The use of herbal remedies has been linked to the increasing number of Kenyans suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Following this association, researchers from the Ministry of Health want the public to be educated about the dangers of using herbal medicines.
A study of 306 patients admitted to Kenya National Hospital with various illnesses suggests that up to 39 percent may be unconsciously suffering from kidney problems.
"This health-care study reveals a high burden of CKD in the inpatient population, with an prevalence of approximately 4 in 10 patients," said the study, published Aug. 23 in the Pan African Medical Journal .
The study was conducted by a team from the Ministry of Health, Kenya National Hospital and Moi University in Eldoret.
Patients in the study came from 33 of Kenya's 47 counties, with 1
Some of the predisposing factors include advanced age, men, anemia (deficiency of red blood cells), hypertension, bloody urine, and alcohol or tobacco use.
Possible mechanisms through which herbal remedies lead to CKD, the study says, include direct kidney poisoning through toxic herbs and the use of contaminated or counterfeit drugs.
The authors argue that herbal medicines can also lead to CKD due to inappropriate use or preparation or their interaction with other drugs.
Last year, the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (Kemri) reported that most herbal remedies sold in major cities in Kenya are highly contaminated and dangerous for human consumption.
A study covering Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret showed that almost all herbal powders, tablets, capsules, oils and liquids are contaminated, some with incurable germs resistant to a number of antibiotics.
"Patients are literally infected with more dangerous diseases than they intended to treat," said lead researcher Dr. Lucia Keter of Kemry at a scientific conference.
Test samples were purchased from herbal clinics, grocery stores, herbal product manufacturers, local retailers, as well as hawks and street vendors in the three cities.
The survey found 90 percent of the total number of contaminated samples.
In October 2018, a team of conventional researchers reported a significant use of additional drugs among cancer patients attending Kenya National Hospital.
"Of those who used free medicines, 64 percent used herbs hoping for treatment, while 36 percent hoped for some symptomatic relief," said a study led by Marian Ongoody of the University of Nairobi.
"Public education on the dangers of herbal medicines needs to be conducted nationally, emphasizing their connection to the diagnosis of CKD," a new study recommends.
It is estimated that more than two-thirds of Kenyans depend on herbal medicine for their primary care needs.
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chronic kidney disease Kenyatta National Hospital