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Opinions of Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Why Have Ghanaians Become Victims to Premature Deaths?

Many years back, our parents and grandparents were very knowledgeable on their choice of medicinal herbs. They were honest with people when treating them with medicinal herbs. They did not charge people money but only accepted in payment of their service, one or two eggs. Why would they lie to patients about the efficacy of their herbal applications, what illnesses or diseases the herbs could cure, and their worth as herbalist just for obtaining an egg or two? No, they wouldn’t. They were God-fearing, and were at the service of their local community and humanity. ? Inversely, most of the present day Ghanaian herbalists for various reasons revolving on the quest for wealth, fame, power and simply to make ends meet, have commercialised herbal treatment of patients. Some of these herbal doctors have intentionally or otherwise, adulterated their drugs. This has set suspicion in the minds of many a discerning person as to which herbal drug to use, when, how or who in the trade is to be trusted. ? This adulteration of the drugs with the trade abounding in quack doctors/herbalists has in a way contributed to the many untimely deaths occurring among Ghanaians back home. ? Anyone treating their cases of hypertension, diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS using pharmaceutical drugs should not abruptly switch on to herbal drugs. If you do, it will kill you. I do bear witness to at least three instances where the individuals concerned have died when they were lured by the sweet words and assurances from some herbalists into abandoning their conventional medicine (doctor’s prescribed medication) for herbal drugs. They were all diabetic. ? Ghanaian medical doctors are doing all they can to combat the killer diseases tormenting Ghanaians. However, those doctors that frequent the FM radio stations to offer advice on how to stay fit and healthy all of the time do not go far enough. Many of them dwell on the time that Ghanaians have their dinner as a major cause of the killer diseases that send many patients into their early grave. ? They talk about how bad it is to eat say, FUFU, at night. It has to be eaten in the afternoon at around 14:00 hours by latest. Consumption of "fufu, banku etc. (heavy foods) from 16:00 onwards do not have enough time to digest before one goes to bed. This gives rise to indigestion with its other concomitant illnesses that finally culminates in the deaths of the sufferers. ? Yes, they are right but they often dwell too much on the time of eating and the consumption of "red" meat. Yes, processed meat like sausages are established to cause cancer if one eats too much of it over a period of time. Nonetheless, how many Ghanaians have access to meat let alone, processed meat. Even if they do, how often do they have the means to purchase them? ? The doctors need to go far enough to explain why many Ghanaians are dying at an unprecedented rate, rather than apparently dwelling on the consumption of red meat and the time of eating. Yes, excessive consumption of anything is bad. ? Let us study the consumption of alcohol in Ghana and its repercussions. Many Ghanaians do consume alcohol without moderation. They have cultivated the habit of drinking alcohol almost everyday of their life. This causes them various illnesses like ulcer, hepatic diseases (liver diseases) which finally, may lead to the collapse of their other body organs and hence, their death. ? The preparation of the local "akpeteshi" also raises eyebrows. Some people do not use the normal fermented palm wine but rusted nails and metals or purely fermented sugar-soaked liquids. Some also add sugar to their fermented palm wine to give them higher outputs of "akpeteshi" to raise their income. The process they use contaminates the end product in one way or the other. This in turn affects the health of the consumers. ? Still on alcohol, the maxim, "A soldier walks on his stomach" is nonsense and sounds foreign in the ears of a drinker. They drink on empty stomach. No wonder, the alcohol ravages their life, fast tracking their deaths. ? Stay tuned for more info on why many Ghanaians are dying young of late. ? Rockson Adofo