The Kidney Scourge


Kidney failure is becoming rampant in the country due to a variety of factors

By Uche Mbah

The rate that the younger generation suffer from Kidney diseases is alarming. This magazine investigations show that 60 percent of those suffering from kidney disease are people between the ages of 15 and 40 giving the disease a youthful slant. At the Lagos State University teaching hospital, LASUTH, and the Lagos University Teaching hospital, LUTH, the case has become alarming. According to experts, the major reason for this is the indiscriminate use of roadside concoctions, commonly called Agbo in local parlance. A toxicologist at LUTH, who referred this reporter to the Chief Medical examiner, volunteered the following information anonymously:
“It is true that there is an upsurge in cases of youth kidney disease” he said. “This has been traced to the issue of excessive drinking of Agbo. It has become the normal succor for Nigerians who apparently can not afford Medicare, especially in this austere era of change. The roadside herbs are also called gbogbo inshe, or cure all. It is true that it cures all, but the suspecting patients do not understand why.
“the first active ingredient of the herbal concoction is Indian Hemp. With that, it gives the drinker an illusion of extra strength. Besides that, they add various antibiotics and pain killers, which they ground  to the concoctions. Buscopan, ephedrine, so many other kinds of antibiotics and even steroids are added. Hence it is easy for the concoctions to seem to cure all diseases. Since they contain every imaginable and unimaginable local and orthodox drugs. These drugs they take every morning before moving out. Bus Drivers, conductors and other people who take these drugs are not aware that they are actually destroyin both their kidneys and the liver. And the result id kidney disease”
Asked whether the government regulation will not stem the tide, he shook his head. “ Nigeria is in a mess. We talk of fighting corruption is futile, because what is being fought is the symptom. There has been a bill that has been passed by the National assembly on the issue of alternative medicine, under which the Alagbo people practice protected” he said. He added that this have been going on in the country without check He cited the case of the child teething antibiotic that was once the toast of nursing mothers, popularly called My Pickin. According to him if not for the alertness of LUTH doctors who followed up the case history of a particular child, and made cross references to several infant deaths due to kidney failure, it could not have been easy to detect. He said that examination of the case files of the dead children threw up the common denominator, and that was that each child at a certain time took the teething drug called My Pickin. On comparing notes with their sister teaching hospital, LASUTH, they found the same Pattern. “And what did the government do about the issue? They closed down the factory of the manufacturers. Is that the solution?”, he queried.
This magazine found out that several  children died in Lagos alone from the problem of  My Pickin, This does not include those in other states and the rural population who could not be included in the statistics because they are the heavy patronisers of Agbo.It was also gathered that the manufacturers registered the drug with National Agency for Food , Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC. But they went ahead to use cheaper chemical that was approved which was more damaging to the liver.
Besides the patronizing of Agbo, the next cause of the increase in kidney diseases especially in young undergraduates is the new fad among the female students. It was found out by this magazine that students, in order to make ends meet, donate their ova to some hospitals for a fee. It is said that some of these students collect about N50,000 for a single donation. And some students allegedly do that on a regular basis. These hospitals in turn freeze these over and sell them to foreign research agencies that use them for sperm cell research. Some are also used locally for artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization for rich couples looking for children. Unfortunately, part of the side effects of tampering with the ova regularly is that with time the issue of kidney failures arises.

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