Ministry warns tourists traveling to Eastern #Indonesia of malaria infection

The Health Ministry has warned the public, especially tourists traveling to the Eastern part of Indonesia, to be cautious about malaria infection in the region.

According to the ministry’s data, malaria is still highly endemic in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua provinces.

The ministry’s director of vector and zoonotic infection disease prevention and control, Vensya Sitohang, said that tourists, especially backpackers, should anticipate and take necessary measurements against the disease. “Avoid going outdoors at night since the anopheles mosquito is more active during that time. If you must travel after dark, apply [mosquito repellent] lotion; and install a mosquito net for when you are sleeping,” she said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Read also: Malaria-proof mosquito? Tool promising but needs more study

For those already bitten, Vensya advised travelers to immediately visit health services and conduct laboratory checks for malaria.

Tourists are also encouraged to take precautions by taking antimalarial medications prior to their trip, which are available for free in health facilities like Puskesmas (community health centers) and hospitals.

NTT and West Papua are currently among the country’s most popular travel destinations with highlights including Raja Ampat and Labuan Bajo.

Source – TheJakartaPost


The most attractive holiday destinations

When it comes to vacation destinations, everyone has his or her own preferences, of course. A helping hand can of course be useful, so has the World Economic Forum made a list of the most attractive holiday destinations in the world.

The researchers are looking at issues such as safety, nature, infrastructure, health and value. This has resulted in the following top ten:

1/ Spain
2/ France
3/ Germany
4/ Japan
5/ Great-Britain
6/ United States
7/ Australia
8/ Italy
9/ Canada
10/ Switzerland


Drinking #Wine a form of exercise, study says

Indulging ourselves in a glass of wine every now and then is often considered as leisure activity.

But according to a recent study, drinking the fermented juice can be considered as an exercise, as it makes human brains work harder than any other physical activity.

According to the book “Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine,” published by neurologist Dr. Gordon M. Shepherd of Yale School of Medicine, drinking and smelling wine triggers the brain to require “exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body.”

Contrary to popular belief, Sheperd also suggested that wine molecules don’t actually contain any flavor and that it’s the brain’s function that perceives the taste.

Read also: The hot new wine regions in your favorite countries

“The taste is not in the wine; the taste is created by the brain of the wine taster,” Shepherd wrote, as relayed by The New York Post.  “Factors including age, gender, the genetic makeup of our saliva and whether or not we’re depressed can also impact how we taste wine.

The American scholar also wrote that wine molecules create emotional and sensory reactions to humans, which may spark cognitive functions such as  memory, pattern recognition and pleasure.

However, Shephard still warned drinkers to keep their dosage in moderation,  in order to fully maximize its benefits. “Too big a gulp and you’ve saturated your system,” he wrote.

Source – This article appeared on the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper website


For many, dogs help fend off loneliness

More empty nesters seeking canine companionship

Han Zijing, 60, has become a renowned dog lover in her neighborhood in Chongqing. Every evening, she walks a brown toy poodle, a golden retriever and a mixed breed in a nearby park.

“I don’t like dog owners who have to walk their dogs by leash. My dogs are quiet and listen to my orders. When I walk, they walk; when I stop, they stop. And they don’t bark,” she said. “From this perspective, they are more ‘filial’ than my daughter.”

Like many Chinese mothers, Han placed all her attention on her only child. Her daughter has been a source of pride by “completing many tasks”, including getting into one of China’s most prestigious universities and finding a good job in Beijing.

But in recent years, Han has felt distanced from her daughter, who seems in no hurry to get married and have a child. Luckily, she has a dog to fill the void.

More empty nesters now have pet dogs to cope with loneliness caused partly by the family planning policy and urbanization, boosting the pet industry’s development.

Han said having a dog brought her more friends. This made her realize that she is not the only one tackling the loneliness after children grow up and leave the nest.

“When I walk my dogs, I meet many other elderly residents with dogs,” she said.

“I feel a little sad. Our children have settled in big cities and only visit us during holidays. Some get married and don’t want to live with us.”

According to the China National Committee on Aging, the country will have 118 million empty nesters in 2020. The physical and mental health of this demographic has become an issue of concern.

Once banned as a bourgeois pastime, owning a pet dog in Beijing became legal only in 1993. In the past 20 years, China has turned into the third-largest country for dog ownership, with 27.4 million pet dogs, after the United States and Brazil, according to a report by, citing data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Yu Lianhai, founder of 51buydog, a pet store in Beijing, said strong demand for companionship brought by the family planning policy and urbanization has been driving the boom.

“Those born to a one-child family were placed under great expectations by the whole family when they were young,” he said. “Many left their hometown to seek better careers in first-tier cities.

“Most parents of the one-child generation are from rural areas. They are used to living with family and have close relations with neighbors. Naturally, they’d feel lonely after their children leave them. One solution is to raise a dog.”

Yu has been in the pet business for more than two decades. He said the most frequent phrase he heard from buyers is “raising a dog is more rewarding than raising a child”.

Zheng Richang, a psychology professor at Beijing Normal University, has done research that shows empty nesters with a companion animal are less likely to have depression and anxiety.

He said companion animals offer a sense of security that can help to mitigate the negative impact brought by living alone.

Jiang Qiaoyun, a retired nurse in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, got a pet dog last year.

“When I was little and lived in a village, we had dogs. But we used them mostly to act as guard dogs,” she said. “Having a pet dog is like a typical behavior of people living in cities. My son was born in the city. He naturally thinks of a dog as a pet.”

Yu said he expected that the pet dog market will develop quickly in the next 10 years.

“Besides economic reasons, the change of social status is another reason why many Chinese want to have a pet dog. In addition to a middle class eager to have fancy dogs, many immigrants moving from rural areas to cities, or from small cities to big ones, would also want a dog to show they are modern citizens.”

Source: ChinaDaily

Asia – Wives bearing brunt of HIV

A sex worker waits for customers in Phnom Penh. A recent study shows that masculine attitudes towards prostitution contribute to the spread of HIV between husbands and wives in Cambodia.

A toxic culture of masculinity in Cambodia is contributing to the spread of HIV from husbands to wives, according to a study in the American Journal of Men’s Health.

After interviewing men who contracted HIV outside of their marriage and passed the disease to their wives, researchers discovered that popular notions of what makes a “real man” contributed to risky behavior leading to infection.

Men reported being pressured into drinking and visiting prostitutes in order to fit into a male peer group, and most contracted HIV after having unprotected sex outside of marriage.

For many Cambodian men, visiting sex workers is considered a normal part of life that contributes to their sense of masculinity, the study found. One participant claimed that visiting sex workers is acceptable because it’s better than raping children.

“Some people raped a child, or even some young girl. However, we don’t have to do that. We can just find out those sex services. There are many places in Cambodia. Just pay them and come back home; that’s OK,” the participant said.

While HIV rates have consistently dipped since their peak in 1998, Cambodia still has the highest rate of infection in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, most women living with HIV contracted the disease from their husbands. According to the National AIDS Authority, transmission from a spouse is the most common cause of new HIV infections, counting for around 48 percent.

Communication about sex is commonly considered taboo in the Kingdom, a fact that leads to sexual dissatisfaction, low condom use, extramarital affairs and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Participants in the study also said condom use within marriage is low because it’s indicative of a lack of trust.

Meanwhile, Cambodian wo­men often display pride in their sexual ignorance, believing that knowledge of sexuality is the domain of prostitutes. Some men interviewed said they would visit prostitutes less frequently if they could experiment sexually with their wives. But they also said their wives would be upset if they suggested new sexual techniques, claiming their spouses view sex “as work”.

In order to address these issues, the report’s authors suggest incorporating sex education into high school curricula in order to foster “healthy gender norms and attitudes toward sex”.

According to Ros Sopeaph, director of the organization Gender and Development for Cambodia, a safe space is needed to encourage men and women to discuss sexuality openly.

“We need to break the wall of silence,” she said. “We need to work with men so they can speak with their partners.”

Equal power relationships between husbands and wives should also be fostered, with policymakers acting as role models, Sopheap said.

Source: Author  Cristina Maza ThePhnomPenhPost

This article count of course not alone for Cambodia, but for whole South-Asia like: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, ……