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Meru leaders rubbish research findings on miraa and sexual performance

By IRENE MURITHI, @irene_murithi

The Meru county assembly has refuted claims by Moi University researchers that miraa consumption affects sexual performance. Meru county assembly Speaker Joseph Kaberia said the finding were false.

Mr Kaberia said contrary to the “purported” research, schools with highest number of pupils countrywide are from Meru.

“After a primary school in Kericho that has the highest number of pupils in the country, three schools in Igembe have been ranked in position two, three and four of the most populated primary schools with more than 2000 pupils each,” said Mr Kaberia

Speaking to journalists in his office, Mr Kaberia said the researchers did not conduct their research in miraa growing regions.

“The researchers have not reached Meru county which is the major miraa growing region in the country. The findings have been made in consideration of people who have used miraa for short periods of time unlike here in Meru where most people chew miraa from childhood.

“They should come to Meru and get facts about miraa from those who have been chewing it for a long time,” added Mr Kaberia.

SIDE EFFECTS

The Meru community has also opposed the research findings. They say that most of the persons, especially those living in miraa producing areas such as Igembe and Tigania, have used the stimulant since their childhood and have not seen any notable side effects.

“I am a father of six and I am sexually active up to date even though I started chewing miraa at the age of 13. I have been married for over 36 years and all the way I have not had issues with my two wives,” said Mr Joseph Kimathi, a resident of Meru county.

According to the research released last month, the stimulant undermines the social and health of users.

The three-member taskforce found that miraa had tremendous impact on the mental, reproductive and oral health of the consumers.

Prof Lukoye Atwoli, said that the report they presented to the Ministry of Health was backed with valid information.

“The mental effects are either acute or chronic. On reproduction, the study shows that the long term use of miraa affects quality of sperm – both in terms of shape and speed. For libido, the use of small quantities of khat seemed to increase the sex interest but long term use affected the person’s interest in sex as well,” added Prof Atwoli.

Meru Governor Peter Munya has also rubbished the report.