By Chioma Obinna
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, has called for the establishment of more specialist health facilities nationwide to reduce the challenges faced by Nigerians with kidney-related problems in their quest for better treatment and more successful kidney transplant within the country.
Martins also called on the Federal and State governments to invest more in healthcare with a view to addressing energising infectious diseases as well as other major ailments contributing to increased mortality rates in the country.
The Catholic Bishop made these calls while unveiling the Dialysis Unit of St. Raphael Divine Mercy Specialist Hospital, Ikorodu, Lagos, designed to improve the treatment of people with kidney diseases in Nigeria.
Inaugurating the dialysis centre donated by Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, which he said would curb medical tourism, particularly at a time COVID-19 had affected overseas travels, he also pointed out the need for more medical professionals who would provide adequate treatment with no kidney diseases.
The cleric said: “Kidney disease is much more now than it used to be and there is so much of money being spent going to India and different parts of the world for treatment.
“There is a great need for more specialist hospitals all over this country and I believe that this country is rich and well endowed enough in terms of people, professionals and finances to establish that.”
On his part, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie said the facility will ensure people with kidney disease access treatment without barrier to cost, adding that government officials should ensure that funds are directed to the proper direction and expended in things that will really make an impact on the lives of people; such as health facilities like this dialysis centre commissioned.”
Speaking, the hospital’s Director of Administration, Hyacintha Ihedike, noted that early diagnosis of kidney diseases ensures proper treatment and also prevents deaths from the disease.
She said the Centre would ensure access to quality and affordable health care services for people with the disease.
Also speaking, a Consultant Nephrologist, Dr. Stella Alagbe, said lack of access to dialysis centre has triggered more mortality due to untreated kidney diseases.
Alagbe noted that the few centres available in the country are not affordable as treatment is expensive due to the consumables which are imported and are also affected by the high exchange rate.
She said government, philanthropists and well-meaning Nigerians should begin to fund dialysis and treatment of patients as well as provide health insurance to be able to take over such services as many patients cannot afford it and die in the process of seeking help to fund treatment.