Fire on Ice! … Mayhew looks forward to historic bobsled competition

first_imgMeet 17-year-old Daniel Mayhew.He cannot drive a car, but he is quite competent, and on evidence, very comfortable guiding a bobsleigh downhill at 110km/h.The Charlemont High school student will head off to a training camp next week before taking his place as Jamaica’s first representative at the Winter Youth Olympic Games where he will feature in the Monobob competition.Remember that movie Cool Runnings?Well this is yet another version of Jamaicans defying logic and excelling on ice.Mayhew’s case becomes even more outstanding when the fact that he only stepped in a bobsleigh for the first time a mere 11 months ago at a Swiss training camp is taken into consideration.”I can’t recall exactly what I was feeling, but I know I was very nervous at first. They started me at the middle of the track, so that I didn’t get as much speed as I would if I started at the top,” Mayhew recollected during a recent chat with The Gleaner.HEARD HORROR STORIESHe heard many horror stories before that maiden voyage, but his first few runs were incident free, and as his confidence grew, so did his popularity among the other young athletes at the camp.The Jamaican, who lives in the St Catherine community Orange Field, which was also home to former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell, went on to win two ‘B’ finals and book his place among the qualifiers for the February 12 – 21 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.”I am a little bit surprised. I was the underdog and coming out on top in the B finals shows that I am going somewhere and I can see that I am improving my driving skills and my overall performance,” Mayhew added.”Going to the Olympic Games is a really extraordinary feeling. When I finished my qualifying run and knew that I qualified, it was an overwhelming feeling. I am hoping to get a medal possibly even the gold. The potential is there for me to do it, all I have to do is listen to my coach and I know I can come out on top,” he said.It was that well-rounded coach Harry Nelson, his eighth grade physical education teacher, who took the academic enthusiast out of a class one day and greeted him with the words: “I am have mission for you. You are going to compete in the bobsled.”Hard words to process for a teenager, who had little interest in actually competing in sports. But Nelson, who was impressed with the form shown during eight grade PE, was convinced he had the potential.”At first I was not attracted to the sport, it all happened really suddenly … I really wasn’t that interested at first; who wants to do that (bobsled)?” he laughed. “It’s a very different experience, but it has been extraordinary.”Mayhew, who has passed eight subjects all with ones and twos has hopes to become a commercial pilot in the future but is, however, happy that he decided to take the leap in the bobsleigh and is looking to do his best in Norway.But has he seen the movie Cool Runnings?”I saw that movie before. It was really just like any other movie to me. It really wasn’t that interesting to me at first, but before I left I watched it again because I had a feeling people were going to ask me about it,” he laughed.Maybe his story will play a part in a sequel.last_img read more

Africare Strategy Tames Malaria, Could Rout Ebola

first_imgChildren across the West African nation of Benin sleep safer at night and live healthier lives because of a modest pilot program to decrease malaria-related deaths.  Directed by Africare, a non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of people in Africa, the pilot program is said to have delivered such outstanding results that it was immediately expanded throughout the entire country by the government of Benin.Benin’s President Boni Yayi , in recognition of the program’s remarkable success, has honored Africare president, Dr. Darius Mans and the organization he leads, by appointing him an Officer of the National Order of Benin, Africare newsletter’s latest edition has confirmed.“It is a privilege to be recognized by President Yayi on behalf of Africare and its Beninese staff who implemented the program to ensure that children, the future of this great nation, are protected from malaria, the number one killer of children under five years old,” said Dr. Mans.The Africare Malaria Prevention StrategyWith financial support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and in collaboration with the Benin Ministry of Health (MOH) and Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), Africare launched a pilot program in 2004 to train members of local women’s groups on how to control malaria in their communities.Beginning in two departments, Couffo and Mono, the Africare-trained women shared their knowledge with others on how to protect children under five years and pregnant women from malaria.By 2008, the incidence of malaria dropped 73 percent in the two departments despite a national increase of 65 percent over the same period. More importantly, malaria-related deaths of children under five dropped 84 percent, while the national average only decreased by 18 percent.Benin Picks Africare for nationwide initiativeDue to the program’s success, The Global Fund renewed its support and recommended the initiative be expanded to cover all of Benin. The Benin MOH and CCM again turned to Africare to lead the comprehensive malaria control program.The Africare led nationwide initiative, in addition to training women’s groups on malaria prevention and treatment, also coordinated the distribution of nearly eight million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets in an effort to reach universal coverage.Africare’s malaria prevention and treatment efforts also included additional benefits such as communities spending fewer financial resources on malaria medicines and an overall decrease in the number of days children missed school.One village elder reported: “Whatever Africare is doing is working because my village is getting crowded. Children are no longer dying as often as they used to.”Africare Approach May Defeat Ebola­“In light of the horrific Ebola outbreak that is devastating neighboring West African countries, the Africare approach of Africans empowering Africans with the knowledge and resources to defeat a deadly disease such as malaria may be applied to other health crises on the continent, including Ebola,” Dr. Mans asserted.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LIFFORD BED CLOSURES: ‘GOVERNMENT FAILED TO DO THE RIGHT THING’

first_imgDonegal Senator Brian Ó Domhaill has said he is gravely concerned by confirmation today that the Health Service Executive has earmarked Lifford Community Hospital for closure.Senator Ó Domhnaill was commenting on the publication today of the HSE West Service Plan 2012, which reveals that funding for the health services in this region will be cut by €103 million, or 5.2%, this year.“This report confirms our worst fears in relation to Lifford Hospital,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.  “The HSE plan for the region, which has already been approved by the Health Minister James Reilly, has singled out Lifford Hospital for closure this year. This is a disastrous move that will only put further pressure on Letterkenny General Hospital which is struggling to meet the demand for its services as it is. “Lifford Hospital was established in 1799 and currently has 20 beds, 11 of which are for long-term residents. The remainder provide convalescent, step down and intermediate care for patients discharged from Letterkenny General Hospital. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of its staff, Lifford is one of the best community hospitals in the region. A HIQA report has found that the facility is operating effectively and providing excellent care levels to patients.“Shutting down Lifford Hospital will be a costly mistake. It will push elderly patients into the acute hospital system, at a time when Letterkenny Hospital is already under severe pressure.  The result will be longer waiting lists for beds, an increase in overcrowding and patients turning up at Letterkenny Hospital because they can no longer get the care they need in their own community.“The Health Minister James Reilly has approved proposals to make a series of cuts to community healthcare across the North West, targeting older people in particular.  Overall, he plans to shut down up to 898 community hospital beds nationwide this year. It isn’t difficult to see that patients will be the losers in this,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Gerry Crawford has described the news as a major blow for the Lifford area. Cllr Crawford said: “This facility is an integral part of the health services of this region, and it will be a major loss to the community.  People had hoped that the Government would do the right thing and keep it open.”Senator Ó Domhnaill concluded: “I am appealing to Minister Reilly, local Minister of State Dinny McGinley and Government Oireachtas members across the North West to see the bigger picture here. Closing Lifford Hospital may result in short term financial gain, but the long term costs to patients and our local health services are enormous.” LIFFORD BED CLOSURES: ‘GOVERNMENT FAILED TO DO THE RIGHT THING’ was last modified: February 17th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:LIFFORD BED CLOSURES: ‘GOVERNMENT FAILED TO DO THE RIGHT THING’last_img read more