Thursday, October 25, 2018

8 Things You Should Know About Medical Tourism


Every year, tons of Nigerians troop out of the country for medical care and with most skilled Doctors leading the way, it is no wonder those who can afford their services are heading out as well. A classic example would be our own Baba ‘Bubu’ who has gone a couple of times or more to the UK for ear infection treatment and other medical related issues. 


Tomislav Mestrovic (MD, PhD) defines Medical tourism as the process of people travelling from their country to another country to receive medical care. Even when patients travel from one city to another to receive medical, dental or surgical care that is called domestic medical tourism. This is one sector of tourism that can rake in a massive income that can improve the economy of our country - if the needs of our health sector are adequately met.
Here are a few things you need to know about medical tourism:
1. People engage in Medical tourism due to affordability, access to or availability of better healthcare services. Patients travel to receive the high-quality treatment they can’t get in their country or receive that same quality of treatment at a lower cost in another country. An example would be Nigerians travelling to India for Eye surgeries. Some people travel to other countries for procedures that are considered illegal or not yet approved in their country because of the health risk it poses. E.g. a transgender Nigerian travelling abroad for sex change surgery.


2. What really makes travelling for medical reasons tourism is when the patients are required to stay in a foreign country for a little while before being released to travel back home. In the time they are resting, that’s when they engage in tourist activities like city tours, visiting historical monuments and places, and any other tour activities.
3. Some hospitals provide accommodation (free) for patients and their caregivers to stay after being discharged from admission. The purpose is to make their stay in the country easier so they can be available for a regular check-up before they are cleared to go home. It is in this space of time that patients get the opportunity to become tourists during their stay.
4. Medical Tourism differs from Health Tourism. Medical tourism strictly refers to surgery (cosmetic and otherwise) while Health tourism is more inclusive. Health Tourism comprises a wide range of healthcare services like psychiatry, rehabilitation, burial, preventive and curative forms of treatments, etc. It also covers Wellness Tourism, fertility tourism, dental tourism, circumvention tourism among others. 


5. Medical Tourism Associations/Companies are responsible for bringing awareness of this industry internationally to consumers who travel for health care services. These companies not only make the medical options available, but they also coordinate the patients trip back and forth including visa processing and post-op care. They keep a list of certified healthcare providers safe to work with overseas and keep a detailed analysis of your health condition.
6.  We have a few Medical Tourism Companies in Lagos and Abuja. They link Nigerians with foreign hospitals, cheap medical facilities and improved health care both in Nigeria and abroad. They are Care Point Solutions, Medvisit, Redbridge healthcare and paradigm health care.
7. Nigeria as of 2016 was the leading African country in Medical Tourism. An average of a billion dollars is spent annually on medical tourism. The average medical tourist spends about $30,000 on each medical trip.
8. Medical Tourism opens up the country for integrated healthcare systems between local and international health providers. For example, Indian hospitals are opening health care centres in Nigeria to cater to specialised health care cases. This will improve our healthcare options within the country.

So the next time you have a relative or friend travelling for medical care, be a good buddy and find out a list of safe tourist activity or program they can attempt before they come home. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Writing Gigs you don't want to miss

Blogging is a path on its own and with a small community, it gets easy to take for granted the platform it affords us as writers. A lot has been going on with me in the last three months and it's been hard to show up on this blog as I used to. But that is still no excuse for my inconsistency and for that I apologise. 


Tomorrow by 8 - 9 am, I will be speaking on How to Write When You Can't on the Win Again Today Instagram platform along with my dear friend Xavier Ighorodje and the famed Edirin Edewor. For anyone who likes the idea of writing and always had a dream to write, this online conference is a great place to start. I will be explaining what writing as a career/skill is, how to acquire the skill of writing, what it takes to become a writer and how to find your unique voice/style of writing. We will look at genres of writing for both fiction and non-fiction to help you come to terms with which career path you should take if writing is your passion. 


This will be my second online speaking engagement this year, the first was early in the year when ChoWilson invited me as a guest judge for a flash fiction writing competition. We had the pleasure of reviewing stories sent in from aspiring writers and it was nice to see the world through the eyes of other people who are very different from me. That's the joy of reading, seeing the world from another perspective. My other speaking engagements have been offline. I don't refer to myself as a speaker because it takes away from the fact that my core desire is to write.  


Speaking of reading, I have had the joy of reading some books this year in line with my personal reading goals. Sure I read and write almost daily but it is usually research to get ideas for my column on Connect Nigeria (an online info portal). It is a column on Tourism and every time I write for it, my head is filled with ideas on how I could incorporate these places into a story. So if you are a writer, I would advise you to read my column as well. You can't grow reading only fiction or the genre you like, sometimes, you need to read widely. 

Back to the books I have read this year. I finally read the most talked about Young Adult fantasy novel in 2018, Children of Blood and Bone. For weeks since I finished it, I can't stop thinking about it. Now I know why it is all the rave. A part of me can't wait to see the movie of it because everywhere I turn I see potential actors for the characters in the story like Amari and Zele. I also wish they would act some parts in Nigeria, it would help to boost our tourism sector greatly.


Reading it made me want to start an online bookstore for ebook readers because I do have quite a large collection of ebooks. some I have read others I am yet to read. But more importantly, I am thinking of holding The Writers' Hub online workshop in November. It was slated for May but life took over. Maybe November is too far, Let's do it late October, early November. what say ye?

If you are interested in a one-on-one two weeks exclusive session with me to improve yourself as a writer? Type I am in below. The cost of the class is just N5000 and those who enrol will get a free copy of The Quilt (ebook) along with resource materials and writing assignments that will be overseen by me personally. You will also get a preview of my upcoming book, Troubled Horizon as well as a chance for me to read your manuscript of no more than 5,000 words. sounds like a sweet deal right? So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

7 TERRIBLE PEOPLE TO TRAVEL WITH OR MEET AT A RESORT AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM


Sometimes when we go on vacation (as seen in the picture above), we just want to be in a serene space, enjoy the scenery and feel like a million bucks. Note: This article is NOT about the people I've met during our family vacations. I guess you can say we've been lucky not to run into anyone that fits the categories below.
For some people, their vacations do not always go according to plan because there are always a set of persons who indirectly affect your pleasurable trip. Whether it is at your final destination or on your way there, these people are sure to mar your vacation experience. 
They are:
1. Unsupervised kids - I get it, parenting is hard and even parents need a break from their children on a vacay. But having screaming children stuck with you on a long ride from Calabar to Afi Mountain or running around the Omu resort unchecked is just awful. It is frustrating to other guests when it seems the parents are oblivious to the nuisance their children create for others. If you can; intervene. You can call the parent’s attention to it or engage/caution the children if they will listen.
2. Loud angry guests - Bad service is hard to ignore and some establishments lack a standard of excellence. This type of tourists expect a lot and would do anything to get what they paid for. Sometimes rather than take customer’s complaints as valid, some staff turn a deaf ear or clap back. If you can, step in and diffuse the situation by mediating. Harsh words can be cruel, so try not to reciprocate whatever negative energy or words being thrown around. Soft words turn away wrath. If an employee got berated, call them aside and encourage them with a positive affirmation.
3. Attention seekers - These want to show off their skills, other times, it’s just who they are. They could have a loud personality or maybe they are self-centred. It’s either they are acting up or they may be inappropriately dressed like wearing bralletes with bum shorts on a Rainforest Safari. There is no point giving in to their charade, just avoid them if you can. Get away from any vicinity where they are by taking a walk or fixing an excursion trip out of the resort. If you are stuck with them on a trip to your destination, just ignore them.
4. Excessive PDA Couple - some people have no problem being touchy-feely in public. But it can get uncomfortable for others around. A little external romance is okay, like holding hands, a light peck, those are nice. But being pressed to a corner smooching in the pool while others are swimming or on Tarkwa Bay beach when families with kids are also hanging out there is too much. If you notice it is making you and others uncomfortable and also think, “Get a Room”, best to let a staff at the resort call them to order. Otherwise, excuse yourself from that vicinity.
5. Space Hoarders - there is nothing more annoying than to get to any place like Epe Resort and see a bunch of unused chairs with items on it when there is no chair for you to sit on. You could politely ask the hoarders who are keeping seats if someone is using it. Sometimes, they may just be propping their bags on the chair when the chair is actually free. But other times, they may be keeping it for people who may not show up or use it. To avoid causing trouble, you can ask the resort staff for extra seats.
6. Quarrelling companions - These people may not necessarily be shouting at each other but the shade in their conversation can be distracting especially if you are within earshot from them. Other times, it is the passive aggression they exhibit that might affect the mood of everyone around them. The key is to avoid being anywhere they are. If they are next door to you and their verbal conflict is affecting your peace of mind, lodge a complaint at the front desk so a staff of the resort can tell them to keep the noise down.
7. The photo freaks - Taking pictures is cool, but having people push you aside just to take a picture isn’t. Photo freaks don’t care who they are inconveniencing as long as they get the shots they want. They may even be oblivious to you waiting for them to move out the way to take your picture. It is particularly annoying if you are in front of a monument/structure when this happens like Kajuru Castle. If they are using a tablet that is blocking your view, politely ask them to lower their hands, let them know they are in the way. In case that doesn’t work, ask the tour guide for alternate places with a better view. If they are using a selfie stick, find a different angle where they won’t show and snap your picture. But if they are in a prime stop and taking too long with their shots, let go and photobomb them.
If you ever find yourself becoming one of these terrible of tourists, stop and reconsider how it makes those around you feel. The whole point of identifying behaviours that can ruin other people’s vacation is to learn to be considerate of others. Strive to be someone whose company is enjoyable. 
Do you have a story to share about a nuisance encountered during any of your vacation? Do share…

Friday, June 1, 2018

Upcoming New Projects... anticipate!

Whenever a writer goes silent on social media, chances are that something is being created. Or it could mean they are just lazy and too busy watching films and reading books to comment on anything. Regardless, I want to apologise to my readers for the long silence on my blog. I tried writing something in March. It was a movie review on Black Panther but then everyone was doing it and the movie kept getting bigger so I abandoned ship.

Anyway, it's a new month (June) and a great time to start something wonderful. 

During my three months hiatus, I was very busy working on several projects. I also spoke at different training sessions to people on being better writers and transforming organisational values into a culture. Sorry, there are no pictures to show for it *weeping*.



I was also privileged to anchor services with a church audience of over 300 persons. I read a 2003 poem by Carroll Sonny on The Empowered Woman during the last mother's day celebration in May. 

But as we face the end of the first half of the year, I can't help but want to share some things I have been up to with you. Here is an excerpt from my Novel, Freakshow, which is still a work in progress:

"She rushed to the bathroom, turned on the hot water. Steam filled the bathroom. It was one thing to have a recurrent nightmare but one that evolves in its storytelling, she had never seen. One that felt so real that she felt pain where she was touched. It definitely required some help in being explained. She put on all the lights in the house. Ran through her things and Patience’s CD collection looking for any Christian song to play. She found an old Don Moen CD, slotted it in, raised the volume so it could be heard everywhere in the house as it played. She left the bathroom door slightly ajar and drew the shower blinds.
When she pulled back the shower curtain, she saw the mirror fogged with steam and the words HELP ME inscribed on it. Now she was losing it. The mindless fear was gone. What she felt now was sheer panic flooding her veins. Someone was in here! Someone wrote this! She ran out of the bathroom, holding back a stifled scream. She put on her clothes. Grab a bag and head for the door. Preye turned the door handle but it wouldn’t budge. She shook it, twisting the key in all directions but the door would not open. Preye banged the door hard, hoping the neighbours would hear and come to her aid. Still nothing.
She stood in the parlour, clutching her handbag to her chest. Not sure what she should do. Don Moen’s voice coed from the speakers. Her body trembled. Preye felt someone walk behind her. She turned around and saw no one. Then she sat on the chair, pulled her leg off the floor and held it to her chest. Tears helplessly found their way to her jawline navigating through her checks. Easy now, steady your thoughts. There is electricity. Gospel music is playing. Calm yourself down, she thought.
“Nothing is happening; it is all in your head,” she said to herself.  
After a few minutes, she felt her body relax. There was nothing to fear. All she had to do was calmly go back to the door and open it. She put her legs on the ground. Before she could take a step, a hand gripped it. She looked down. She could visibly see the dead looking fingers wrapped around her ankle. Goosebumps rippled down her arms. She could hardly move, fear loomed around her like a noxious cloud. She heard it in a distant.
A shrill cry.
It tore at her vocal chords.
As the sound reached her ears, she snapped her eyes open. Brought her head back down to see more hands appear and grab both her legs. She fell face down to the ground; hitting her head so hard that she passed out.
Even in the darkness, the horror refused to end." 

I hope it made your day. To see the other things I have been working on, like my Tourism Column at the Connect Nigeria Info Portal, visit here.
The articles there can help you plan an amazing family vacation any time of the year. They are filled with the latest news of who is doing what when and it can also inform you on all things travel and tourism.  

My Facebook pages have also been active for those who are interested. you can visit them too: my writers' page and my blog's page.
Meanwhile, some people have been clamouring for me to release another book soon. but all great things take time. So quenching the thirst, I put out a suspense story to whet your appetite along with another non-fiction book titled,  Parents and Children.



Don't worry, I have your best interest at heart always. If you still haven't gotten a copy of my books, The Quilt and Being Mummy and Me, I have just one question to ask you, what are you waiting for?

Friday, February 16, 2018

My first time at Connect Nigeria’s eBusiness Fair (#CNBizFair) 2018

A business fair is usually an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their products and make some sales from those who attend the fair. The first time I witnessed a fair, I entered as an exhibitor. I didn’t make the kind of money I hoped for but was glad for the opportunity to showcase my brand and what I’ve done in my career over the years. So when I had to write up on the fairs organised by Connect Nigeria, I was thrilled. For the first time, I was an observer reporting what had happened. You can read those articles here.



The more I wrote about the growth of the #CNBizfair, the more I wanted to attend the program. Yeah, it was in Lagos, and I am based in Benin city. So it meant I had to travel. It was a hard choice because, at that time, one of my sons was ill. But with the green light from my husband, I finally boarded a bus last minute and headed to Lagos. Although I went late, I was fortunate to be right on time because registration for attendees was still ongoing. With over 20,000 registered participants, 1 hour 30mins was not enough to make sure everyone present was accounted for.



The thing I loved most about the #CNBizfair from my research on it was the discussion segments. Over the years, they had invited a certain calibre of CEOs thriving in the business space in Nigeria and the knowledge shared during the forums were outstanding. This year, although some of the guest speakers were recurrent invitees, it was a pleasure for the majority of first-timers to hear what they had to say. I learned so much from the discussions and went gaga for days after telling all who cared to listen to the things I learned.



We took a break, and I went around to get something to eat and visit the exhibition area. Oh, did I mention the event was held at Eko Hotels and Suite at Victoria Island, Lagos? I was amazed at how spacious the place was. Now I understood why they had been hosting the event there for years as the crowd kept on increasing. There was so much on display. If I had gone with the intention of spending money, I would have bought a lot. A particular stand caught my eye, and the CEO was very friendly and fun to engage with. Her Adire collection was most impressive. I just had to get a picture of her and her stand for posterity sake.



As I was heading back to the raffle draw segment to see what was going on there and get my Thank U card to join the Connect Nigeria Business club, I found out the discussion segment had begun again and former minister of Aviation and former FRSC boss, Osita Chidoka was speaking. I hurried back and never left that hall until the end of the event at 7:15 pm. I often wondered if the two parts of the fair were concurrently running because it was hard to navigate the exhibition hall and still be in the room for the discussion forum.



People were allowed to ask questions, and the panellists were terrific. I can’t write all I learned but here are some things I garnered from this annual fair:

The program began with Eyo Bassey, the CEO of Payporte. He said 5the ebusiness scene in Nigeria changes very fast so we should be ready to innovate, iterate with the trends, get the right associations and advice. He reminded us of the insatiable need of the Nigerian market and how we should not be discouraged if it felt like everyone was doing the business we wanted to start up. Although he took a jab at the banking sector, claiming it will be redundant in 20years time, his train of thought for startups was continued by Mrs Akpan Ikhoabasi, Sales Manager, Air France - KLM. She spoke on the need to carve a niche for your business by meeting a particular demand or meeting a need uniquely. She said, “People don’t buy products, they by the benefits of the products whether it is real or perceived.”

Speaking of meeting needs, Mrs Ngozi Princewill Utchay, the CEO Artelier Lifestyle Consultants in Abuja, continued that train of thought by explaining how proper customer service is the lifeblood of any business. The more you treat customers right, the more loyal they become. On the issue of loyal customers, Simeon Ononobi, the Co-Founder Thank U and CEO of SimplePay Payment Gateway, explained how important it was to collect customers’ data to track their purchasing cycle for targeted marketing purposes. The analytics will help business owners know when to expect clients and better plan.



It is impossible to cover the wealth of knowledge shared in an 8 hour period with over 12 speakers in one article. That’s why I referred you to the connect Nigeria site to read up more. You can also visit their YouTube channel to watch the panellist discussions live for yourself. But the things I will never forget was Mabel George (VP Business Development at Sigma Pensions)’s charge that we don’t have to wait till we are old to start a pension fund. As soon as you start earning, get one. Mr Adeyinka Fisher (State Coordinator at SMEDAN) helped me understand that I run a Microenterprise. Not all businesses are SME by specific indices, and this affects the ease at which companies can apply for funding from organisations. Eric Edokpa (Principal Consultant Fintech at Ventures and Allied Solutions (FVAS), NEXTZON) echoed a concept that I started the year with, the need for collaboration with others when building your platform. 

 

Tale Alimi (CEO Tale Alimi Global) pointed out that we need to change our mindset to succeed in business and my younger sister’s friend Tolu Onyeacholam (Product Manager eTranzact) gave a classic example using the rural area as a money spinner. I didn’t go there with the aim of making money yet I was able to sell The Quilt at the event. If you love knowledge, don’t plan to miss the next #CNBizFair.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

12 Days of Christmastide


Have you ever wondered why it is called twelve days of Christmas? We usually make the countdown start before Christmas day and end on Christmas day, but that really isn't the way the !2 days of Christmas is supposed to be. I know it is kinda weird me writing about Christmas in the new year, especially when I did not turn in an article for December for my faithful readers. Stick with me guys, I am going somewhere.

In the church calendar, twelve days of Christmas is actually called Christmastide and it begins after Christmas, not before. The reason is, the spirit of the season should span beyond just three days of celebration - Christmas Eve, Christmas day and boxing day. This Christmastide season is supposed to end on the 6th of January.



Although the festivities seem over, it is vital that we do not rush to forget the reason for the season, take down our decorations or change our festive mood. The joy of Christmas for Christians is supposed to be a lifestyle, not just an annual event. Most people associate January with being financially broke, work filled and boring. This shouldn't be the case which is why keeping the spirit of Christmas in January and beyond is essential.


So what is the spirit of Christmas that we are not supposed to forget in a hurry?

1. Hope - When the baby Jesus was born, the Israelites sought a messiah, one who would free them from the oppression of the Romans. It doesn't matter what Jesus' real mission was, at that point, just hearing news of his birth filled them with a hope that things would change one day. No matter how dreary the situation of life feels right now, there is always a chance that things will get better. Live with expectancy. No condition is permanent, and as long as you decide you can change anything within your power to control, your story will always change.

2. Joy - When Mary gave birth, the host of angels in heaven came down to earth rejoicing. They were so happy that the world of men was about to change forever through the life of a son of Man who was God incarnate. (let's not get into a debate here guys, just stick with me). Your days may be as mundane as that of the shepherds in the field that night, but let the joy that emanates from having hope for a better tomorrow, keep your hearts warm. Always see the positive side of life and be joyful for what tomorrow might bring.


3. Love - Joseph stuck by his pregnant fiancee and loved the baby Jesus as his own. Doing all he could to be a great dad. Not to mention the love God had for humanity that he decided to come in human form and dwell amongst men so he can be acquainted with our sorrows. Love is the driving force behind the whole story of Jesus birth and Death and love should be our driving force. Let the love that prompts sharing and giving during the Christmas season to neighbours and strangers be near our hearts always. Look for ways to show love to those who you know cannot pay you back and be a blessing to those who you know despitefully use and abuse you. Again I am not saying be a doormat, I am saying let love be the motive behind your actions to your fellow human beings.

4. Peace - The angels brought great tidings of peace on earth. News that God is not angry with men and he has come to bridge the gap between us and demonstrate his love in person. Likewise, let your heart be at peace. The universe isn't trying to get you. It's cause and effect in play. Sow the right seeds and reap a bountiful reward. Live at peace with all men, strive to be at peace with yourself and your decisions. Let peace be the umpire of your soul, guarding you and your choices in life. Seek peace in all you do.




All these values are typified in the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus but it should not end with the season. Let 's take the sentiments that make Christmas exceedingly unique and share it throughout the year. Don't say I told you to eat like a pig all year round because you ate a feast during Christmas. Lol. Remember, in all things be moderate.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

4 Ways To Improve Sexual Intimacy With Your Spouse

Raising kids, dealing with work stress or the pressure to have children are just a few of the things that can kill your sexual intimacy.



For guys, prolonged absence of sex is hard not just because of the desire for sexual release which is higher than that of women, but because subconsciously, men tie their masculinity to sex. Soon their confidence gets eroded with the constant rejections from their wives causing self-doubt. When self-doubt sets in, it rubs off on other areas of their lives. Hence the need for someone other than their wives to help restore their bruised ego by providing sex even though they still love and are proud of their wives.

But do you know women also eventually start feeling the same way as guys do when their husbands stop desiring them, stops asking for sex, or showing any form of affection towards them as well? That’s why they get drawn to the first guy that fills that void created by their husbands.

So before you start looking outside your home and forsaking your marital vows, try these steps:

1. Whisper sweet nothings.

It is always important to talk to your spouse. When you want sex, say so but also talk about the feelings you have. Compliment each other as often as you can, share words of affirmation whenever your spouse needs it. If they are looking sexy (i.e. sexually desirable), tell them.

Share with each other the desires both of you inspire in each other. You can send a sex text (also known as sexting). Serenade each other with love songs if your vocals are on point. If you can’t sing, play a track and dedicate it to your spouse. Send a radio request if you know she will hear it. Don’t always wait till you guys are at home to whisper sweet nothings to your spouse.

SEE ALSO: Intimacy in marriage after having kids written by me for from http://blazersandbaby.com/




2. Be hands-on.

Touch as a love language is about those little physical contacts that create a sense of closeness without the commitment of sex. They include holding hands when you walk, a light peck on the cheek when your spouse comes in from the office or a hug just before they go to work.

Give a massage; cuddle not only when you want to have sex but regularly. You can cuddle with your clothes on sometimes and without the clothes but try very hard to delay the desire for intercourse in those moments of physical closeness. Burst out some ‘magic mike’ moves/strip tease if you can. That way you build a longing for sex that will come more naturally the next time you are together.

3. Have date nights.

If going out to dine, going to the cinema alone or renting a hotel room will break your bank, you can have a date night at home. Fix it for a time when the kids are asleep if you don’t have a babysitter.

Once in a while, turned off the TV when you are alone. Sometimes watching a movie can take away from being together. Take turns in planning Date night. Date night could be once a week or once in two weeks or even once a month. Let it not be only for birthdays and wedding anniversaries you plan a special time out.

Bring out the candles, prepare a special meal or buy take out if you prefer, sit and enjoy each other’s company. If organising it is burdensome and you know any group organising a couples timeout or get-away, sign up and join them. Maximise the opportunities you have to create special memories and moments alone with your spouse.

4. Update your sexual archives.

There is a place of mental preparedness when it comes to issues relating to sex. Once your mind is well primed, getting down to business will be much easier. Read up on all things sex and share with your spouse what you discovered. Let curiosity drive your passion.



Guys, treat her like a lady and a queen. Ladies, treat him like the king that he is. As your intimacy grows, even age won’t be able to stop you both from being sexually intimate.

8 Things You Should Know About Medical Tourism

Every year, tons of Nigerians troop out of the country for medical care and with most skilled Doctors leading the way, it is no wonder ...