Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Be Like Obama


This is a children's notebook. I saw it on a hospital counter in Nigeria. Kinda made me think of the "Be Like Mike" campaign.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Twins in Lagos

Photo: Lagos 2009

Like most other large cities in Nigeria, when traffic stops in Lagos, street vendors trickle their ways into the streets. I have seen street vendors selling anything from phone chargers and wall clocks to fried plantains and boiled eggs. As we drove out of the Lagos airport we saw these two ladies, both with twins(Ibeji) on their hips asking for food for their children.
Two studies conducted about three decades ago estimate that Nigeria has the highest twin birth rates in the world (Golding, 1990; Naylander, 1978). A town nearly 50 miles north of Lagos boast the highest incidence of twin births. The dizygotic twin birth rates vary by region but monozygotic birth rates are constant around the world.

In the scientific community there are many hypothesis regarding environmental factors that determine multiple birth rates. Similarly, most Nigerians have their own impression of why so many western Nigerians give birth to twins. A few people mentioned that the yoruba
diet was the main factor, while others suggested various enviromental factors.

Golding, J. (1990) Factors associated with twinning and other multiple birth. In Golding, J. (ed.), Social and Biological Effects on Perinatal Mortality. Vol. III. Perinatal Analyses. Bristol University, Bristol, pp. 21-66
Naylander, P.P.S. (1978) Causes of high twinning frequencies in Nigeria. In Nance, W.E., Allen, G. and Parisi, P. (eds), Twin Research. Part B: Biology and Epidemiology. Alan R. Liss, New York, pp. 35-43.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Village birth attendants

We recently visited a village outside of the federal capital territory of Nigeria. The route was unpaved and a 4x4 pickup truck drove us in. I can't imagine how much rougher that trip would have been in a smaller car. An NGO founded by an architect and an urban planner is doing a lot of work at this village. We got a tour of a new school being built there. Apparently the Japanese embassy is also funding a lot of the new construction.

After the tour, we went into the settlements and talked to people who spoke either Hausa or English. Considering the treacherous route to the nearest hospital very few people make the trip unless they are in a dire state. Understandably women aren't able to make the trip to the hospital to deliver their children either.
Someone told us about a local birth attendant. This is a picture of where many women in the village deliver their children.

Birthing center

Friday, December 04, 2009

Jumma in Abuja

Abuja National Mosque

Photo: National Mosque shot in 2008

After Jummah

Photo: People socializing after the Friday prayer 2009

I went to the Nigerian National Mosque in Abuja for the Friday prayer.
Fortunately the Nigerian Muslims don't have to worry about a minaret ban.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

In queue for petrol

Petrol stations in the Federal Capital Territory have been hoarding gasoline in anticipation of a hike in crude oil prices. There is a chance that the Nigerian government will deregulate the sale of gasoline in the country. It is suspected that the petrol stations would hike the prices whenever there is a shortage. All around Abuja you can see mile-long lines of people in queue for gasoline. Our driver had to wait 8 hours to get the car filled up. Some people have been spending nights in their cars to keep their spot in line. For emergency situations people buy gasoline in jerrycans for two or three times the regular price.