A little nostalgic


This week I have been nostalgic. I miss the good old days at MACOS and the great times of UMU. Back in high  school, I was very active guy and I remember no school function would be complete without me. There was the SMART Partnership and the celebrations of the day of the African Child.  In 2001, I directed a play and we staged it at Speke Resort Munyonyo for the visiting Heads of governments. We even had a one-on-one with the First Lady at State House, Nakasero. Glorious Days!

2002, my team was again part of the celebrations of the day of the African child. This was held at the now Serena Conference Centre. When professor Okey Ndibe visited Uganda, I was on the committe that welcomed him – representing the students of Uganda. Those days, I used to shine. I was woah!!!

Here is a part of me from the time. The poem below was recited to the Uganda parliamentarians on 16th June 2002 at the Serena Conference Centre.

Dream on African child

Long for a land free from hunger

Free from famine, poverty and war.

Dream on girl of Africa

That you will break the chains

That tied your great-grandmother

Denying her of basic things

Asking:

To eat or not to eat chicken?

To climb or not to climb a mango tree?

Right or wrong

She had no right

To eat on scarce resources.

Dream on boy of Africa

That you will never be forced

To join quarrels you have not started

You will not be part of the war

That denies children a good night’s sleep.

Dream on boy! Dream on girl!

That you will get work to do

And earn as much as you toil

To have a break from breaking your back

A person who works should not lack

Food to eat and water to drink.

Awake, watch out for your dream

Vanishing with vapor in the valley

A shadow in a dream

Is the right of an African child.

They say we are free to go anywhere

But malaria detains us in the house

A right to form associations

And create divisions with those that do not belong.

To be given any job to do

When I have not gone to school

Free to be represented by a lawyer

Whose fees is my lifetime’s earning!

What is the right of a poor man’s child?

Let us not talk without action

If each of us demands his right

There will be no rights left

For the children, the poor and disabled

But if all of us gave a little of our right

Enough will be there for all.

Agree to fight to give up something

And not fight to gain everything

Work more than you get

Love the neighbor

More than yourself

Then the constitutional rights

Will have meaning for all.

©Lionel BM

June 2002

 Note: UBHH is on today at Mateos

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A long month…


It is the last week of September 2010. Honestly, I do not even know what to write. It has been ventful month. On 14th, I went to Mubende for the closing ceremony of the book week with the National Library of Uganda.  While there, we had an opportunity to visit the famous Nakayima tree.

Legend has it that the spirit of Nakayima still lives in the tree. People from all walks of life come over to pay homage to the tree or the spirit.

The function was well organised with quite a number of pupils with hilarious presentations. Even the adults had their turn on the podium. However, the outdoor function was short-lived and we had to take refuge in the premises of the community library. At the end of the ceremony a number of schools as well as indivuduals receives prizes and gifts. 

On 16th, National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU) together with FEMRITE organised a Public Reading  at the National Theatre. Even Mr. Fagil Mandy was in attendance. Gaaki Kigambo of the Observer summarised the pulic reading: Here

On 17th, NABOTU gave out awards to the outstanding performers of the literary competition. Ms. Sylvia Awori graced this occasion.

The Bayimba Festival that run from 17to 19th was worth waiting for. For those of you who missed, make it a date next year.

That is all from me. It has been a hectic month, full of activity and lots of lessons. I ask God to guide me.

CELIAC DISEASE IN AFRICA: Sorcery or mere Ignorance?


 

He stands aloof and watches absent-mindedly as the other children queue up for the food. He remembers his mother’s stern warning and the hunger pangs worsen. He knows the even a morsel of the delicious moth-watering cake will surely make him ill. Meet Mike (not real name), he was born with Celiac Disease.

Mike’s parents are well-off and highly educated. According to his mother, Mrs. Kintu (not real name); shortly after his birth, Mike started showing signs and his parents immediately took him to a European hospital for check-up. The doctors did an endoscopic exam and Mike was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Mike had to stick to a gluten free diet for the rest of his life. Mike’s life was spared.

Had Mike been born in a poor family, Mike would have eventually lost his life, just like the increasingly shocking numbers of African infants between the very minor age of 6 months and 4 years that die every year particularly in the East African region. To Celiac Disease. The acute lack of awareness and subtle ignorance about the disease leads the devastated parents to think that sorcery or envious neighbors robbed them of their little ones.

Mike is alive today. He maintains a particularly lacking diet and survives on such food as vegetable, rice, beans, potatoes, small quantities of red meat, and fresh fruits. Granted, this may seem a rather healthy and outright fulfilling diet for an adult. However, as fate would have it, Mike is also lactose-intolerant. Essentially, this means that, in lay-man’s language, Mike is allergic to milk in its natural form and all its by-products.

Celiac Disease (CD) is a permanent inflammatory disease of the small intestine triggered by the ingestion of gluten-containing cereals in genetically predisposed individuals. It is a lifelong autoimmune intestinal disorder. Damage to the mucosal surface of the small intestine is caused by an immunologically toxic reaction to the ingestion of gluten and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Celiac Disease (CD) is unique in that a specific food component, gluten, has been identified as the trigger. Gluten is the common name for the offending proteins in specific cereal grains that are harmful to persons with celiac disease. These proteins are found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro), and related grains: rye, barley, and triticale and must be eliminated.

CD was first described in the second century AD by Aretaeus of Cappadocia, a contemporary of the Roman physician Galen, who used the Greek word “koeliakos”, which means “suffering of the bowels”. However, only in 1888 AD did Samuel Gee of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital give the classical clinical description of CD.

The cause of Celiac Disease, also known as celiac sprue, or gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE), is unknown. Celiac Disease occurs in 5-15% of the offspring and siblings of a person with celiac disease. In 70% of identical twin pairs, both twins have the disease. It is strongly suggested that family members be tested, even if asymptomatic. Family members who have an autoimmune disease are at a 25% increased risk of having celiac disease.

CD displays itself with the following symptoms:

Recurring bloating, gas, or abdominal pain
• Chronic diarrhea or constipation or both

Bone or joint pain
• Behavior changes/depression/irritability
• Vitamin K Deficiency
• Fatigue, weakness or lack of energy
• Delayed growth or onset of puberty
• Failure to thrive (in infants)
• Missed menstrual periods
• Infertility in male & female
• Spontaneous miscarriages
• Canker sores inside the mouth
• Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel

And many others.

 

In any case, there is little or no research on this disease in East Africa. The principal ideals behind this article are the commencement of an awareness program, with particular emphasis on CD and any other diseases that are not generally known about in the region. It is important that these are brought to the light and addressed duly by the concerned parties. There is also an urgent need to formally address the problem especially to those that can not possibly afford treatment and are generally ignorant.

I am in the process of establishing an awareness campaign concurrently with a patients’ association for Celiac disease in East Africa. I am still in infant stages and I am appealing for support and any form of assistance.
Creating Celiac Disease Awareness in Africa.