A Consultant Nephrologist and Head of Clinical Services, Healing Stripes Hospital; Dr Adedamola Akinsiku, has raised the alarm over increasing cases of kidney diseases in Nigeria which he described as a silent killer, Vanguard Newspaper reports.
Akinsiku lamented that majority of people with the disease present late to the hospital when treatment is elusive. “Globally, about 700 million individuals have chronic kidney disease, the commonest cause is diabetes which accounts for about 40 per cent.”
“Following closely is hypertension, 33 percent. Aging, race, gender among others contribute 27 percent.”
“I had the opportunity to carry out a study in Lagos state in 2015, and we found out that the level of awareness is poor coupled with the fact that 11.7 percent of adults residing in Lagos State have one form of chronic kidney disease or the other with majority unaware.”
Speaking on the 2021 World Kidney Day in Lagos, Akinsiku said the kidneys are organs responsible for filtering impurity out of our blood, strengthen the bone and produce a particular hormone that helps the body to produce blood.
“It also helps to control high blood pressure which is why when you see an individual with kidney problem they tend to have high blood pressure.”
“People should avoid all sort of herbal concoction, some pain killer drugs are not good for kidney, smoking, excessive intake of alcohol.”
“Drink water regularly and if you notice that your urine foams a lot or notice body swelling, consult your doctor.”
“One of the common ways kidney diseases advance is when the patient keeps feeling weak and inability to function optimally but attributes it to malaria and runs to the chemist to get anti-malarial or pain killers, not knowing that it is worsening the condition.”
“Why I say kidney disease is a silent killer is that before you see any sign the patient is already in stage three or four. But if the patient presents on time through regular screening, we can either halt the disease from progressing entirely or slow down the rate of further deterioration.”
“For instance, if it is going to take about five years to get to stage five, meeting the right specialist, you may be able to prolong it to 20 years.”
Akinsiku who’s ultimate goal was to ensure kidney disease patient live a healthy lifestyle said that kidney disease treatment is very expensive, “so if they don’t work and earn some living it will be difficult to take care of themselves, it is compulsory that they have the ability to work, even if a relative is supporting it will get to a stage they will be tired.”
Corroborating his views, Doctor in Charge of the hospital, Ezinne Onyemere said that dialysis helps patients with kidney disease purify their blood through artificial means while kidney transplant means complete replacement of kidney.
“We all have two kidneys but need less than one kidney to survive, which is why individuals can donate one. If you have one of your kidney functioning optimally, it will clean your blood perfectly. We won’t even be talking about kidney failure. But some people are born with only one kidney naturally. That person will live for as long as God destines once the kidney is healthy.”
“For the average Nigerian, kidney disease management is very expensive because most individuals will spend approximately N500,000 monthly to remain healthy. To remain healthy, you need about three sessions of dialysis weekly. Per session in most places is around N30,000 to N35,000 aside from other things like artificial blood stimuli injection will cost an average of N20,000 every week not to talk of drugs.”
“How many people can afford that? That is why advocacy and screening is a way to go. Early detection is way out. The difference between us and western countries is that most of these people have health insurance cover. Aside from having health insurance cover, the government can subsidize dialysis through tax relief on dialysis consumables.”
“Our focus as a country shouldn’t be on the creation of more dialysis centres, what is key is reducing the number of people that will need dialysis through advocacy, enlightening the average Nigerians on what are the things that can lead to kidney dysfunction or kidney failure.”
On his part, Head of Admin/Human Resource, Mr. Usifoh Johnny disclosed that since the inception of Healing Stripes Hospital 12 years ago, they have been offering subsidized dialysis session to most of their clients, “presently we have 10 dialysis machine, while most people are charging N30,000 to N35,000 we charge N25,000.”
“We have offered over 15,000 subsidised sessions and we have given out about 1,418 sessions free because Healing Stripe Hospital is owned by the City of David Redeem Christian Church of God where well-meaning Nigeria have decided to partner with us to subsidized the treatment. That is why despite the inflation, pandemic, our price of dialysis remains the same in the last five years.”