HEALTH: You’ll die trying to prove sexual prowess; 4-11 minutes enough, expert warns men

HEALTH: You’ll die trying to prove sexual prowess; 4-11 minutes enough, expert warns men

A lot has been said about just how long men should last in bed with many complaints from the fairer sex about their partners ‘shortcomings.’

Of course, many men try to outdo themselves in bed during sexual intercourse with their female partners, with some opting to use performance-enhancing drugs and remedies.

But how long should satisfying coitus last?

According to Asili Herbal Clinic doctor, Jackson Kimotho, men should not try to sustain an erection beyond four to 11 minutes as it could turn fatal.

Kimotho discourages men from going the ‘extra-mile’ to prove their sexual prowess to their female partners.

Kimotho who regularly appears on Kameme TV’s Rikiratha Show and who also specializes on male sexual health says most men’s sexual drive is steered by ego satisfaction.

“From a study done among 4,000 men on men’s sexual satisfaction, it was found that four to 11 minutes were enough,” Kimotho says.

On what determines how long a man lasts in bed, the herbalist says there are men with medical conditions that cannot allow them to have an erection, a group he advised to go for medical check-ups and seek treatment.

Kimotho also reveals that there is a group of men whose sexual drive is determined by how much money they spend to bed their sexual partners.

“There is a man who counts how much money he spent on the woman, and from which he determines how long to last. If he is not satisfied, he awards himself an extension. For instance, there is a man who will find three minutes very short if for instance he paid Sh3,000 for the room plus other expenses he spent on the woman, ” he says.

The herbalist advises men to look for long-term solutions to sexual health problems instead of swallowing quick-fix tablets, commonly referred to as the blue pills.

He says most men have extremely low testosterone levels, a medical condition that predisposes them to low sexual powers.

“The sexual power of a man is determined by the testosterone level. The wider your waist line is, the less testosterone you have and consequently, the less sexual power,” he says.

To better their performance in bed without using the sexual enhancement pills, Kimotho advises men to raise their testosterone hormones.

“Smoking, inhaling paints, working in steel manufacturing plants and riding motorcycles can lower the testosterone hormones in the body,” he says.

Kenya on the Security Council; An opportunity for peace and multilateralism

Kenya on the Security Council; An opportunity for peace and multilateralism

Kenya is a potential strong partner for Europe in fostering stability in east Africa and the Horn – and its new membership of the Security Council should prompt Europeans to work more closely with it.

This month, Kenya started its two-year term on the United Nations Security Council. Although often taken for granted by its neighbours and international partners, Kenya contributes significantly to the prosperity and stability of its region. Furthermore, in this moment of turmoil in the Horn of Africa, Kenya has a great deal to offer – it can point to decades of domestic stability and growth, a political model based on accommodation and government cohabitation, and a vibrant, educated youth driving innovation. Europe should seize the opportunity of Kenya’s term on the Security Council to help foster regional multilateralism, encourage dialogue and reconciliation to move domestic political transitions forward, and tip the balance in favor of a sustainable regional cooperation order in east Africa and the Horn.

From a foreign policy perspective, as the commercial hub of east Africa, Kenya provides landlocked countries such as Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi with access to the Indian Ocean. In recent decades, it has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in neighboring countries and has held several rounds of peace talks on Sudan and South Sudan as well as Somalia. Kenya is also the country in the region most impacted by instability in Somalia, becoming a regular target of Al-Shabaab attacks, which led it to contribute troops to AMISOM – the African Union Mission in Somalia. As an illustration of Kenya’s importance in the region, President Uhuru Kenyatta was the first African leader to receive a call from President-elect Joe Biden.

On the domestic front, Kenya has also performed better than its neighbors in terms of governance and economic development, despite performing poorly on corruption. One of the fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya ranks among the top three on ease of doing business and innovation. A multi-ethnic and multi-faith country, Kenya has a vibrant media environment and is a mature democracy, with a large number of political parties representing a range of interests. Ethnic politics still matter the most, but its young population identify themselves as Kenyans first and increasingly vote according to their convictions rather than their tribal affiliation. While Kenyatta and his vice-president, William Ruto, were indicted by the International Criminal Court in connection to the post-election ethnic violence in 2007, following due trial the ICC dropped the charges. Furthermore, Kenyatta has announced he will not run for re-election after the end of his second term in 2022, in line with the Kenyan constitution and African Union rules.

In the long term, however, Kenya’s stability and prosperity will also depend on peace and security in its wider neighborhood. Against this background, the outbreak of conflict in northern Ethiopia, the fragile political transition in Sudan, and the recent disputed electoral process in Somalia could increase instability and conflict. Closely intertwined conflicts can further aggravate tensions across the region, such as disputes between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Nile waters, between Ethiopia and Sudan over their border, and tensions between Somalia and Kenya. These undermine good neighborliness and prevent the regional security cooperation order from working. Unlike regional actors such as Egypt and Ethiopia, Kenya does not have a tradition of asserting its influence beyond its immediate borders and in the last 15 years has opted to largely rely on Ethiopia to guarantee the stability of the region. Nevertheless, the deteriorating regional situation coupled with its new role on the Security Council now provides Kenya with the opportunity – and the responsibility – to play a more active regional role.

As one of the most innovative, stable, and politically vibrant democracies in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya has a role to play in deepening African-Arab ties.

Furthermore, the Security Council seat will give Kenya and its diplomacy a wider international platform, particularly in the Arab world, which follows dynamics in the Horn of Africa closely. Kenya will now have to take a stronger interest in, and vote on, Middle East and North Africa issues such as Libya, Yemen, and Iran. At the same time, key Arab Gulf states, which have so far mostly dealt with Horn countries that are geographically nearer to them, such as Ethiopia and Eritrea – or are members of the Arab League, such as Sudan and Somalia – will benefit from exploring the possibility to also engage more politically with a country like Kenya. Being one of the most innovative, developed, and politically vibrant African countries, Kenya has a role to play in deepening African-Arab ties. In this regard, the United Arab Emirates is also expected to join the Security Council in 2022, thus giving both Nairobi and Abu Dhabi the opportunity to develop a closer partnership and common understanding on a number of regional and multilateral issues.

In conclusion, Europe has long viewed Kenya as a development partner and been most interested in its domestic politics rather than its regional role. Due to the international situation and the deteriorating regional developments, the time has now come for Europe to put geopolitical considerations at the center of its relationship with Kenya. In this regard, Kenya’s seat in the UN Security Council will enable the European Union and European members on the Council to double down on their engagement with Kenya on regional peace and security. In the immediate term, there are several areas in which to explore cooperation.

Firstly, the Horn of Africa is a region where multilateralism has been weakening because of divisions among permanent members of the Security Council. The African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – the Horn’s regional organization – are also finding mediating regional crises in the Horn of Africa more challenging than in the past. As the regional representative on the Security Council, Kenya will have the opportunity to bridge these gaps and strengthen international support in the Council for African-led peace and security efforts.

Secondly, although conventional military means remain a key component in maintaining peace and national integrity, recent developments in the region have highlighted that dialogue and national consensus-building should prevail for creating political arrangements that can deliver stability. In this regard, Kenya currently has an effort named the Building Bridges Initiative, which is a constitutional reform process based on negotiations, cohabitation, and the need to avoid a “winner takes all approach” and ethnic antagonism. This sets a good example for other political transitions taking place across the region.

Finally, just as Emperor Haile Selassie and President Jomo Kenyatta paved the way to regional integration in 1964, cooperation between Kenya and Ethiopia remains central for any regional order to succeed. Europe is the largest donor to IGAD and so should continue to finance its activities and encourage Kenya and Ethiopia to work together on a number of regional issues, in a way that also enhances the sovereignty and stability of Somalia.

MYSTERY:The puzzling case of rising manhood birth defects in Kiambu

MYSTERY:The puzzling case of rising manhood birth defects in Kiambu

The number of boys being born with defects of the reproductive organ is on a steep increase in Kiambu County.

A new study by the University of Nairobi (UoN) says, overall, the number of children being born with physical abnormalities in Kiambu County has been rising.

However, defects affecting the reproductive organ of boys, the study shows have recorded the highest increase compared to other birth abnormalities.

“Hypospadias a rare male genital organ defect was the most frequently occurring of all observed physical abnormalities detectable at birth,” says the study.

Hypospadias is a condition where the male opening for urinating is on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip.

The researchers, George Nyadimo Agot, Marshal Mutinda Mweu and Joseph Kibuchi Wang’ombe of the University of Nairobi describe this as a worrying development

The three had recently studied the prevalence of birth defects in Kiambu County for a five-year period from 2014 to 2018.

Their report appears this month (December) in the Pan African Medical Journal and tells of an unfolding “silent epidemic.”

The team had analyzed records of all children born with physical abnormalities in 13 sub-country hospitals in Kiambu.

The sampled sub-county hospitals included Kihara, Karuri, Wangige, Nyathuna, Lari-Rukuma, Ruiru, Tigoni, Lussigetti, Kigumo and Igegania plus the three-county referral hospitals of Kiambu, Thika and Gatundu.

Overall, the study found a year-to-year increase of children being born with physical abnormalities in the county.

“There was a steady annual increase in the prevalence estimates of various physical defects in children during the study period,” wrote the authors.

While there were about 44 children born with defects out of every 100,000 births in 2014, this had increased to 205 cases by 2018.

Defects of the musculoskeletal and the nervous systems, which involve a wide range of organs, the team says, were the most prevalent.

The musculoskeletal system involves the bones called the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue.

On the other hand, the nervous system primarily involves the brain and the spinal cord from where a complex network of nerves extends to all parts of the body.

In Kiambu, the researchers say, the number of musculoskeletal defects had increased by more than a third since a 1984 study in Kenya.

But hypospadias, they say was the most increased single organ defect recorded in the current study.

“Further, this study found epispadias, another defect of the male genital organ, was similarly common in Kiambu County.”

Epispadias is an even rarer defect of the penis where the urethra — the tube that carries urine — opens on the top of the penis rather than the tip.

The two types of penile defects have been linked to boys born of obese mothers, women giving birth at older ages than 35 years, and those exposed to toxic chemicals such as pesticides, hormones, medicines or industrial chemicals during pregnancy.

Kiambu records high rates of obesity and overweight in women of reproductive age as well as high use of industrial and farm chemicals.

Because Kiambu is largely an agricultural county, the researchers suggest an increased likelihood of exposure to pesticide-related chemicals, metals, and plastics among women of reproductive age.

“These findings point to possible increased exposure of women of reproductive age to teratogenic chemicals, metals and preconception obesity,” suggests the study.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes teratogens as drugs or chemicals known to trigger abnormal development of the foetus. The world health body estimates 4 to 5 of birth defects are caused by exposure to a teratogen.

The UoN researchers say this is the first such study in the country and an indicator of what may be happening in other regions similar to Kiambu.

In February, Adana AM Llanos of Rutgers University, USA, presented compelling data in Nairobi, showing several popular hormone-based skincare and hair products mainly targeting Africans may be leading to abnormalities.

These abnormalities are largely blamed on what are called endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs that mimic, block, or interfere with hormones in the body.

“When a pregnant woman is exposed, EDCs can affect the health of her child and eventual grandchildren,” says Dr. Pauliina Damdimopoulou, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dr Damdimopoulou said this last week, at the launch of a new global report – ‘Plastic EDCs and Health’ – she has co-authored for the International Pollutants Elimination Network – IPEN.

The report shows for the first time a direct link between the everyday use of plastics and the development of cancers and impairments of developing fetuses and children.

Plastics, the report says, contain many harmful chemicals, (EDCs) that may leach from containers into the environment and now widely found in foods, water, pesticides, and cosmetics.

“Such chemicals once in the body of a pregnant woman may also transfer to a fetus or infant via placental transfer or through breast milk,” said the report.

Direct effects of EDCs, Dr Damdimopoulou said, have been observed in a general drop in the quantity and quality of human sperms and ova (eggs) across the world.

“The number of men presenting with the inability to produce sperms almost doubled within five years,” said Dennis Chalo, a researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

Chalo was presenting data from the University of Nairobi’s specialist semen analysis laboratory at a scientific conference in February.

Likely causes

These problems have also been blamed on environmental pollution, infections and disease, use of various medications, hard drugs, alcohol and tobacco, obesity and farm chemicals.

In Kiambu as well as in another study at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), doctors reported worryingly high rates of deformed legs at birth.

In the two studies, the incidence of children with club foot was the most common deformity of the skeletal system.

“Among the infants with musculoskeletal malformations, club foot was the most common,” said a team from the University of Nairobi that had assessed child deformities at KNH.

Clubfoot is an abnormality in which the foot points downward and inward and is known to occur twice as often in males than in females.

Club foot and conditions where one limb is shorter than the other were common in both the Kiambu and KNH studies.

Both studies indicate abnormally high rates of birth defects in the country. “The prevalence of birth defects at KNH is 19.4 percent. This is very high compared to the global prevalence of 3 to 7 percent,” said the authors.

About eight percent of the defects in KNH involved the genital organs. The team is recommending ultrasound for all pregnant women for early detection of fetal defects and where necessary pregnancy termination.

INSIDE Terror sand gangs of Kisumu and the Nyeri killers

INSIDE Terror sand gangs of Kisumu and the Nyeri killers

They might not have looked like it, but there were two stories tucked away inside the Daily Nation in the Counties section on Monday and Tuesday that were, errh, quite pregnant.

The first, “Raila, Oburu, Nyong’o not spared by ruthless sand harvesters of Kisumu”, reported how sand harvesters in Kisumu County are leaving a trail of destruction as they invade lands and lake shoreline to illegally mine the material.

They have no fear, excavating sand around graves; on the lands of Kisumu’s power men and women; and anywhere they can find. The sand harvesters are now armed, and are creating “sand refugees”. Said the story, “Some villagers have had to relocate to other places after the earth was dug up around their homes, leaving their compounds sunken.”

The other story, on Tuesday, was headlined “Mystery of missing people found dead in Nyeri, Tuesday, December 22, 2020”. Over the past six months, it said, 10 people, including children, who been reported missing, were found dead. Their bodies have been cast in rivers, forests, and the little girls had been raped then brutally murdered.

“They disappear, then they are found dead. This is a trend now common with mysterious killings in Nyeri County”, the story declared. The killings haven’t been solved.

Economic crises

These two stories are, actually, closely linked. They are the product of environmental, social and economic crises in the African countryside (exactly the same thing is happening in the majority of African countries), and they are partly the fallout from globalization and domestic prosperity.

The seeds of the crisis are something many people will recognize. When we were kids ages ago and visited our grandparents, there were a lot of grass thatched houses. People in the villages built or refurbished their huts every year or so, and they got the grass, the timber, and sand from within half a kilometer of their homes.

The grandees are long gone, and we now live in the same area. The only thing the place has from the past is the same. The lands in the area got tired from overuse and a growing population, and some people left.

Those who use the lands today are the fellows with money to invest in regeneration. In the past, if you were poor, you built a grass thatched house. Today if you are poor, you can’t afford a good grass-thatched house; that is for chaps with money. Instead, you build with a cheap iron roof, and some kind of cement wall – not mud and wattle.

A good grass is hard to find, and when available pricey. And, increasingly, the land is being enclosed, and river beds and wetlands have silted or taken over for agriculture. Mud and sand are now rare.

Unable to forage, and get materials from the commons, economic conditions for rural people have become more desperate, hence the rise of violent crime. Perhaps not yet on a major scale in Kenya, but in other countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, and parts of Tanzania, it has resulted in the removal of the people who are considered the least economically productive – children and old people — from the supper table, as it were.

They are either accused of being witches and killed or taken to the forest and strangled or bludgeoned — but the bodies left where they can be found, in a bizarre attempt to appease the spirit of the dead by not denying them a funeral.

Sand, according to the UN, is the second most heavily traded raw material, after water, with between 40 and 50 billion tonnes traded globally per year. Right from the “modern” houses being built upcountry, to the new estates in the towns and cities driven by rising urban populations, and the new islands being created out of the sea by countries like the United Arab Emirates and China, sand is very big business.

Construction boom

If you go just five years back and put together stories of the devastation of sand harvesting in Kenya, it is horrifying. It has destroyed parts of the coast and northeast already.

One report notes that Singapore, the world’s largest importer of sand, has expanded its area by 130 kilometers in 40 years, which has required about 500 million tonnes of sand to be imported over the past 20 years.

In West Africa, several countries are losing chunks of their coastline to sand harvesting, and millions of people are being driven from their coastal homes.

Sand smugglers and excavators, with money in their pockets, are bulking up operations and could soon be the new well-armed rebel armies, controlling land for harvesting as galloping urbanization and its attendant construction boom drive their profits.

And rural lands will be further trashed in crises brought on more by illegal sand, leaving more people desperate, with killings and kidnappings for livelihoods (see Nigeria) increasing. The Nyeri murders and Kisumu’s militant sandbaggers aren’t just local Kenyan county tales. They are our pan-African and scary futures.

Chinese-constructed mega solar plant powers Kenya

Chinese-constructed mega solar plant powers Kenya

Kenya made a great leap in the renewable energy sector in 2019 when it inaugurated a 50 MW solar power plant located in the northern part of the country.

The plant made the East African nation one of the biggest investors in renewable and clean energy as it hosted the largest grid-connected solar power plant in East and Central Africa.

Over a year since its launch, the power plant built by China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Co-operation (CJIC) in conjunction with Kenya’s Rural Energy Authority (REA), is connected to the national grid and is changing lives in the northern part of the country.

Businesses are flourishing in Garissa and other counties in the dry north as residents savor uninterrupted power supply in an area that was synonymous with power blackouts, which would last for days leading to protests.

“Initially, Garissa was running on diesel power generators, which were expensive and unreliable. To better the situation, the government did a power line from Kindaruma to Garissa to connect the area to the national grid,” Hannington Gochi, a renewable energy technician at REA said on Tuesday.

However, this was still not a long-term solution. It became prudent to tap into the region’s high solar intensity to support the grid and the line from Kindaruma by constructing the 13.58 billion shillings (122 million U.S. dollars) Garissa solar plant.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the project, one of the largest photovoltaic electricity stations in Africa, on Dec.15, 2019, noting it was part of Kenya’s renewable energy strategy to harvest 400 MW from solar.

This is not a distant dream because Kenya is endowed with large solar resources, with the country being among the top 10 highest in sub-Saharan African thanks to its position on the equator.

“With steady power and low cost of electricity, Garissa can invest in industries and businesses,” said Gochi.

He noted that more households and businesses have connected to the grid in the region, boosting artisans like those with welding workshops.

There have been direct and indirect job opportunities created for residents as a result of the project.

“The panels require cleaning twice a year and since the project is spread on 85 acres, people are hired to do the cleaning in the larger facility and under the solar panels so that the undergrowth does not affect power output,” said Gochi.

He added that employment has created a positive impact on the population and Garissa, which is a gateway to the northern region.

Since independence, the Garissa plant is the first major solar power station Kenya has developed to tap its abundant solar energy.

The project is contributing about 2 percent of power to the national energy mix, which also comprises hydro, geothermal and thermal, according to the Ministry of Energy.

It has significantly led to a reduction of energy costs particularly in the north thereby promoting the development of clean, reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.

Kenya has been robustly developing solar energy, especially for home systems but industries are also embracing the energy.

Charles Keter, the energy Cabinet Secretary, noted recently that the growth of the solar energy sector is anchored on the Kenya National Electrification Strategy that seeks to facilitate universal access to electricity by 2022.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that solar photovoltaic energy will comprise 47 percent of the technology’s mix for mini-grids and off-the-grid systems power generation in sub-Saharan Africa by 2040, an indication that Kenya is on the right track.

Addressing Structural Challenges Key To Ending Gender-Based Violence

Addressing Structural Challenges Key To Ending Gender-Based Violence

There is a lot about the current situation with Covid-19 that is frightening and unknown. However, there are also some extraordinary opportunities to do things differently and do them better.

One of the important areas in which we could use the current situation as an opportunity to do better is in structuring our societies around gender. The virus itself is not interested in gender, but the impact of social and economic responses to the virus are inextricably linked to gender.

The pandemic has exacerbated gender inequalities that predispose women to violence. Even in ordinary times, gender-based violence (GBV) remains an existential crisis which has just been made worse by the impact of the pandemic.

As the world continues to grapple with the devastating falling-out of the pandemic, there is recorded upsurge of domestic violence cases. The stay-at-home orders and closure of schools coupled with the economic and health stressors have forced survivors already at risk of domestic abuse into even more vulnerable and dangerous positions.

The stigma associated with the vice and the secrecy surrounding it prevents victims from reporting cases, making it difficult to paint an accurate picture of the prevalence and severity of gender violence overall.

Available but fragmented data from counties and across the country indicate that almost every county has reported an increase in gender-based violence. While the reports also show that there has been an increase in the number of cases reported by men and boys, the overall data on cases reported by children had risen to 11,448 as at October 2020. This is according to the Kenya Health Information system.

If closely mirrored with the accounts of many victims who chose not to go public about their ordeals, the numbers could be higher, indicating that many survivors facing the threat of continued or escalating violence were unable to find space or time away from an abuser to reach out for help, or else saw no hope or available solutions.

This has left a gap in the safety and security of survivors, especially children who are often held in police cells or juvenile detention centres. The double jeopardy of being a victim of gender-based violence and being held in close proximity with those in conflict with the law cannot be gainsaid.

The current crisis then shines a spotlight on the overriding inadequacies of the very systems intended to support survivors and to prevent or mitigate GBV itself. There is need for an improved system of survivor support that will ensure gender-based violence programmes and safe houses are set up and receive sufficient funding during the pandemic and in future.

In addition, there is need for a broader continuum of care and safety that prioritises the needs of sexual and gender-based violence survivors. This includes considering the differing experiences of survivors across communities and building solutions that are culturally competent.

The interventions needed to create a robust infrastructure of support must centre on the experiences of survivors throughout the healing process. Support infrastructure must feature interventions that adopt strong prevention measures to disrupt violence in its earliest forms, minimise economic barriers to services and overall economic costs on survivors, create strong support systems focused on health and safety, tackle the root causes of violence and build a network of trained professionals to assist survivors along the way and stop illegal and toxic behaviour.

We must endeavour to build a proactive infrastructure that prevents these abuses from occurring by ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable. An infrastructure that responds only after an incident has occurred, rather than focusing on building a reliable care and safety network, is an infrastructure that fails survivors.

Not only is the coronavirus pandemic still a very real threat that could require future lockdowns to control the spread of the virus, but a return to business as usual will do little to address the gender-based violence crisis. In fact, business as usual has long been inadequate for survivors, even before this pandemic.

It is critical to develop bold structural solutions to address underlying issues on gender violence, particularly against women in order to prevent future violence, both as an immediate concern and as a means to improve support structures for survivors into the future.