‘Brain fever’ death toll passes 150 in Indian state

The death toll from a brain disease that has stricken children in India’s Bihar state rose above 150 on Monday as a court ordered an investigation into the crisis.

The country’s Supreme Court also demanded the government explain what measures it has taken to combat the spread of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) – a deadly disease that has been widely linked to the eating of unripened lychee fruit.

Authorities said 152 children have died in districts across the eastern state, with 131 in two hospitals in Muzaffarpur, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Health officials said 111 children had died at the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, and another 20 at the Kejriwal hospital, which was run by a private trust.

Muzaffarpur’s chief magistrate ordered an investigation into possible negligence by federal health minister Harsh Vardhan, as well as Bihar’s health minister.

Social activist Tamanna Hashmi – who filed a complaint at the court – confirmed that the investigation had been ordered.

In New Delhi, the Supreme Court also ordered Bihar’s government to report on “medical facilities, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene conditions” in the state, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Lawyers for the Bihar government told the court that the crisis was now under control.

More than 1,350 children have died from the syndrome in the past decade, including 355 in 2014.

AES is an inflammation of the brain, affecting mostly undernourished children under 10.

The precise causes of the syndrome are not known, but experts say a toxin in unripe lychee fruit – which is grown abundantly in Muzaffarpur – causes blood sugar levels to plummet in malnourished children, affecting the brain.

Symptoms include high fever, vomiting, and seizures.

Experts say the deaths could be avoided if people had awareness and access to better health care and nourishment.

Bihar is one of India’s poorest states. The National Family Health Survey states almost half of the children under five in the Muzaffarpur are stunted, almost 60% are anaemic, and more than 40% underweight.

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Tyler Perry’s BET Awards Speech Fires Up ‘Dreamers’ To Conquer Hollywood

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Burn off calories cardio drumming on the Lakeshore

MUSKEGON, Mich. — If you are looking for a unique type of workout this summer, Cardio Drumming is gaining some steam along the lakeshore.

The Muskegon Drum Crew is hosting classes every Monday and Thursday from 7-8 p.m. at the Lakeshore Sports Complex, 4470 Airline Road in Muskegon.

A typical class as about one hour long and will cost $2 to participate plus $3 if you need to rent materials. To take the class you need a 75cm Yoga ball, a 17 Gallon Bucket, and drumsticks.

Pirates sign French goalkeeper

The French goalkeeper has signed a three-year-deal with the Sea Robbers.

Delle has played for FC Metz, OGC Nice, Cercle Brugge, Racing Club de Lens and made two appearances for Feyenoord in the Eredivisie last season.

Pirates released Jackson Mabokgwane last week and have Brilliant Khuzwayo, Siyabonga Mpontshane and Wayne Sandilands in their goalkeeping department.

The Buccaneers had four goalkeepers last season and have brought in Delle to replace Mabokgwane.

“I am glad to join this prestigious football club called Orlando Pirates and starting a new adventure in South Africa,” Delle told Pirates’ website.

“Happy to be part of an ambitious club with amazing fans who will accompany us on the road of success. I think that I will be the first French player to play for the Pirates, I would like also be the first to win titles there. Let’s go for it, it starts by a good pre-season!”

READ: Agent explains why Matlaba left Pirates

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Black maternal mortality rate

It baffles me how quality healthcare still remains a privilege in our beautiful South Africa. You either have a couple of grand to pay for medical aid, or you step into the public healthcare system. This is not my own opinion, but I am sure the 1200 women that die due to issues related to pregnancy would echo the same sentiment. The tens of moms I spoke to in the past weeks are not disagreeing either. They all openly shared their birthing experiences in public hospitals and they all left me emotional and confused.

The South African Medical Journal released an article in 2018 confirming that there has been a general decline in maternal mortality rates in the South African public sector.

The numbers still remain high, especially because the Journal also confirms that 60 % of these deaths are potentially preventable.

So what exactly is contributing to the current Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the South African healthcare system?

Maternal deaths owing to obstetric haemorrhage and complications related to hypertension still remain high. The two main contributors to deaths related to hypertension were due to two main causes;

i) The woman did not attend regular antenatal appointments
ii) The primary healthcare clinic failed to refer mothers with hypertension

The first reason was not due to the failure of the woman to attend the appointment. The clinic’s schedule would limit the number of times the ‘non-high risk’ pregnant women can attend these appointments. The clinic would just require them to attend 6 weekly appointments from when they hit 20 weeks. A woman should attend at least 8 appointments from week 20, whether or not they have high-risk pregnancies.

Issues like preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure, can occur very late in the pregnancy and can mature even quicker, thus endangering both the mother and child. The clinic’s schedule, therefore, would make it hard for such a condition to be detected in its earlier onset.

The Department of Health is making a great effort in ensuring that they are training healthcare professionals accordingly. The Department has adopted the National Committee for Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths. The committee is committed to the reduction of maternal deaths in South Africa. It is made up of independent assessors that look at individual maternal deaths as soon as they are reported to the committee. It is made up of obstetricians, midwives, anesthetists, and medical officers.

The decline of mortality rates is due to the increased distribution of antiretroviral drugs for HIV positive women.

Nonpregnancy related infections still accounted for 60 deaths in every 100 000 live births. These infections include malaria, tuberculosis, meningitis, and pneumonia. 95% of these women were HIV positive.

This means that as much as the government is rolling out more treatment for HIV positive women, these women are still at risk of losing their lives before, during or post birth.

Let us look at the stats:

Around 1800 women died in 2009, and this has decreased to about 1600 in 2010, 1300 in 2013 and 2014 and in 2016 the number was around 1200. This does not seem like much right, considering that Statistics SA indicates that there were about 456 612 deaths in 2016. For me, this number is ridiculous, especially because 100 assessors tasked with assessing maternal mortality rates agree that 60 % of these were potentially preventable.

What this means is that poor treatment significantly contributed to the death of these women.

Poor treatment in our healthcare system, particularly relating to maternity, is no new subject.

If you are fortunate enough to afford medical aid, you probably have no idea how it feels like to be ridiculed and insulted when you are struggling through labor. I have heard too many young girls and women talking about how they got pinched in-between their thighs to coerce them to push the baby out. Or how they get told “we did not impregnate you” when they scream a little too loud during contractions.

The number of articles I have read about lawsuits being filed over negligence in public hospitals is beyond me. On the 28th of June 2017, a woman sat outside the theatre room from 12:00 PM for a C-Section, but was not attended to until 17:15 PM. By that time, her baby’s heartbeat had stopped, and they had to remove the lifeless body from inside her. Two hours before she was attended to, a nurse wheeled her into the nurse’s tearoom to ask for assistance, but they turned her away because she was a ‘non-risk’ pregnancy.

Nompumelelo Sibiya did not get to see her twins after they were taken away from her after birth and incinerated without her permission. The hospital claims she had signed a form giving them permission to incinerate the twins, but she claims to have not done such a thing. Was evidence of this negligence cremated along with the two children?

3weeks ago, my friend’s sister was bleeding at 28 weeks’ gestation and was subsequently taken to Edenvale Hospital at 3:00 AM in the morning. She was taken into the ward alone and the family left her there. At 6:30 AM they went to go check on her and she was still unchecked by the nurses or the DR. When my friend threatened to speak to the Head of Department (HOD), they allowed her mom to come to check on her and they did her checkup. At 7:00 AM the Drs decided that she must have C-section. The porter came to collect her 2 hours later, and the C-Section was reverted. She was now to deliver vaginally.

What happened next is even more ridiculous than prioritizing a bleeding pregnant lady.

The nurses started arguing that she should not birth on the bed she was sleeping on. This back and forth is happening while the baby’s head was crowning. She had to walk to another room with the baby’s head in between her legs, and the baby immediately arrived when she got on the next bed.

Sithembile Shabane is a 23-year-old KZN woman who recently passed away, along with her baby. The family and the community has attributed her death to medical negligence and transportation delays. Shabane stays 34 km away from the hospital, but the ambulance took too long to arrive at her residence. The mother and her baby, unfortunately, both died on arrival to the hospital.

These are sad stories that keep seeing families burying their children, not getting the opportunity to take their little ones home, or children never getting to know their mothers.

Stories of mistreatment in hospitals for birthing mothers and child loss due to perceived negligence should never be a #metoo campaign. I refuse to live in a world of such an injustice.

We hope such stories encourage our public administrators to re-look the overall management of a public health system that caters to millions of South Africans. South Africans that run to the polls hoping for some form of change. Healthcare is one such change that is desperately needed.


Karabo Parenty Post BioKarabo Motsiri is a first-time mom, over-sharer, lover of life, chronic napper and married to her best friend. She loves a good party because the dance floor is her happy place. She enjoys good food, good conversations, laughs a little too hard, and cries during every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She started her blogging journey because she wanted to share all the ups and downs of being a young modern mama in South Africa. Her blog Black Mom Chronicles has been featured on Ayana Magazine & SA Mom Blog. She has enjoyed airtime on Power FM and frequently writes for the parenting section of Saturday Citizen She also works with MamaMagic on their Product Awards, Milestones Magazine, Heart to Heart blog, and the Baby Expo, which is South Africa’s biggest parenting expo. 

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Roodepoort residents face armed robberies while having a braai

The Honeydew Community Policing Forum’s (CPF) public relations officer, Jon Rosenberg, has warned residents to be vigilant when relaxing in their front or backyards, Roodepoort Northsider reports.

“Sadly, we had a number of incidents recently where intruders gained access to properties while the residents were outside having a braai. The residents then fell victim to an armed robbery,” he warned.

“It is ludicrous to suggest that one cannot braai or relax in your own garden, but we ask that residents remain vigilant at all times, and keep a panic button on them while outside.”

He also said that should a resident have any reason to feel uncomfortable or see anything suspicious, “please do not hesitate to contact your security provider immediately”.

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10 fun ideas to keep the kids busy during school holidays

I’ve heard parents complain about how expensive it can be to keep kids occupied during school holidays. They have all the time in the world and they want all kinds of entertainment.

They also eat a whole lot more than they typically do during the school term because of all that extra time on their hands.

I haven’t reached that stage yet but my time is definitely coming. For now, I’m hiding behind paying my daughter’s preschool a nominal fee for holiday club, where she is occupied every single day of the holiday because, unfortunately, I’m not on holiday when she is.

Not all parents have such services available to them and not all parents have the extra income to splurge on entertainment for their kids, so let’s chat about a few options for our varied pockets.

Start by choosing a handful of inexpensive activities that you know your kids enjoy and rotate them in a clever way. In fact, if you are able to list 10 different activities, you could do two each day. A little bit of spending might be required to secure a few items, but it need not be exorbitant.

Swimming

Picture: iStock

You might need to purchase a swimming costume or trunks plus a swimming cap and goggles if your child requires them. If you have a pool at home, it’s a bonus, if not, a community pool or a friend’s pool is a great option.

Add a small ball for the kids to play with and you’re guaranteed they’ll be playing for hours. Just make sure there is adult supervision.

Walks

Taking a walk with your kids in the neighbourhood or walking to nearby shops can be a fun functional activity that doesn’t cost much.

Soccer

Picture: iStock

Kids love kicking a ball around and scoring goals. Round up a few neighbourhood kids and create a three-of five-a-side soccer setup and trust me, the competitive instinct will kick in and keep them occupied for hours on end.

If you don’t have enough kids to play a soccer game, pair up with one other playmate and that can be enough to keep your child and other parents’ child busy.

Swingball

A swingball set has been a firm favourite of mine for years and I already have my four-year-old attempting her hand at it. It’s a great outdoor game, one that can rev up serious competition amongst rivals. It can also be exhausting so you could be guaranteed nap time after hours of playing swingball.

Traditional games

Picture: iStock

Back in the ’80s and ’90s kids, including myself, were often outside, playing traditional games like jump rope, hopscotch, hide and seek, house-house, marbles, sling shot at birds, Chicago with a stack of empty tins and a rolled-up pair of old stockings. The list goes on.

Perhaps it might be time to educate millennials about a handful of these fun traditional games. If you, as a parent, play along, it may just add to the fun at first and once the kids get the hang of it, you can slowly moonwalk away and let them have fun with their friends.

Running

Sign up for a 5km fun run with your kids on the weekend or, if your neighbourhood is one of the lucky ones with a Parkrun location, then do it with the kids because many parents do that nowadays. It’s a fun way for your kids to mingle with others while doing a little bit of exercise.

Cycling

Picture: iStock

If your kids are lucky enough to own a bicycle, go out with them. If you don’t own a bike but they do, run beside them around the neighbourhood.

Puzzles

Picture: iStock

Putting together puzzles can be a challenging but fun activity that keep the kids busy for quite some time. From 20-piece puzzles for the little kids to 5 000-piece puzzles for the older kids.

You can even attach an incentive for the older kids if they finish their big puzzles. You’ll be guaranteed that they are occupied for hours.

Board games

Board games can be a fun way to entertain kids in groups or families. There are plenty of board games that are family friendly and can be played by both young and old members of the family. With most of them, you are guaranteed great laughter and fun debates.

Hire DVDs

Picture: iStock

Even though this is not physical activity in any form, it’s an activity that kids enjoy. A movie or two over the holidays with a bit of homemade popcorn won’t hurt.

These are simply a handful of inexpensive activities, there are many others that the kids can do over the holidays.

As mentioned earlier, kids’ appetites also sky-rocket over the holidays. Try and incorporate some form of protein in each meal or the snacks you provide from time to time, to help keep them feeling fuller for longer.

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Wits beef up squad for new season

Last season, the Clever Boys could only manage a third-placed finish on the league standings – behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates – and coach Gavin Hunt has now beefed up the squad with some interesting acquisitions.

There are also plans to strengthen the squad even further before the new league campaign kicks off in August.

Hunt, who joined Wits in 2013 with the sole purpose of winning the league title, duly did so when the Johannesburg team swept to championship glory in the 2016-17 season.

They, unfortunately, have not been able to follow on from that success, which is why Hunt is keen on rebuilding his squad.

The challenge in the PSL is quite evident: if any team wants to break the dominance of Sundowns, they are going to need depth, quality and a lot, lot more.

With this in mind, Hunt has allowed the players not required by the team to move on, like Daylon Claasen, Vuyo Mere, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Bantu Mzwakali and Denis Weidlich.

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Darren Keet, who will be in action for the SA squad at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations underway in Egypt, will also not be in Wits colours next season.

The Capetonian has decided not to renew his contract and will seek to continue his career in Europe.

Coming into the Wits squad this season will be Brandon Petersen, Prince Nxumalo and Phathutshedzo Nange.

Petersen, a promising 24-year-old goalkeeper, as well as goal-poacher Nxumalo were signed from Ajax Cape Town, and Nange from Black Leopards.

Hunt is also keen on another Leopards player, Ivan Mahangwahaya, while Togo defender Joseph Douhadji is also on the club’s shopping list.

Meanwhile, reports also suggest that two former Pirates and Sundowns players – Sameehg Doutie and Siyanda Zwane – have both been training with Wits.

Zwane has been on the books of Sundowns for the last few years, but spent most of the spell on loan to clubs like Golden Arrows and Ajax Cape Town.

Doutie came through the Ajax Cape Town academy, but has been out of the country for the last few seasons at clubs in India and Sweden.

Whether it’s just a keep-fit exercise, or whether Hunt is looking at the experienced duo with a view to possible contracts, only time will tell.

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Mpumalanga mom who allegedly poisoned her four children in court

Zinhle Maditla, the mother to four children who were found dead at their home in Klarinet, Emalahleni near Mpumalanga, is back in court on Monday after being detained for almost six months in police custody. She is to hear her fate regarding her bail application.

She allegedly killed her children – eight-year-old Minenhle, seven-year-old Blessing, three-year-old Shaniqua, and 11-month-old Ethen – at her rented room in Klarinet, eMalahleni, in December.

The 25-year-old faces four counts of premeditated murder and will on Monday find out if she will be granted bail for allegedly feeding her children rat poison. Her children’s decomposing bodies were found in December after she handed herself to the Vosman police station. She has remained in police custody pending a psychiatric evaluation into her fitness to stand trial.

Maditla has told the court that she had an argument with the father of two of her children after she had found him with another woman.

The father of the children, however, alleged that Maditla was depressed as she struggled to take care of the children on her own.

The Sowetan reports that William Shongwe, 29, said he and the woman broke up in September last year after a dispute over the lack of maintenance by the other fathers of the two children.

He said they used to fight over the issue, and the Maditla would threaten him with his children.

Police reportedly found the bodies of the children in a two-roomed house in Emalahleni.

The Citizen earlier reported that police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said police responded to the house where the decomposing bodies, with no visible wounds, were found.

He said the children were two girls, aged four and eight, and two boys, aged seven years and 11 months.

“The bodies were in the early stage of decomposition. Neighbours said they last saw the children at their home on December 26. The bodies had no visible wounds and the motive for the murder is not known at this stage.

“A postmortem would be conducted to determine the cause of death.”

(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko)

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Report: Women, People Of Color Were Elected At Same Rate As White Men In 2018

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