- 36.8m Nigerians affected by disease –WHO
- New diagnosed cases of up to 17,000
- Yellow yam, yellow cassava, some rice are not safe
- Reasons why the government has to regulate the consumables
- NASS erred by passing law creating ill-equipped Bio-safety Agency
- ‘The ‘F’ in NAFDAC not working’
Medical practitioners across the country have come out with a troubling new warning that the number of deaths resulting from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) will continue to rise if the government continues to turn a blind eye to the level of consumption of unconventionally Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). They also called on their fellow peers to desist from all sorts of risk behaviors and factors that expose them to the dangers of kidney failure such as lack of physical exercise, excessive alcoholism, smoking and the use of toxic chemicals for fumigation around the home.
They were able to identify 10 risk factors responsible for the rise in kidney failures in the country. So, what are these risk factors?
• Untreated microbial infections especially urinary tract infections (UTI)
• Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
• Potassium bromate poisoning
• Teething powder use
• Chronic diarrhea
• Abuse of painkillers/analgesics, especially paracetamol
New cases of diagnosed kidney diseases in the country totaled about 17,000 and the sad thing is that only about 2,000 of them had access to life-saving dialysis. Kidney disease is a medical term that describes a situation whereby the kidney can no longer filter blood like it should and conditions like this lead to a build up of waste products in the body. This could lead to severe health complications. Kidney diseases build up over many years in most people that are suffering from it especially if they have prior health complications like high blood pressure or diabetes; this was the conclusion reached by Dr. Daku Phillips, a nephrologist. Diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and a family history of kidney failure are the major risk factors that increase chances of being affected by kidney disease.
Sadly, there are no obvious symptoms for kidney disease at the early stages. Dr. Phillips went on to say that you might only start observing some symptoms when your kidney disease has degenerated to severe conditions. Prof. Phillip C, a Managing Director and Neurosurgeon at Chidicon Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State added that the inability of the government to properly regulate the food consumed in the country would lead to more deaths of Nigerians. He noted that the dysfunctional nature of the agency in charge causes Nigerians to eat just about anything and that is why GMO foods with high toxins that can damage the kidney are still being consumed by Nigerians on a daily basis.
From what he said, the GMOs contain dychlorophus and gysophate with toxicity capable of disrupting the proper functioning of the kidney as the excretory center of the body. He also noted that the toxins in them are strong enough to shut down the renal system thus leading to more deaths. He cautioned, “NAFDAC is supposed to focus on food and drugs however, nothing is done about the food so the ‘F’ is not working. They focus so much on drugs and forget that practically everyone in the country eats on a daily basis. For as long as they do not measure up to the standard needed to control and monitor food, more kidney failures and deaths will continue to rise in the country.”
“The agency is illegal and apart from the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), no other agency is allowed to do that. The National Assembly erred by passing laws that created the Bio-safety Agency because the agency isn’t competent enough to handle it,” added the Professor.
The agency is supposed to ascertain if a product is GMO or not. The only agency empowered by NASS is NAFDAC and even so, it is ill-equipped to do so. Dangerous and harmful foods see Nigeria as a dumping ground and this is because of the confusion created by NASS and NAFDAC not doing its job.
He stated that the kidney trying to excrete toxins will be destroyed when the toxin levels are high and went on to suggest as a matter of urgency that the NAFDAC should carry out its mandate on food regulation as well. He went on to warn Nigerians to stay away from certain food staples, which he referred to as GMO foods.
They are yellow yam, yellow cassava and some types of rice. He also noted that some individuals are trying hard to introduce GMO beans. Dr. Solomon Avidime who is an Obstetric and gynecologist at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Kaduna State; he is also the Chairman, Committee on Publicity and Publication of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), noted diabetes and hypertension fuel renal diseases like kidney disease noting that kidney diseases could be congenital as well. He noted that as long as the rates of hypertension and diabetes remain high, the chances of many more people succumbing to the disease is high.
He added that when the kidney no longer functions properly as the excretory center of the body, the legs and other parts of the body start swelling. According to Dr. Ebun Bamgboye, the president of the Nigeria Association of Nephrology, the federal government should do what the US does and spend as much as US$30 billion on patients with kidney failure. He stated that the treatment of kidney disease disorders has to be prioritized by extending the dialysis period under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), from six sessions of 2 weeks to 36 sessions of 3 months.
Parents and guardians shouldn’t hesitate to take their children to the hospital the moment they observe any form of abnormality and avoid the common practice of buying local herbs or taking them to native doctors. It has been observed that one of the major causes of kidney diseases in Nigeria is overconsumption of local herbs. Dr. Olugbenga Awobusuyi, a consulting nephrologist explained that kidneys naturally have functional reserves which could cause a patient to live without any symptom even years after the disease has set in and in some cases, it only gets noticed when about 60 – 70% of the kidney might have been damaged.
By heeding their warnings and making diet modifications, Nigerians most at risk of developing kidney disease may be able to stave off future problems from developing, but until the Nigerian government’s agencies give the GMO situation the attention it deserves, the epidemic is likely to continue.