Despite the UK banning Miraa in 2014, it is still getting respect in East Africa countries especially Kenya and Somalia.
The stimulant, miraa is commonly used by the Somali community living both in Somalia and Kenya. While some it is a growing business for them , a large population receives the effect. The stimulant contributes to family negligence that leads to breakup, it makes the young men unproductive, it leads the youth to engage in crimes and dangerous vices among many other problems.
In an article wrote by BBC described Miraa as a drug that contains different stimulative substance.
“The two main stimulants in khat speed up the user’s mind and body, like a less powerful amphetamine.
It makes people happy and talkative but can cause insomnia and temporary confusion.
Chewed for a few hours it leaves users with a feeling of calm, described by some as “blissed out”.
The drug could make pre-existing mental health problems worse and it can provoke feelings of anxiety and aggression.” read part of the article.
In Kenya, its cultivation has long been the preserve of the Meru people of the Nyambene Hills.
They turned its cultivation and trade into a national then international industry alongside Somali exporters, who sent much to consumers in neighboring Somalia. It rose in importance as a commodity internationally in the 1990s and 2000s as Somalis moved throughout the world following state collapse and conflict.
Most of the African societies, families were greatly valued because they define their continuity and strengthened their existence as a social entity (Adams & Trost 2005).
Today, wellbeing of families is also among the top agenda for many governments in Europe, Asia and Africa. Accordingly, families are central to both developed and developing countries and any socio-economic issue related to the families is closely evaluated. Similarly, Miraa consumption among family members is a matter of concern to individuals, families, communities and governments. Despite the global recognition for the need for favourable family wellbeing, Khat chewing is rapidly increasing worldwide because of its availability. According to Zeleke, Awoke, Gebeyehu, and Ambaw (2013) about ten million people are estimated and classified as daily Miraa consumers worldwide.
Wellbeing is a condition of holistic health in all its dimensions: Physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual, which is totally in agreement with.
Furthermore, wellbeing consists of a range of what is worthwhile for a person: particularly in a meaningful social manner such as feeling happy and hopeful, living according to acceptable values, supportive environment, coping with challenges through the use of appropriate life skills and having security, protection and access to quality services such as health and education.
Wellbeing of families is influenced by a number of issues because of its multi-dimensional nature; thus consumption of Miraa by family members have far-reaching social, economic, physical, and psychological health effects on the wellbeing of its members.
As much as growing of Miraa has some economic gain for the regions where it is grown and Kenya as a whole, its consumption undermines personal, social and national development with respect to productivity, safety and welfare of public institutions and community life (Hansen, 2010; Kassim, Islam, & Croucher, 2010).
Although several health problems are attributed to the use of of mirra, Kenyan scientists gave mirra a clean bill of health. A study carried out by Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in 2017 at the seventh annual scientific and health conference in Nairobi reveals that the mirra has no health effect.
“Miraa, the addictive herb chewed for its stimulative effect, has no negative health impact,”
“Although it was noted that different types of khat have different effects in regards to sex, from the qualitative arm, it was commonly said it enhances sexual stimulation with no seen negative effects on fertility,” reads part of the report.
In Djibouti, every day, people flock to houses and cafes in groups to chew Miraa quietly with their friends. According to Reuters (2007), “it was reported that, Djibouti men sit on pillows beside small piles of stems and cigarette packets, munching mouthfuls of the green narcotic.” This has been made possible by the availability of fast transport, such as flights, which ferry Miraa every day to Djibouti from Ethiopia which is then sold in small shops across the country (Kassim et al., 2010). Use of fresh leaves of Miraa acts like a stimulant and causes intoxicating effects. It keeps the user awake and interferes with the reception of well-coordinated information.
It’s consumption is not confined in Djibouti, most cities of Somalia, Eastleigh area of Nairobi and North Eastern part of Kenya homes millions of miraa chewers.
National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse [NACADA], (2012) identifies Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Abuse (ADSA), as a major social problem in Kenya, which influences the functioning of families. The same study identified Khat use, as being very high in Central and North-Eastern regions of Kenya.
The Somalis are the majority who use Miraa as their stimulant. It is a taboo for Somali women to chew Miraa but normal for Somali men as it exhibits their masculinity.
Miraa has rendered some women ‘single mothers’ because of absentee fathers who are mostly at small shops, chewing Miraa with friends not knowing the social and health retardation it causes. The family union ought to be respected as it the most important social union in the society.
- January 5, 2020
November 1, 2019