Medical experts and nephrologists have urged the federal government to come up with a policy to help patients with kidney issues by taking up treatments such as dialysis and transplants as other African countries do in order to keep Nigerians from dying.
The experts made this call at the World Kidney Day recently, organised by Healing Stripe Hospital, Lagos, on free screening, dialysis and health awareness talk for women and girls.
According to a Consultant Nephrologists, Dr. Adewunmi Adebowale, “It is time government came up with a policy or whatever they could do to help patients who require dialysis.” Adding, he said other countries already practice free or subsidised dialysis. “Some African countries subsidised dialysis. In Ghana, the first five dialysis is free. That’s how much they can afford. In Côte d’Ivoire, all dialysss are free. Government pays for or subsidises it including Tanzania and Pakistan.”
He advised the Nigerian Government to either include it in the National Health Insurance Scheme or find a way to help patients with chronic kidney diseases so that there will be more of such people surviving.
While dialysis costs between 30,000 and 35,000 naira, the expert said an average Nigerian cannot afford dialysis for a week going by the minimum wage. “By the time kidney disease happens, it results in enormous medication. It can result in dialysis and in transplant.”
Adebowale continued: “It’s just dialysis not to talk of buying drugs and injections. How many Nigerians can afford that? What is the minimum wage of an average Nigerian? Till now, some states have not started paying 18,000. So, you can see that an average Nigerian may not be able to afford one dialysis. This means the person will die. And many have died.“
Sadly, statistics show that 17,000 new cases of kidney failure are diagnosed annually in Nigeria while an estimated incidence of kidney disease is 100 per 1,000,000 population.
Therefore, the Nephrologist said this was a good time to call on the government. “I’m not asking them to increase salary. But they should take up treatments such as dialysis and transplants as done in some many countries.”
However, he noted that there were people who dialysed for up to 18 years. “You can imagine 35,000 naira three times a week for 18 years. And I have seen it. Transplant average cost about 10 million naira. How many Nigerians can afford that? Then you will talk of the money for the drugs after. the transplant which is not part of the 10m naira.”
Doctor in Charge of Healing Stripe, Ezinne Onyemere, said it shows that women were at high risk of kidney diseases.