Graduation Day

Today was a great day for 9 young ladies who have been affected by the Crisis in the North West Region. They graduated after 1 year of intensive training in dress making and traditional dress embroidery. Their training was supported by Mission 21.

Today they all went home with a sewing machines and will be getting materials to start up, thanks to Kerk in Actie.

Promoting Youth Dialogue in Communities

YOP has ended its project aimed at building dialogue and promoting peace in communities affected by crisis. It was a year full of learning, sharing and debating on young people’s understanding of the crisis in the North West and South West Regions.

We greatly appreciate all who supported us, especially the youths and the Crisis and Support Center.

Stand up for Girls

Today we join all who value girls to #Standforgirls! During the last couple of days a debate on #rape has engulfed social media in #Cameroon! It questions the right of girls to dress for their comfort. Some call it indecent dressing! This, some claim instigates rape!

Rape is a crime! A rapist is an individual who lack the will power to master his animal desire! He is weak!

No to Rape!

5G does not cause COVID -19

Dr Sam Atungsiri is a Telecommunication Engineer/Designer with vast experience in the development of 5G. Speaking to Omer Songwe, he debunks the myths around 5G and COVID-19.

Thank you for the opportunity to inform your readers about the 5G Technology. I am from Bamendankwe. I live with my family alternatively in Bamenda and the United Kingdom.

I have been a telecommunications engineer since earning a PhD in it in 1991. As to work, I served as a researcher/university academic and then as a design engineer of satellite communications systems, mobile phones and television sets. I am a telecommunication technologist, conceiving and standardizing new technologies for TV and mobile communications. I have hundreds of patents in these technologies some of which you can find if you Google my name.

In the last six years, I have been privileged to be one of about a thousand technologists from major telecommunication companies worldwide that work at conceiving, defining, designing and standardizing the set of wireless communications technologies euphemistically known as 5G. My current employer is Sony Europe, but any opinions I express here are mine, not those of Sony Corporation or any of its subsidiaries.

As an expert, what can you say about 5G and how it impacts on our lives?

Dr. Sam Atungsiri: The expression 5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile communications technology— a set of standardized technologies designed to bring certain benefits to future users of mobile and wireless communications. Three key benefits of 5G over previous generations are:

i. Density of connections

With 4G, for example, the network can support a maximum of 1000 simultaneous phone calls or network connections in one square kilometer. A 5G network, on the other hand, can have as many as 1 million simultaneous connections in one square kilometer. This means that the network can sustain a thousand times more simultaneous connections. This allows us to connect anything to the network for which we think a network connection would be useful. This benefit is meant to bring us the so-called Internet of Things where your car, television, water and electricity meters, etc. will be connected to the Internet. This is an exciting opportunity for people to be creative in building new businesses by connecting things to the Internet that enhance the way these things are used or controlled. For example, a cattle herder who fits each of his cows with a collar connected to the network, can track where the cow goes using his smartphone. Further, he can be even more sophisticated and build into the collar a speaker which can be commanded to emit a sound that is disturbing for the cow. That way he can confine the cows within his land without needing to build a fence. The collar can be programmed to emit the disturbing sound each time the cow approaches the boundary of his plot, forcing it to turn back. Imagine how this can be used in Cameroon to forestall farmer-grazer problems, for example.

ii. Higher Speeds 

The maximum data transfer rates between a mobile phone and network will double from 4G to 5G. This faster data transfer rate will allow new applications,  such as streaming of very high definition movies to watch on mobile phones, holographic calling in which a 3D image of the person you are talking to on the phone is projected to a seat next to you so that you can have a face to face conversation, etc.

iii. Faster Response Time

This is perhaps a little more difficult to explain. It may be helpful to use one of the more exciting applications— remote surgery— to explain it. In this case, a surgeon in London, for example, can carry out surgery on a patient in a duly equipped operating theatre in Bamenda. The theatre in Bamenda will be equipped with cameras to stream live images of the patient and the surgical operation to the surgeon in London and network connected robot arms with the appropriate surgical instruments. The London surgeon would remotely manipulate these for the surgical procedure. So, imagine the London surgeon cuts some tissue in the patient with a scissors robot arm. We want the scissors to cut immediately the surgeon squeezes his remote scissors. If there is unnecessary delay between the remote squeeze and the actual cut of the tissue, the surgeon may squeeze again initiating a new cut of something else by accident. The network therefore needs to transfer all instructions from the surgeon with minimal delay or latency. This benefit is useful for remote control of other things, one being the wireless control of industrial manufacturing processes.

I hope that in the illustrations of these three main benefits, you can see how 5G is likely to impact our lives at home, school and work. I have not highlighted its reduction of power consumption when compared to 4G for network operations. The 5G network will be a key infrastructural component and must be made to reduce, as much as possible, its impact on climate change. 5G is a significant improvement on 4G, given the four main benefits outlined.

You have been following the theory that 5G is the cause of COVID-19. Why should we not believe this theory?

Dr. Sam Atungsiri : You should not believe it simply because it is utter nonsense. COVID-19 is caused by a virus – a living thing. 5G transmits radio waves that carry information or data between the network and its users. Radio waves have absolutely no direct connection with viruses.  Anecdotally, we can also observe that people are contracting COVID-19 in countries such as Cameroon where there is no 5G whatsoever. The two have no relationship.

Has the launch and use of any data generation caused human health problems in the past?

Dr. Sam Atungsiri : The short answer is a resounding NO.  It may be helpful to explain to readers why mobile phone system transmissions do not harm human health. Mobile phone systems use radio waves for transmissions between the phone and the network. Radio waves are electromagnetic radiation, just as the visible light that bathes our daytime. Electromagnetic radiation is used according to its frequency and the power radiates. Firstly, as it is known, heat produced in the body by high power radiation of any electromagnetic frequency can harm human health. Regulations by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU—an organ of the UNO) limit the power of  radio waves used for mobile communications to thousands of times lower than the power limit determined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as harmful to human health. Secondly, electromagnetic radiation beyond a certain frequency is ionizing – this means it can cause cancer. However, 5G and previous Gs operate with non-ionising radio frequencies. Indeed, all Gs operate at frequencies lower than that of the visible light that bathes our daytime. We know that visible light is non-ionising. So, radio, at even lower frequencies, is definitely not ionising. In summary, mobile communications use electromagnetic radiation at transmission frequencies and powers that are significantly lower than anything that can be harmful to human health.

  Are there any specific health hazards for young people who are avid android phone users?

Dr. Sam Atungsiri : Definitely; but these do not arise from the phone technology itself. The health hazards arise more from the way the phone is used – typically from overuse over long periods. I am not a medical doctor but I am a parent and have guarded against these dangers with my children.

There is something called repetitive strain injury (RSI). This is the aching of the micro muscles in your hands and upper body because of the micro-repetitive movements of your fingers and wrists used for typing long messages on your phone keyboard or even computer keyboard. Most people do not realise after a long phone text messaging session that they may be suffering from RSI because it manifests as general tiredness and feeling lethargic.

Phone screens – depending on the model – are generally small and flicker at high rates. This can affect your eyesight if you stare at your screen for too long without averting your gaze occasionally. Long term, this could lead to eyesight deterioration, at which point you may need glasses or other optometric intervention.

Another affliction is to become addicted to social media. We all, adults and young people, have to be careful about this.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png
Dr. Atungsiri

Why must I wear a face mask?

Why should I wear a mask if COVID-19 is a virus that is not airborne?
Ngwa Protus Ambe Bamenda 2
Researchers say that little droplets can stay in the air for some time. So to protect ourselves and prevent spreading the virus, a face mask is a MUST!
The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets – the liquid that comes out when we cough and sneeze. Most of the virus will be found on the larger droplets that come out, but then fall quickly to the ground – these we do not breathe those in unless the person coughed or sneezed directly to our face. However, now it is known that there are some virus particles found on some of the smaller droplets called ‘aerosols’. These little droplets often ‘hang’ in the air for up to a few hours after someone has coughed or sneezed. So in that case, there is some risk to it being passed through the air. A face masks can reduce the likelihood that the larger droplets are expelled out by someone who is infected.