Tagged: AIDS

  • Small beginnings, big impact

    I have always believed in the power of microcredit to change lives. A visit to rabbit farmer George Kihanya’s home in the Kenya Rift Valley District convinced me beyond all doubt. Kihanya’s success shows that if well implemented, community-based credit and savings schemes can turn around the lives of many rural families.

    In 2002, Kihanya was caring for his ailing mother. Newly married, he eked out a living growing maize, beans and potatoes.

    Kihanya’s fortunes changed after he started keeping rabbits. Now, he earns on average Sh60,000 (US$650) a month.

    Kihanya was introduced to rabbit farming during a course organized by the Catholic Relief Services, one of the partners in the APHIAPlus program led by FHI.
    Kihanya was chosen by his local church to be trained as a community health worker. He, along with other volunteers, was trained on how to prevent diseases, including HIV, and to link vulnerable children and families to HIV treatment, care and support. Volunteers also learned about farming and other activities, including rabbit farming, to improve food security for their families and communities.

    Inspired by Kihanya’s success, scores of families in the community are now earning money by raising rabbits.

  • Fatuma: A beacon of hope for families affected by HIV

    I first met Fatuma Juma about a year ago in her home town of Nakuru, Kenya, a two-hour drive northwest of Nairobi. A 42-year-old single mother of three, Fatuma is naturally talkative and laughs a lot. Within minutes of meeting, we were chatting like old friends reunited. Fatuma told me how she overcame the shock of finding out she was HIV-positive to become a pillar of hope for many in her community.

    Six years ago, Fatuma had a persistent cough. She visited the local public hospital where doctors discovered she had tuberculosis. Health workers advised her to take a test for HIV. She was HIV-positive.

    She lived in denial until she met social workers in APHIAPlus, a USAID-funded program implemented by FHI in collaboration with the Kenya Council of Imams and Ulamas.

    The social workers counseled and helped her to join a support group. Fatuma was trained as a peer educator and community health worker.
    Due to her positive attitude and willingness to help others, Fatuma has established a reputation as a good counselor. Working with others in the program, she helps families, especially the children, get health care and other services such as education and business skills. Her inspiring story is one of triumph and resilience against major odds.

  • Early symptoms of lung cancer

    Lung cancer is increasingly becoming one of the leading killers of not only smokers but, a symptoms of lung cancer large segment of the population in many countries around the world, with alarming incidences in China and India.

    Malignant lung tumors have been on the rise 10-15% since the 1900’s. In the 1950’s a British Doctors Study was published that provided strong evidence that there was a link between lung cancer and smoking. Studies that documented the early symptoms of lung cancer in 1964, prompted the U.S. Surgeon General to recommend that people actually stop smoking.

    While it is true that other causes have been linked to lung cancer, such as exposure to radon gas, first acknowledged in miners in the 1870’s, asbestos and certain viruses, cigarette smoking has been determined to be the leading cause. There are some 60 known carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Over 91% of lung cancer deaths around the world have been attributed to smoking. The lifetime risk of cancer developing in male smokers is 17%. Women that engage in hormone therapy and that smoke are at even higher risk of developing early symptoms of lung cancer.

    When a person stops smoking their chances of lung cancer drastically symptoms of lung cancer in women begin to lower, the body is able to repair some of the lung damage and repair itself. One of the problems for non-smokers is that of passive smoking, which is described as inhalation of smoke from someone who is smoking. Studies conducted in the U.K, Europe and the United States consistently show that there is a relative risk to those exposed., with rates as high as 10-15% being reported in patients that have never smoked. Some research suggests that indirect smoke inhaled is often more dangerous then the smoke inhaled through the cigarette itself.

    Some of the early symptoms of lung cancer may include bone pain, fever, and weight loss; more common symptoms are wheezing, hoarse voice, coughing up blood, shortness of breath and chronic coughing. Tumors are common as well, often malignant and can easily lead to metastasis to include cancer of the brain, bone, liver, kidneys, and nearly all areas of the body. There are a small percentage of people who do not suffer any noticeable early symptoms of lung cancer; approximately 10% diagnosed have their cancer detected coincidently through a routine chest x-ray.

    The use of CT imaging provides the most through examination and extent of the disease,

    Abnormal findings warrant biopsy or bronchoscopy symptoms of lung cancer in men to determine the stage of the lung cancer. The histological type determines the stage of the cancer itself and any treatment alternatives. It is recommended that periodic checkups with your physician or physician’s assistant be mandated to minimize and treat early symptoms of lung cancer before it can spread or become fatal.