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Daily Nation : February 4th 2014
4 IN THE NEWS Painkillers may help spread flu TAKING DRUGS like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen when you have the flu reduces fever and eases aches, but it may have unintended consequences. A new study using mathematical projections has concluded that using anti-fever drugs increases flu spread, both by raising the amount of flu virus shed and increasing interaction between flu sufferers and uninfected people. Fever fights viruses by reducing their ability to reproduce. Reducing fever defeats this effect, increasing the rate and duration of viral shedding. “We’re not saying to avoid these drugs,” said the senior author, David J D Earn, a professor of mathematics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “But if you take them, there’s this effect that’s not obvious.” The authors of the study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, acknowledge that their numbers are not precise. But they calculate that at least 700 deaths and many more serious illnesses could be avoided annually by not using these drugs at all. “The real message is straightforward,” Earn said. “It’s better to stay home, and keep your child at home, so you don’t infect others.” Time for a new coat, dear Doc? NEW RECOMMENDATIONS on what health care workers should wear might mean an end to the doctor’s white coat. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, a professional group whose mission is to prevent and control infections in the medical workplace, has issued guidance on what health care workers should wear outside of the operating room. The paper, in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, suggests that to minimise infection risk, hospitals might want to adopt a “bare below the elbows” policy that includes short sleeves and no watches, jewellery or neckties during contact with patients. The authors also recommend that if the use of coats is not abandoned, each doctor should have at least two, worn alternately and laundered frequently. And if they wear the coat at other times, they should be encouraged to remove it before approaching patients. The authors emphasise that the recommendations are based more on the biological plausibility of transmitting infection through clothing than on strong scientific evidence, which is limited. The lead author, Dr Gonzalo Bearman, said that hand washing, bathing patients with antibacterial soap, and checklists for inserting intravenous lines are all proven to reduce infection. “Apparel should come next in level of concern,” he said. “The more patients are aware that apparel may impact hospital infections, the more doctors will consider how clean they are.” (NYT) CLAYCOURT MUCH A TWITTER ABOUT ALCOBLOW Kenyans sure dislike those who come between them and their bottles and can sell their livers and other body parts just for a crate for the road. That is why some residents of Nairobi are livid at the authorities, who have introduced whats-its-name-blow and hindered their movement to areas from where their vehicles used to drive themselves because, as they say in drunken drawls, the vehicle knows the way home. These are the same ladies and gentlemen who never hesitate to lay blame on the authorities when road accidents happen due to careless or drink-driving. They are the same people who are ranting and raving about efforts to discourage drunk drivers from the city’s roads. These are the same people who go atwitter about ‘best practises’ in other countries and call on the authorities to implement such measures locally. It seems the introduction of this whats-its-name-blow is taking different tweets and turns, and Nairobians who consume alcoholic beverages and then drive themselves should raise a collective toast to this gadget. DAILY NATION Tuesday February 4, 2014 TALK OF E-QUAIL-ISATION! Quails and their eggs are causing so much heartache — and excitement, I should add — because their prices have reduced drastically. Of course, those who rear them have suffered economic losses, but considering that they were overpriced (not expensive), the breeders are better off even when they sell them at a shilling for a crate. At that rate, those who swear by quails and their eggs and scream about how they have helped them overcome obstacles like traffic gridlocks will continue consuming them, and those who had been locked out because of the high prices will start on them. It is twisted logic, but at low prices, the demand will definitely increase to such levels that it will not be met. So, have faith quail breeder, the future is bright! But if quails and their eggs can cure all the real and imagined ailments as Kenyans are being lied to, residents of Nyanza and Western Kenya, where quails are plenty and are eaten morning, noon and night, and where a dozen birds cost less than an egg costs in Nairobi, would live forever! The case for mother tongue instruction in primary school CLAYCOURT clay muganda We are fast losing the ability to talk in our native tongues, and maybe, just maybe, the recent directive for teachers to instruct lower primary classes in mother tongue will remedy this F or a nation that has got used to only the bad news about Nairobi’s drunk drivers and the falling prices or shortages of quail eggs, this was good news. Just to prove that it was indeed good news that could change the fortunes of many school-going children — and increase the number of parents who dance themselves lame on national television when national examination results are released — the teachers’ unions reacted to it within no time. This was not the type of news that gets the cliché “mixed reactions from Kenyans of all walks of life”, with condemnations and praises in unequal measure; it was the type that was outrightly rejected — and that is where lies the twisted logic. But why would the teachers’ unions condemn such a noble policy statement, an idea whose time has come and passed and come back again — an idea which is the best since the controversy-riddled standard gauge railway? Why would they be against such an important proposal which will increase physical fitness levels among parents and improve their singing skills because of dancing themselves silly and babbling about god as their children talk about aeronautical engineering on national television? The news that indigenous languages should be taught in school is good. For one Kenyan minute, union officials were not giving a strike notice, the only thing they talk about when they espy television cameras and microphones. They are parents too, you know, and they were inadvertently admitting that this policy is the best thing that happened since the celebrations of Kenya@50. Their reaction was just but a clever way of giving it currency, a means of keeping it in the public mind since Kenyans tend to forget good news because they are only used to bad news. Have you ever wondered why other countries prosper while Kenya struggles to keep up? Do you ever ask yourself why the number of Kenyans seeking to go and study abroad is higher than the number of foreign students who enrol in local educational institutions? The answer lies in language. Indigenous languages, to be precise, since those countries embraced their local languages long ago and subsequently their levels of education, industrialisation and other sectors of their economies have improved. The number of tourists visiting those countries improves every month, and in essence they have managed to attract foreign direct investment, which has improved their hospitality industry to such high levels As it were, parents are so busy that they do not have time to teach the young ones indigenous languages, thus this is such a brilliant idea! that Kenya, with its dwindling population of wild animals, cannot attain. Their public institutions, governance and agricultural practices are top-notch, so much so that Kenya’s county governments are trooping there to learn new tricks... all because these countries embraced their local languages. Of course it has been said in some quarters that use of local languages reduces chances of Kenya becoming one united state, but that argument is the reason education standards are poor; it is the reason many parents are not getting chances to showcase their dancing skills on national TV; it is the reason the number of children who drop out of school or fail to graduate to upper classes is on the increase. Some people might fault the teachers’ unions for speaking against this proposal, but as it has come to light, they are cleverly supporting it. Oh, these union officials! Smart blokes, they are! They know that the only way to get authorities to implement anything is by them going against it because, in Kenya, unions and the government were forever meant to be at loggerheads and it would be unconstitutional for them to agree, so they express their displeasure and... voila! Mission accomplished. As it were, parents are so busy working their body parts off to afford school fees for their children — who are getting free education — and they do not have time to teach the young ones indigenous languages, thus it is such a godsend, a brilliant idea that children will now be instructed in local languages in schools. Oh, Kenya is destined for greatest glory. The rate of economic growth will increase as will living standards; quality of life will even be better because the cost of living will come down drastically and the overall health of the nation, which is currently a challenge, will be better. In a sentence, indigenous languages in public schools, some of which are in cosmopolitan areas, is the only way to unite this Tower of Babel of a country, where leaders and the public alike cannot agree on anything... even when speaking the national language.
February 3rd 2014
February 5th 2014