The burden of neoplastic diseases is a significant global health challenge accounting for thousands of deaths. In Uganda, about 32,617 cancer cases were reported in 2018, accompanied by 21,829 deaths. In a view to identify some potential anticancer plant candidates for possible drug development, the current study was designed to compile the inventory of plants with reported anticancer activity used in rural Uganda and the evidences supporting their use in cancer therapy. An electronic survey in multidisciplinary databases revealed that 29 plant species belonging to 28 genera distributed among 24 families have been reported to be used in the management of cancer in Uganda. Anticancer plants were majorly from the families Bignoniaceae (7%), Caricaceae (7%), Fabaceae (7%), Moraceae (7%), and Rutaceae (7%). Most species occur in the wild (52%), though some are cultivated (48%). The growth habit of the plants is as trees (55%) or herbs (45%). Anticancer extracts are usually prepared from leaves (29%), bark (24%), roots (21%), and fruits (13%) through decoctions (53%), as food spices (23%) or pounded to produce ointments that are applied topically (10%). Prunus africana (Hook.f.) Kalkman, Opuntia species, Albizia coriaria (Welw. ex Oliver), Daucus carota L., Cyperus alatus (Nees) F. Muell., Markhamia lutea (Benth.) K. Schum., and Oxalis corniculata L. were the most frequently encountered species. As per global reports, Allium sativum L., Annona muricata L., Carica papaya L., Moringa oleifera Lam., Opuntia species, Prunus africana (Hook.f.) Kalkman, and Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. are the most studied species, with the latter having vincristine and vinblastine anticancer drugs developed from it. Prostate, cervical, breast, and skin cancers are the top traditionally treated malignancies. There is a need to isolate and evaluate the anticancer potential of the bioactive compounds in the unstudied claimed plants, such as Cyperus alatus (Nees) F. Muell., Ficus dawei Hutch., Ficus natalensis Hochst., and Lovoa trichilioides Harms, and elucidate their mechanism of anticancer activity.
The mercuric content, pollution and contamination characteristics of water, sediments, edible muscles of a non-piscivorous fish (Oreochromis nilotica Linnaeus 1758 [Cichlidae]) and yams (Dioscorea alata) in mercury-based artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) impacted Namukombe stream and its propinquity, Busia gold district, Uganda were evaluated. Human health risk assessment from consumption of the fishes and yams as well as dermal contact with sediments from the stream were performed. Forty-eight (48) samples of water (12), sediments (12), fish (12), and yams (12) were taken at intervals of 0, 10, 20 and 30m from up, middle and down sluices of the stream and analyzed for total mercury (THg) using US EPA method 1631. Results showed that water in the stream is polluted with mercury (Hg) in the range of 0.00 to 1.21±0.070mg/L while sediments contain Hg up to 0.14±0.04ugg-1. THg content of the edible muscles of Oreochromis nilotica ranges from 0.00 to 0.11±0.010ugg-1 while yams contain 0.00 to 0.30±0.001ugg-1 of Hg. The estimated daily intakes (EDIs) ranged from 0.0049 to 0.0183ugg-1day-1 and 0.020 to 0.073ugg-1day-1 for fish consumed by adults and children respectively. The corresponding health risk indices (HRIs) ranged from 0.0123 to 0.04576 and 0.05 to 0.183. EDIs were from 0.0042 to 0.1279ugg-1day-1 and 0.013 to 0.394ugg-1day-1 for yams consumed by adults and children respectively. The HRIs recorded were from 0.011 to 0.320 and to 0.033 to 0.985. All the mean THg contents of the investigated matrices were within acceptable WHO/US EPA limits except for water samples. Consumption of yams grown at 0m up sluice of Namukombe stream may pose deleterious health risks as reflected by the HRI of 0.985 being very close to 1.0. From pollution and risk assessments, Hg usage should be delimited in Syanyonja ASGM areas; solutions to abolish mercury based ASGM in the area ought to be sought at its soonest to avert the accentuating health, economic and ecological disaster arising from the continual discharge of Hg into the surrounding areas. Other safe gold recovery methods such as use of borax should be encouraged. Waste management system for contaminated wastewater, used Hg bottles and tailings should be centralized to enable Hg waste management in ASGM areas in Syanyonja.
Snakebite envenomation is a serious public health concern in rural areas of Uganda. Snakebites are poorly documented in Uganda because most occur in rural settings where traditional therapists end up being the first-line defense for treatment. Ethnobotanical surveys in Uganda have reported that some plants are used to antagonize the activity of various snake venoms. This review was sought to identify antivenin plants in Uganda and some pharmacological evidence supporting their use. A literature survey done in multidisciplinary databases revealed that 77 plant species belonging to 65 genera and 42 families are used for the treatment of snakebites in Uganda. The majority of these species belong to family Fabaceae (31%), Euphorbiaceae (14%), Asteraceae (12%), Amaryllidaceae (10%) and Solanaceae (10%). The main growth habit of the species is shrubs (41%), trees (33%) and herbs (18%). Antivenin extracts are usually prepared from roots (54%) and leaves (23%) through decoctions, infusions, powders, and juices, and are administered orally (67%) or applied topically (17%). The most frequently encountered species were Allium cepa, Carica papaya, Securidaca longipedunculata, Harrisonia abyssinica, and Nicotiana tabacum. Species with global reports of tested antivenom activity included Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Basella alba, Capparis tomentosa, Carica papaya, Cassia occidentalis, Jatropa carcus, Vernonia cinereal, Bidens pilosa, Hoslundia opposita, Maytensus senegalensis, Securinega virosa, and Solanum incanum. There is need to identify and evaluate the antivenom compounds in the claimed plants.
The availability of usable water in an area is the first indication of its demonstrated ability to sustain life. In peri-urban areas, urbanites utilize water from springs and compete disapprovingly for it amongst themselves and with animals. The straggling populace and the compromised sanitation are deteriorating spring water sources. There is an urgent need to analyze springs to ascertain their bacteriological and physical quality for possible cross contaminations that may be of public health importance. This study evaluated the bacteriological and physical profile of water from three springs in Kyambogo University vicinity. Two weekly water samples from each spring for five weeks were obtained and analyzed. The physicochemical parameters (temperature, pH, turbidity, electrical conductivity, chlorides and sulphates), total coliform and E. coli counts of the samples were determined. The mean temperature of the water samples from Katalina, Airport spring 1 and Airport spring 2 were 20.53˚C ± 1.2˚C, 21.53˚C ± 0.60˚C and 20.33˚C ± 1.62˚C respectively. The corresponding statistical mean pH values were 5.33 ± 0.25, 6.30 ± 0.10 and 7.10 ± 0.46. All the springs were found to be microbiologically contaminated with total coliforms and E. coli above WHO permissible limits. Conclusively, water from the sampled springs are not safe for drinking and the immediate strategy is to boil or treat the water before drinking. Drainage ditches should be constructed uphill of the springs to divert torrential flowing rain water which carry contaminants washed from Kyambogo hill.
Uganda is an agrarian country where farming employs more than 60% of the population. Aflatoxins remain a scourge in the country, unprecedentedly reducing the nutritional and economic value of agricultural foods. This review was sought to synthetize the country’s major findings in relation to the mycotoxins’ etiology, epidemiology, detection, quantification, exposure assessment, control, and reduction in different matrices. Electronic results indicate that aflatoxins in Uganda are produced by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus and have been reported in maize, sorghum, sesame, beans, sunflower, millet, peanuts, and cassava. The causes and proliferation of aflatoxigenic contamination of Ugandan foods have been largely due to poor pre-, peri-, and postharvest activities, poor government legislation, lack of awareness, and low levels of education among farmers, entrepreneurs, and consumers on this plague. Little diet diversity has exacerbated the risk of exposure to aflatoxins in Uganda because most of the staple foods are aflatoxin-prone. On the detection and control, these are still marginal, though some devoted scholars have devised and validated a sensitive portable device for on-site aflatoxin detection in maize and shown that starter cultures used for making some cereal-based beverages have the potential to bind aflatoxins. More efforts should be geared towards awareness creation and vaccination against hepatitis B and hepatitis A to reduce the risk of development of liver cancer among the populace.
Snakebite envenomation, cognized as a neglected tropical disease, is a dread public health concern with the most susceptible groups being herdsmen, the elderly, active farmers, hunters, fishers, firewood collectors, 10 to 14-year old working children and individuals with limited access to education and health care. Snakebites are fragmentarily documented in Uganda primarily because most occur in rural settings where traditional therapists end up being the first line defence for treatment. Ethnobotanical surveys in Uganda have unveiled that some plants are used to antagonize the activity of various snake venoms. This review was sought to compile the sporadic information on the vegetal species reported as antivenins in Uganda. Electronic data indicate that no study entirely reported on antivenin plants in Uganda. A total of 77 plant species belonging to 65 genera, distributed among 42 botanical families claimed as antiophidic in Uganda are used for treatment of snakebites. Majority of these species belong to family Fabaceae (30.9%), Euphorbiaceae (14.3%), Asteraceae (11.9%), Amaryllidaceae (9.5%) and Solanaceae (9.5%). The antiophidic species listed are shrubs (40.5%), trees (32.9%) and herbs (17.7%), usually found in the wild and uncultivated. Antivenin extracts are primarily prepared from roots and leaves, through decoctions, infusions, powders and juices and administered orally or topically. The most frequently encountered therapeutically important species are Allium cepa L., Carica papaya L., Securidaca longipedunculata Fres., Harrisonia abyssinica Oliv. and Nicotiana tabacum L. Baseline epidemiological data on snake envenomation and antivenin plants in Uganda remain incomplete due to inadequate research and diverse ethnic groups in the country. There is a dire need to isolate and characterize the bioactive compounds in the claimed plants to enable their adroit utilization in handling the plague of snake envenomation. More baseline data should be collected on snake ecology and human behaviour as well as antivenin plants in Uganda. Indigenous knowledge on the use of plant preparations in traditional medicine in Uganda is humongous, but if this is not quickly researched and appropriately documented, indications as to the usefulness of this vegetal treasure house will be lost in the not so distant future.
Aflatoxins are endemic in Kenya. The 2004 outbreak of acute aflatoxicosis in the country was one of the unprecedented epidemics of human aflatoxin poisoning recorded in mycotoxin history. In this study, an elaborate review was performed to synthesize Kenya’s major findings in relation to aflatoxins, their prevalence, detection, quantification, exposure assessment, prevention, and management in various matrices. Data retrieved indicate that the toxins are primarily biosynthesized by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, with the eastern part of the country reportedly more aflatoxin-prone. Aflatoxins have been reported in maize and maize products (Busaa, chan’gaa, githeri, irio, muthokoi, uji, and ugali), peanuts and its products, rice, cassava, sorghum, millet, yams, beers, dried fish, animal feeds, dairy and herbal products, and sometimes in tandem with other mycotoxins. The highest total aflatoxin concentration of 58,000 μg/kg has been reported in maize. At least 500 acute human illnesses and 200 deaths due to aflatoxins have been reported. The causes and prevalence of aflatoxins have been grossly ascribed to poor agronomic practices, low education levels, and inadequate statutory regulation and sensitization. Low diet diversity has aggravated exposure to aflatoxins in Kenya because maize as a dietetic staple is aflatoxin-prone. Detection and surveillance are only barely adequate, though some exposure assessments have been conducted. There is a need to widen diet diversity as a measure of reducing exposure due to consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated foods.
Uganda is predominantly an agricultural country where farming employ more than 60% of the population. Aflatoxins remain a scourge in the country, unprecedentedly reducing the value of agricultural foods and in high enough exposure levels, implicated for hepatocellular carcinoma, stunted growth in children and untimely deaths. This review synthetizes the country’s major findings in relation to the mycotoxin’s etiology, epidemiology, detection, quantification, exposure assessment, control and reduction in different matrices. It also highlights some of the management strategies for aflatoxin control that could be adopted in Uganda. Review results indicate that aflatoxins in Uganda is majorly produced by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus and have been reported in maize (Zea mays L.), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.), sesame (Sesamum indicum), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), sunflower (Helianthus annus), millet (Eleusine coracana), a bovine milk-based product, peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.) and cassava (Manihot esculenta) with the highest content reported in cassava, beans and peanuts. The causes and proliferation of aflatoxigenic contamination of Ugandan foods have been largely due to poor pre-, peri- and post-harvest activities, poor government legislation, lack of awareness and low levels of education among farmers, agri-entreprenuers and consumers on the plague. Aflatoxin B1 is the most prevalent aflatoxin in Uganda. There is still limited research on aflatoxins in Uganda because the surveillance, reduction and control carry prohibitive costs. A few exposure assessments have been done especially in human sera and dependence on a single or a related set of foods with little diet diversity has exacerbated the risk of exposure to aflatoxins in Uganda because most of the staple foods are aflatoxin-prone. On the detection, control and reduction, these are still marginal, though some devoted scholars have devised and validated a sensitive portable device for on-site aflatoxin detection in maize as well as shown that starter cultures used for making some cereal-based beverages have the potential to bind aflatoxins. More effort should be geared towards awareness creation through training of farmers and traders in the cereal value chain as well as developing capacity to monitor aflatoxins. Vaccination against Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A should be emphasized to reduce the risk of development of liver cancer among the populace.
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