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Rising cases of chronic diseases linked to poor nutrition, pollution

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor (Head Insight Team, Science and Technology)
08 July 2016   |   3:41 am
More reasons are emerging why in recent times cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and respiratory diseases have become so common even as stakeholders propose a bachelor’s degree in herbal medicine in Nigerian universities.
Prof. Maurice Iwu

Prof. Maurice Iwu

More reasons are emerging why in recent times cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and respiratory diseases have become so common even as stakeholders propose a bachelor’s degree in herbal medicine in Nigerian universities.

A professor of Pharmacognosy and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bioresources Development Group (BDG), Prof. Maurice Iwu told The Guardian: “When you look at the statistics, when you look at the metrics, when you analyse these statistics and remove these other causative agents or those possibilities, you will find out that one thing that stands out clearly is the impact of nutrition and environment.

“But one thing that stands out is actually nutrition. Some decades past one noticed that a lot people from developed countries were obese in a clinically significant manner. We thought it was a Whiteman’s disease, disease of the West; that they were the people who suffer such diseases and who also suffer from the metabolic syndrome associated with them. But recently more and more people from our own part of the world are obese, having metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases that were not usually traceable to us.”

Iwu further stated: “More and more people from our own part of the world are now having cancers so you now start looking for association. You now realize that the so-called novo riches, the newly acquired wealth people who want to live it and live like people in the West die young. They are the people who are having all these diseases, they are the ones who are having the metabolic syndrome earlier than people in the West and when you look at behind your house, you will see there are answers that could be used to address such things.”

On the role of herbal medicines, phytomedicines in terms of management of chronic diseases, Iwu said: “Herbal medicines are into various groups. There are herbal medicines that are therapeutic, that are drugs. Those ones like modern medicines will be able look after the people who are sick But as one bucket as a British medical doctor puts it: when you have people falling down the cliff, do you put an ambulance at the foot of the cliff to try and catch them when they fall or do you prevent them from falling from the cliff in the first place? So it is a matter of choice.”

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