the omnipotent diagnostic machine

Knowledge is power.

The veracity of this statement is fully played out in the on-going Ebola epidemic. If only the people of Guinea and Sierra Leone had accepted the rational explanation of the disease being a viral medical illness, and not a witchcraft affliction, requiring the pastor’s intervention, perhaps the outbreak would have been contained and stamped out.

The reality of life in Africa and indeed Nigeria is that people are quick to believe all sorts of things about health matters, everything except the real thing. Unfortunately, there are many unsavory businessmen out there, ready to take advantage of people’s ignorance and gullibility. I want to share the weirdest health related issues I have heard in the last one year.

  The Ionizer cup

Sometime last year, a new product entered the Nigerian market – the Ionizer cup. The claim is that the water we drink is ‘acidic’ and our bodies contain a lot of ‘acids’, but by putting drinking water into these cups, ‘ions’ are added to the water to make it ‘alkaline’ and this neutralizes the acid in our bodies and makes us healthier. The first time I heard of it, it sounded like a load of crap. An expensive load of crap, considering that these cups could cost as much as N12,000. My reason for this is simple. Different constituents of our bodies are maintained at different levels of acidity or alkalinity, by different mechanisms. For example, blood is maintained at a very narrow alkaline pH of 7.35 – 7.45. Urine pH can range from 4.6 (acidic) to 8 (alkaline), due to different reasons, including different foods and drugs. Mostly, it tends towards 7, which is a neutral pH. The stomach is highly acidic, at a pH ranging from 2 -6.5 and produces hydrochloric acid. All these systems are tightly regulated and maintained in their normal ranges. Any departure from normal is immediately sensed and the body’s buffer systems adjust accordingly. From the above, you will agree that it’s not possible for you to drink one thing that renders all your body systems alkaline. More so, not ‘alkali’ water that will enter your stomach and become quickly neutralized by the acid in your stomach.

For the other scientific reasons why the alkalinization of water is not scientifically feasible, please follow this link , or just do a Google search. Try to avoid the sites of the producers and marketers of these cups/waters.

The Anti-Cancer Sanitary Pad and Panty Liner

It was a hot afternoon at the NYSC Kubwa camp when a well-dressed lady walked into our hostel with her wares for sale. She was selling this wonderful sanitary pad that was better than every pad we had ever seen. It even had the powers to prevent Cervical cancer. When asked how the pad did that, she said the pad contains ions (there’s that word again!) which would be released into the body through the vagina to ensure that your ions are properly balanced and thereby prevent cancer. Apparently, the founder of the company had lost his mother to Cervical cancer and he had been so moved to develop a product that will save other women from the same problem. He even designed panty liners, using the same principle, so that you can benefit from it throughout the month and not just during periods. Both products cost up to 10 to 15 times the price of regular pad and panty liners. Of course, this claim is so ridiculous, it doesn’t even bear discussing.

Cervical cancer is a preventable and treatable condition, if diagnosed early. Get a pap smear if you’re 35yrs and above.

The Omnipotent diagnostic machine

This is obviously not the name of this machine, but it’s what I choose to call it, seeing as it is able to diagnose every ailment known to man and even some yet undiscovered ones. And all these by just holding something in your hand.

I first heard of this machine when a patient confidently told me that he’s a known peptic ulcer patient diagnosed for over a year. I asked him where and how the diagnosis was made and he started to tell me about this machine that they used in the east. They give you something to hold in your hand (a probe?) and suddenly, all of your organs and systems show up on the computer monitor. All I could think was ‘there must be some serious magic in that machine’. I tried very hard to convince him that it was a scam, but I didn’t think much of it, until another patient with a gynaecological problem came and started telling me how her problems were diagnosed and she was commenced on medications using this same machine. She even brought her ‘test results’ with her. It was 4 pages of complete rubbish. Ridiculous results for real body parameters, and results for things that are not found in the body e.g lead and mercury, and even some things that are never measured e.g curvature of the spine! Every one of her values were deranged and obviously, there were drugs for everything, which they happened to have. I was overwhelmed at the level of deception that was being perpetrated. Considering that all medical tests are not done in one lab; microbiology, biochemistry, chemical pathology, histopathology and the like, and that different sample are taken for different tests, this machine must indeed be omnipotent and even omniscient.


Few things in this world are all encompassing. If it ‘works for every condition’, you should be wary of it!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Better to ask for professional medical opinion, than to be penny wise and pound foolish. And even possibly harm yourself by trying to cut corners.

Seek knowledge. Stay safe.



  1. Very true my dear, the need to make quick profit is what makes these ppl 2 put lives at risk.Can u imagine,sm1 attemptd selln a pack of panty liners to me &made d mistake of telln me it prevents pregnancy,i ddnt think twice.i took off o!

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