Kidney Disease: Stopping the Attack

14 Mar 2013

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Adeola Akinremi writes on the World Kidney Day and the efforts to stop kidney attack

Over the years many have suffered in silence and died from Kidney disease also known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) without a sound health care system available throughout the country.  Indeed, because chronic kidney disease often develops slowly and with few symptoms, many people with the condition don't realize they're sick until the disease is advanced and requires dialysis.

According to the World Health Organization, kidney disease and disease of the urinary tract cause 850,000 deaths worldwide every year. Globally, CKD is the 12th leading cause of death and the 17th leading cause of disability.

Sadly, a high number of people are vulnerable to CKD as heart disease and stroke gain momentum and more people are diagnosed for cardiovascular diseases according to several hospital records survey around the country.

CKD occurs when the kidneys fail to filter wastes from the bloodstream for any reason. Eventually, those accumulated wastes will build up, causing a condition generally known as azotemia. This condition can become fatal if not medically treated. In addition, related complications of that waste buildup can include high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage.

It is estimated that 300 million people suffer from CKD worldwide according to reports. Additionally, access to kidney dialysis, kidney transplant and state-of-the-art therapies are very limited and cost prohibitive in Nigeria. It is probable that a large number of additional cases go unreported, due to the difficulty of diagnosing a patient with CKD in the early stages.

The final stage of chronic kidney disease according to experts is kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease.  Thus, People with kidney failure need dialysis, in which blood is cleaned through a machine, or a new, healthy kidney through transplantation.

“Most people with Kidney disease are not aware of their condition,” says Okechukwu Ogar, a medical doctor who is the Abia State Commissioner for Health. “It is the responsibility of the state to care and provides support for those living with chronic diseases.”

As nations across the world marks the World Kidney Day tagged ‘Kidneys for Life, Stop Acute Kidney Injury’to raise awareness and provide support for those facing this debilitating ailment, Abia State government has taken an important step.

A specialist hospital to take care of kidney disease staffed with expatriates for effective operation and knowledge transfer to the locals has been established in three locations residents can accessed.

Perhaps the governments in Nigeria are waking up to the reality of providing good health care system as reported cases deaths from kidney and heart diseases continued unabated

In Umuahia, the Abia State Diagnostic Centre now provides succour to its residents and residents from the neighbouring states.
Ogar says, “Here, you find all sorts of diagnostic tools that you can think about and the laboratories where all sorts of tests take place. With five millimeter of blood sample in one of the laboratories here, you can do as much as 250 tests in a human being. That is one. We have mammography; we use this for the screening of breast cancer which is the commonest cancer among Nigerian women now.

“We also have digital x-ray unlike the previous practice when you take x-rays film to a developer. Just like in those days when they develop camera films the way x-ray film was done. But now you have digital x-ray even if you take the samples the quality is higher so people come because of that and there is a lot of migration of medical requests from the surrounding states such as Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Anambra and Enugu.

“Furthermore, we have Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which we use to examine any aspect of the human body. We also have Computerised Demography (CD) scan, MRI is actually higher than CD, it is more expensive but the CD scan is also available here. So we do all these things as for all the blood investigations that we can do in this place.

“One peculiar thing about our state is that whatever we have here in Umuahia, we replicate same in Aba, you know Aba is the hub of the state where 30 per cent of our population lives, so we cannot forget them. At the Teaching Hospital, we have a similar facility but the only thing that is not there is the MRI which is quite expensive; we have to put it at the state capital. The distance from here to Aba is just 30 minutes-drive and that is why you see many ambulances here to make it faster to bring a patient here.”

The medical stride in Abia has continued to make the state a mecca of sort, especially for kidney disease patients. The team of foreign experts managing the process in Abia is sourced from Indian hospitals where a lot of cases have been referred in recent time.
“The diagnostic is under PPP with Mecure Health Care Limited and that is what we have done here so people don’t need to go abroad again to do some of these tests.

“In the dialysis centre, for instance, we have acquired six brand new machines, that are all inside the building and there are existing three machines which are already dialyzing people and because of what we are doing, philanthropists in Abia are coming in.

They are interested in revolution in health care that is happening in Abia State, just recently, one of the philanthropists in this state called to say that he is going to build another kidney centre in Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH).
For this year’s World Kidney Day, a right theme was chosen and Abia State has got it. It is to stop kidney attack.

Tags: Health and Wellbeing, Featured, Health, Kidney Disease

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