NRF: N36m research grant to investigate kidney cases in Hadejia Valley

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A team of researchers at the Federal University, Duste, have received a N36 million research grant to investigate rampant cases of kidney diseases at Hadejia Valley, an area between Kano and Yobe State, from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund)’s National Research Fund (NRF).

Hadejia Valley stretches from Zakirai in Kano State to Nguru and Gashua in Yobe. It has the highest rate of kidney diseases in Nigeria.

The university’s Chief Information Officer, Alhaji Abdullahi Yahaya, stated on Tuesday, December, 28, 2021, in Dutse that the National Research Fund gave the grant through the TETFund.

Yahaya stated that the team would be led by Dr. Muhammad Auyo, the Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at the university.

“The lead researcher picked interest in this research area after losing six friends and family members to kidney failure in Hadejia.

“According to Dr. Auyo, the title of the research is: “Rampant kidney diseases in Hadejia Valley, Yobe and Kano States: The Study of Environmental Toxins and Gene Polymorphism,’’ Yahaya added.

He stated also that Auyo wants to find out whether there is the prevalence of a gene called metallothionein, which exposes the people of Hadejia Valley to kidney diseases.

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The research also wants to discover the 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.

These chemicals, according to the lead researcher may have affected the food chain, especially crops, water, and fish, and may have been responsible for the high prevalence of kidney diseases in the area.

Yahaya quoted Auyo as saying that the research team will take soil, water, vegetables, cereals, fruits, fishes and meat samples every month for 20 months to search for the presence of heavy metals.

The 16-member multidisciplinary research team is divided into Medical, Environmental, Genetic, and DNA sequencing teams.

The research is for two years and is expected to come up with recommendations, Yahaya stated.

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