World Leaders Join New Drive to Beat Non-Communicable Diseases

A group set to propose bold and innovative solutions to accelerate prevention and control of the leading killers on the planet – non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has been formed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new high-level commission comprises of heads of state and ministers, leaders in health and development and entrepreneurs.

The non-communicable diseases include heart and lung disease, cancers, and diabetes.

Seven in 10 deaths globally every year are from NCDs, the main contributors to which are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. More than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 70 years die from NCDs annually.

Low- and lower-middle income countries are increasingly affected, with half of the premature deaths from NCDs occurring in those countries. Many lives can be saved from NCDs through early diagnosis and improved access to quality and affordable treatment, as well as a whole-of-government approach to reducing the main risk factors.

President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay noted that NCDs are the world’s leading avoidable killers but the world is not doing enough to prevent and control them.

“We have to ask ourselves if we want to condemn future generations from dying too young, and living lives of ill health and lost opportunity. The answer clearly is ‘no.’ But there is so much we can do to safeguard and care for people, from protecting everyone from tobacco, harmful use of alcohol, and unhealthy foods and sugary drinks, to giving people the health services they need to stop NCDs in their tracks,” said Dr.Vazquez.

Mr. Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases and Commission member, on the other hand, said that for the first time in history, more people are dying of non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, than infectious diseases.

“This loss of human life spares no one — rich or poor, young or old – and it imposes heavy economic costs on nations. The more public support we can build for government policies that are proven to save lives – as this Commission will work to do – the more progress we’ll be able to make around the world,” added Mr. Bloomberg.

The World Health Assembly has endorsed the set of WHO “best buys” and other cost-effective interventions proven to prevent or delay most premature NCD deaths. Such measures, which can be readily scaled up in countries, target prevention and treatment of, and raising awareness about, NCDs.

Individualized, Supportive Care Key to Positive Childbirth Experience, WHO

WHO has issued new recommendations to establish global care standards for healthy pregnant women and reduce unnecessary medical interventions.

Worldwide, an estimated 140 million births take place every year. Most of these occur without complications for women and their babies.

Yet, over the past 20 years, practitioners have increased the use of interventions that were previously only used to avoid risks or treat complications, such as oxytocin infusion to speed up labor or cesarean sections.

“We want women to give birth in a safe environment with skilled birth attendants in well-equipped facilities. However, the increasing medicalization of normal childbirth processes are undermining a woman’s own capability to give birth and negatively impacting her birth experience,” says Dr. Princess Nothemba Simelela, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women, Children, and Adolescents.

“If labor is progressing normally, and the woman and her baby are in good condition, they do not need to receive additional interventions to accelerate labor,” she says.

Childbirth is a normal physiological process that can be accomplished without complications for the majority of women and babies. However, studies show a substantial proportion of healthy pregnant women undergo at least one clinical intervention during labor and birth. They are also often subjected to needless and potentially harmful routine interventions.

The new WHO guideline includes 56 evidence-based recommendations on what care is needed throughout labor and immediately after for the woman and her baby.

These include having a companion of choice during labor and childbirth; ensuring respectful care and good communication between women and health providers; maintaining privacy and confidentiality; and allowing women to make decisions about their pain management, labor and birth positions and natural urge to push, among others.

The new WHO guideline recognizes that every labor and childbirth is unique and that the duration of the active first stage of labor varies from one woman to another. In a first labor, it usually does not extend beyond 12 hours. In subsequent labors it usually does not extend beyond 10 hours.

To reduce unnecessary medical interventions, the WHO guideline states that the previous benchmark for cervical dilation rate at 1 cm/hr during the active first stage of labour (as assessed by a partograph or chart used to document the course of a normal labour) may be unrealistic for some women and is inaccurate in identifying women at risk of adverse birth outcomes.

The guideline emphasizes that a slower cervical dilation rate alone should not be a routine indication for intervention to accelerate labor or expedite birth.

“Many women want a natural birth and prefer to rely on their bodies to give birth to their baby without the aid of medical intervention,” says Ian Askew, WHO Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research. “Even when a medical intervention is wanted or needed, the inclusion of women in making decisions about the care they receive is important to ensure that they meet their goal of a positive childbirth experience.”

Unnecessary labor interventions are widespread in low-, middle- and high-income settings, often putting a strain on already scarce resources in some countries, and further widening of the equity gap.

As more women give birth in health facilities with skilled health professionals and timely referrals, they deserve a better quality of care. About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day – the majority could be prevented with high-quality care in pregnancy and during childbirth.

Disrespectful and non-dignified care is prevalent in many health facilities, violating human rights and preventing women from accessing care services during childbirth. In many parts of the world, the health provider controls the birthing process, which further exposes healthy pregnant women to unnecessary medical interventions that interfere with the natural childbirth process.

Achieving the best possible physical, emotional, and psychological outcomes for the woman and her baby requires a model of care in which health systems empower all women to access care that focuses on the mother and child.

Health professionals should advise healthy pregnant women that the duration of labor varies greatly from one woman to another. While most women want a natural labor and birth, they also acknowledge that birth can be an unpredictable and risky event and that close monitoring and sometimes medical interventions may be necessary.

Even when interventions are needed or wanted, women usually wish to retain a sense of personal achievement and control by being involved in decision making, and by rooming in with their baby after childbirth.

Foreign Investors Ended the Week with a Dwindled Activity at the NSE

Foreign investor activity declined to 54.4 percent of total market activity from 67.20 percent recorded previously.

Activity was mostly in Safaricom Limited, Equity Group Holdings, Diamond Trust Bank Kenya, KCB Group Ltd and DTK.

For the second session, DTK logged the highest net inflows while KCB recorded the highest net outflows.

The foreign desk recorded net outflows in the session compared to inflows on Thursday.

NASI closed 0.02 percent higher, while NSE-20 and NSE-25 closed lower in the session.

Turnover reduced 24.5 percent to 808 million shillings from 1.1 billion shillings recorded previously.

Activity was mainly in the Banking sector counters, Safaricom Limited and East African Breweries Ltd.

For the second session, Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Ltd received the most interest with bullish sentiment from foreign investors. The counter was unchanged in price at 210 shillings.

Bonds turnover retreated to 2.82 billion shillings on 49 deals in today’s session from 4.42 billion shillings recorded in the previous session on 47 deals.

Kenyan Constitution: Chapter Three Articles 12 to 14

Article 12

  1. Every citizen is entitled to:

a) the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship, subject to the limits provided or permitted by this Constitution; and

b) a Kenyan passport and any document of registration or identification issued by the State to citizens.

       2. A passport or other document referred to in clause (1) (b) may be denied, suspended or confiscated only in accordance with an Act of Parliament that satisfies the criteria referred to in Article 24.

Article 13

  1. Every person who was a citizen immediately before the effective date retains the same citizenship status as of that date.
  2. Citizenship may be acquired by birth or registration.
  3. Citizenship is not lost through marriage or the dissolution of marriage.

Article 14

  1. A person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen.
  2. Clause (1) applies equally to a person born before the effective date, whether or not the person was born in Kenya, if either the mother or father of the person is or was a citizen.
  3. Parliament may enact legislation limiting the effect of clauses (1) and (2) on the descendants of Kenyan citizens who are born outside Kenya.
  4. A child found in Kenya who is, or appears to be, less than eight years of age, and whose nationality and parents are not known, is presumed to be a citizen by birth.
  5. A person who is a Kenyan citizen by birth and who has ceased to be a Kenyan citizen because the person acquired citizenship of another country, is entitled on application to regain Kenyan citizenship.

Read: Kenyan Constitution: Chapter Two, Articles 4 -11

Kenyan Constitution: Chapter Three Articles 15 to 18, Citizenship

Article 15

  1. A person who has been married to a citizen for a period of at least seven years is entitled on application to be registered as a citizen.
  2. A person who has been lawfully resident in Kenya for a continuous period of at least seven years, and who satisfies the conditions prescribed by an Act of Parliament, may apply to be registered as a citizen.
  3. A child who is not a citizen, but is adopted by a citizen, is entitled on application to be registered as a citizen.
  4. Parliament shall enact legislation establishing conditions on which citizenship may be granted to individuals who are citizens of other countries.
  5. This Article applies to a person as from the effective date, but any requirements that must be satisfied before the person is entitled to be registered as a citizen shall be regarded as having been satisfied irrespective of whether the person satisfied them before or after the effective date, or partially before, and partially after, the effective date.

Article 16

A citizen by birth does not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country.

Article 17

(1) If a person acquired citizenship by registration, the citizenship may be revoked if —

(a) the person acquired the citizenship by fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact;
(b) the person has, during any war in which Kenya was engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in or associated with any business that was knowingly carried on in such a manner as to assist an enemy in that war;
(c) the person has, within five years after registration, been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three years or longer; or
(d) the person has, at any time after registration, been convicted of treason, or of an offence for which–

(i) a penalty of at least seven years imprisonment may be imposed; or
(ii) a more severe penalty may be imposed.

(2) The citizenship of a person who was presumed to be a citizen by birth, as contemplated in Article 14 (4), may be revoked if:

(a) the citizenship was acquired by fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact by any person;
(b) the nationality or parentage of the person becomes known, and reveals that the person was a citizen of another country; or
(c) the age of the person becomes known, and reveals that the person was older than eight years when found in Kenya.

Article 18

Parliament shall enact legislation:

(a) prescribing procedures by which a person may become a citizen;
(b) governing entry into and residence in Kenya;
(c) providing for the status of permanent residents;
(d) providing for voluntary renunciation of citizenship;
(e) prescribing procedures for revocation of citizenship;
(f) prescribing the duties and rights of citizens; and
(g) generally giving effect to the provisions of this Chapter.

Read: Kenyan Constitution: Chapter Three Articles 12 to 14


Safaricom’s High Value Customers Introduced to Newly Launched Platinum Proposition

Safaricom has launched the Platinum Proposition, which targets high-value customers with value that matches their lifestyles.

This innovative digital-only proposition is only available on MySafaricom App and offers customers a range of monthly plans with voice, SMS and data services, as well as access to lifestyle-friendly offers in partnership with brands such as Shell, and Ticketsasa.

According to Sylvia Mulinge, Director – Consumer Business, Safaricom, they are proactively working towards transforming Safaricom into more than a telco in line with their brand spirit of Twaweza.

“We’re gradually evolving into a lifestyle brand as we seek to develop more intimate relationships with our customers and deliver more personalized products and services,” said Sylvia Mulinge.

Mulinge added that Platinum is targeted at the discerning professionals, who form 17 percent of the total Safaricom customer base and are known to spend a lot of time online.

“That’s why data is a big focus with this new offering, because these subscribers are looking for plans that accommodate their usage and fit into their lifestyles,” said Mulinge.

Customers have two options when they sign up for Platinum: Platinum Plus and Platinum. Platinum Plus is a monthly plan that comes with data limits of up to 40GB and 4,000 voice minutes, while Platinum allows subscribers to consume and renew their subscriptions as they go, using airtime or M-PESA, with up to 30GB of data and 3,000 voice minutes depending on the subscription value.

Platinum and Platinum Plus subscribers will enjoy unlimited SMS and have access to a personal bill manager that will simplify bill payment by filing all the customer’s bills in one place.

Sinking Deep into Debts: Borrowing to Pay Other Debts and Looting the Leftovers

Kenya is sinking deep into debts. The country has become a borrowing nation with those on the borrowing spree singing and dancing for their ‘successes without giving a damn of the burden they are leaving to future generations.

I watched as government officials from the Treasury jumped with joy after ‘successfully’ issuing a Eurobond worth 203 billion shillings. Through their smile, one could clearly see that deep within their souls they knew the burden but they consoled themselves with the fact that it is not them who will be paying for the debt.

The politicians and the government are repeatedly telling Kenyans that the country’s debt is manageable. That we are still the ‘borrowing’ range. Most Kenyans believe that it is true we are ‘still’ within ‘the borrowing range’ but the reality is that we are not.

They say that numbers don’t like but our leaders want to convince us that numbers do lie. If numbers do lie, then Kenya should not be borrowing every left, right and center.

The issuance of the Eurobond earlier this week, much as it was the joy of the government, it just pushed Kenya’s debt to 4.8 trillion shillings. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kenya’s debt is now was at 56.2 percent of the GDP in 2017 with analysts saying that the percent might be as high as 60 percent. This was an increase from 44.0 percent of the GDP 5 years ago and 38.4 percent in 10 years ago.

As far as Kenya’s public debt is concerned, Kenya will use 40.3 percent of her revenue raised from tax to finance a debt payment in the fiscal year 2017/2018. 80 percent (of the 40.3 percent revenue) will be directed towards servicing the interests accumulated on the loans.

Kenya’s appetite to borrow appears to be increasing with each passing day. The appetite is now at a roaring level, threatening to bring the country to her knees. Globally accepted levels of borrowing by IMF are at 50.0 percent of GDP. Kenya is already above this level by more than 6 percent. How justified are our leaders, including the National Treasury in telling us that ‘we are still within a borrowing range’?

The first Eurobond we issued is maturing in June 2019. We may think that is a year away but is just ‘tomorrow.’ Possible liquidity pressure could arise from the large government debt that could even lead to further borrowing to pay it off. Already market analysts have indicated that by June this year, the public debt to GDP ratio could soar above 60.0 percent unless proper policies, which I doubt, are put in place by the government in order to control this.

Dear Kenyans, am not saying that we should not borrow, but did you know that for every three shillings collected from you as tax, one goes into servicing the interest accumulated on the debts we have?

The country has just issued the second Eurobond in 4 years. Do you know that this recent loan will cost you, as the taxpayer, 323 billion shillings as interests? Do you know that the amount collected as interest on this loan is enough to construct another Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi? The loan will mature in 30 years. Those who have taken it will not be here to pay it. Perhaps that is their consolation. But Kenya will still be here!

Already, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised concerns over the accumulating debt. According to IMF, the country is at risk of losing investors if the government will not shield its appetite to borrow.

“We have been much concerned about the flow of new debts and the size of the fiscal deficit. It will reach a point where the debt is not manageable especially when the deficit continues to rise,” Mikkelsen, IMF representative to Kenya.

Smiles as Darling Kenya Launches Premium Braid

Darling Kenya is scaling up its operations in the 25-billion-shilling market with the introduction of a premium braid.

This product is set to offer Kenyan consumers more delight, as well as care for her own hair.

The result of an extensive research and development process, Elegant Braid is made from a combination of premium light-weight fibres that ensure the hair is not pulled, hence taking care of the hairline.

This braid offers a neater, shinier finish because of its smooth texture and long-lasting sheen. The premium fibres also give Elegant Braid the best full hot water curls to ensure different styling options and keep consumers looking fashionable.

Darling Kenya Marketing Manager, Victoria Kieti-Chesire, said the introduction of the Elegant Braid leverages the brand’s continued commitment to consumer-relevant innovation and quality, as it seeks to maintain the trust it has built over generations.

“The Kenyan consumer is demanding more from brands, especially in the fashion industry. She wants brands that understand her…her aspirations, dreams, challenges, fears. She is increasingly fashion-forward and hence braids must fulfil her fashion aspirations, but still remain fun, simple and easy to manage. 

Darling puts the consumer at the heart of every innovation, ensuring every new product is the result of strong consumer insights. Professional validation by the best hair stylists ensures that our products deliver on their brand promise. This is how, at Darling, we continue to create consumer delight.

The Elegant Braid addresses the consumer pain point of heavy braids that affect their hairlines. It offers consumers a sleeker, more lustrous and shiny look that looks fresher for longer,” said Ms. Chesire.

Ms. Chesire added that the brand will seek to increase its equity and advocacy through tailor-made engagements with local salons and stylists.

Darling Kenya’s range of products include braids, synthetic weaves, wigs and crochet, which has helped the brand build a significance footprint in the region. The brand enjoys a premium position in the Kenyan market with significant market share.

“As a salon, we are excited by Darling’s investment in a high-end hair extension. It will enable us to deliver great hair, value and service to our customers. We appreciate that Darling shares

our vision and values to deliver the best quality products and services to meet the needs of our consumers,” said Dan Nduru of Daniella’s Salon and Spa.

In 2011, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) entered into a partnership with Darling Group Holdings, a leading Pan-African hair care company.

Darling, with operations in 14 countries across Africa, is a market leader in hair extension products; a category it has pioneered in the continent. In fiscal year 2017, GCPL ‘s hair extensions and wet hair care products businesses, contributed to 43 percent of the company’s revenues from international businesses.

Health Eating Trend Leads to Increase on Root-Tuber Foods

Many households have turned into the healthy eating routine which means that consumption of certain foods has increased at the expense of others.

For breakfast, foods in the tuber family tend to be consumed more as compared to the previous trend where wheat was the main companion for breakfast.

This has led to an increased market for tuber foods which include Irish Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Cassava.

We took it upon ourselves to check out market prices for these specific foods and a 99-kilogram bag of Fresh Cassava was retailing highest in Kisumu at 3,000 shillings and lowest in Nairobi at 2,300 shillings.

The same quantity was being sold at 2,600 shillings in Mombasa and 2,500 shillings in Kitale.

For Irish Potato lovers, there are two types in the market, the Red Irish Potato, and the White Irish Potato.

A 50-kilogram bag of White Irish Potato, which is widely sold as compared to the Red one has the following market prices in selected towns: 3,500 shillings in Garissa, 3,100 shillings in Kitale, 3,000 shillings in Kajiado, 2,900 shillings in Mombasa, 2,500 shillings in Nakuru, 2,400 shillings in Kakamega, 2,200 shillings in Nairobi and 1,500 shillings in Kisumu.

A 98-kilogram bag of Sweet Potato was retailing highest in Garissa at 9,800 shillings and lowest in Kakamega at 2,000 shillings as shown in the table below:

Twitter Changes Tweetdeck: Is this the Demise of Influencers?

Twitter has made some drastic changes with its Tweetdeck platforms in a move that is set to affect most influencers across the world.

In the recent changes, Twitter has blocked any attempt to want to use multiple twitter accounts, a common norm by almost all influencers in Kenya and beyond.

“One of the most violations we see is the use of multiple accounts and Twitter developer platform to attempt to artificially amplify or inflate the prominence of certain tweets,” read a statement from Twitter.

Before the changes, influencers could use multiple accounts to send out similar or different tweets at a go using the Tweetdeck platform. With the changes, one cannot send more than one tweet at a go and one is also incapable of retweeting a tweet by use of more than two accounts like it was before.

“Twitter prohibits any attempt to use automation for the purpose of posting or disseminating spam, and such behavior may result in enforcement action,” said Twitter.

Twitter says the move is an “important step in ensuring that we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter – including elections in the United States and around the world.”

According to Twitter, user or users should avoid the posting of similar or identical posts simultaneously or substantially to multiple accounts.

“As an alternative to posting identical content, you can Retweet content from one account from the other accounts you wish to share that post from. This should only be done from a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control. Please note that bulk, aggressive, or very high-volume automated Retweeting is not permitted under the Automation Rules, and may be subject to enforcement actions,” said Twitter.

Other Changes made by Twitter are as follows:

  • Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts.For example, your service should not permit a user to select several accounts they control to follow a specified account.
  • The use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as Likes or Retweets, across many accounts that have authorized your app (whether or not you created or directly control those accounts) is not permitted.For example, applications that coordinate activity across multiple accounts to simultaneously post Tweets with a specific hashtag (e.g. in an attempt to cause that topic to trend) are prohibited.
  • While we continue to permit cross-posting outside information (such as weather alerts or RSS feeds) to Twitter using automation, you should only post this content to one account you control.
  • As a sole exception to this rule, applications that broadcast or share weather, emergency, or other public service announcements of broad community interest (for example, earthquake or tsunami alerts) are permitted to post this content across multiple accounts who have authorized an app.
  • If your app or service includes features which allow users to perform simultaneous actions across multiple accounts, you should make changes to bring it into compliance with this policy by March 23, 2018. Failure to comply with these rules could result in enforcement action, up to and including the suspension of associated applications and accounts.
  • Posting duplicative or substantially similar content, replies, or mentions over multiple accounts you control, or creating duplicate or substantially similar accounts, with or without the use of automation, is never allowed.
  • Posting multiple updates (on a single account or across multiple accounts you control) to a trending or popular topic (for instance, through the use of a specific hashtag) with an intent to subvert or manipulate the topic, or to artificially inflate the prominence of a hashtag or topic, is never allowed.