views expressed here are my own!


Vaccinations and why I am still angry with the media

So Red nose day has been and gone, however I thought of something last night that I want to share with you all.

After a long day we sat down to watch TV in the evening, watched some very funny, very entertaining stuff. As we usually do we flick through the channels for 5/10 minutes before heading to bed. We did the same again last night and came to the BBC’s best bits of comic relief 2013. We arrived at the time of the Call the midwife special and after that saw the Vaccination video with Davina McCall.

That’s when it hit us and we started talking about the madness that was the MMR scare over here. Which still to this day has repercussions. Why does it still to this day affect people? Because the media as per usual whipped it up in such a frenzy that a lot of people decided not to give their kids the MMR vaccine. Now I know what you’re saying it should be the right of someone to say no to something they’re not comfortable with, but did they really know why they weren’t comfortable with it?

Lets look at the offending study that all the media quoted back then in more detail. First of it was a study that was riddled with mistakes, it was a study undertaken with 11 test subjects. That is even less than these stupid good for nothing tests you seen on all these health & beauty ads you see on telly. This study said that the MMR vaccine could in certain cases promote the possibility of the child developing autism. Which as soon as this study was published was disproven by other much bigger and better studies. But because the media saw the possibility of a huge campaign and that there was money to be made they focused on this flawed study and all hell broke loose.

In months and years after that media frenzy it was positively proven that MMR and autism were about as likely to be linked as piles were linked to Lung cancer. Now making the accusation that Piles could give you lung cancer would you go to your doctor and create merry hell about this or would you look for further studies on this matter?

Having watched the comic relief videos about vaccination projects in Africa and read what Team Honk first hand saw about this I do feel I have to ask the uncomfortable question: What would you chose? The possibility that your child might develop autism or the possibility that your child could die?

In Africa children die every day because they haven’t got access to the simplest vaccines we take for granted and we here in our safe and cushy western civilized world got up in arms about a flawed study that linked the MMR vaccine to Autism?

Lets look at it from a different point of view. Lets take the MMR apart. The first M stands for Measels, the second M stands for Mumps, the R stands for Rubella.

After the media frenzy about the possible link to autism the take up of the MMR vaccine dropped dramatically. Which was in no way helped by the former PM Tony ‘No comment’ Blair who refused to say to anyone if his kids had the MMR vaccine or not.

The drop in the uptake of the MMR vaccine surely meant a rise in measles. Now measles can cause meningitis, deafness, in some cases can even lead to brain damage or death. Is the remote possibility of your child developing autism really worse than all those possibilities, I think not. But still the media didn’t tell you that back then, did they!

There has been conclusive proof that Mumps can, to name just a few, cause hearing problems up to hearing loss, it can make men less fertile or in some cases can leave a man infertile.

The worst still is what Rubella can do to girls and women, especially when a pregnant woman comes in contact with someone who is suffering from Rubella. The problems in pregnancy and the disastrous consequences it can have to an unborn child are just to harrowing to even tell you about. So please someone tell me why the media back then made such a big thing about the possibility of the MMR vaccine being a contributing factor in why a child becomes autistic?

It still makes me sick to my stomach when I see children in hospital fighting for their lives because they haven’t had access to the most basic of vaccines we take for granted and then we in all honestely stand there and say No my child will not get the MMR vaccine because didn’t you know there is a minute chance that he/she might become autistic. As I said that is, excuse the language utter bullshit, but not only that I rather have an autistic son than no son!

Go talk to someone who knows about Autism, try telling a mother of an autistic child that you don’t want to immunise your child because you’re afraid your child will end up like hers. See what she says to you?

I could go on and on about it, but if you haven’t got the message by now it’s hopeless anyway. We didn’t even have to think twice when we were asked if our children could be immunised against Measles, Mumps and Rubella. We said ‘Yes of course’.

One more thing about autism that made my blood boil. To my friend, you know who you are, I like to say this now, this had to be said because it was just horrendous when I first heard so I’m sorry for putting it out in the public domain.

A mutual friend of ours said to this friend of ours after her child was formally diagnosed with Autism that it was ok we could now find out what her childs superpower was? WTF are you thinking or not thinking to justify this outburst as an appropriate thing to say? There are hundreds of things that must have been going through this mothers mind how it will affect her Childs’ future, her childs’ outlook on life. This miraculous, wonderful child seriously is the most loving little kid I ever had the pleasure of knowning and then someone who is a close friend goes and says something like that?

Anyway I hope I haven’t bored you too much with this rant, but I really felt that all this had to be said and if you’re not too bored yet I’d love to hear your opinion too.


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#teamhonk & the #goodwork for #comicrelief

If you follow me on twitter (@markusj75) you might have noticed myself and some friends talking about the #secretthing. Well it isn’t so secret anymore!

Thursday at 10am it was revealed by

Annie @mammasaurusblog

Tanya @mummybarrow


Penny @aresidence

I was first alerted to this when Tanya and Annie started the hashtag #secretthing some time ago but didn’t think too much about it. Occasionally stumbled across the same hashtag until on Monday Tanya published the secret thing chapter 1 on her blog mummybarrow Then on Tuesday it was Annie’s turn to publish her involvement in the secret thing mammasaurus Then on wednesday the lovely Penny published her bit for the secret thing http://aresidence.co.uk I hadn’t actually seen or heard from Penny before as, I know poor show isn’t it, I had not been following her on twitter and had not read or more to the point watched any of her blog posts. For those of you who don’t know about Penny, she mainly vlogs. Which means she mainly does video posts. And let me tell you the vlog for chapter 3 of the secret thing was brilliant.

Now that it has been revealed, in true Penny style she vlogged her part of the reveal. These three lovely ladies will be going to Ghana of all places to blog about Comic Relief and the amazing work that has been made possible by Comic Reliefs relentless work and peoples donations over the last 25 years.

I can’t imagine how scary but at the same time amazingly exiting it will be for these ladies to actually fly out to Ghana and see for themselves what amazing work has been done and is still being done.

So lets look at this in more detail:

The ladies have also got their own website, which you can find here:

#GoodWork Ghana Trip Schedule | #TeamHonk.

As you can read on their site they will be visiting and blogging about 4 different projects:

Project no. 1: Virtuous Women and Children International

Virtuous Womens Bakery

Unemployed women in struggling community band together to launch profitable bakery enterprise.

The Virtuous Women’s Bakery, part of AWDF, is an organization dedicated to empowering women through the economic independence within their community.

The Women’s Bakery- based in the Mamprobi region has been running for 7 years, operating six days a week.

The traditional fishing community is particularly deprived and many families find it difficult to make a living. Unemployed women in the local community were struggling to find a sustainable income to that would both support their families and suit their lifestyle.

Skilled in traditional baking, a group of those women banded together to form The Bakery. Making traditional breads, cakes and pies, the women grew to establish their own industry providing bread to local retailers as well as hawking their wares on the local streets. These entrepreneurial bakers now train other women in the community who are interested in learning baking skills.

As well as creating this business, profits also feed into running a nursery for their children. Local to The Bakery, it’s an educative place where the women can leave their children with peace of mind whilst they go to work.

Project no. 2: African Outreach:

Project bringing training and skills into hard to reach members of deprived slum community

The population of the heavily populated Agbobloshie faces many complicated issues around sanitation, poor housing and overcrowding.

With the local SISS project [part of African Outreach], the community is being given practical skills that will help them find ways to improve their lives and prospects.

In various centres around the slum, African Outreach provides vocational skills training including IT training, craft-making, cooking, literacy, business planning and advice towards employment opportunity and education. As part of their work, they train local people as community representatives who go on to help others in local organization’s schools and centres.

They focus particularly on hard-to-reach groups who traditionally are un/underemployed and trapped in a cycle of poverty, like women who are working as porters and young people living on the streets. They also run targeted work with sex workers who face exploitation and stigma, by helping them gain more skills and exploitation to finding jobs in the workplace.

African Outreach are helping a local school deliver education and schools equipment [books] in the slum. The school was originally just a wooden shack, pioneered by a local woman. With help from African Outreach the school has been transformed into a fully-equipped building that formally teaches children from the local area. African Outreach volunteers help deliver some sessions.

Throughout, African Outreach are running public workshops and radio programmes providing information on a range of issues including property rights, domestic violence, and sanitation issues. They also work to mobilize the community to better represent themselves in issues around civil rights and infrastructural improvements.

Project no. 3: Vaccination Clinic

At the time of writing this the information for Project 3 was not yet made available, please check the team honk website for further updates.

Project no. 4: Basic Needs UK Trust

In Ghana mental illness is often very misunderstood. People with mental health problems are amongst the most marginalised in society – triply disadvantaged by illness, poverty, and stigma.

Basic Needs UK Trust is an organisation that works in Ghana’s capital Accra to make sure that people living with a mental illness have access to the drugs, facilities and support required to improve their quality of life.

The project has already supported 19,000 people in the country, helping those affected and their carers to obtain the medication, employment opportunities and peer support they need, particularly at a local level.

In addition, the organisation tackles the issue of stigma and discrimination by running campaigns to raise awareness and educate communities on the issue of mental health.

This includes the formation of a National Association to represent the interests of people experiences mental ill health. Now thanks to the project, they finally have the opportunity to get their voices heard at a local, district, and national level, enabling them to combat stigma and demand the support services they need to improve their lives.

So the ladies will get an insight first hand into the amazing work of all these projects and will be blogging about, I wonder if Penny will be vlogging her entries as she does? So why a major celebrity will be talking about these projects for TV and radio, our ladies will be blogging about the experience as a whole.