Friday, February 24, 2012

Talk about it

Available therapy
One of the advantages of living in the US (and I assume parts of Europe) is access to psychotherapy and personal professional counseling of all kinds.  I don't think one could easily find a psychologist in Nigeria or Africa.  (I just tried a web search...)  This is unfortunate as there is some pent-up demand for general counseling - stress from school/work or family/relationships for instance. 

You could phone a friend/family, google or ask a Dear Abby question, or meet up with your "pastor" - I guess that's what Nigerians do, but sometimes these options are not satisfactory.  Yes, some people go to the psychiatric hospitals, but that approach is best saved for actual medical issues. 

Quick advice
When you do meet a counselor who is licensed and qualified to offer you medicine and he/she does so, don't take such medicine without a supporting second opinion from another doctor.  It is sad but true that doctors often recommend unnecessary psychoactive drugs. 
Even if I am not an expert on psychology, I advise being very conservative about starting such medicine because of the real risk of: 
1) misdiagnosis - there is a difference between stress symptoms and real pathology.  Some doctors don't seem to know this.  I now have examples in which psychoactive medicine was prescribed for work stress (symptoms: pimples and nervous twitching and pulling hair), for a non-psychological root-cause (it was blood pressure not a hyperactivity disorder), and even for somewhat extreme personality.
2) over-medication - never mind the risk of addiction, one could even fault recommended dosage of many medicines. 
3) side-effects of medicine at any dose. 

At least get a second opinion before taking any medicine from any hack. 
Remember: medication isn't the only form of therapy. 
What?! (a painting)
Anyway, I wish there were more psychologists around.  Anyone have hints on how to score one?  (Comments)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

OLPC seeds in the Delta

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is working.

SEED is changing the way students learn at two Nigerian schools. Through an innovative multi-sector collaboration with two nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), a mining company, and a national government 6,000 students will each receive his or her own laptop computer.  These computers, specially designed by the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) educational initiative, include programs that allow personal growth through the use of digital technologies. Students will use their computers to learn mathematics, science and other fundamentals—both independently and collectively. (Read more...)
A volunteer program at Schlumberger has enabled two schools to use these XO laptops (they now cost only $200 each). Many more children need assistance.

1. One-to-One Learning Project in Nigeria (SEED + OLPC)
2. UpNaira + OLPC
3. OLPC's heart will go on and on

Monday, February 13, 2012

Interesting questions

A decent pay level has been set for public officials by RMAFC.  When you add about 1000% in allowances (a thousand percent), this pay may even seem more-than-just-decent. 

Is it possible for an elected or appointed or staff official to increase personal take-home pay beyond legal level (say, by stealing or dealing?)  In particular, it is often repeated that constituency allowances, security votes, and lax accounting allow public money to unfairly enter private pockets.  Can you confirm this?

What steps have you taken to keep the level of take home pay fair and thus free up funds for the enjoyment of Nigerian society as a whole? 

Here is one place where one can seek answers: a relevant Senate Committee (Establishment).  Here are contacts for all the Committees of the Nigerian Senate.

Previously on UpNaira