President, Nigerian Association of Nephrology (NAN), Professor Ifeoma Ulasi has said that 200,000 Nigerians have kidney disease, even as the country lacks a definite policy to ensure they receive the appropriate treatment.
Professor Ulasi who spoke at a press conference to herald the opening of the associations’ 32nd conference titled “Kidney Disease and its Demographics” in Ibadan tomorrow (Tuesday).
At the briefing had the association’s secretary, Professor Aliyu Abdu, the association’s coming president, Professor Fatiu Arogundade, Dr Ada Asinobi, Dr Samuel Ajayi and others in attendance, Professor Ulasi declared that there are cases of kidney disease seen in hospitals, although many are still in the community because they only manifest when the kidney’s functionality has become very poor.
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Professor Ulasi stated that many people who use skin bleaching creams, mercury-containing medicated soaps, herbal preparations or abuse painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen stand a high risk of developing kidney problems because these practices that are inimical to kidney health.
The expert, who remarked that some individuals are genetically predisposed to develop kidney disease stated that kidney disease could also be a complication of hypertension and diabetes.
The NAN’s president declared that the disease is better prevented than treated because Nigeria’s health system is in shambles, kidney disease treatment is expensive, its treatment is not covered by the National health insurance and there is a dearth of kidney donors.
According to her, kidney diseases are better prevented than treated and those in the association involved in the World kidney day celebration and community outreach programmes to create awareness and ensure people can get screened for the condition.
She, however, declared that without Nigeria supporting the establishment of a renal registry to ensure there is good data on kidney disease in the country.
In addition, she added that the passage of the renal care policy by the government was important to checkmate medical tourism, reduce the cost of kidney transplant in the country and ensure assess to medications for people with kidney disease.
Professor Usali declared that three public hospitals and 11 private hospitals carry out kidney transplant in Nigeria, adding, “Our patients are dear to us, there is so much we can do and we are hoping that the government will become more responsive.
“Survival rate from kidney disease in Nigeria is poor, very few goes for transplant and many die from the condition. By three months, most of them are dead because they cannot afford dialysis. Although more women than men are affected, only men go for treatment, usually because they are the breadwinners.”