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FEC Approves National Language Policy In Schools

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The Federal Executive Council has approved a National Language Policy for use in all primary schools across the country.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu revealed this to State House Correspondents, while briefing them at the end of this week’s meeting of the council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said “A memo on national policy was approved by the council. So, Nigeria now has a National Language Policy and the details will be given later by the ministry.

“One of the highlights is that the government has agreed now that henceforth, instruction in primary schools; the first six years of learning will be in the mother tongue.”

The Minister said the decision is only in principle for now because it will require a lot of work to implement it.

“Theoretically, this policy starts from today but the use of mother tongue is exclusive but we need time to develop the material, get the teachers and so on. Since the first six years of school should be in the mother tongue whereby the pupil is, the language of the host community is what will be used.

“Because we have 625 languages at the last count and the objective of this policy is to promote, and enhance the cultivation and use of all Nigerian languages,” he added.

JOINT ADMISSION BOARD

He further revealed that the council approved a consultancy services agreement between Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and a private company, for the upgrade of the portal on which the Board records candidates seeking admission into higher institutions of learning.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari presided over the virtual meeting which held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential villa in Abuja.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan were among those physically attending the meeting.

Others are Ministers of Information, Lai Mohammed, Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and Justice, Abubakar Malami, among others.

Bomb Blast Hits Afghan School

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At least 17 people have been killed and 26 injured after a bomb blast hit a religious school in northern Afghanistan.

The blast took place in the city of Aybak in Samangan province, reportedly as people were leaving prayers.

The majority of those killed are believed to be children aged nine to 15, a source in Samangan said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the death toll could increase.

A doctor at the local hospital said most of the victims were students at the school.

“All of them are children and ordinary people,” one doctor was quoted by AFP as saying.

He added that some patients with critical injuries were transported to larger hospitals in Mazar-i-Sharif – about 120 kilometres (74 miles) away for better treatment.

Interior ministry spokesman, Abdul Nafee Takkur said the Taliban’s security forces were investigating the attack, and vowed to “identify the perpetrators and punish them for their actions”.

The former president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, said the explosion was a “crime against humanity” in a tweet, and expressed his sympathy to the families of the victims.

Aybak in the Samangan province in northern Afghanistan.

Aybak is a historical city that came to prominence as a trading hub and a centre for Buddhists in the 4th and 5th Centuries. It sits around 200 km (130 miles) north of the capital Kabul.

U.S Lawmakers Elects Hakeem Jeffries To Replace Nancy Pelosi

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US lawmaker Hakeem Jeffries has been unanimously elected to succeed Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.

The four-term New York congressman, 52, has served in the fifth-highest rank of Democratic leadership since 2019.

With his ascension to the top spot, held by Pelosi for two decades, he will be the first black person to lead a major party in the US Congress.

But he would be minority leader, and not the speaker.

California Republican Kevin McCarthy, who currently serves as minority leader, was nominated as the party’s choice to be House speaker but he must win a majority vote of the full House – 218 votes – in January to secure the role.

When Pelosi, 82, announced her retirement on 17 November, she said: “The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus.”

The move was apparently co-ordinated with Pelosi’s top two deputies – Steny Hoyer, 83, and Jim Clyburn, 82 – who quickly followed suit by releasing statements on their future plans.

Both men endorsed Jeffries, with Clyburn writing that his focus was “doing whatever I can to assist our new generation of Democratic Leaders, which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar”.

In a letter to his party colleagues, Jeffries had asked Democrats for their support “as we once again prepare to meet the moment”.

At the time, he lauded Pelosi as “the most accomplished Speaker in American history”, writing that she had been “the steady hand on the gavel during some of the most turbulent times the nation has ever confronted”.

A lawyer who was born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York, he served in the New York State Assembly before running for the House in 2013.

His message was simple: “Washington is broken. Congress is dysfunctional. People are suffering. We deserve more.”

During the campaign, he was touted as the “Barack Obama of Brooklyn”, a comparison he rejected because he saw little professional resemblance to the then-president.

Since taking federal office, he has positioned himself as an outspoken Democrat, popular with most colleagues and growing in influence.

As whip for the Congressional Black Caucus, he led members in protest on the House floor in 2015 against the killing of African-Americans by police.

23-Year-Old Student Accused Of Defaming

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Outrage is growing in Nigeria after a university student was arrested and charged with defaming President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife on Twitter.

Prosecutors alleged in the charge sheet that Aminu Adamu Mohammed posted a picture of Aisha Buhari, and wrote in the Hausa language words that roughly translated accused her of embezzlement.

The prosecution accused the 23-year-old of spreading false information.

His lawyer said he denied a charge of defamation during a court appearance.

The undergraduate who is due to start his final exams on Monday, is unclear whether he will be able to do so, as he is still in detention.

His lawyer, Chijioke Kingsley Agu, told BBC that he had applied for bail, and he hoped this would be considered within 48 hours.

Mohammed’s parents have publicly implored the first lady to forgive their son. She and the authorities have not yet commented on the case.

Mohammed was reportedly arrested earlier this month, but only appeared in court on Tuesday.

The prosecutors said the rough English translation of the Hausa phrase in his tweet was “Mama has embezzled monies meant for the poor”.

People have been rallying on social media for Aminu Adamu Mohammed to be released.

Mohammed could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison if convicted.

He is studying environmental management at Federal University in the northern state of Jigawa. His classmates have described him as a brilliant student.

Social media users and rights campaigners have criticised the Nigerian authorities for the treatment of the student and called for his immediate release.

Some say Nigerian officials are becoming increasingly intolerant of criticism.

New Research Finds Honey May Improve Blood Sugar, Cholesterol Levels

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Honey can make everything tastier. From chicken and fish, to bread and desserts, and even on its own if you simply want a spoonful of the sweet treat. Now, new research has found that honey may also improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, although some types may be better than others.

Honey is considered a “free sugar,” which is essentially any type of sugar that can be added to a food or beverage, and it’s oftentimes assumed to be one of the healthier free sugars out there.

Researchers from the University of Toronto, whose findings were recently published in Nutrition Reviews, set out determine what effect honey might have on cardiometabolic risk factors. Read on to learn more about the study, and for more healthy eating tips, make sure to check out 11 Dietitian-Approved Pantry Foods You Should Keep On Hand.

What the research says about honey and cardiometabolic health

Responsible for a systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers focused on 18 controlled trials that involved more than 1,100 participants and lasted for a median length of two months.

The results showed that honey had a positive effect on cardiometabolic health, such as blood sugar and cholesterol levels. While participants generally consumed around two tablespoons of honey each day, it was noted that raw honey and honey from a single flower were the cause of many of the health-related benefits. On the other hand, processed honey wasn’t as effective when it came to benefiting the body.

“These results are surprising, because honey is about 80% sugar,” said Tauseef Khan, a senior researcher on the study and a research associate in nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine. Khan added, “But honey is also a complex composition of common and rare sugars, proteins, organic acids, and other bioactive compounds that very likely have health benefits.”

“Honey is very rich in antioxidants for cardiometabolic health,” says Catherine Gervacio, a registered dietitian. When it comes to why honey might help blood sugar and cholesterol levels, Gervacio adds “It contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds. Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory antioxidants that have the ability to prevent blood clots, and phenolic compounds reduce the risk of heart disease, as it is known to protect cells from oxidative stress.”

Which type of honey is best

Gervacio also explains why honey that’s raw and from a single floral source is more ideal than other types. “Raw honey has not been subjected to processing methods, so it retains more nutrients and antioxidants than those that are processed.”

“As for the specific source of honey, there is no substantial study on which floral source has the best composition for cardiometabolic health, but eating honey in its most natural state is still the best option,” Gervacio says.

If you’re curious about how much honey you might need to eat in order to see the benefits, Gervacio says, “A tablespoon or two of raw honey is sufficient to get the nutrients you need. Honey is actually considered a medicinal food and is used in ancient times. Not only does it have cardiometabolic health benefits, but it also has anti-microbial properties for wound healing and even relief from an itchy cough.”

Health firm seeks reliable facilities for early diagnosis

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Head of the Healthcare Division at PPC Ltd, Dr. Chikara Nwoke, has said reliable diagnostic equipment and devices play a crucial role in the proper management of Non-Communicable Diseases.

A statement made available to Newsmen stated that the deployment of innovative healthcare technology would enable early diagnosis and detection of these life-threatening diseases.

NCDs like cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory infections, and cardiovascular diseases, which accounts for 74% of deaths globally according to WHO, are on the rise in Nigeria. In developing countries, these severe health conditions impact adversely the working population cutting down on productivity and overall economic output.

According to Nwoke, a multifaceted approach is urgently required to stem the tide of rising NCDs and should involve both the development of human capital and the procurement of medical facilities to effectively cater to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and continuous management of these diseases.

Read Also: Respiratory infections vaccination necessary during harmattan –Expert

He said, “NCD’s are silent killers and can exist in the human body and remain undetected for a long time”. Recommendations for regular health checkups and appropriate clinical investigations are critical to obtaining the right clinical diagnosis which is an important aspect of the management of the disease condition. However, there are instances of misdiagnosis and such can occur due to an improper understanding of the patient’s health problem.

An accurate investigation and timely diagnosis by a trained clinician can save the day. “We need to prioritise the early diagnosis, and treatment of non-communicable diseases, especially among the vulnerable and poor, by formulating public policy that addresses its prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. More than ever before, we need to address the contributory risk factors and ensure all people, no matter where they live, have access to quality clinical investigation and treatment.”

Eating and Drinking Habits That May Lead to Dry Skin

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Experiencing dry skin can certainly be frustrating and uncomfortable, thanks to the itchiness and flaking that may occur as a result. Especially when the air becomes more dry and cold, dry skin can become an issue for many.

There are many solutions people lean on that offer some help in the dry skin department, including applying moisturizer on the skin, using a humidifier in the home, and avoiding extremely hot baths and showers. But what we put in our bodies may affect how our skin as well, especially during the chillier months. Our dietary choices may have a profound effect on how our body retains moisture, at least according to some medical literature.

If you are experiencing dry skin, here are five eating and drinking habits that might be causing or exacerbating your condition.

The concept is quite simple to understand: If your body is not adequately hydrated, your skin may appear dry as a result. Dehydration can be linked to dry skin, essentially because the body does not have enough fluid.

“It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. This not only is important for your cells to function at optimal levels, it’s also important for skin hydration,” shares Sarah Allen, MD, dermatologist and founder of the Skin Clique.

It is recommended to eat approximately 8 ounces of fish every week. Fish, particularly cold-water oily fish, contain DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, or a variety of “healthy fats” that may support factors like cardiovascular, visual, and mental health.

And although more well-designed, human-based clinical trials are needed, some data suggests that the skin barrier can be influenced by these omega-3 fatty acids, with suppressive effects on the scratching behavior induced by dry skin.

Having an occasional glass of wine or a mug of beer likely won’t have a huge effect on your skin integrity. But drinking too much alcohol can have dehydrating effects on the body, which may play into a person’s risk of experiencing dry skin.

If you are in the mood for a cocktail, try a mocktail instead for an enjoyable beverage without the booze.

The yolk of the egg is a nutritional powerhouse, containing a slew of key nutrients including vitamin D. Some data suggests that low vitamin D levels may be linked to skin hydration status, highlighting how eating foods with vitamin D can be so beneficial. A recent science advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) indicates that “healthy individuals can include up to a whole egg or equivalent daily” as part of a heart-healthy dietary pattern.

Not a fan of egg yolks? You can also get vitamin D in your diet by eating salmon, mushrooms that are exposed to UV light, and fortified 100% orange juice.

Collagen is a hot ingredient in supplements, snacks, and even drinks to support skin health. And while some claims surrounding this addition may be questionable, the link between collagen intake and skin dryness may actually have some truth to it. Studies using collagen tripeptide showed notable improvement in skin elasticity and hydration, suggesting that this addition may help those with dry skin. While this remedy won’t work for everyone, and data is still sparse, trying it out comes with very little risk and it may help.

Allen added that if a person has “a well-balanced diet, they do not need collagen supplements. Beef, chicken with skin, and broth (chicken, pork, and beef) are great sources of collagen and they are perfect for the season”

Respiratory infections vaccination necessary during harmattan –Expert

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A Professor of Public Health, Tanimola Akande has said that Nigerians can keep safe during the harmattan period by vaccinating against respiratory infections that are often common in the dry season.

Professor Akande noted that respiratory diseases are common, especially in children during the dry harmattan season, noting that getting vaccinated against those infections is the best way to prevent them.

According to the health expert, during the dry season, respiratory diseases like rhinitis, bronchitis and pneumonia are often prevalent during harmattan, adding that when Nigerians get vaccinated, they can be shielded against these diseases.

Speaking with Newsmen, the health expert said, “Harmattan period usually comes with dryness and dust. This allows for an increase in the spread of upper and respiratory tract infections such as rhinitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

“Asthmatic attacks are more during harmattan. Symptoms of these diseases like catarrh, cough, and fever are commoner during harmattan. There is also the tendency for dry skin and lips during harmattan.”

He further warned that if children contract diseases like pneumonia and it is not well treated, it can turn deadly for the child, same for asthma.

Read Also: Experts Advocate Inclusion Of Fertility Treatment Under Health Insurance

According to Mayo Clinic – a medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research, pneumonia can affect anyone of any age but children below two and people above 65 are the most at risk.

If not well treated, complications from the condition can include sepsis, bacteria in the bloodstream, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the lungs, Mayo Clinic said..

In addition to vaccination, Prof. Akande said, avoiding a very dusty environment and use of a face mask is highly recommended during the dusty harmattan season. 

Also, keeping the body moisturised by using moisturising creams, increasing water intake to retain the body’s level of hydration, and keeping the body warm with appropriate clothing are necessary during the dry season, Akande said.

Tips For Damage Control After Eating Too Much

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The Festive Seasons are here again and there will so much to eat and drink as this comes with the season.

Some delicious meal are just irresistible and you might just find yourself eating too much—and you have to pay the price for eating too much.

When you overeat, your body may start to feel bloated and lethargic. You may even begin to experience abdominal pain and cramping. No matter what symptoms may accompany feeling stuffed, this physical discomfort can put a damper on the rest of your day.

While the best way to deal with overeating would be to avoid it by always eating in moderation, this is honestly sometimes easier said than done, especially those favourite delicious meals specially made for the season.

So, how do you avoid your eyes growing bigger than your stomach while indulging in a decadent, delicious meal?

If you find yourself overeating and more often than not feeling too full after chowing down, you’re not alone. In order to find out the best ways to healthily approach damage control after eating too much, we consulted a few dietitians to get their insight. So here are some dietitian-recommended tips to help you process your post-meal slump after eating too much

Make sure you’re hydrating

Eating foods higher in sodium “can contribute to feeling ‘puffy’ or bloated the next day,” according to Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, who is the author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our Expert Medical Board. That is why Goodson stresses the importance of making sure you stay hydrated before and after a big meal.

In addition to drinking plenty of water, you can also try boosting your hydration by adding a little something extra to your beverage.

“One thing you can do is hydrate throughout the day with water infusions, like this Apple Cider Vinegar Lemon “Detox” Drink or this Cranberry Orange Ginger “Detox” Water,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, also known as The Nutrition Twins. “The fluid will help to restore normal hydration status as it flushes out the excess sodium, sugar, water that’s retained with them, alleviating bloat and heaviness.”

Go for a walk after your big meal

One of the best things you can do for yourself to provide more immediate relief after eating too much and feeling overly full is to go for a walk after your meal.

“The walk will help clear your mind. And if you break a sweat, you can secrete some chemicals and small amounts of salt while also increasing blood flow to the brain,” says the Nutrition Twins. “You’ll burn a few extra calories while you’re at it too, which will help to offset some of the extra calories you may have consumed.”

If you’re not in the mood for a walk, Goodson has some alternative suggestions for moving your body after a heavy meal.

“You can start a friendly game of football in the backyard with family,” Goodson suggests. “Or if that doesn’t work, maybe hit the gym the next morning, or park at the back of all the parking lots when you head out to run errands.”

Get back on track with some vegetables

According to the Nutrition Twins, eating some antioxidant-rich, fiber-packed greens in your next meal can help get your body back to feeling better.

“Fiber from the greens helps push waste and toxins out of the colon, helping to keep you regular so you can quickly spring back and feel lighter,” the Nutrition Twins claim. “And the antioxidants in the green vegetables counteract some damage created from overindulging in inflammatory sugary, fatty, and highly-processed foods.”

Start the next morning with a balanced breakfast

One of the things you can do the day after you go a little overboard with eating is making sure you’re starting your day off with a healthy, balanced breakfast.

“The day after overeating, start with a protein and fiber-rich breakfast to get your blood sugar going in the right direction,” says Goodson. “Eggs and oatmeal or whole grain toast with peanut butter and a side of Greek yogurt are great options. This will help with feeling better throughout the day.”

Eating Habits To Combat Seasonal Depression

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African American female stares outside her window looking out.

If you’re someone who experiences depression or depressive symptoms that seem to sync up with the changing seasons, you may possibly have seasonal depression, or what is also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD typically occurs in the winter months, with symptoms often starting around late fall as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder and lasts till the following spring or summer. Although less common, the opposite can also happen, where this form of depression rears its head in the spring or summer, subsiding by fall and winter.

Common symptoms of SAD include feelings of sadness, moodiness, low energy or sluggishness, difficulty concentrating on daily tasks, and an overall feeling of hopelessness. While SAD is characterized by the propensity for these symptoms to resolve with the changing seasons, the cyclical nature of this mental health condition can be difficult to face on a yearly basis.

There’s no simple, direct cure to treat this condition. (And if you suspect you or someone you know is struggling with a particularly severe case of SAD, it’s imperative you consult a healthcare professional to discuss an effective treatment plan that may incorporate therapy or even medication.) That said, there are healthy ways to help cope with SAD-associated symptoms. According to the Cleveland Clinic, getting regular exercise, spending time outdoors, getting adequate sleep, and eating a balanced diet can help you manage SAD symptoms.

“While there is no one diet to help you avoid seasonal depression, they are some foods and tips you can incorporate to help ward off its symptoms,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, the author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and a member of our Expert Medical Board.

Eat more vitamin D-rich foods

Though a crucial vitamin to have, we’re more we’re likely to lose out on vitamin D when we spend more time indoors—something that becomes especially common as days grow shorter and temperatures drop.

“One of the main reasons we experience seasonal depression is due to a lack of sunlight and vitamin D activation,” says Goodson

“Research has shown that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to be depressed, and there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and specific mood disorders like seasonal affective disorder,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, also known as The Nutrition Twins.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s recommended that adults get around 600 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

“Foods like cow’s milk, fatty fish like salmon and trout, and eggs,” Goodson suggests, if you’re looking for easy sources of vitamin D. For plant-based sources of vitamin D, you can also find orange juice fortified with vitamin D at your local grocery store.

However, getting enough vitamin D is still tricky to do through food sources alone. So, if possible,  try spending some time in the sunniest part of the day. Additionally, you can make sure to get your daily dose of this vitamin by trying a vitamin D supplement, as well.

Get plenty of protein at every meal

According to the Nutrition Twins, getting plenty of protein throughout your day can help you manage symptoms that come along with seasonal depression.

“Protein raises your body’s feel-good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, so getting a boost consistently throughout the day is important,” claim the Nutrition Twins. “Eating protein with meals also helps to keep energy levels on an even-keel, preventing the blood sugar dips that trigger mood swings.”

The Twins recommend about 20 grams of protein per meal, if possible. However, this can sometimes prove challenging when on the go, especially with consideration to the other food groups. If this sounds like you, know that protein doesn’t always have to serve as the star of your entrée and consider working it into your meals as a side dish or additional ingredient to top your main dish.

“Some ideas for getting protein at your meals are eggs or Greek yogurt with your cereal or toast at breakfast, beans and chicken in your salad at lunch, and chicken or shrimp in your pasta at dinner,” the Nutrition Twins recommend.

Limit your intake of processed food and added sugar

“Simple sugars often found in processed foods and snacks can cause an increase in blood sugar, which might make you feel good for a moment, but typically leaves you feeling down and in an energy slump later,” says Goodson. “Those energy lows can magnify other depression symptoms you may be experiencing.”

Research has found that consistent consumption of added sugar and processed food may have negative effects on your mental health as a whole. A study published in Scientific Reports found an association between sugar intake and increased symptoms of depression. Another study from The British Journal of Psychiatry found that participants who regularly consumed higher amounts of sugar and processed foods were more likely to have depression symptoms. While these studies were not linked specifically to SAD symptoms, these findings do suggest that limiting processed foods and sugar may be able to help you manage overall symptoms associated with depression, in general.

Have at least two cups of leafy green vegetables per day

The Nutrition Twins suggest incorporating at least two servings of leafy green vegetables into your diet every day.

“These vegetables are a good source of folate, and research shows that low levels of folate are linked to depression,” says the Nutrition Twins. This is speculated to be because “folate deficiency may impair the metabolism of neurotransmitters that are very important for mood, including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline,” they continue.

“Any leafy green like spinach, kale, bok choy, turnip greens, or romaine lettuce, and other sources of folate include beans, oranges, asparagus, avocado, and broccoli,” the twins advise, with regard to finding quality food sources food sources of folate.

Eat smaller meals on a more frequent basis

A common symptom of SAD is lethargy and a lack of energy throughout the day. In order to combat this, Goodson suggests eating smaller, more frequent high-fiber and protein-enriched meals throughout the day.

“Fueling your body with protein and high-fiber foods often throughout the day can help stabilize your blood sugar levels, and thus your energy levels, as well,” says Goodson. “When you are under-fueled or tired due to a lack of nutrients, all of life’s other stressors are often magnified, making it harder to cope with day to day things.”

Following these eating habits, getting plenty of movement, and spending time with those you love can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Seasonal Depression.