JACOB Awobusuyi, consultant nephrologist, has identified late presentation, high cost of treatment and ignorance as major challenges facing the management of chronic kidney diseases,CKD, in Nigeria.
Awobusuyi, also the head, Nephrology Department, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Wednesday in Lagos.
He spoke on the sidelines of a free medical camp organised by LASUTH in collaboration with an Indian based Hospital, Apollo Hospital.
According to him, studies did in the country shows a prevalence rate of about 10 to 12 per cent of the population with CKD.
“One of the challenges is that most of our patients present late, that is, at stage five, to the hospital and that is the stage that treatments including dialysis and kidney transplantation are so expensive.
“On a conservative average, you need about N8 million for kidney transplantation and for dialysis, you need between N25, 000 and N30, 000 and other costs attached to it.
“Another issue is early diagnosis; many of our patients do not come to the hospital when they are ill; they still believe in alternate medication or some self medicate or go to unqualified professionals.
“More often than not, they get mismanaged in those places and by the time they come, they present late,“ he said.
The consultant said that many patients affected by CKD in the Nigerian population were either in their late 30s or 40s compared to patients in their 60s to 70s abroad.
According to him, the primary cause of these young adults affected by the disease is tropical diseases common in our environment.
“In our population, lots of younger people are affected and these are people in their prime; they are bread winners, those active in life.
“CKD is a disease that actually weighs the patient down and is expensive to treat; it becomes a burden.
“As a result, many of them engage in catastrophic spending; they sell their houses, cars and they become distraught.
“We believe as caregivers that government should take concrete steps in intervening in the treatment of CKD in the country,“ he said.
Awobusuyi urged people who were diabetic and hypertensive to ensure that their kidney functions were being evaluated regularly.
He said: “The major thing is that there are many risk factors for CKD that can be addressed; diabetes and hypertension are the major ones.
“Other common causes include HIV infection, malaria and hepatitis. So, if you have any of these, you should visit the hospital.’’
At a news conference, LASUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Wale Oke, said that the purpose of the medical camp was primarily to give qualitative and comprehensive healthcare to residents of the state.
Oke, represented by the Director, Clinical Services and Training, LASUTH, Dr Ayo Adedokun, said that the camp would offer free screening and consultation to the residents.
He said: “If we talk about taking it further from there, in actual implementation, whether the patient is going to be operated with the team partnering with our doctors, the cost shall be looked into.
“We may access some funds from the government under the State Free Health Programme, but the major issue is for the patients to know their status and then treatment.“
Oke said that the camp was also set up for LASUTH doctors to acquire skills.
“The end result is that it is better for our doctors to manage our patients in our environment, but it will take us a bridge to get there.
“We are on the bridge where doctors from Apollo Hospital and LASUTH will have cross ideas and skills transfer, “ Oke said.
In her remarks, one of the team doctors, Dr Vijaya Rajakumari, said that 50 per cent of all cases of kidney failures were due to diabetes and hypertension.
Rajakumari, a Consultant Surgeon at Apollo Hospital, India, said that living healthier lives begins at the grassroots where people take responsibility for their health.
“So, if we make sure we check our blood pressure, blood sugars once in a year and if detected early and well controlled, we can actually stop the progression of CKD and live longer and healthier lives,“ she said. – NAN
– Jan. 31, 2018 @ 17:52 GMT