the work was his and not a very good digital copy.I also could not get over the fact that his paintings look surreal,I had to touch them and repeatedly I had to catch myself ,touch my fingers to the painting to confirm that indeed it was an oil painting on canvas.

My favorite work of his which unfortunately was sold already was of this elderly Maasai lady in some really swanky sunglasses.The detail in that work as well in another similar photo of an elderly man in his beaded earrings is simply stunning,he has captured all the lines of age  and the stories their faces tell exceptionally well.

Hyper realists are extremely rare and a piece could take anywhere from 2 or 3 months to complete which makes pieces by artist like Lee carry a high price tag . If you are an art collector ,pieces like these are worth every cent you spend and once you have them up on your wall they will from great conversation pieces at your dinner parties.

 

The mix of artist at the exhibition was eclectic and among them was  Otto Gohole who was exhibiting for the first time , from his work you can see his obsession with the palette knife,lines,structure and vehicles.He was exhibiting for the first time  and is  a student as well  in his second year at the University.He uses a palette knife for all of  his work and I was taken in  by his Beach scene painting that used just blue and red which  I thought was a very clever use of complementary colors.

Otto Gohole’s work

It is interesting to see the revolution taking place in the Kenyan art space and it is quite intriguing as well to see the fascination as well as the increase by artists in not just painting wildlife but in people as well as in life around them.

Lee Gitahi’s detailed work of the elderly Maasai man and woman which I would dare say are exceptional pieces of work I hope will  open doors for artists to see the richness and diversity of our culture and to use them as sources of inspiration for their work.