by Dr. K Amponsah-Manager
I have written on malaria in the past. Since then, much has changed and nothing has changed.
There are more than 400 million cases of malaria annually. Most of malaria infections and deaths occur in Sub-Saharan African where the most vulnerable are infants, pregnant mothers and seniors. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
Significant progress has been made in the fight against malaria as more effective drugs are made available. At the same time, challenges emerge as the plasmodium parasite develops resistance towards existing drugs. For instance, chloroquine which in the past used to be the most commonly prescribed medicine against malaria, even though is still used to treat and prevent malaria, is no longer as effective against the disease because the parasite developed resistance to the drug. There is currently no effective vaccine against malaria but there may be one in the horizon.
Even though malaria has not received global attention required for a killer of such profile, wealthy foundations, some private companies, and smart governments across the world are beginning to wake up and make malaria a priority. One of such foundations is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Malaria can be defeated, albeit, not overnight. The funding available for anti-malaria campaigns, and research and development is tiny compared to the challenges.
While governments, Foundations and private institutions work towards eradication and prevention, it is important for private citizens to join the partnership especially in efforts towards preventing malaria.
In the long run, I believe that prevention of malaria is the cost-effective route to take rather than treatment of the disease. However, for preventive measures to make a dent, individual participation and community involvement would have to be spurred up. Continue reading “Malaria: Focus on Prevention and Get the African Privileged Engaged” »
Today is April 25th. It is designated as World Malaria Day. Unlike other celebrated days like New Year, Valentine, Independence, today is meant to remind us of the scourge of a pernicious disease that kills a child every 45 seconds. Malaria Day commemorated with speeches, seminars, symposiums and workshops that are meant to petition all us to put out collective effort together in the fight against malaria.
As a result of the efforts by civil society, foundations and non-governmental organizations, governments around the world, remarkable progress has been made in the assault against malaria. The situation looks more hopeful today than it looked a few years ago. Presently, 9 African countries are on target to achieve 75% malaria cutback by 2015 as a result of effective national policies and preventive actions.
Many challenges remain such as cut back in funding for research from advanced nations due to austerity measures. But the progress happening on malaria in Africa shows that when private citizens, non-profits, NGOs and governments pursue common goals with a common understanding, the results can be amazing.
As a society, when we set simple, specific, measurable goals against malaria and have everyone play their part, we can be hopeful that malaria will be history in our lifetime.
Do we ever say ‘Happy Malaria Day’?
I heard someone say that 80 percent of life is merely showing up. I thought about it for a while and I couldn’t agree less with him.
You have an awesome idea that can change the outcome; you have a question to ask that no one has thought of, but the first step is being there.
There is no substitute for being on the ground; there is no alternative to being physically present; there’s nothing of the same scale as responding YES to the invitation and showing up.
And if you show up and change the outcome, you pay for the remaining 20%.
It’s tempting and comforting to put in an appearance and do what is anticipated of you: nod, take notes, and enjoy the refreshments and leave. Being negative should not imply actively pulling down only. If you’re not putting in the effort to add something, it’s equivalent to actively taking something away. It hurts all of us.
If you always show up and do just what you’re expected to do, you’re only faintly different from the guy who never shows up. It’s when you make a contribution that changes the outcome of the day, the meeting, the project, that you will be borne in mind and appreciated. Humans by nature respect and adore individuals who do more beyond just showing up.
There’s a cost for your inclusion: there’s the monetary cost, and also the cost of lost opportunity by the other person who does not get a seat at the table Continue reading “Beyond Showing Up: Did You Change the Outcome?” »
I had a conversation with a friend who has just been fired from his work. He told me that when his manager invited him to get a cup of coffee, he considered it a chance to have discussion around promotion, pay raise or a new assignment. He was performing well at work and getting positive feedback from colleagues and supervisors. But a few minutes into the coffee session, his manager broke the news. “You’re fired”, may be in a more diplomatic way but whatever form it took, it translates to one thing, he was fired.
We’re told that if we to do the right thing at the right time and get ourselves at the right place at the right time, we can ensure job security, promotion, and stability and happiness. In truth, even after we’ve done everything right, even after you’ve done what your manager expected you to do, and have been voted the employee of the month, change suddenly pops up. And sometimes change can be big and unpleasant. Continue reading “The Unexpected Coffee Break” »
Yesterday, being smart was good enough. Today, the landscape is different. The business environment has evolved and become super competitive. The world is moving faster than we can cope. Today, being smart is not adequate. You got to be getting smarter each day. It is only by stretching yourself and exploring opportunities for continual improvement that you will be able to both secure the space you have and acquire new territories.
Giving back to the community is a noble thing, but a ‘giving back’ that is inspired by a mere feeling of pity for the other folks accomplishes little, in fact, it may do more harm than good. Pity makes you impose yourself on the people and prescribe to them your solutions. Empathy gets you into partnership with the people and communities to solve problems. Before you embark on any volunteer program, community service, charity project, clarify whether it is driven by pity or empathy.
Individual like you and me originate actions that spice up life but being a ‘starter’ is not always fun. Going first can be risky because it frequently attracts criticism and judgment, and to many of us, that is enough reason not to take the lead. Generally, we are giving feedback, judging, or criticizing or we are receiving feedback, being judged or being criticized. In order to achieve you full growth potential, you must find opportunities to both give and receive feedback or criticism. Giving feedback comes naturally; doing the thing that will place you at the receiving end, that is, going first doesn’t come naturally. Many of us work to avoid that.