Things that can threaten a campus student’s health
Five weeks ago, after the death of my old writer friend, Binyavanga Wainaina, I wrote a piece here about how strokes are the number one killers of citizens of this country.
The response to that article was amazing. So when I got the chance last week – courtesy of Bliss Healthcare VP Rajaganapathy Manickam – to visit the Bliss Clinic for their diabetes check-up week, I had no hesitation in doing so.
One in every seventeen Kenyans is a sufferer of diabetes already. The Bliss exercise was to ensure that the regular sugar/glucose check-ups we should ALL be doing could be accessed by the students there – and the doctors duly issued dire warnings about the future sedentary lifestyles (especially among this Play-Station, I.T. generation that may soon all work from home and order EVERYTHING from Amazon Drone Delivery) that may lead to dangerous obesity.
In my afro-futuristic novel ‘2063,’ I have a fat side character who is diabetic and does programming from a basement. His breath smells like mint because of the dangerous level of ketones in his body.
But he increasingly gets fatigued, his feet swell, he is ever thirsty, his eyes get cataract, he urinates himself and eventually gets a diabetic related heart attack in that dank basement.
All because of an untreated case of diabetes, coz he cannot be bothered to go for check-ups.
Health dangers in campus
So, because we all love students as ‘Eve Women,’ what are the immediate health dangers they face in Campus?
Ironically, having spoken about being young and over-weight, and its link to diabetes Type Two, we must now say many Kenyan students face the risk of ‘malnutrition’ whilst in school.
Speaking as one who went to a public university – and not a college with a nice diet like USIU – let me tell you about the ‘starvation’ we underwent while undergoing our studies.
Black, near sugarless tea, was the order of the day.
In the era before noodles, sossi and other Chinese pseudo-foods, we just ate veggies like rabbits.
You ask why? Because they were cheap, and with our economy looking the way it is, and with scarcity of money, they end up eating a lot of nonsense that leaves them malnourished.
Mutungi, a student, told me for a ‘finje’ a student can eat chapo ndengu, for 35 bob the ‘babes’ go for the indomitable Indomie, at 25 bob you can get a ‘fruit crush’ mix, 20 bob gets you ‘chapo choma n bean stew’ with something called a KDF for 10 when life is too hard, pardon the pun, good wo/man.
Before you pity our hungry collegial past, please consider some of us guys would starve, but somehow never lacked money for alcohol in sachets.
Which brings me to the next point when it comes to health hazards for college students.
Alcohol abuse, which while in itself may only lead to horrible headaches and failure to read – as well as lifelong addiction – has worse immediate consequences.
Then there are all the STDs that college students spread between themselves, like SACCO dividends at the end of the year, thanks to the culture of ‘sponsors’ and general irresponsible sexual shenanigans.
Stress, however, is the biggest danger faced by many university students in the country today.
5. Social ills
It leads to those other five social ills that start with ‘S’ (and I’m not talking about syphilis); smoking pot, sexual promiscuity, stealing, slaying each other (to ‘maliza’ girls who don’t meet their needs/reject these young male psychos) and self-harm/suicide.