Tag Archives: Health

Rise in kidney disease

The Uptick in Kidney Disease

The number of Nigerians suffering from kidney disease remains on the rise and has been worsened by inadequate facilities and the high cost of treatment, writes Martins Ifijeh
With recent details from the Global Report on Care Delivery and Kidney Disease, at least 700 million persons around the world have one form of kidney problem or the other, representing about one in every 10 people globally.
And although the prevalence is said to be higher in high-income countries like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, many of such countries have considered chronic kidney disease as one of their healthcare priorities, as compared to most low income countries, who despite having an increased prevalence of the issue, do not consider it one of the diseases they must prioritise solving.
One of such low and middle income countries not taking the issue of kidney disease seriously is Nigeria despite having over 36.8 million of its citizens suffering from one form of kidney disease or the other, representing about 23 per cent of the country’s population, according to available statistics.
This figure, which shows one in every seven Nigerians is a sufferer from some form of kidney disorder, has therefore prompted experts to raise alarm that Nigeria was sitting on a keg of gun powder waiting to explode if nothing was done to quell the rising prevalence of the menace in the country.
They believe stakeholders, as well as the government have not zeroed into tackling the issue head on, as the country has failed to put facilities in place to match the rising problems occasioned by the disease in the country. They are also of the opinion that Nigerians must be educated on what to do to prevent the disease as well as how to manage it.
A Nephrologist, Dr. Benson Ariye, explained that over 50,000 Nigerians should presently be on dialysis, but that only about 1,000 persons are presently undergoing dialysis in the country, which was one of the reasons a lot of Nigerians were dying from the disease daily.
He explained that it was rare surviving kidney failure without undergoing dialysis or kidney transplant, adding that if government must protect its citizens from dying from preventable illnesses like Kidney failures or other forms of diseases, then it must put facilities in place to combat the issue.
According to him, the bulk of those suffering from the disease in the country were poor or low income earners who may be unable to afford treatments in India, Canada or the United States. “The only institution they can rely on for support is our government. There should be availability of facilities to treat the various forms of kidney disorder in the country.
“Only a handful of hospitals in the country presently have these dialysis machines, which ideally should be spread across the country to tackle issues of kidney failure.”
He said one of the reasons why proactive measures must be taken was because the peak prevalence period for chronic kidney disease was between 30 and 50 years, representing the manpower shortage and economic waste, adding that “Nigeria cannot afford to lose its active citizens because of inability to provide facilities to combat the health issue.
While lamenting the burden of the disease, he said estimated 15,000 new patients were being diagnosed every year in the country, making the number of persons needing treatments to increase markedly annually.
Ariye also called for the subsidisation of kidney treatments in the country as most sufferers were unable to afford the treatments. “An average Nigerian would most likely not be able to undergo adequate treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) which is on the rise.
Despite the thousands of Nigerians who present their cases to the hospital, Ariye believed this represents just a tip of the iceberg of the entire burden of CKD, because majority of those suffering from end stage renal failure or other forms of kidney disorder often do not present their health issue to the hospital on time due to lack of awareness, prohibitive cost of healthcare services or use alternative treatment like spiritual healing and traditional methods.
He said awareness on early presentation was also key to reducing the disease in the country.
The World Health report in 2002 and Global Burden of Disease Project reports show that kidney disease represents the 12th cause of death and 17th cause of disability in the world. The report also believed this may be an underrepresentation of the contribution of Chronic Kidney Disease to global burden of disease.
Some experts however believed this figure may best suit that of developed countries as kidney disease is reportedly becoming a very high cause of death among people living in underdeveloped and developing countries, including Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, the situation is such that chronic kidney disease represents about eight to 10 per cent of hospital admission even though we know more than 50 per cent of people with the disease do not present their case to the hospital,” says a Resident Doctor with Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Dr. Kenneth Ifidon.
He said this goes to show that the prevalence of the disease is increasing in the country even though kidney care facilities do not match the numbers of people presenting their cases to the hospital.
He said it was important people understood the causes of kidney diseases so they could prevent it. “Some identified causes of kidney diseases include hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, among others,” he added.
According to him, hypertension was the leading cause of kidney failure in Nigeria, adding that it often presents no symptoms until it is at the advanced stage. “This is another reason why people should not just assume that since they are walking and not feeling any health issue, then there is no need for checkups. If you want to prevent many forms of health issues, it is imperative that you constantly go for checkups. When one does checkups for hypertension at early stage, the truth is, as you are taking measures to preventing it, you are also indirectly taking measures to preventing kidney disease. So the role of medical checkups cannot be overemphasised if we must stay healthy always.”
He said diabetes has been established to be the leading cause of kidney failure in the country, hence the need for people to prevent things that predisposes them to diabetes. Adding that, “diabetes occurs when the blood glucose levels are excessively high. “Tiny amounts of proteins in urine are an early sign of kidney damage in patients with diabetes.”
On HIV/AIDS, he said it increases the loads on the kidneys and may lead eventually to its failure, hence the need for people to be cautious about habits that predisposes them to risks of contracting HIV/AIDS.
He said people must understand that the kidney was one of the most important organs of the body because of its enormous responsibilities and that attention should be paid to the kidney, while living a healthy lifestyle.
According to him, “while taking measures to preventing hypertension, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, direct healthy lifestyle will also go a long way in keeping the kidney healthy.”
He said avoiding caffeine addiction was one of the best ways of keeping the kidneys in check. “People who drink multiple cups of caffeine beverages each day are often at risk of forcing the kidney to work harder in pumping out the toxins in the caffeine, which overtime makes the kidney weak.
“If you find that you are urinating several times a day more than you used to, try cutting back on caffeine products to see if that helps. Too much caffeine isn’t good for your body in many ways, and kidney stress is one of them”
He also explained that drinking of water was very vital to the health of the kidney. “People who drink plenty of water daily are less likely to have kidney disease because even though the kidney acts more as a filter than a reservoir, toxins can build up if there is not enough water pressure to push them through to the urinary tract for excretion.
“We know there are people who do not like drinking water except extremely necessary, but it shouldn’t be so. If you want to keep your body healthy, drink enough water,” adding that eating of fruits like water melon also goes a long way in keeping the kidney healthy.
He said it was worrisome that treatment of kidney failure in the country has not been subsidised by the government, as poor patients continue to find it difficult accessing treatment.
According to him, a patient with kidney failure has a 3 to 5 hour dialysis treatment; three times per week while this treatment would only replace about 10 to 15 per cent of the function of healthy kidneys.
“Undergoing a session of dialysis in the country costs about N25,000.00, which means in a week the patient would have spent N75,000.00. This perhaps will continue for a long time. How do we expect the poor Nigerians to pay for this treatment?” He queried.
He said an outright kidney transplant cost an average of N4.5m outside the provision of a donor. “Though most donations are free because they come from relations and family members, but the determination of whether their organ is suitable for surgery or not are often investigated most times abroad thereby compounding the cost. After surgeries, patients must live on drugs to keep the foreign organ in check and these drugs are taken throughout a lifetime and they are expensive,” he added.
He stressed that a government that puts its citizens first must design ways of making this treatment available and affordable for the ordinary citizens and people who also live in rural areas where there are hardly healthcare facilities.

Source: ThisDay


Why Stroke Cases Are Increasing — Physiotherapist

Why Stroke Cases Are Increasing — Physiotherapist

A Consultant Physiotherapist, Dr Chris Okafor, says the incidence of stroke has increased in the country due to the dwindling economy and the state of healthcare delivery.

Okafor, who is a senior lecturer at the Department of Physiotherapy, University of Lagos, Akoka, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

The lecturer said that lack of awareness was also a contributory factor to the high incidence of stroke in the country.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), stroke accounts for 10.8 per cent mortality and 3.1 per cent of disease burden worldwide.

It has also been projected that by the year 2030, about 80 per cent of all stroke cases will occur in low and middle income countries of the world.

“A lot of people, both young and old, now come down with stroke due to poverty, lack of quality healthcare and awareness.

“We are not creating enough awareness for people to know that hypertension and diabetes, causes of stroke, are killer diseases,“ Okafor said.

He also identified poor environment, industrialisation, poor habits and attitudes as factors contributing to a lot of people not exercising regularly.

“Our environment does not encourage people to cultivate the habit of exercising.

“As a physiotherapist, when I see the elderly during clinics, I always advise them to be physically active and engage in daily walks.

“However, when you look at the environment, it does not encourage exercise, and so a lot of the elderly in the society are discouraged to walk.

“Also, habit is a challenge; many people are unable to practise, because we are in a society where, over the years, people have become lazy.

“Due to industrialisation and urbanisation, it is now difficult for people to exercise, and rather depend on buses and taxis to take them to different locations,‘’ he said.
The consultant urged the elderly in the society to maintain avoid sedentary lifestyle and high salt and sugar intake.

He appealed to stakeholders, including the government and healthcare practitioners, to continue to sensitise people to cultivate the attitude of being active.

“Exercise and being active is key to improved health; adequate sleep of eight to 10 hours daily is also advisable for the elderly people.

“Also, they should check their blood pressures and blood sugar regularly to prevent hypertension and diabetes.
“If they have problems, they should see a doctor who will refer them appropriately, “ Okafor said.(NAN)

Causes, symptoms, treatment of heart attack

How to spot and treat a heart attack

By Christian Nordqvist

A heart attack is the death of a segment of heart muscle caused by a loss of blood supply. The blood is usually cut off when an artery supplying the heart muscle is blocked by a blood clot.
If some of the heart muscle dies, a person experiences chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.

Fast facts on heart attacks:
During a heart attack, the heart muscle loses blood supply and is damaged.
Chest discomfort and pain are common symptoms.
The risk of a heart attack increases when a man is over 45 and a woman is over 55.
Smoking and obesity are big factors, particularly in the at-risk age range.

Heart attacks are a serious form of heart disease, with many different causes.
There are clear symptoms of a heart attack that require immediate medical attention.

A feeling of pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing, or aching in the chest or arms that spreads to the neck, jaw, or back can be a sign that a person is having a heart attack.

The following are other possible signs and symptoms of a heart attack occurring:

crushing chest pain
shortness of breath called dyspnea
face seeming gray in colour
a feeling of terror that life is ending
feeling awful, generally
feeling clammy and sweaty
shortness of breath
Changing position does not alleviate the pain of a heart attack. The pain a person feels is normally constant, although it may sometimes come and go.

Warning signs

As heart attacks can be fatal, it is vital to recognise the warning signs that an attack is occurring.

While the symptoms listed above are all linked to heart attacks, there are four warning signs listed by the American Heart Association (AHA) as being crucial signs of an attack. These include:

discomfort, pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest that lasts several minutes or resolves then returns
pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, back, stomach, or jaw
sudden shortness of breath
Other signs can include a cold sweat, a sick or nauseous feeling, or being light-headed.

When a person has these symptoms, the emergency services should be called immediately.


There are two types of complications that can happen following heart attack. The first occurs pretty much straightaway and the second happens later on.

Immediate complications

Arrhythmias: the heart beats irregularly, either too fast or too slowly.
Cardiogenic shock: a person’s blood pressure drops suddenly and the heart cannot supply enough blood for the body to work adequately.
Hypoxemia: levels of oxygen in the blood become too low.
Pulmonary oedema: fluid accumulates in and around the lungs.
DVT or deep vein thrombosis: the deep veins of the legs and pelvis develop blood clots that either block or interrupt the flow of blood in the vein.
Myocardial rupture: the heart attack damages the wall of the heart, meaning an increased risk of a heart wall rupture.
Ventricular aneurysm: a heart chamber, known as a ventricle, forms a bulge.
Complications that can occur later

Aneurysm: scar tissue builds up on the damaged heart wall, leading to blood clots, low blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Angina: not enough oxygen reaches the heart, causing chest pain.
Congestive heart failure: the heart can only beat very weakly, leaving a person feeling exhausted and breathless.
Oedema: fluid accumulates in the ankles and legs, causing them to swell.
Loss of erectile function: erectile dysfunction is generally caused by a vascular problem. However, it can also be the result of depression.
Loss of libido: a loss of sexual drive can happen, especially in the case of men.
Pericarditis: the lining of the heart becomes inflamed, causing serious chest pain.
It is important that a doctor monitors a person for several months after they have had a heart attack to check for any of these complications that may occur.


The quicker someone is treated when having a heart attack, the greater the chances of success. These days, most heart attacks can be dealt with effectively.

However, it is crucial to remember that a person’s survival depends largely on how quickly they reach the hospital.

Treatments during a heart attack

Sometimes, a person who is having a heart attack will stop breathing. In this case, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, should be started immediately. This process involves:

manual chest compressions
a defibrillator
Treatments following a heart attack

Defibrillator panels can be effective during a heart attack.
Most people will need several kinds of medications or treatments after a heart attack. The aim of these measures is to prevent future heart attacks occurring. They may include:

aspirin and other antiplatelets
beta blockers
ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors
CABG or coronary artery bypass graft


A heart attack is a medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart becomes blocked, often as the result of a blood clot.

Other terms used for a heart attack include myocardial infarction, cardiac infarction, and coronary thrombosis. An infarction is when the blood supply to an area is cut off, and the tissue in that area dies.

A heart attack is often confused for a cardiac arrest. While they are both medical emergencies, a heart attack is the blockage of an artery leading to the heart, and a cardiac arrest involves the heart stopping the pumping of blood around the body. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest.

Congestive heart failure: What you need to know
Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart is not pumping blood around the body efficiently.
Read now

The best way of preventing a heart attack is to have a healthy lifestyle. Measures for healthy living include the following:

not smoking
eating a balanced, healthful diet
getting plenty of exercise
getting plenty of good quality sleep
keeping diabetes under control
keeping alcohol intake down
maintaining blood cholesterol at optimum levels
keeping blood pressure at a safe level
maintaining a healthy body weight
avoiding stress where possible
learning how to manage stress
It may be helpful for people to learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack, as well.


Any doctor, nurse, or healthcare professional will send someone straight to hospital if they suspect they may be having a heart attack. Once there, several tests may be done, including:

ECG or electrocardiograph
cardiac enzyme tests
chest X-ray

Recovering from a heart attack can be a gradual process. It depends on the severity of the heart attack and other factors, such as a person’s age.

A person’s recovery may involve:

Resuming physical activity: it is vital that a recovering heart attack patient stays active. However, a specialist should design any exercise program for them.
Returning to work: the appropriate time for someone to go back to work depends on various factors, including the severity of the heart attack and the type of job they do. It is vital not to rush back to work.
A period of depression: many people who have had a heart attack experience depression not long afterwards. Those who feel depressed or anxious should tell their doctors.
Driving again: experts advise that a person refrains from driving for at least 4 weeks after a heart attack.
Erectile dysfunction: approximately one-third of men have problems getting or sustaining an erection after a heart attack.
It is important that men with erectile dysfunction talk to their doctors, as medication can restore function in most cases.

Experts say that sexual activity does not raise a person’s risk of having another heart attack.


The following factors are associated with increased risk of a heart attack:

Age: Heart attacks are more likely when a man is over 45, and when a woman is over 55.
Angina: This causes chest pain due to lack of oxygen or blood supply to the heart.
High cholesterol levels: These can increase the chance of blood clots in the arteries.
Diabetes: This can increase heart attack risk.
Diet: For example, consuming large quantities of saturated fats can increase the likelihood of a heart attack.
Genetics: A person can inherit a higher risk of heart attack.
Heart surgery: This can lead to a heart attack later on.
Hypertension: High blood pressure can put unnecessary strain on the heart.
Obesity: Being significantly overweight can put pressure on the heart.
Previous heart attack.
Smoking: Smokers are at much higher risk than non-smokers.
HIV: People who are HIV-positive have a 50 percent higher risk.
Work stress: Those who are shift workers or have stressful jobs can face a higher heart attack risk.
Physical inactivity is a factor in heart attack risk, and the more active people are, the lower their risk of having a heart attack.

Often, when it occurs, a heart attack is caused by a combination of factors, rather than a single one.


The many benefits of immunisation

The many benefits of immunisation

By Vera Onana
Contrary to popular belief, the immunity conferred on children through the colostrum does not suffice to protect that child from diseases all through the baby’s life. In fact, that immunity diminishes as the baby grows, experts say. They also confirm that it is true that newborn babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they got from their mothers. However, this immunity goes away during the first year of life.

Therefore, vaccines are meant to be given to babies before the mother’s antibodies completely disappear, experts say. Immunisation, according to experts, is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease.

Before vaccines, many children died from diseases such as whooping cough, measles and polio.

In Nigeria, vaccine preventable diseases which include chicken pox, hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, HIB, Influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, Typhoid fever, Rabies, rota virus, Yellow fever, whooping cough etc, account for approximately 22 per cent of child deaths, amounting to over 200,000 deaths per year.

Recently, the National Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, (NMA), Mike Ogirima, decried the declining immunisation coverage in the country and urged governments at all levels to do more.

Mr. Ogirima gave the warning while addressing a news conference in Ilorin to mark the 2017 Physician Week.

He said that the 2016/2017 National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NCIS) indicated that only 33 per cent of children around 12 to 23 months of age had three doses of pentavalent vaccine against the global target of 90 per cent and only 23 per cent were fully immunised.

He said 40 per cent do not receive any vaccines from the health systems, warning that a large population of Nigerian children particularly less than five years are unprotected.

According to him, these children are at risk of dying from vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria, pertusis and tuberculosis among others.

Mr. Ogirima warned that it is a danger and threat to the survival of Nigeria as no meaningful development could take place in a society where disease and death was ravaging the potential leaders and hopes of tomorrow.

How do vaccines work

When disease germs enter the body, they start to reproduce. The immune system recognises these germs as foreign invaders and responds by making proteins called antibodies. These antibodies’ first help destroy the germs that are making the person sick. They can’t act fast enough to prevent the person from becoming sick, but by eliminating the attacking germs, antibodies help them to get well. The antibodies’ second job is to protect people from future infections. Antibodies remain in the bloodstream, and if the same germ ever tries to infect the person again, even after many years, such antibodies would come to the person’s defence.

“Only now that they are experienced at fighting these particular germs, can they destroy them before they have a chance to make you sick. This is immunity. It is why most people get diseases like measles or chickenpox only once, even though they might be exposed many times during their lifetime,” experts say.

Vaccines help people develop immunity without getting sick first. Vaccines are made from the same germs or parts of them that cause disease. Once vaccines are introduced to the body, the immune system reacts to the vaccine in a similar way as if it were being invaded by the disease by producing antibodies. These antibodies destroy the vaccine germs just as they would the disease germs. Then they stay in the body, giving people immunity. If such people who have received vaccines are ever exposed to the real disease, the antibodies are there to protect them.

‘Benefits of immunisation outweighs risk’

Consultant Pulmonologist and Senior Lecturer, College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL), Dr. Obianuju Ozoh, in an interview with a national daily disclosed that parents due to some cultural, religious belief, illiteracy and hearsay deprive their children of life-saving vaccinations made available through immunisation thereby, exposing them to infectious diseases that cause deaths and deformities.

Ozoh noted that the benefits of immunisation cannot be overemphasized revealing that it is important to get babies immunized because when a child is born, they have no immunity at all and are therefore prone and at risk of infectious diseases. She however said that they are a little bit protected from their mother’s immunity but that it wanes within a short time.

According to Ozoh, “The time to immunize a baby is right from birth and if you understand the immunisation protocol, it is followed right from birth. The children have no immunity; they are not able to fight infections by themselves. Therefore, you give vaccination to protect them and get them prepared for the challenges ahead from these infectious diseases which are going to occur.”

“There is always a programme for immunisation in every country. In Nigeria, we have a National Programme on immunisation (NPI), which stipulates the number of immunisation that a child should get; the schedule and all that. Some of them are mandatory, some of them are optional but there is standard set by every country and that is often adopted.”

We have cases of parents who do not believe in this programme either because of some sort of cultural, religious or personal beliefs. What is your advice to these kinds of people? She said: “My advice to them is that the benefit of immunisation far outweighs the risk. A child having whooping cough, diphtheria can kill that child but the side effects of immunisation, fever, a much milder and often goes even without treatment. A lot of people also have belief of long term side effects but it is shown that those side effects are minimal compared to the protection received from immunisation.”

The expert added that “we need to encourage everybody to get immunized. Although there are risks which includes fever, swellings, abscess and others, those risks are minor as compared to protection you receive from immunisation.”

Speaking on the consequence for the child if he/she is not vaccinated, Ozor said: “It means that child has not received protection the way he/she is supposed to receive it and could be prone to the diseases which the child could be immune to.”

She equally explained the role of healthcare providers in driving immunisation home to Nigerians as thus: “The role is to advise patients on the benefits of immunisation, know those who have fears and address those fears and concerns such that they will understand that the benefits outweighs the risks. Also, sometimes, some people are not even aware of the vaccines they need to receive. It is also the role of the healthcare provider to educate patient on the vaccines available to them to receive and encourage them to get it.”

More benefits of immunisation

Provision of individual immunity: It provides long-term, sometimes lifelong protection against a disease. The vaccines recommended in the early childhood immunisation schedule protect children from measles, chicken pox, pneumococcal disease, and other illnesses. As children grow older, additional vaccines protect them from diseases that affect adolescents and adults, as well as for diseases they may encounter during travel to other regions.

Herd/Community immunity: This refers to the protection offered to everyone in a community by high vaccination rates. With enough people immunised against a given disease, it’s difficult for the disease to gain a foothold in the community. This offers some protection to those who are unable to receive vaccinations—including newborns and individuals with chronic illnesses—by reducing the likelihood of an outbreak that could expose them to the disease. It also protects vaccinated individuals who may not have been fully immunised against a disease


Medical doctor contracts Lassa fever in Kogi

Medical doctor contracts Lassa fever in Kogi

By Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja 

A medical doctor with the Federal Medical Center, Lokoja, Kogi State, has contracted Lassa fever in a fresh outbreak of the disease in the state.
The Medical Director of the Centre, Dr Olatunde Alabi, who confirmed this yesterday at a news briefing, said a male doctor with the hospital was diagnosed with the disease on January 19.

He said that the victim’s blood sample was sent to the Federal Medical Center, Irrua, Edo State, saying that the blood sample tested positive to laboratory tests.
Alabi said that the 30-year-old doctor was in the early hours of yesterday evacuated to Irrua for further treatment.
According to the Medical Director, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the state Ministry of Health and other stakeholders have been informed of the development and are already assisting the Centre in various ways.
He said that all the people that came in contact with the sick doctor, both at home and work had been placed under surveillance.
Alabi said that the centre in partnership with relevant stakeholders had commenced contact tracing to trace the source of the disease and ascertain if there is any other victim within the community where the doctor resides.
He said that the Centre will also embark on health education for its staff to prevent human to human transmission of the disease.
The Medical Director called for early report of cases of fever from members of the public for proper attention.
He also appealed to residents to take urgent steps to eliminate rats in their houses and surroundings, saying that foodstuffs like gari, rice, beans, maize should be kept in air tight containers to prevent contamination by rats.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that about three confirmed cases of Lassa fever were recorded in Kogi State last year.
Source: Daily Trust 


Healing power of bitter leaf

Bitter leaf healing power

Bitterleaf is one of the widely use cooking vegetable in Africa and it can grow in any part of the world
Very few people are aware that this vegetable is highly medicinal and can be used to cure diseases as well as help to keep our body in good health condition. The important thing this leaf does is to clean the blood, hence prevent sickness. This made by squeezing the fresh leaves to get the juice. Drink about a glass of the juice 3 times a day.
•Bitter leaf also cleans the lymphatic system as well.
•For smokers or those that are been exposed to secondary smoke, bitter leaf is useful by protecting the body against pollutants that come from cigarette smoke and some dangerous gas.
•The juice prevents malaria sickness due to the presence of Natural Quinine. Regular intake of this bitter leaf juice will prevent malaria sickness
•It also yield the healing power of Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STD). The drinking of the bitter leaf juice daily and also squeeze the leaves and paste it on the patches and warts that appear on the skin will vanish in course of days.
•It is useful for treating of ringworm, eczema and other diseases, just squeeze and paste it regularly, drink the fresh bitter leaf juice, this will clear them off in no time.
•It is useful in curing loss of memory. It could be a symptom of diabetes or a sickness on its own. Whatever the nature, bitter leaf is very good for treating this ailment.
•If you often feel weak and tired or you lack vitality and vigour, squeeze the bitter leaf in water, take a glass 3 times daily.
It is good in treating stroke, strengthens the muscle and cleanses the system.
•In treating pneumonia, squeeze the fresh leafs of the plant in water. Take a glass full thrice daily. Warm the solution on fire each time before you drink.
•Insomnia is an inability to sleep well, take 2 glasses of bitter leaf juice every night. You may add a little honey if you wish.
•It prevent Arthritis or rheumatism in patients. It soothes swollen joints and eradicates the pain.
•Chew the tender stem and swallowing the juices is a well known remedy for stomach aches. Alternatively, pound the fresh leaves in a mortar to extract the juice, add a pinch of salt to three tablespoons of the undiluted juice and drink. This version is reported to bring immediate relief.


Childhood Cancer: A Burden Unaddressed

Childhood Cancer: A Burden Unaddressed

While the Nigerian government gives priority to communicable diseases, cancer, a non-communicable disease is currently stripping many children of their prime, dimming hopes for the country’s future. Ayodeji Ake writes on the need to tackle the growing disease

Cancer is a name used to classify a very wide-range of diseases in which cells in the body lose their normal structure and/or function and begin to grow uncontrollably. It is not one disease. There are hundreds of different types of cancers and one organ can develop dozens of different types of the mad cells.

This refers to malignant tumors which send metastases to other distant organs through blood or lymph. And could be better described as an army, that sends emissary or spy soldiers to a faraway country to set up a secret war camp. The metastases initially stay silent but will eventually cause a lot of harm if left unchecked.

Statistics show that over the last decade, Nigeria’s exponential growth in population has put immense pressure on the country’s resources and on already overstretched public services and infrastructure. With children under 15 years of age accounting for about 45 per cent of the country’s population.

According to World Health Organisation’s estimate, up to 30,000 children are diagnosed with cancer yearly; and 80 per cent of them live in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) like Nigeria. Globally, there are 160,000 new cases of cancer every year and 90,000 deaths recorded annually for children under the age of 15.

Just like adult cancer, childhood cancer is not one entity. There are many different types of cancer that can develop in a child. The same processes of cell growth, division, and replication occur in children. And just like adults, things can go wrong somewhere along these processes.

Many people don’t know that children develop cancers too. Children develop different types of cancer than adults but they often have the same types of treatments, that is chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.

Most common cancer of children includes; Leukemia – cancer of the blood, brain and spinal cord tumors, Neuroblastoma – cancer arising in neural structure most common in the abdomen (belly area), Wilms tumor – cancer arising in kidney cells, Lymphoma (including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin) – cancer arising in lymph nodes, Rhabdomyosarcoma – cancer arising in cells with muscle origin, Retinoblastoma – cancer of the retina of the eye, Bone cancer (most common Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma).

An Oncologist and the founder of a non-profit organisation, Dorcas Foundation, Dr. Adedayo Joseph, who has taken a lead role in raising fund for treatment of early detected childhood cancer explained that sadly till date the causes of childhood cancer are unknown but most childhood cancers are traced to genetic aberrations which nobody can prevent.

“There are many different types of cancer in children, most of which no specific cause has been identified. Some cancers have been linked to viral causes or exposure of the parent or child to harmful ionizing radiation, or certain chemicals like Benzene. Generally speaking, children’s cancers are mostly due to genetic aberrations which nobody can prevent, and are still being understood by scientist and researchers,” she said.

Reducing the burden of childhood cancer, Joseph admitted that “it’s a difficult task. Unlike adult cancers that are linked to diet and lifestyle choices, children’s cancers are not really preventable.”

As a mother, she lamented that the expensive treatment of cancer generally is an obstacle, consequently losing lives battling cancer. “Cancer treatment is very expensive. It costs an average of N2 million to take a child through diagnosis and testing, to treatment and rehabilitation. As at today, Dorcas Foundation has funded treatment for 10 children as you can imagine, many people cannot afford this,” she said.

She noted that the foundation is actively involved in funding direct care for children with cancer. But do not begin the treatment process unless they are sure of covering it till the end of treatment.

She also noted that The Dorcas Cancer Foundation has recently launched our Childhood Cancer Handbook Series with the release of the first book in the series: Cancer in Children.

The foundation intends to translate these books into the common colloquial and vernacular languages in Nigeria, as well as continue to release more books in the series to educate families, patients, and healthcare professionals about childhood cancers.

Prof. Remi Adekingbe, an Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), has called for early detection and diagnosis.

Adekingbe urged for private and government partnerships to secure the lives of cancer patients, stating that treatment and drugs for cancer are very expensive.

“Cancer is not a respecter of anybody. When a mother notices anything unusual, she should report to the hospital immediately. Treatment and drugs for cancer are expensive. In Nigeria today, we only have about seven machines for cancer treatment when we should be having about 200. Patients cannot battle cancer on their own, they need assistance from private organisations and even the government,” he said.

According to WHO, all types of cancer arise from the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells in a multistage processthat generally progresses from a pre-cancerous lesion to a malignant tumour.

The health body says these changes are the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and three categories of externalagents, including: physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant), and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant); and biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites.

WHO, through its cancer research agency, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), maintains a classification of cancer-causing agents. “Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build-up of risks for specific cancers that increase with age.

The health body believes risk factors for cancer includes tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, which it described as major cancer risk factors worldwide; also representing four shared risk factors for other noncommunicable diseases. “Some chronic infections are risk factors for cancer and have major relevance in low- and middle-income countries,” it added.

“Cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early through early diagnosis. When identified early, cancer is more likely to respond to effective treatment and can result in greater probability of surviving, less morbidity, and less expensive treatment. Significant improvements can be made in the lives of cancer patients by detecting cancer early and avoiding delays in care,” the body says.

Culled from ThisDay