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Letter to the Kenyan patient…….(from the Kenyan Doctor)


 

Dear Kenyan,

Thank you for taking your time to read this…..

6 months post internship and I still suffer from insomnia. Mine is not a unique case, but one of every Kenyan doctor that has been in the system. I look back at the highlights of my long one year to remind me of how doctors and in general Kenyans must be so angry to do something about the situation.

I can’t quite decide if it is the night I performed 2 caesarian sections with the anesthetist shining the light from his Nokia phone because the generator did not function and the operation had started, or if it is the nights that I had to beg the anesthetist to come to work for life saving operations that brings back the nostalgia. Maybe it is the worse reality of recent events of doctors performing deliveries with no gloves, of young doctors dying of renal failure because they cannot afford dialysis or renal replacement therapy.

I wish to step back from the emotional laments, to look at a typical day for a doctor. The day begins in the morning, way before 7 am to prepare for the rounds, and continues to 5 pm. In general, there are on average 3 interns in properly staffed centers and occasionally 2 interns manning a ward. This means that you get to go on call on every alternate day. On a day you are on call, the day simply does not end. On a good day you may get some minutes to have some food and get back to clear the day’s work before night time.  Beyond 5 pm, one is designated to attend to all patients through the night, with a higher burden in the surgical rotations that may require you to go to theatre though the night. The unfortunate thing is that for most of the night it is difficult to get the help of specialists in the few facilities that have them, but it is worse in areas where you cannot access the specialists. On the next morning there is no break, and you continue to work the day till 5pm in the evening to complete a 36 hour shift.

Kenyan, did you know when I can get 2 hours of sleep at night I sleep on a bench in the tea room or laundry?

I applaud the medical profession in utilizing social media in communicating our plight especially on the use of twitter and facebook as a tool of advocacy. The social media has been the tool for the Kenyan public too to lash back at the medical profession, notably one from Alice

Such comments do not offend me but make me angrier. For instance, does the Kenyan public know about the several instances this year when nights were raped this year in 2 district hospitals during night duty by some ‘patients’? Does the general Kenyan public know of the humble initiatives to try and offer free service to marginalized areas organized as health camps?  I remember my first visit to Turkana as part of a health camp, and a lady with a chronic ulcer had to walk for 2 days so that she could make it to see the doctors. There are several young children with rheumatic heart disease that we took back with use to get more specialized care.

Reaching out to rural Kenyan communities to provide health care

Due to the exposure to the TB cases in the wards, the medics carry a higher incidence of latent Tuberculosis, with several doctors on anti-Tuberculosis drugs. For a profession with no health cover, most of the doctors have at one point taken ARVs as part of post exposure prophylaxis and lack even a basic Hepatitis B immunization.

Did you know the last time you sent relief food I had to line up for some. All shops in my area of work are closed down and my money is  worthless here.

Kenyan, the truth is there is no good working environment for medical practitioners. The system fails to provide basic equipment and even minimum staffing needs.

On a different view, we doctors are angry at you, the Kenyan patient. You must remember that we are not God or magicians or miracle workers. When you as a patient makes several visits from one local traditional healer to another and bring your poisoned child and lie about it, I will not work a miracle. I have no access to ICU services and I have not toxicology support to work up what the poison is. When all people in your village go blind and you continue to drink illegal alcohol, if you continue to consume the same brew you will go blind by the time you arrive in the hospital. I appreciate second opinions, but when you keep paying money to a quark that treats you for a “weak heart” and you stop your antihypertensive medications, you will get a stroke, and there is nothing I can do about that. Moreover, if you are pregnant, but decide to stay at home with no antenatal care because the last pregnancy was fine, remember hypertension is a leading killer and if you come with eclampsia you have a high likelihood of dying. Kenyan, when was the last time you had a pap smear or visited a wellness clinic?

Point is, it is time for change. We are not perfect, we are not asking for unreasonable terms. We are human, humbled to be in a nobel profession but with family and other responsibilities. We are asking for equal rights, an overtime that you the general Kenyan get in your work, some protection regarding the higher risk of the work and environment in which we work in.

We are asking you to be responsible for your health, and help us work better. Moreover we are asking for some piece of mind, and better health for us so that we can continue to serve you better.

We are sorry for the time you got less than optimal treatment in the system. I am sorry for the time I had to send you out to look for the IV cannulas for your dehydrated child to get any fluids. You may not believe this but there were none in the hospital. For the days you were frustrated because your anemic child did not get transfused, I called all hospitals and the blood bank. I obtained blood bags to allow several children to share one pint of blood because that’s all I could get. Kenyan, when was the last time you donated blood? Kenyan, I know you preferred that I rub your back through labour which I could not. I had 20 other patients in labour at that time. I know you were in pain; there are no pain medications for use in labour in our hospitals. I couldn’t rub your back, but I ran you to theatre when you had a prolapsed cord, or came in with a ruptured uterus, and saved your life.

Kenyan, please invest in your health. You do not allow my children to attend school with no unpaid fees. At the bank, I do not get free service. Yes, I use the ‘matatu’ and pay the hiked fares during the rainy season. In fact, at your place of work you clearly put up a notice saying “For credit, come tomorrow !”. I am simply extending the same courtesy to you. My services are not for free. Have you paid up for the NHIF insurance or any form of insurance?   Do you even save for health costs? Why do you make your lack of planning my emergency? The last time you came to deliver, you did not bring any clothes for the baby. This year you did not bring baby clothes again! Please respect my work area as I respect your own.

Yours sincerely…

The frustrated Kenyan doctor…

CCK vs Media Owners


The Media Owners (Technically, most of them are media managers) and CCK are about to fight like two ladies at Kenyatta Market.

Their fight is centered on a communiqué that the CCK sent demanding that all operating broadcast houses should re-apply for their licenses by November 15. Thing is, when you re-apply FOR all the licenses you currently hold (even the un-used ones) you might LOSE! No one knows the criteria CCK is going to use to issue the new licenses.

In Kenya, most of the broadcast licenses were issued through corruption. That’s the reason politicians have their fat fingers in so many media houses. Look at RMS, the chap holds 9 radio stations. Those are hundreds of licenses since all the station are national. Not forgetting, there is a limit to the number of outlets you can own.

This is the reason radio in this country is losing its relevance. Instead of a media house concentrating on ONE brand, they’re fragmenting all over and as they try and fragment, they need new license and since politicians hold all the lucrative ones, they get into bed together. Like in the case of Homeboyz Radio, a former PS owns that frequency (The chap has shareholding (via proxy) in at least 6 radio stations) if the CCK decided to go through the paperwork, Homeboyz would lose its frequency, so would SK and half his stations. Radio Africa has three frequencies that belong to a very connected politician.

For Capital, they got lucky and dumped Mark Too (Bet you didn’t know that) Mark owned the 98.4 frequency and Linda just piggy backed  on his power and influence to delay Kiss Fm’s launch. Patrick had to join hands with the Kitonny’s (who also had baba Moi’s ear) to get their license approved.

If the CCK is serious this time, they should cancel licenses of all stations that flout broadcast rules (Classic, good morning) and all the stations that are just dead air.

Fortune 500 Companies Have Room to Grow on Social


Many are using social sites and blogs, but usage has slowed in 2011

Many of the Fortune 500, the largest companies in the US, are using Facebook, Twitter and corporate blogs, but not much has changed with their activity in the past year.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research released its latest study on social media adoption by Fortune 500 companies in October 2011. This year, the study found that 61% of Fortune 500 companies had an active Twitter account, with at least one new post in the past 30 days.

 

Fortune 500 Companies that Use Select Social Media, 2011 (% of 
total)

Looking at previous reports from the Center for Marketing Research, this percentage is up from 35% in 2009 but about the same as 2010, which was 60%. Additionally, there hasn’t been much change when it comes to public-facing corporate blogs, with 23% of Fortune 500 companies using a blog in both 2010 and 2011.

 

Fortune 500 Companies that Have a Public-Facing Corporate Blog, 
2008-2011 (% of total)

This apparent slowing down of social media adoption is interesting, as many of the Fortune 500 companies, such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Levi’s, are well-known for their social outreach. However, this may be the saturation point for social media among the largest US companies. By now, if a large company with a big budget wants to be active in social, it probably already is. And those that are not may be larger holding companies or B2B brands that do not have public-facing social media as part of their communications plan.

This plateauing is also interesting when comparing the Fortune 500 to the Inc. 500, which is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. Social buzz and outreach can contribute a lot to a company’s growth, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a socially savvy company show up on the Inc. 500.

In fact, the latest Center for Marketing Research study on Inc. 500 companies, looking at 2010, found that 86% of Inc. 500 companies think social media is very or somewhat important to their business and marketing strategy. Their focus on social is something Fortune 500 companies can learn from and, possibly, grow.

QR Codes can be dangerous ..


Be careful the next time you scan a QR code, because it might just cost you money and wreak havoc on your smartphone.

That’s the warning from Kaspersky Lab, which has noticed the first instance of QR code tampering. The incident took place in Russia last month and hoodwinked consumers who thought they were downloading an Android app called Jimm. The code actually contained malware that sent SMS codes to a premium rate number that charged for each message.

Tim Armstrong, a malware researcher at Kaspersky, says premium rate numbers operate similar to 900 numbers in the U.S. The four- to five-digit numbers charge for each incoming text, wringing cash out of unsuspecting users. Armstrong says that it’s much more difficult to set up such numbers in the U.S., but cyberthieves will soon be able to create global premium rate numbers that could theoretically attack American consumers the same way. Infected QR codes could also be used for phishing scams, Armstrong says.

Robert Siciliano, an online security analyst at McAfee, says that infected QR codes are new on the scene. “It’s just hitting the radar in the security community,” he says, adding that it’s a “pretty brilliant scheme.”

Both Armstrong and Siciliano say that consumers shouldn’t be over-cautious about QR codes at this point. Armstrong notes that there’s a interim step between scanning the code and launching an app in which consumers can determine if they’ve been scammed. “If it’s a game and it’s requesting SMS, then you know something’s wrong,” he says. Siciliano, meanwhile, says a good rule is only to click on QR codes by a known vendor or advertiser.

QR codes are more popular in Asia and Europe than in the U.S., but many advertisers, including Taco Bell and Calvin Klein, among others, have employed them. They’ve also showed up on rooftops and on a tombstone.

Mexican Blog Wars: Fourth Blogger Murdered for Reporting on Cartel


Gang members in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, killed and beheaded the moderator of a social network, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

“Hi, I’m Rascatripas,” read the note on a blood-stained blanket left with the body. “This happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn’t report on the social networks.”

The victim, known by his nickname “Rascatripas (Belly Scratcher),” was the moderator of a site called Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, which had posted information about the local drug cartel.

This is the fourth murder in the area in the past three months that appears to be related to victims’ social media activities. Another blogger on the same site, Marisol Macias Castaneda, was found beheaded in the same location as Rascatripas in late September. A couple of weeks earlier, two bodies were found hanging from a pedestrian overpass with a sign (pictured above) that threatened, “This will happen to all the Internet snitches.”

In the drug war that has killed more than 40,000 people since 2006, social media has become an important way for Mexicans to communicate news about drug cartel violence and to navigate cartel checkpoints and shootouts.

Contributors to Nuevo Laredo en Vivo urged participants on the social site to not abandon their efforts in response to Rascaripas’s murder.

“No need to worry,” wrote contributor Danlaredo as translated by Wired, “no way of knowing our data since WE’RE ALL ANONYMOUS, and the only way to know them, is that we disclose ourselves so PLEASE, follow the rules … and do not give your personal INFORMATION …. please!!!!”

80% of Smartphone Users Multitask While Watching TV


It’s been said that multitasking makes you less productive, yet that hasn’t stopped the majority of U.S. smartphone users from juggling multiple devices. As many as 80% of people multitask on a mobile device while watching TV, finds a new study.

Using a laptop in front of the TV is no new behavior, yet few TV spots capitalize on the fact many consumers hold an Internet-enabled device in their hands as commercials air. The DVR presented hurdles for advertisers a decade ago as viewers were able to fast forward through ads. Today, tablets and smartphones introduce a new challenge: A more engaged yet distracted consumer. Apps and tools, such as Shazam, might offer one way for marketers to get viewers interacting with ads.

Yahoo Mobile and RazorFish polled 2,000 U.S. adults on their mobile habits and device preferences, to help marketers better understand consumer behavior.

We pulled out 7 intriguing stats on consumer multitasking patterns.

  • 38% of respondents say browsing the web enhances their TV viewing experience, while another 38% say it makes them more distracted.
  • 70% of respondents multitask at least once a week; 49% do so daily.
  • 15% are on their phones for programs’ entire durations.
  • The top 5 programming genres attracting multitaskers are reality, news, comedy, sports and food.
  • 94% of reported multitaskers engage in some form of mobile communication while watching TV, such as exchanging email, sending IMs, texting, talking or social networking.
  • 60% browse the mobile web, of which 44% search for unrelated content and 38% search for related content.
  • Mobile traffic spikes during halftime shows of sporting events; Yahoo Sports saw a 305% increase during the last Super Bowl halftime show.

What do you think marketers can learn from these patters?

HTC Titan Coming to AT&T on November 20


HTC’s enormous Windows Phone smartphone, the 4.7-inch Titan, will be joining AT&T’s smartphone roster on November 20, the company has announced.

 

The Titan’s 4.7-inch, 800 x 480 pixel screen might be too big for some, but it’s great for multimedia which makes it a selling point for AT&T. The company jokingly says that the Titan’s large screen is “probably bigger than the TV you have at home.”

The rest of the specifications is solid although not groundbreaking: a 1.5 GHz single-core Snapdragon CPU, 512 MB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera and HSPA+ connectivity. All of that is packed into a case that measures 130.6 x 70.6 x 9.9 mm, which is bearable given the screen size.

The HTC Titan will be available in AT&T’s stores and online on November 20 for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

Tools to improve your facebook


The number of Facebook applications can seem a little overwhelming at times. While Facebook doesn’t share an exact number, an independent website called AppData monitors trends for over 100,000 Facebook applications, which is a lot to sift through.

As a business, trying to determine which of those apps can help your organization can be daunting. To get you started, here are four essential Facebook apps that allow you to better reach and communicate with your audience, as well as save you time for all those other things you have to do.


1. Tweets to Pages — Display Your Twitter Feed


Tweets to Pages, which has 1.2 million monthly active users, will create a tab on your Facebook Page that displays a timeline of your company’s most recent tweets. This is a great feature for providing additional, real-time information to Facebook users who don’t have a Twitter account and for avoiding the annoyance your fans would feel if you were to constantly stream your tweets to Facebook as wall updates. The app is very easy to set up, and the free version allows you to adjust the number of tweets that show on the Tweets to Pages tab.

If you want to upgrade to the paid version, you can better control your content limits, choose a color scheme, add a banner and allow comments on your tweets.


2. Static HTML: iframe Tabs — Create a Custom Landing Page


 

 

Static HTML: iframe tabs, which has 61.8 million monthly users, will simplify the process of making a custom landing page by automating many of the steps. Forget about creating a developer account and your own application — this app provides copy and paste textboxes for your custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It also offers checkboxes to remove the scrollbars and to enable Facebook’s FBML. If you want to incentivize Likes on your Page, the application enables you to “like-gate,” and show different content to those who have and haven’t “liked” your page.

It’s worth noting that you will still need to host your own files, and you won’t be able to remove the scrollbars for any design over 520 pixels wide and 800 pixels tall.


3. ContactMe — Add a Contact Form


 

 

ContactMe, with 180,000 monthly active users, adds a tab on your organization’s Facebook Page with a contact form. This allows anyone visiting your Facebook page to easily get in touch with you at the very moment when they’re most interested.

The biggest advantage of this app is its customization options. You can choose whether you’d prefer to show your company’s contact information or social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Skype. You can also adjust, add, remove, reorder and require specific fields through a simple user interface on contactme.com. And of course, there’s a paid option to remove the ContactMe branding, offer a custom success message and receive text message alerts when someone submits the form.


4. RSS Graffiti – Automatically Post Updates


 

 

RSS Graffiti, with 1.5 million monthly users, allows you to automatically post wall updates any time there’s a new item in one of your specified feeds. For example, if you publish to a company blog every day, RSS Graffiti can automatically post an excerpt of the article with a direct link onto your Facebook page’s wall. That saves you the time and effort of creating a new wall update every day to distribute your company’s content.

Just like ContactMe, the customization options for this application make it stand out. You can automatically post more than one RSS feed, adjust how the post looks when published, schedule how often the feed is checked, and specify how many posts should be published per check. And most importantly, with all these options and more, the configuration interface is still easy to use and intuitive.

Do you use any of these apps on your business’ Facebook Page? Do you use other ones? Let us know in the comments below.

Google+ Badges Make it Simple for Users to Connect With Brands


Google has unveiled Google+ Badges for brand pages, a widget that lets brands promote their presence on Google’s social network.

Google+ Badges are similar in form and function to Facebook‘s Like Box social plugin. The easily embeddable widget lets users either +1 a webpage or add that page to their Google+ circles. The widget also displays the faces of other users who have +1ed the webpage. It doesn’t have Facebook’s ability to display your friends’ faces first, though.

The launch of Google+ Badges coincides with Monday’s launch of Google+ Brand Pages, finally giving businesses the ability to create a presence on Google’s growing social network.

The Google+ Badge has a few other tricks. “The Google+ badge also contains a snippet of code that connects your website to your Google+ page,” the company said in an email to developers. “In addition to helping us better index your Google+ page, this snippet will help you show more personal recommendations around the web by linking your +1’s on sites, your Google+ page, search and display ads.”

Google also revealed that the badge is a requirement for inclusion in Google Direct Connect, a feature that makes it possible for users to find a Google+ Page from Google Search. Users type in the “+” operator, followed by the name of a brand participating in Direct Connect. The search result will lead users directly to the company’s Google+ brand page.

The widget was a necessary component for Google+, given the success of its Facebook counterpart. While it doesn’t have the same benefits Facebook enjoys with Open Graph, the Google+ Badge gets the job done. Google still has a long, uphill battle to convince both brands and users that its social network is an ideal place to do business.