Wednesday 27 September 2017

The rantings of a Nigerian mum

The human mind is complex.  Everyone's ability to grasp seemingly simple issues also differ. The poor health indices in many parts of Africa stems not only from the poor health systems but also from the inability of  a large number of its inhabitants to adhere to evidence -based health recommendations.What else would explain that the Nigerian government banned female genital mutilation and no licensed health practitioner will perform it but some parents still go to quacks to perform it? What explains why parents will be told what to use on a baby's umbilical cord stump and they go ahead and use things that could expose the baby to harm? Or what could explain that a cereal manufacturer clearly writes on his product's package that it is not an infant cereal yet some parents argue and ignore the instructions; ignoring the fact that the manufacturer knows what his product contains and why it is not suitable for certain persons. In all such cases the excuses are same as or similar to  " I've been doing this for years and everything is fine", "my child has been eating this and is very healthy ".
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Medical and health research use a lot of statistics and percentages; and before the continued use of a practice or product or product is recommended, the involved health bodies must have studied the problem and known the adverse reactions involved and the statistics of occurrence. So if they say use product a, the safety margin is high or if they discourage a practice or product, the consequence is relatively high. That does not always mean that everyone who fails to heed to the recommendation will be affected,  it means that there is a good chance they will  be affected.

Now if a manufacturer said his product isn't for a certain age group, it doesn't mean anyone within the said age group that uses it will have an adverse effect, it simply means that the chances are high and that you do so at your own risk.

Effects of a product could range from nothing at all to acute or chronic effects. the product may not have an effect on someone, it may also have an effect but not clearly visible at the time and may elicit a chain of reactions with long term effects, it could also have an immediate effect.While most cases like these are arguably a direct or indirect effect of the failure of our health system and regulatory agencies, we as sensible humans need to learn to obey instructions especially when it comes from the sources who know better. Like the manufacturer of a product who knows what his product contains, or health agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) who give recommendations based on evidence-based research, or your licensed health practitioner who possibly knows better. .

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