South Africa objects to Trump tweet

Another controversial Donald Trump tweet:

This has raised concerns in South Africa.

CNN: South Africa hits back at ‘unfortunate’ Trump tweet on land reform

On Thursday, the South African government said Trump’s tweet was “based on false information” and said it would call on the US Embassy to explain the President’s remarks.

“South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” the government tweeted. “South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.”

“Hysterical comments and statements do not assist in the process,” Khusela Diko, spokeswoman for President Cyril Ramaphosa, told CNN. “The majority of South Africans want to see land reform. The majority of our farmers, white and black want to be a part of this initiative.”

Land is a complex issue in South Africa. Racist policies of the past forcefully removed black and non-white South Africans from the land for white use.

There has been a land redistribution and restitution provision in the country’s constitution since South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994. The government has been criticized for not moving quickly enough to settle land disputes.

If Trump and the US have concerns over land reforms in South Africa tweeting about it seems a dumb way to raise the issue.

Ministry of Health approves medicinal cannabis treatment

The parents of 7 year old girl Zoe Jeffries have obtained Ministry of Health approval fore 6 months use of Sativex. This is one of a total of 97 ministerial approvals for the cannabis derived medicine. It shows that it is possible now to get medicinal cannabis, although it isn’t easy.

And it isn’t cheap – Zoe’s parents are fund raising to try and cover the costs. See the bottom of this post for details.

It’s also far from easy caring for a girl with uncontrolled epilepsy, spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, microcephaly, cerebral visual impairment, is tube fed and who has had severe seizures since birth.

It shouldn’t be this difficult getting medicines that may help.

NZ Herald reports Ministry approves cannabis treatment for 7-year-old girl:

The parents of a 7-year-old girl have the green light to use medicinal cannabis to control their daughter’s severe seizures.

Karen and Adam Jeffries have Health Ministry approval to give their daughter Zoe the cannabis oil-based mouth spray Sativex for the next six months.

“It has been a long time coming, it’s great news,” mum Karen Jeffries told the Herald on Sunday.

The Jeffries began researching medical cannabis in 2013 in the hope of finding a drug to reduce the hundreds of seizures their daughter suffers each day.

Two years is a long time to obtain a medicine that may help. And there is only one cannabis based medicine currently available in New Zealand. It may or may not be the most appropriate to try.

The Rotorua girl is understood to be one of the youngest in New Zealand to receive the medicine. Another child, a 5-year-old, has been approved use.

“We have been on it for a couple of weeks so it is early days but she is a lot more settled already.”

“You want to try to control the seizures that cause additional brain damage, but also you want to allow your child a life, to be awake and not drowsy, or have the strength to stand or just hold their head up high,” her father Adam said.

The medicine hadn’t dramatically changed the number of seizures Zoe suffers but this week, teachers at Glenholme School in Rotorua said she returned to school happier.

“When she started school this week they saw a completely different child,” Karen Jeffries said. “She was a lot more settled and was able to cope with noise and was a lot less distressed.”

It’s a lot to hope for a miracle cure for such serious medical problems, but parents should be able to hope for some improvement in their child’s condition. It’s good to see that that may be being achieved.

But it is expensive for the Jeffries.

Sativex is the only approved cannabis-based medicine registered with Pharmac but is not funded. It can be prescribed by a doctor but each case needs Health Ministry approval. To date, there have been 97 ministerial approvals, and there are currently 27 users of Sativex.

Each bottle lasts around four weeks and costs $1050. The Jeffries paid for the first script with a well-timed tax return and have set up a Givealittle page to help fund repeat scripts.

Givealittle ‘Meds for Zoe’: Please help Zoe continue with the chance at a better quality of life…

For information on medicinal cannabis in New Zealand: United in Compassion

United In Compassion NZ is a non profit lobby for the re-introduction of Medicinal Cannabis and a community for patients and carers. We are on a journey to access medicinal cannabis through Education, Compassion and Logic.

Mother admits giving daughter medicinal cannabis

One News previews an item they will show on Sunday tonight (7 pm) – ‘I have no regrets’ Mum says medicinal cannabis was the only thing to help her daughter

A Hawke’s Bay mother has come clean about giving her daughter cannabis for a severe medical condition.

Toni Matich says the number of her daughter’s seizures dropped dramatically and her quality of life improved when taking medical cannabis.The teenager suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which causes her to suffer hundreds, sometimes thousands, of seizures a day.

Mum Toni Matich says the number of seizures dropped dramatically, and her daughter’s quality of life improved when taking medical cannabis.

Ms Matich, who has four other children, is speaking for the first time about her decision to break the law and give her daughter the drug.

“I have no regrets about what I did for my child. She had the best quality of life from her illness for that two years’’.

Ms Matich says her cannabis mixture was created with the help of professionals, including botanists and pharmacologists.

“I also consulted with medical cannabis specialists to understand (any interactions) with the medication she was on.”

Ms Matich says she had the cannabis mixture, rich in a compound called cannabidiol,  tested to make sure it was free of any toxins before she gave it to her daughter.

Other medications before that had caused horrific side effects, she says.

“One of them schizophrenic type behaviour, so violent, extremely violent.’’

Ms Matich speaks about her efforts to obtain medical cannabis, and the impact it had on her daughter, tonight on Sunday.

It’s going to be interesting to see this tonight. Matich is a leading campaigner for the safe use of medicinal cannabis

Now Ms Matich has set up a lobby group, United in Compassion New Zealand, to establish legitimate trials for medical cannabis.

Health officials are working closely with Ms Matich on her proposals.

The group is raising money through the ‘’Givealittle’’ website to fund its work. Details can be found at here.

New Zealand Drug Foundation has helped give that a good kick start with a $2,000 donation – Givealittle page.