The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says the number of units offering dialysis and kidney transplantation in Nigeria has steadily increased in the last few years.
Enahire made this known on Thursday in Lagos, at the International Conference/Public Lecture to commemorate the World Kidney Day, tagged: “Chronic Kidney Disease: Stop the Epidemic in Africa; (Kidney Health for Everyone, Everywhere)”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for World Kidney Day 2020 is: “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere– From Prevention to Detection and Equitable Access to Care.”
Enahire, represented by Dr Bello Babawale of the Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, said that increase of the units had taken place both in the public and private sectors.
The minister said that government, through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was providing funds for both acute dialysis and kidney transplantation to individuals registered with the scheme.
He encouraged the screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Enahire called for the education of all medical professionals on their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD, particularly in high risk populations.
He said that local and national health authorities have important roles to play in controlling the CKD epidemic.
“We must encourage preventive behaviours. CKD incidence and prevalence are increasing worldwide, and it is very expensive to treat.
“If detected early, there is a possibility of preventing kidney failure.
“Transplantation is a best-outcome option for kidney failure, and the act of organ donation as a life-saving initiative is also key,” he said.
To address the unmet needs of kidney care in Africa, the minister proposed the collation of a comprehensive data and the need to establish national, as well as sub-regional CKD registries infrastructure for both dialysis and transplantation.
“There is also need to increase the number, as well as the distribution of units offering these services.
“Also, funding, policy and regulation and stopping the tide of brain drain would also go a long way in reducing CKD,” the minister said.
On the current situation in Nigeria, Enahire said that the Nigerian Association of Nephrologists had established a National Renal Registry.
On manpower, he said that work through residency training act to create more training positions was ongoing.
He revealed that mapping of states with high prevalence of CKD and evaluation of the aetiology such as Yobe, with suspected high level of heavy metals in the ground water.
The minister also said that a mandatory diabetes screening of all patients at the Federal Government hospitals was ongoing.
In his remarks, Mr Clinton Peters, Executive Director, Kidney Foundation for Africa, called for more private sector participation in kidney matters, by taking up kidney care of patients as part of its corporate social responsibility to reduce mortality rates.
“The NHIS is trying to provide three months palliative dialysis for those within the scheme, but it is not for everybody.
“So, private companies can also help by adopting it as its corporate social responsibility,” Peters said.
He advised citizens to go for regular blood works for early detection to prevent chronic kidney diseases.
“There is no age range as it can affect anyone from birth to old age. So, everyone must go for blood works to prevent, detect and tackle kidney diseases,” he said.