Skin from Tilapia was found to have moisture, collagen and disease resistance at levels comparable to human skin and could thus aid in healing burns. It also prevented scarring and promoted healing after clinical trials found that tilapia skin was more effective than standard burn bandages.
The findings got researchers exploring the new treatment for severe burns, which not only eased pain but also cut medical costs.
3 year old baby Sarah Auma is a beneficiary she got her legs and hands burnt two months ago. The skin there even peeled off. Neighbours advised her to visit a leather chemist’s workshop in kisumu owned by Newton Owino, an environmentalist who happens to extract collagen from fish skin and converting it to a gel. She bought 100 grammes of the gel at Sh5,000. “After two weeks the baby was fine and back on her feet,” says Sarah.
Owino says while burns heal in two weeks, Tilapia collagen heals wounds faster. “It speeds up healing by a few days and reduces the need for pain medication compared to Nile Perch which takes about a month.
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