brad brace

11/14/2008

INFERTILE YAM DISASTER BEFORE RISING TOURISM SEAS?

For Kiribati, the threat of submergence because of sea level rise seems
distant when compared to the range of potentially disastrous ecological and
economic problems it is faced with in the short-term.

There are many staple foods in the Solomon Islands many however prefer yam,
or uvi, as it is known in Guadalcanal.

The cost of treating infertile couples has halved with the launch of a new
programme expected to become one of the vanguard methods of addressing
Kenya’s high infertility rates.

The alarm bells of sea level rise as a result of global warming and climate
change—brought centrestage in no small measure by the 2006 documentary film
‘An Inconvenient Truth’— catapulted the world’s low-lying atoll nations to
the front pages of the global media.

According to the World Bank, tourism is the largest and the fastest
developing industry in the world today.

In the Pacific, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands have been
perceived as the most threatened.

Yams are a primary agricultural commodity in the Solomon Islands, and have
been used extensively prior to the colonization of the Islands.

Nairobi-based Aga Khan University Hospital said it has achieved its first
two pregnancies using the new treatment and that many more were in the
pipeline.

The amount of tourists having visited other countries has become 4.5%
higher and reached 842 million people as compared to 2005.

Over the past few years, these countries have been the focus of much
research by the world’s scientists to find definitive answers relating to
their impending submergence.

This essentially means that they were brought to the Solomon Islands by our
early ancestors.

Latest University of Nairobi statistics show that almost a quarter of
Kenyan men and nearly a fifth of women are infertile with the majority
unaware of their condition.

In Kiribati alone, two small islets have been submerged by rising sea
levels. Everything one has heard and read about Kiribati being a nation
that is supposed to be among the early victims of sea level rise, that may
not even survive the next few decades rings true as the jet approaches the
runway at Bonriki Airport on Tarawa, Kiribati’s capital.

According to the information given by Washington Profile, the largest
tourist inflow has been marked in Southern Asia and become 10% higher as
compared to 2005.

It is used for important ceremonial events such as reconciliation, weddings
or feasts to show ones status.

Until recently, there was almost nothing that could be done to help them.

India is the most attractive country for foreign travellers. A remarkable
growth – 8.1% has been noted in Africa.

The extreme vulnerability of this ribbon-like string of atolls in the
middle of the world’s largest ocean becomes apparent as their fraying edges
constantly battered by the tides come into view.

A simple Google search show that yams were first cultivated in Africa and
Asia about 8000 B.C.

Hospitals have since last year been racing to introduce wider and cheaper
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programmes, in a bid to open a route to
child-bearing for the infertile.

The retaining walls at the far end of the runway have been reduced to
rubble because of the relentless onslaught of the waves.

A remarkable growth – 8.1% has been noted in Africa. Most foreign tourists
have visited SAR, Kenya and Morocco. In countries of Asian-Pacific area the
number of tourists has become 7.6% higher, and in Europe – 4% higher.

The drive down the one single road that runs through the 30-odd kilometre
length of the atolls that form Tarawa — never more than a couple of hundred
metres at their widest and strung together by a series of two-lane
causeways — is marked with sights of crumbling sea walls and mounds of
refuse lining the coastline in several places.

In the Solomon Islands, where refrigerators are not yet a common household
item, yams are very important since they can be stored for up to six months
without refrigeration.

However, in Kenya, the first IVF baby was born just 18 months ago, under a
pioneer treatment priced at Sh300,000.

Along the lagoon to the west, acres of coconut trees shorn of both frond
and fruit stand mute testimony to the encroaching salt water and
lengthening periods of drought that the atolls have faced in recent years.

In countries of Asian-Pacific area the number of tourists has become 7.6%
higher, and in Europe – 4% higher

Further down at Betio, the southernmost point on Tarawa, one sees
overcrowding that is so unusual for Pacific islands — and of course
poverty.

“We usually cook them very early in the morning, we store some for later in
the day and some for the kids to take to school,” said Lilly Vale, a mother
of two young kids who resides near the Poha area in West Guadalcanal.

Sea level rise not the only problem Increased global awareness of climate
change and sea level rise and the rash of alarmism that has predicted their
impending submergence have tended to portray these as the biggest problem
faced by the 33-island nation straddling the equator across three time
zones.

The huge need for better access to the treatment has seen two hospitals,
Nairobi and now Aga Khan, as well as two clinics introduce the procedure.

Despite the intense scrutiny of the scientific establishment, the interest
of ecologists and aid agencies as well as the glare of the global media,
islanders’ opinion on the submergence issue is sharply divided — and for
all sorts of reasons ranging from anecdotal and experiential evidence on
both sides of the argument, through religious beliefs, to downright
cynicism.

Most foreign tourists have visited SAR, Kenya and Morocco. In countries of
Asian-Pacific area the number of tourists has become 7.6% higher, and in
Europe – 4% higher.

President Anote Tong, the London School of economics-educated head of
state, is understandably cautious: “I am not suggesting and have never
suggested that the islands are sinking because of the rise in sea levels,”
he says. “But there is no doubt we are increasingly facing the effects of
climate change in many ways.”

“We cook them over hot stones… we keep the stones hot throughout the day
just to keep the yam hot.”

We have only started this year and so far we’ve handled two patients, one
in April and one in August both of whom are pregnant,” said Dr Praful S.
Patel, a senior lecturer at the hospital and an expert in IVF.

Germany which was the site of World Cup has become a leader here. Tourism
industry in the Near East has obtained the same result.

In fact, recent sea level data analyses suggest that the danger of
submergence for Kiribati’s atolls—unlike the neighbouring atoll nation of
Tuvalu — is no longer as immediate as was estimated earlier (estimates of
20 to 50 years have now been stretched to more like 80 to 100 years).
Though increased erosion, a greater frequency of higher tides and longer
periods of drought may be a direct result of climate change (just as
similar phenomena have affected other parts of the world, including the
frequent hurricanes in the United States), submergence is no longer the
immediate, central issue.

Lilly says that leftovers are often wrapped in banana leaves and stored in
the kitchen, normally a leaf hut separate from the main house.

These first pregnancies have put Aga Khan Hospital ahead of its peers in
success rates.

The amount of tourists having visited Southern and Northern American
countries became just 2% higher in 2006.

Yet, in actual fact, the country may be faced with a wide range of far
worse and far more urgent potential disasters than sea level rise — though
climate change may well be playing the role of a catalyst in many of these
looming problems.

Lilly says that her family will continue to consume yam even though many in
the village seem to prefer rice nowadays.

But from there, only about a third of IVF fertilised embryos lead to a
confirmed pregnancy.

Such low rates are connected with reducing of tourists visiting Canada and
Mexico.

“I just think that it is healthier, I have noticed many of the villagers
getting sick when they switch to rice and tinned food… our grandparents
lived healthy lives until they were very old, most depended only on yam and
sea food.”

The success rate in Kenya has so far been higher than that.

According to the information provided by the World Tourism And Travel
Council, 8.3% of world’s working places, 9.3% of international investments,
12% of exports and 3.6% of world internal gross product account for a share
of tourism and its branches.

Over the past decade or so, Tarawa has faced fiercer and more frequent
storms, higher tides and longer droughts. Several residents pointed out
that the westerly winds that ushered in the wet season around December had
virtually disappeared in the past seven years, resulting in longer dry
periods and erratic and far less frequent wet spells.

Dietitians would agree with Lilly since Yams are high in Vitamin C and
Vitamin B6.

The real obstacle for couples, however, has been cost. In Kenya, this
treatment has been pioneered by the likes of Dr Praful S Patel and Dr
Joshua Noreh of the Nairobi IVF clinic, who delivered Kenya’s first test
tube baby just over one-and-a-half years ago.

Tourists spend 10.2% of all means expended by world consumers. An average
tourist having visited Europe has made an income at amount of $790 (for
Eastern Europe and European Republics of the Former USSR this rate is
$370).

This has resulted in large-scale migration from the smaller outer islands
to Tarawa, particularly to Betio, where the population density at about 111
per square kilometre compares with that of Hong Kong, making it the densest
urban agglomeration in the Pacific islands. In the past five years alone,
the population is thought to have grown by as much as 20,000 on that narrow
strip of land. With almost no sewerage system, not just groundwater but
even the surrounding lagoon is contaminated and travel advisories warn
strongly against swimming in the lagoon or drinking well water.

This means that yams are high in potassium and low in sodium which is
likely to produce a good potassium-sodium balance in the human body, and so
protect against osteoporosis and heart diseases.

In its first two years of availability in Kenya, IVF has been priced at
more than Sh300,000 per treatment. Aga Khan is now offering IVF for an
average Sh150,000, opening the cheapest route yet for childless couples.

For the USA and Canada the income from a tourist is $1190, for Asia – $890,
for Africa – $590, for The Near East – $710.

The local hospital (manned mostly by Cuban doctors) has been registering
increasing cases of enteric disorders. Housing in Betio resembles
shantytowns in other parts of the world—and without adequate garbage
disposal systems, waste accumulates on the shoreline. In some places around
Tarawa, this is simply burnt, compacted and used as a base for reclaiming
land.

Almost 80% of foreign tourists come from European and Southern American
countries. Eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand supply approximately 15%
of tourists.

The only source of freshwater on these remote atolls is rainwater and
because of the unfortunate combination of a fast growing population and low
rainfall, groundwater reserves have been depleting faster than in previous
years. Also, newly sunk bore wells pump out water faster than the rate at
which it percolates, leaving the population facing serious freshwater
shortages — which is expected to only get worse in time to come.

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