The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has reported that no less than 150 residents of Gashua town in Yobe State die of kidney failure yearly.
While speaking to the ICIR, The Head of Chemical Pathology Unit, Specialist Hospital, Gashau, Anwali Ahmad said the deaths have been linked to residents preserving their food with harsh chemicals. He also added that several farmers in the town use banned herbicides on their crops.
Farming is the primary occupation in Gusau. Its people farm all year round with the support of the Komadugu River.
Ahmad, born in Gashua and has worked in the environs for ten years, said his department tests kidneys and identifies people with kidney failure or disease.
The Chief Imam of Bade Emirate, Umar Abubakar, also confirmed the deaths to the ICIR reporter. According to the Chief Imam, kidney disease kills at least 120 people yearly in the town.
Abubakar blamed the high rate of deaths on dehydration and preservatives the people use to make their food long-lasting. He added that some of these foods are sold to people outside the community.
Amongst those who consume this food are students and staff of Yobe Federal University located in the town, the ICIR reports.
Ahmad further noted that after applying chemicals to preserve foods, people have to wait six months before consuming them.
“Every month, we diagnose around 20 to 30 new cases (of kidney disease). Sometimes, it could reach up to 50. It depends on the number of people that come to the hospital.
“As it stands now, every year, we have more than 150 (who die) in Gashua and environs,” Ahmad said.
He said the State Specialist Hospital in Damaturu offered free dialysis, but there was no dialysis for treating the condition in Gashua.
According to him, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, an indigene of Gashua, plans to establish a dialysis centre in the community.
Ahmad stated that kidney failures spare no group, all ages from 11 years and above are affected.
He further said some samples were sent to the Federal Medical Centre, Nguru, in the state, and the State Specialist Hospital for joint research which confirmed their suspicions; harmful chemicals used as preservatives are the cause of the high rate of death from kidney failure.
“Just about five months ago, the local government raided some locations where the locals produced the chemicals,” he said.
The pathologist said indigenes of Gashua produce the chemicals they use as preservatives and have suffered fatal kidney failure from consuming foods preserved with these chemicals.
He further added that people rather stay at home and treat with herbs and other local medication than seek help from hospitals.
“Patients prefer to stay at home and use local medication. Which often leads to permanent damage of their kidneys after a short time,” he added.
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