By Chioma Obinna
A Consultant Nephrologist, Dr Ebun Bamgboye, has urged the Federal Government to provide policy friendly interventions to stem the rising tide of kidney diseases in the country. Making the call during a free kidney disease screening organised by St Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, Bamgboye said the hospital sees 120 new cases annually.
Stating that early detection remains the way out, Bamgboye blamed increase in chronic kidney failure on high cost of treatment, hence, the need for removal of all duties on drugs for hypertension and other consumables required for treatment.
“Over 30 percent of Nigerians have hypertension (1 in every 3). You can imagine the number of people who will end up with kidney failure as a consequence.
“When they end up, we should provide the necessities for proper management. There should be dialysis units all around the country. Consumables should be made available at subsidised rates. There is no reason why 30 percent duty should be charged, when this duty charge is removed, it plummets cost by 30 -50 percent. And then in transplanting, you make sure you empower units that do transplantation.”
Bambgoye urged government to make provision for cost of care for post-transplant patients as some drugs used to protect the kidneys after transplantation cost N600, 000.
He regretted that people solicit money for transplant only to suffer again because they are not able to sustain it as a patient is expected to be on drugs indefinitely as long as the kidney continues to work.
Bamgboye said: “We should keep kidney failure from developing in the first place. We need to detect those things that we know commonly cause kidney failure and treat them properly.
“There is no reason why government should be charging duty on anti-hypertensive, on drugs for diabetes, drugs for treating malaria. All those things should be imported or given free of charge.”
He further lamented that the cost of treating hypertension is a fraction of the cost of treating someone with kidney failure, adding that the amount of money you would use in treating somebody with kidney failure would equally treat more than 100 people with hypertension.
He blamed cases of rejections in kidney transplant patients on poor complaints, and inappropriate use of drugs.
“To prevent kidney diseases, the first thing is to make sure we screen when we have opportunity because screening will identify those conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and various forms of chronic infections that commonly lead on to kidney failure, if you detect those things early and manage them appropriately, then the likelihood that your kidney will fail will be small.
We have many people with hypertension and diabetes that don’t know. These conditions are responsible for over 80 percent of people that end up with kidney failure. If we can detect them early it will crash the numbers we are seeing.”