When the Nurse Happens to Be Your Mom:

first_imgWith no new cases to report in the past few days, the dust seems to be gradually settling around the ebola virus scare which literally rocked the nation in the month of April. This could not have been achieved without the effective response of Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other national and international stakeholders; as well as the immense support received from friendly nations such as the United States and the People’s Republic of China. For the good health we continue to enjoy, every Liberian owes you great debt of gratitude.Although service providers continue to wear their gloves in various businesses and individuals continue to use hand sanitizers after every handshake, one can safely say, that if nothing at all, the ebola threat clearly reawakened Liberians to increased hygiene and personal responsibility.Looking back, we realize that throughout the entire month’s episode, health care workers were at the forefront of it all: attending to patients, following up on supposed rumors, assisting in efforts to quarantine suspected cases, collecting blood samples for analysis, raising awareness, etc. In an effort to contain the situation, this close range contact exposed health care workers to disease risks several hundred times more pronounced than that of the average citizen. Just think about it. The nurse on duty at the time could have been your mother. The doctor could have been your uncle. The physician assistant could have been your friend. But yet, their health and safety was continuously placed in clear and present danger, all in an effort to perform their sacred duty of preserving the sanctity of human life-yours and mine.While health care workers, by virtue of training, are generally the most cautious of all professionals, religiously wearing gloves and  appropriate protective clothing as well as washing their hands before and after attending to patients, in general, people’s exposure to communicable diseases, harmful substances or high risk environments tend to be directly proportional to their occupation. For lifetime miners, it’s susceptibility to some forms of cancer, for farmers using pesticides, it’s possible respiratory distress, for construction workers, it’s injuries and falls and for health care workers, as we saw in the ebola outbreak in neighboring Guinea in which many medics contracted the disease and lost their lives, it was increased risk of exposure to a deadly communicable disease.As we revisit the drawing board and attempt to extract the lessons learnt and perhaps define the way forward following such a drastic disease scare, the often forgotten field of environmental and occupational health demands a careful revisit. According to the National Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, “The Government of Liberia is legally obliged and committed to ensuring a healthy and safe working environment for all employees in both the public and private sectors of Liberia. How we ensure the health and safety of Liberia’s recovering workforce across all sectors of society is crucial.The case of the recent ebola threat is just a resounding reminder of just how interconnected our lives really are and a reflection of just how susceptible we each are to the workplace exposures of our loved ones. Most importantly, it is reawakening to the consciousness that in the fragile national public health puzzle, we too, as employers or employees, decision makers or advocates, policy formulators or enforcers, young or old, rich or poor, male or female, play major roles by the things we do or fail to in our individual lives as well as in the workplace.So, before we close this rather dramatic chapter and move on to other more appealing ventures, as is so common in the face of victory, let’s be reminded dear reader, that the recent ebola threat along with the many other workplace hazards we each encounter each day—potential fire incidences, falls and strains, injuries and fractures from handling heavy duty equipment, exposure to communicable diseases, possible cancer risks from handling harmful substances—are just more reasons why environmental and occupational health must be revisited and prioritized.Author’s affiliation:  M. Sc., Environmental Health-Harvard School of Public Health, Cyprus International Institute B. Sc. Zoology, emphasis Public Health-University of Ghana-Legon, 2012 Harvard Cyprus Program FellowShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UConn-Kentucky For NCAA Title

first_imgARLINGTON, Texas — Connecticut and Kentucky couldn’t have met in last year’s championship game and few people gave them a chance to be in this year’s.Seventh-seeded Connecticut and eighth-seeded Kentucky meet April 7 night in one of the unlikeliest NCAA championship games ever.Neither was around in last year’s postseason — Connecticut because of a tournament ban over academic issues; Kentucky because it didn’t make the field. And neither looked like national title contenders at times this season.Kentucky (29-10) and its outstanding freshmen went from preseason No. 1 to out of the rankings after some bad losses. And Connecticut (31-8) was not a popular postseason pick after finishing tied for third in the American Athletic Conference with multiple losses to Louisville and SMU.In the tournament, the Huskies have stopped some of the country’s top guards and put themselves in position for their fourth national championship, the previous three under Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun.“Hopefully we have an opportunity to fall back on our defense,” second-year coach Kevin Ollie said. “We have been doing that the whole year.”If Kentucky has a chance to win in the final minute, that defense better pay attention to guard Aaron Harrison, one of five freshmen starters.He has hit huge 3-pointers in the Wildcats’ last three games. Harrison rattled in a 26-footer with 5.7 seconds to go in the 74-73 win over Wisconsin in the semifinals.He made almost the exact same shot with 2.3 seconds left against Michigan for a 75-72 win that sent the Wildcats to the Final Four. Against Louisville, he hit a 3 with 39 seconds left to give Kentucky the lead for good in a 74-69.“The biggest thing is he’s not afraid to miss,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “He’s OK with it. He’s comfortable in his own skin. … If you’re going to make those kind of shots, you absolutely cannot be afraid to miss them.”These two programs have combined to win six of the last 18 NCAA titles. “Playing against Connecticut, I mean, I’m just happy we’re still playing,” Calipari said. Neither program could say that last year.Connecticut was banned from the postseason after failing to meet NCAA academic standard. It had practice limitations and lost a scholarship. The players could have transferred but didn’t. The Huskies finished 20-10 in Ollie’s first year. They took the hit and made it back to the biggest stage.“It’s actually very impressive,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “To see that team hold together. I think it’s a commitment to those young men on that team that hung together.”The leader of the group is All-American Shabazz Napier who leads the team in almost every statistical category. He’s the guy who makes the big shot or big pass. Fellow guard Ryan Boatright has taken some of the spotlight recently for his defensive performances against the likes of Keith Appling of Michigan State and Scottie Wilbekin of Florida.“Defense is the biggest thing for me. The points will come,” Boatright said. “I want to make him uncomfortable, don’t let him get in a rhythm or flow. Their guards, God blessed them with height and they will try to take advantage of smaller guys like us but I’ve been the smaller guy my whole life and I’ve never backed down.”Kentucky is playing its best basketball lately, led by big man Julius Randle and the Harrison twins. “We just had too much talent and we saw in spurts how good we could be,” Randle said, “so it just felt like it was a matter of time before it clicked.”This is Calipari’s fourth Final Four, but the first two — Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2008 — were vacated over NCAA rules violations.Now the Wildcats are on an 11-game winning streak in the NCAA tournament and they are one win from a ninth national championship for Kentucky.“We all play the game of basketball to compete against the best,” Napier said. “This is one of them games. … They worked hard to get to this point and we did too. We’re going to do our best to get this ‘W.’”(Jim O’Connell, AP Basketball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more