Sunday, 20 January 2013


Anti-Retroviral Drugs

Human Immunodeficiency Virus-HIV that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first clinically discovered in 1981 in United States and since then it has claimed several lives. There are currently 34.2 million people around the world that live with the virus according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The origin of HIV has been shrouded in a lot of mysteries. There are several conspiracy theories that have come up to try and explain how the virus came to being however, none of them has been proven. One of the theories alleges that the virus was actually manufactured in a lab by scientists from the colonists. According to this school of thought, the aim of the colonists was to wipe out clean inhabitants of Africa so that they could take over the resources. Perhaps that may explain the high rates of infection in the African continent as compared with other continents. However, no evidence has been produced to support the claims. The other theory suggests that the virus might have come from Chimps and significant research has been done to prove this-actually there is a resemblance between Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) found in Chimpanzees and HIV.
The search for HIV/AIDS cure has been ongoing since the first case of infection was discovered. Scientists around the world have been cracking their heads to find the cure to this virus. After years of intensive research, 1987, the first Anti-Retroviral drug was produced, AZT debuts. This was a major breakthrough in medical research given that the patients died within a relatively shorter time. The Anti-Retroviral Drug restrains the growth and reproduction of HIV hence extending the lifetime of the patient. However, the drug remains above the reach of the poor who are the majority. The drug costs about $159 or Ksh.13, 356 per person per year.

Since the discovery of Anti-Retroviral drugs, cure is yet to be found, at least on record. However in 2011 renowned scientist Prof. Arthur Obel claimed he could cure the virus with his drug christened ‘Pearl Omega’ but he refused to reveal the formula. The controversial professor was quickly ruled out with the authorities saying that he was causing anxiety and false hope among the public. That maybe true but he was not given a chance to defend his claim.

Prof. Obel might be one among many others who have claimed to have found a cure but were silenced before even given the platform to prove their claims. This brings one pertinent question; is there will to find the cure? Have people conspired to ensure the cure remains a mirage while continuing raking in millions of shillings in the production of ARV’s?

HIV/AIDS has transformed from a pandemic to a very profitable sub-sector in the health industry. Come to think of it, how many people have secured employment since the discovery of the first infection? Medical research centers have been set up across the world in a bid to find the ‘cure’ and as such received grants courtesy of HIV/AIDS. Pharmaceutical companies are perhaps the largest beneficiaries as they sell ARV’s for millions of patients, condoms for protection, test kits and on top of that receive research grants.
Funds have been set up to support fight against HIV/AIDS especially in less developed countries who are the biggest casualties. Closer home, Non-Governmental Organizations-NGOs have mushroomed everywhere purportedly addressing various issues in the fight against AIDS. Some have gone ahead to set up ghost NGO’s who receive grants for the campaigns while others exist but disappear after receiving the grant.
AIDS has sadly become a business venture where individuals are profiteering at the expense of others. Nobody in the entire HIV/AIDS Ltd is really interested in finding the cure since they will significantly reduce their profit margin or lose out completely. The NGOs would no longer be relevant, condom sales will drop, and jobs will be lost and slashing of research grant among others. So they would rather maintain the status-quo.

Some argue that HIV/AIDS is the disease prophesied in the bible that will have no cure though the bible does not out rightly mention the disease. There are many non-curable diseases so we can’t peg our argument on that. The disease maybe a man made and has been a profitable venture since its advent. Expect no cure at least in the foreseeable future as profit remains the bottom principle.

Personalities in Group Assignments

Group Work/

Eight out every ten students you meet do not like group assignments. Many students loathe working in groups yet the lecturers seem to like this method of assessment perhaps because it reduces load of work especially in cases where the classes are large. Most students claim that group tasks are difficult to accomplish owing to the uncooperative nature of the group members. Scholars in Organizational Behaviour recommend that a group should have five members and if it goes overboard, then a maximum of seven members.
However, the groups have members of varying personalities and character which dictates success or failure of a particular group. Let’s walk through some of these personalities and characters you may have encountered in a group.
The Absentee: Like the name suggests, he/she never attends any of the group meetings. They tend to be arrogant and have a care-free attitude, never bothers with the task at hand. They think others were born to work for them. When the results are released they will be the first to criticize the group’s performance.
The Braggart: They usually think that they are genius and know more than other group members. He/she rudely interrupts other members with statements like “No! That’s wrong! Which book are you quoting from?” When giving examples he/she boasts about this and that. The bragging gets worse in instances that the group is dominated by one of either gender.
The Water Melon: These people have a tendency of attending one meeting and skipping the next one. They usually come late and leave early claiming that they have other ‘business’ to attend. When present, they participate in the group deliberations and somehow they tend to be humorous.
The Pumpkin: These people tend to just sit during group discussions with blank stares at the moderator. When asked a question or to contribute they are like “Hata sijui.Aki hiyo swali ni moto”. When the task is delegated they usually hand in a quarter of a page copy pasted from Wikipidia while the lecturer on the hand requires a minimum of thirty pages. However, pumpkins are loyal and committed to the group. They attend all the group meetings.
The Team player: He/she attends all meetings and comes on time. If he/she thinks that he/she will be caught up somewhere for whatever reason, he/she apologizes in advance. They participate fully in the discussion and is concerned about the group’s performance but fear responsibility.
The Moderator: He/she is commonly referred to as the ‘chairperson’ mainly because he/she leads the group discussion. He/she possesses the team player however takes responsibilities of the group affairs. He/she sees to it that the work has been done and is satisfactory.
The Lone Ranger: This category is quite different from those above. They usually don’t have groups as a result resort to do the group work single handedly. One thing that stands out in this category is that they are anti-social and as such have few or no friends at all.
As much as you love to hate it, group work is important. It is a litmus test of your interpersonal skills which is vital in organizations. Group work gives one an opportunity to develop our reasoning ability, communication skills and even boosting our self-esteem. So where do you fall?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A Man Deliberately Gets Infected With HIV/AIDS

Everyday we are bombarded with startling information.  Last year, a research conducted among the Kenyan youth showed that the ladies fear getting pregnant more than contracting HIV/AIDS. Weird right? So, what can make you to deliberately infect yourself with the ‘dreaded’ virus?

Golden Handshake
Jackson (not his real name) who hails from Kisumu County was an employee of Kenya Railways but he lost his job when the corporation carried out massive retrenchment that saw hundreds of employees lose their jobs. Jackson came back home with the golden handshake, built new houses for his two wives and went ahead to marry a third wife. Jackson was now the talk of the village. His homestead had many visitors as people came to watch news and football in his new television powered by solar panel. The solar panel had just enough energy to power the television and also to do lighting in the home. 

The number of villagers who came to watch news increased as Jackson was providing supper everyday for his visitors. When the news of Jackson’s ‘generousity’ went round the village, he began receiving more visitors who trooped in fifteen minutes before the news and would not leave until they took supper. The habit by the villagers was straining his finances but he couldn’t stop since he needed to maintain his image as a man with deep pockets but as it turned out it was unsustainable; the TV suddenly became dysfunctional.
Life was now difficult as taking care of his three wives as the money was no more. The wives engaged in farming though the soil in that area is not very productive but they were at least able to get something considerable.

Four homesteads away from Jackson’s home was Caroline’s home. Caroline was once married as a second wife to a man who used to work for the government but he succumbed to the virus owing to promiscuity of his first wife (who died shortly after him) while he was away at work in town.
Caroline, about one month after her husband’s death shocked the village when she screamed her lungs out around 10PM in the night. Neighbours responded to her distress call and ran to her home only to find her crying that she is lonely and needs a man to warm her bed.

That marked the beginning of suitors who came to warm Caro’s bed. Three years since her husband’s death, Caroline was now having three children each with a different father. She had not bore any child with her husband since he was apparently barren. However, one of the suitors who inherited her had infected her with HIV/AIDS and unfortunately, the child was also infected. The child could have been infected during birth given that she did not deliver in the hospital. When her health began to deteriorate she was taken to the hospital and the doctors broke the news to her. She lived in denial and at last fellow women in the village convinced her to enroll for the Anti-Retroviral drug program provided for free in government hospitals.

Meanwhile, Caroline had been pursuing her husband’s employment benefits with little success. After making several trips to Nairobi city, the Ksh.700, 000 was released. As always such news usually spread like bushfire in the village. Once again Caroline was spoilt for choice as suitors came to inherit her despite her HIV status. This time round Jackson was one of the suitors. He made several trips to her home and not long after Caroline was pregnant.

 Jackson’s three wives stormed Caroline’s home baying for her blood. They were angered by the fact that Caroline knew her HIV status but went ahead to sleep with their husband. Caroline ran for her dear life as she saw the women approaching the gate. After the scuffle, the third wife packed her stuff and went back to her parent’s home saying that she cannot get infected with HIV. “I’d rather die of any other disease but not AIDS” She was heard saying while walking out of the home in protest. However, the other two women remained put.

Waiting for Death
When Jackson was apparently asked why he went ahead to make out with Caroline notwithstanding the fact that he knew her status he said that he had nothing to live for and that he was waiting for his death. The village pundits argued that he was lured by the money. Meanwhile, word has gone round the village that Caroline wants to put up an ultra post-modern house with the benefits.

Anger as the Newly Elevated National Schools Inflate Fees

Kisumu Girls Students

Parents were treated to a rude shock when schools opened for the term one as they got the revised fee structures. It is now emerging that the newly elevated national secondary schools have doubled in other extreme cases tripled their school fees. For instance, in Baringo High School, Baringo County, the parents were paying approximately Ksh.24, 000 as at last year but this year, the school management revised the fee structure and now parents are required to part with Ksh.48, 000, double the amount they used to pay last year. In another case in Kisumu County, parents of students in Kisumu Girls (which was the only girls’ school to be elevated in the county) increased their school fees to a staggering Ksh. 70,000 down from Ksh.30, 000. “That amount can cater for two academic years for my son who is in the university!” said a parent who was rather astonished by the inflated school fees.

New Status
It is not understood on what basis the schools decided to increase the school fees given that the government through the Ministry of Education disbursed Ksh.25 million to each school for upgrading of its facilities to that of a national school. It is not clear weather the government sanctioned the move by the schools but in common practice the fee structure is revised after carrying out consultations with the parents and approval by the government. The government is yet to respond to this unfortunate trend. It is widely believed that the hiking of the school fee has been undertaken owing to the new status that the schools have attained.
Locking Out Needy Students
The government decided to increase the number of national schools to create more space for the students going to the schools which usually perform exceptionally than the county and district secondary schools. However, bright students from needy families have missed out the chance to learn in the best schools since they cannot afford the usually extremely high school fees. Some parents have decided to pull out their students saying that they cannot to pay the revised fee. “I have three children in the institutions of higher learning with two in the university privately sponsored and one in college. I cannot afford to pay the new school fees” Said one of the parents. The move by the newly upgraded national schools to increase their school fees will lock more students from less fortunate families to join the schools.