Nurses Strike: Is health care at the primary level in Kenya collapsing?

Health services in Kenya’s public health facilities remain paralyzed that is now entering into its 100th day due to the ongoing nurse strike.

The nurses have paralyzed health services demanding the full implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

26,000-member union has issued a peaceful demonstration notice beginning Monday ‘until the solutions to the CBA dispute is found or the strike is called of’ according to Seth Panyako, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN).

According to the CBA, the union wants the least pay for a nurse to be KSh52, 000, up from KSh38,000 while the highest paid will receive KSh130,000 from KSh70, 000.

In contrast, the union’s National Chairman of the union John Bii however, has been reported to state that the strike is illegal citing that the nurses have to go back to the negotiating table before eventually signing the CBA.

“It is not in dispute that nurses in the public sector were awarded nursing service allowance of KSh20,000 last year during the negotiated return-to-work formula, which was paid in January and February in most counties and national facilities. This was, however, stopped after the nurses, through the Secretary-General demanded health service allowance, which was the preserve of other health care cadres.”

Further, the Council of Governors has termed the ongoing nurses’ strike illegal as the right procedure was not followed for industrial action as stipulated in law.

According to the Council of Governors, the financial implications of the current draft CBA stands at KSh40 billion over a period of four years which translates to KSh10 billion annually which they term as unsustainable.

In the current financial year, the County Governments have made increments of KSh3.4 billion to nurses to be paid every financial year.

As a result, both governments, national and county have urged them to take the offer and resume work to avoid disciplinary action.

President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of a cancer treatment center at the Kenyatta National Hospital  asked the nurses to go to work. “He said public servants should know that they work for the public and should not disrupt services that benefit citizens,” according to the PSCU statement.

Besides, nurses have remained steadfast. All they seek is  better public health care for the public.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses called the strike on June 5 and efforts by the Council of Governors and the government to resolve the impasse have hit a dead end.

Read More @ Soko Directory


9 SHOCKING Facts About Your Period We Betcha Didn’t Know


Think you know your body? Think again.

As women, periods are something we deal with every month. However, like sex, we still giggle/cringe/shy away from the idea of talking about them openly. And oftentimes, we can’t even call it for what it is. It’s surfing the crimson wave. Being on the rag. A visit from Aunt Flo. Mother Nature’s monthly gift. Or Shark Week (no, not that one).

Researchers discovered that being on your period actually makes you stupid. Say what? Pyschologists at the University Of Bath asked 52 adult women to complete a series of computer-based tasks—with cramps AND without them. The results? The experiment concluded that period pain reduces your cognitive function and attention span, making you perform worse on tests! (I guess that explains why I flunked so many math exams in college—it was all just bad timing!)

Anyway, given the fact that there still seems to be so much we don’t know about menstruation (and that we’re too uncomfortable as a culture to talk about it), we thought we would dispel the mystery around our time of the month with these little-known facts:

1. Biologically speaking, men are LESS attracted to you on your period.

Sorry to break it to you, but it’s not their fault! Studies have shown that a man’s testosterone levels are influenced by a woman’s scent, particularly when she is ovulating (that is, when she’s at her peak of fertility). Scientists Saul Miller and Jon Maner from Florida State University put this theory to the test. They asked male volunteers to sniff-test T-shirts worn by women in various stages of their menstrual cycles. The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that when men smelled T-shirts worn by women who were ovulating, their testosterone levels raised significantly compared to T-shirts by non-ovulating women. When asked, the men also remarked that T-shirts worn by ovulating women smelled sweeter. What does this mean? It means to book date night before or after Aunt Flo’s monthly visit … but maybe not during.

2. Your period makes you friskier than usual.

Progesterone—the hormone believed by scientists to lower your libido—is at its lowest during your time of the month. So while your first instinct might be to climb into your old college sweatpants, science actually suggests that feeling the urge to “slip into something more comfortable” (ahem, if you catch our drift) is not so strange at all.

3. Your period turns you into a shopoholic.

Credit card bills piling up suspiciously at the same time every month? Blame your ovaries. Women are more likely to splurge on a shopping spree 10 days before their periods begin. Professor Pine from the University of Hertfordshire surveyed nearly 500 women about their spending habits in correlation with their menstrual cycles. Almost two-thirds of the women studied who were in the later stages of their menstrual cycle admitted they had bought something on an impulse. The professor’s explanation? Retail therapy. Women go shopping to help deal with their PMS.

4. Your period, obviously, requires A LOT of tampons.

We each have our own preference when it comes to products, but about 70 percent of all American women use tampons. It’s estimated that on average, a woman will use more than 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. (Just think of how much money that adds up to in disposable cotton?!)

5. Disney even made a movie about periods.

Hmm, I don’t seem to recall this one. Back in 1946, Walt Disney released a 10-minute educational film called The Story Of Menstruation. It’s also believed by some to be the first use of the word “vagina” on film. Not exactly family friendly, huh? (Have we ruined your childhood yet?)

6. Your affects the way your voice sounds.

This proves that your man is listening to you. In a study published in the journal Ethology, psychologists asked three groups of guys to listen to the voice recordings of women who counted from one to five—at four different points over their menstrual cycle. The men were then asked to guess which recordings were made while the women were on their period. After examining their answers, researchers Nathan Pipitone at Adams State College and Gordon Gallup from SUNY-Albany, found that the men were correct a significant amount of the time. “Vocal production is closely tied to our biology,” Pipitone said. “Cells from the larynx and vagina are very similar and show similar hormone receptors.”

7. A Harvard professor warned girls that their periods could be disrupted by college education.

Apparently, people once believed that earning your degree would cause permanent damage to your reproductive organs. In the early 20th century, Dr. Edward H. Clarke of Harvard Medical School wrote a book called Sex In Education. In it, he suggested that “higher education would cause a woman’s uterus to atrophy.” In other words, he was asserting that if a young woman attended college, all the blood in her body would be diverted from her uterus to stimulate her brain. Sounds like this guy slept through a med lecture or two (or seven) himself.

8. People in The Middle Ages believed periods caused red hair.

Yep, people really did accept this as true. Redheads were thought to have been born if a woman was menstruating at the time of conception. Oh, history.

9. Periods can make you bleed from OTHER parts of your body—not just your uterus.

This idea is a little scary. The medical condition “vicarious menstruation” originally surfaced around the 1800s and referred to bleeding from a surface other than the mucous membrane of the uterine cavity that occurs at the time when normal menstruation should take place. Women have reported bleeding from their eyes, ears, mouths, lungs, noses and even skin.

Source: Your Tango

5 Tips on Learning to Write When You’ve Lost Your Mojo

learning to write

Have you ever lost the motivation to write?

You know what that feels like—projects wait to get started, they stall, or they go unfinished.

Your head is filled with a fog, instead of the lightness of inspired ideas.

I’ve been there.

At times, I feel excited and in the flow — fingers dancing over the keyboard. At others, sitting down to write is heavy and challenging.

But losing your motivation doesn’t mean you have to lose heart.

Losing our motivation is part of the larger creative process. We wouldn’t have the bursts of inspiration and productivity without the difficult creative dips.

When we lose our creative steam, not only does our writing come to a crawl, but we also start feeling low about ourselves.

For example, when you aren’t writing, the feeling that you should be working nags at the back of your mind. This tension creates further stagnation and deepens the creative funk.

This can be particularly hard when you have a deadline, a goal, or a practice you are trying to maintain. In these situations, wouldn’t it be great to keep learning to write, even minus the motivation muscle?

Here are five tips to help you take charge of your writing till you get your motivation back.

These strategies will recharge your creative batteries and help you jump back into the work you were initially excited to do.

#1. Honor the Rest Period

It is important to trust that low motivation comes as part of a cycle. When experiencing this part of the cycle, you feel unmotivated, uncomfortable, unsure, and uninspired.

When you experience another part of the cycle, you feel highly motivated, driven to do the work, and ready to dive into your creative project with ease and enthusiasm.

It is easy to honor the high motivation times. You do so by creating with productivity and energy.

Similarly, you must honor the low motivation times by taking a step back from your work and holding the perspective that you are still experiencing part of the creative process.

In such times, take care of yourself. Find a self-care practice that is relaxing, recharging and nourishing for your body and spirit.

This sets the foundation for your creativity to shine forth.

#2. Approach Your Writing from a Fresh Angle

Resting doesn’t mean you need to completely stop what you hope to accomplish, but it can mean approaching your work from a different angle.

To get the creativity flowing again, instead of writing, create a playlist of songs to help you set the scene or inspire your work. Doodle, outline or brainstorm. Move away from the computer and into a journal.

Keep flexing your creative muscles, and soon they will be revved up enough to let you get back to your project.

#3. Talk About Your Work

A sure way to build motivation is to talk about your project with others.

There are times when it feels premature to do so, or you might not be ready to share. That is perfectly okay.

Instead, ask questions about the ideas and themes that form the undercurrent to your writing. Voice the themes you are curious about. Ask others what they are reading or writing in the genre you are interested in.

Gather the “aha’s!” and moments of clarity you get from your discussions. Write them down.

When you talk about your ideas and work with people, you fuel the creative fire through new ideas and insights.

You may even breathe new life into your craft.

#4. Recommit

To find true motivation, you must recommit to your project. Otherwise your writing will sit there, gather dust, and almost certainly remain unfinished.

Start by grabbing a journal. Do some casual writing about what got you excited in the first place.

Allow yourself to write about the struggles you are experiencing, or the blocks you are facing. Write about how feeling unmotivated feels in your body.

Journal what you are excited about, the internal and external motivators that are already in you, but might just be dormant right now.

Draw a line in the sand and commit to doing the work.

Create a plan, and follow through. Schedule the time. Create a to-do list with actionable and manageable tasks.

Dive in.

#5. Read What You Have Written

This is a simple but powerful exercise. After a relatively long period of feeling unmotivated, you can lose touch with what you have already written, and where you wish it to go.

Spend some time revisiting your work. No pressure to write at this point, just read. It will help recalibrate your brain to start thinking about your writing in new and tangible ways.

Things that felt hard to untangle before often become clear with rested eyes. You start seeing your work with a fresh perspective, and can find new angles to start again.

Writing can be hard work. It is even harder when we are not feeing inspired or motivated.

We must allow the unmotivated times to be a space where we flush out our ideas, recommit to our work, and recharge.

Trust the process and know that when you feel in a rut, feeling creatively alive is just around the corner.

What has helped you feel motivated and inspired? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Source: Write 2 Done

These are Africa’s most powerful passports

This article is part of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017.

Visa-free travel is something many of us take for granted in today’s increasingly interconnected world. But for many Africans this modern luxury is much more of a lottery, with citizens of some African countries enjoying similar travel rights to Europeans, while others fare little better than residents of war-torn Syria.

Citizens of the Seychelles have the most travel freedom among Africans, with visa-free access to 137 countries, according to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2017, which ranks each country and territory in the world by the number of countries that their citizens can travel to visa-free.

Image: Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2017

The archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean offers visa-free access to those visiting for tourism or business. In return its own passport-holders have a level of visa-free access close to that enjoyed by citizens of the EU nations of Croatia and Romania.

Similarly, citizens from the tourism hot-spot of Mauritius have a high level of travel freedom, with visa-free access to 131 countries.

This is ahead of many Caribbean islands, Latin American countries and non-EU European nations like Serbia and Moldova.

South Africans have visa-free access to 98 countries, but the continent’s biggest economy has slipped down the ranking. Between 2007 and 2009 South Africa was consistently the best-placed African nation, before being overtaken by the Seychelles and Mauritius in 2010.

Ghana took the biggest tumble in this year’s rankings, losing visa-free access to four countries between 2016 and 2017, down to 59 countries from 63 last year.

Image: Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2017

However, citizens of the West African nation, which is ranked joint 12th in the region, are still faring well compared with passport holders from Zimbabwe, in 30th place.

Out of the African nations, Kenya made the most progress in this year’s index, securing visa-free access to a further two countries during 2016.

Africa’s least powerful passports

Citizens of a handful of African countries need visas to cross most borders. The lowest-ranked African country, in 100th place, is Somalia, just ahead of Syria. Somalis can only travel to 30 countries without visa restrictions, while Syrians can visit 29.

And while Nigeria continues to vie with South Africa for the title of Africa’s largest economy, its citizens can currently travel visa-free to fewer than half of the number of nations that South African passport-holders can.

John McKenna is a senior writer at Formative Content.

Source: How We Made It In Africa

The Lost City of Gedi by @Owaah

“A leading theory is that the people of Gedi fled because of receding water levels in their wells. All the wells in the ruins seem to have been deepened over time. Lack of drinkable water would be enough of a motivation to abandon a city, especially one with in-house toilets. Another less plausible theory is that it was the Black Plague in some form. But epidemics are merciless assassins, and the people would have been too frightened to have time to bury their dead. Perhaps there are mass graves lying somewhere within the forest around it. At least one excavation found a mass grave with infant remains, but that’s just about it.”

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