FUD receives N36m grant from TETFUND to investigate high cases of kidney disease
Worried by widespread cases of kidney ailments affecting the less privileged in the ancient city of Hadejia in Jigawa State, a team of researchers from Federal University Dutse has received a N36 million research grant from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to investigate the menace.
Lead researcher and Head of the Department of Biological Sciences of the university, Dr. Muhammad Isa Auyo, made this known to newsmen in Dutse.
He said he picked interest in the research after losing six friends and family members to kidney failure in Hadejia.
“The worsening situation keeps on increasing as it escalates to even beyond the ancient city, affecting its neighbouring Local Government Areas (LGAs) such as Malam-Madori, Auyo, Kaugama, Kafin-Hausa and others, claiming dozes of lives of the less privileged,” Auyo said.
According to him, the title of the research is: “Rampant kidney diseases in Hadejia Valley, Yobe and Kano States: The Study of Environmental Toxins and Gene Polymorphism.”
Auyo said the study would find out whether there is prevalence of a gene called Metallothionein, which exposes people of Hadejia valley to kidney diseases.
The metallothioneins (MT) are small, cysteine-rich heavy metal-binding proteins, which participate in an array of protective stress responses.
He said the research also wants to investigate the environmental toxins present in the Hadejia valley in the last 30 years as a result of the use of pesticides and herbicides, which may have changed the ecosystem over the years.
He pointed out that these chemicals may have affected the food chain, especially crops, water and fish consumed by the people, which may have been responsible for the high prevalence of the kidney diseases in the area.
Auyo said the Hadejia valley, which starts from Zakirai up to Nguru and Gashua, has the highest rate of kidney diseases in Nigeria.
The scientist explained that they would take samples of soil, water, vegetables, cereals, fruits, fishes and meat every month for 20 months to detect the presence of heavy metals in these samples
According to him, the 16-member multi-disciplinary research team is divided into medical team, environmental team, genetic team, and Deoxy ribonucleic Acid (DNA) sequencing team.
Auyo, however, said the research was for two years and their findings would come with recommendations.