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Where Art Thou Bus? Point Blank with Asian Weekly 30th June 2017

BRT Courtesy Newsbytes

BRT Courtesy Newsbytes

The world has several transport systems. The earliest known mode of transport to man were the use of horses, carriages and then the motorcar, until the railway line changed the dynamics. When the Wright Brothers were making the airplane, it was thought that is the craziest thing possible. Now we are hopping from continent to continent.

Every country is unique and while a metro is successful for London it may not be for Namibia. The best public transport systems in the world have been known to be in yes London, New York, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Dubai and Zurich. But while their success mostly comes from the subways and railway lines, there is the successful Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) that has made life easier for many cities too. The Bus Rapid Transit System was first used in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974 where it requires the following corridor in order to operate successfully:

  • Be at least 3km length with dedicated lanes
  • Score 4 or more points in dedicated right-of-way element
  • Score 4 or more points in bus way alignment element
  • Score 20 or more points across all five BRT Basics element: these are Dedicated right-of-way, Bus way alignment, Off-board fare collection, Intersection treatments, Platform-level boarding

According to recent research BRT can reduce travel time by millions of hours so instead of us wasting our time at the mercy of the Kenyan Traffic Police, they too will get a relief. In Johannesburg users are saving 13 minutes each way during their daily commutes, so imagine what we could do with that kind of time. It is also an excellent way to keep commuters active, for example according to the World Health Organization adults aged 18-64 should walk at least 150 minutes per week, with this BRT they will have to because of parking the private vehicles at terminals and then heading to the bus station.

Recently the current Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero announced that the BRT System would be built along Mombasa Road, Thika Super Highway, Ngong Road, Jogoo Road and Waiyaki Way. According to the research by the City Council of Nairobi, “about 8000 vehicles are registered by Kenya Revenue Authority each month and 7000 end up in Nairobi. At independence, Kenya had 3000 cars and about 800km of paved roads. In 1974, the country had about 3000 vehicles and 2000km of tarmacked roads compared to today’s 8000km.”

Kenya is on the path for further development, especially so with the phase 1 of the Standard Gauge Railway, which has been completed and successfully launched on 31st May. This mega project is a bigger picture of connecting East African passengers and cargo. The single-track line between Mombasa and Nairobi has been dubbed Madaraka Express and will pass through 40 stations. Kenya is definitely a growing economy and transportation of goods via the road network cannot be the only option to be relied upon. Thus, the SGR will make the bigger difference. The matatus and coach buses probably fear losing business in the entirety with all this development. But then again they have been a menace to the roads, with their reckless driving and rash behavior, maybe their time is over. There is no need for useless road rage that is converting regular drivers of saloon cars to join this rough gang of unruly drivers. We can be civil drivers, passengers and commuters. Also anyway most countries have multiple modes of transportation for various requirements, ultimately price and service will have to be king. The only discouraging thing is that usually Kenyans are so complacent with poor service that they really will not create that tipping point needed for a transformation in public transport. Yes it will have different options, but they will either deteriorate because of poor maintenance and corruption every step of the way, or really Kenyans will stand up and demand what is their right, their right to a better life, after all their taxes are running the nation.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Truth Will Set You Weight Free, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 13th January 2017

The Truth Will Set You Weight Free, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 13th January 2017

The Truth Will Set You Weight Free

What you are about to read is half-truth, because I am not a weight loss expert, doctor, dietician or exercise junkie. But this topic is affecting almost everyone even our little children.

According to the World Health Organization 2016 key facts sheet:

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014.
  • Obesity is preventable.

The signs have never been more obvious that a good weight, diet and health will give you a better life. So what is the current situation like?

Those who have parents around 60 to 70 years will notice that they are either in control of their weight or not. This can be due to many factors, poor will power, difficult circumstances at home or work. I would not say lack of education because that is growing exponentially, it is only up to them, do not forget they are also in the bracket of potential heart attacks, diabetes and other ailments.

They need immediate weight loss and healthy routine.

Younger parents are probably still managing to eat well and stay active unless they are drinking their bellies away at Korogas. They may land you a million shillings deal, but also get you a double bill at the hospital when you collapse from alcohol poisoning or cholesterol. You would rather play the golf, walk and still get a deal.

The youngest parents are in the more complex zone. Making babies, making ends meet, making children, in-laws, family happy and the list goes on, they are unable to take care of themselves, rarely. They need a lot of assistance and determination to stop, set the trend right and actually also enjoy life. Having barbeques or coffees catch ups will not ease your weight loss, it helps in talking about issues but tackle the main issue, weight gain, you need to drop it. Yes I know easier said than done, the first step is always denial that you have put on weight and very easily most buy bigger clothes to console their new gained inches. No, that can not be your ticket out. You have to face the facts and teach your children that this is important.

Yes, let’s come to the overly image conscious children. Fair enough quite a few are mindful of not eating junk and want to remain slim. But do not deny them their basics, eat everything but of course in moderation. Make the children feel proud for who they are and not how they are.

Will exercise get you out of this rut? Yes and no.

Yes because you need to kick off the burning off the calories and stop being lazy. No because you can not run and then run after a big meal.

So balance things out.

Does a good diet get you off this rut? Yes and no.

Yes because if you eat healthy you are preserving your body.

No because exercise is a necessary addition.

It will boil down to a healthy attitude, yes that’s the only thing that can save you.

Do not compare and be little your body, it is the sophisticated machine giving you much more than you think.

Love yourself, love your body and give it the beautiful treatment it deserves.

Whatever variation works for you and please consult an expert especially if you are on obesity borderline or have crossed. Do not pull off any diet or exercise regime without proper supervision because you may damage more than you think. Some things are obvious, for example walking, drinking more water and so on but really take a moment and grasp what you are doing to your body and why? Is there an emotional burden you are carrying that is blocking your release of weight loss? Take care of you.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Let’s Go Red, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 25th November, 2016

Let’s Go Red

hiv-aids

This World Aids Day the theme is “HIVNOTRETRO” so let’s revisit this viral disease that has consumed the lives of millions.

Some facts from the World Health Organization:

Infection results in the progressive deterioration of the immune system, breaking down the body’s ability to fend off some infections and other diseases. AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome) refers to the most advanced stages of HIV infection, defined by the occurrence of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or related cancers.

HIV can be transmitted through:

Unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) or oral sex with an infected person;

Transfusions of contaminated blood;

The sharing of contaminated needles, syringes or other sharp instruments;

The transmission between a mother and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Globally, an estimated 36.7 million (34.0–39.8 million) people were living with HIV in 2015, and 1.8 million (1.5–2.0 million) of these were children.

From the UNAIDS most recent report of 2016:

The latest UNAIDS data, covering 160 countries, demonstrate both the enormous

gains already made and what can be achieved in the coming years through a

Fast-Track approach. In just the last two years the number of people living with

HIV on antiretroviral therapy has increased by about a third, reaching 17.0 million people—2 million more than the 15 million by 2015 target set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011. Since the first global treatment target was set in 2003, annual AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 43%. In the world’s most affected region, eastern and southern Africa, the number of people on treatment has more than doubled since 2010, reaching nearly 10.3 million people. AIDS related deaths in the region have decreased by 36% since 2010.

Let’s come closer to home, and these are the facts:

The theme here is “Getting to Zero HIV Infections- Engage Prevent Celebrate #JijueJipange”

Kenya has the joint fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world (alongside Mozambique and Uganda), in terms of the number of people living with HIV, which was 1.6 million people in 2013. Roughly 58,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same year although this dropped by 32% between 2009 and 2013.1 There are now 1.1 million children orphaned by AIDS.

The first case of HIV in Kenya was detected in 1984, and by the mid-1990s it was one of the major causes of mortality in the country putting huge demands on the healthcare system as well as the economy. HIV prevalence peaked at 10.5% in 1996, and had fallen to 6% by 2013 mainly due to the rapid scaling up of antiretroviral treatment (ART).

Let’s talk about AIDS.

In Kenya unfortunately the highest prevalence is between married couples. How come? If we take a typical married couple then here are some harsh facts:

  • Most have a child out of wedlock
  • A traditional wedding expenses prevents a proper union
  • Modern wedding phenomenon also does not help
  • Multiple partners are part of this “marriage”

The above are just some obvious signs of broken relationships and worse health statuses. At the core religion plays a crucial role it is up to the Papacy to say whether condoms are allowed or not. In the recent Zika virus crisis Pope Francis said that the use of condoms was ok, while the Church is known to be one of the largest caregivers to HIV patients, it mostly rebuffs comments on using condoms to prevent HIV.

Thus, as Kenyans it comes down to the culture. We have to come out of our shells and discuss serious topics and take responsibility. Going into a marriage when you do not know your HIV status is like signing up for a death sentence for life. This goes for all communities and should be seen as taking personal health seriously. There is nothing wrong in looking up your spouse’s health status, just like when the woman is ready to conceive and the gynecologist asks about the family medical history, so why not about sexual diseases? It is your right as both man and woman to know. There are no hidden facts that quite a few marriages are already having affairs so why would you want to poison your family with a disease you are bringing home because you cannot control your desires. Marriage is a partnership for better or for worse, but does not let that worse be the end of a life.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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