1 February 2013

Nigeria: 'Government's Apathy Impedes Kidney Care'

The President of the Nephrology Association of Nigeria (NAN), Prof Evelyn Unuigbe, yesterday said government's inertia was the main impediment in treating chronic kidney diseases (CKD).

Unuigbe lamented that while expertise in kidney management was increasing, "a lot of teaching hospitals don't have the adequate facilities to do what we want to do. We know what to, but we don't have the facilities."

She stated this in Abuja ahead of a scientific conference by NAN to consider the practice, training and research in nephrology.

She also called for a National Renal Care Policy that will allow government to give subsidy for patients suffering from kidney diseases.

CKD affects up to three in 10 adult Nigerians, but its prevalence among children has grown to 15 per million as the age of onset gradually falls.

Kidney transplants cost no less than N5 million while dialysis is estimated to cost N45,000 a week, but since more than 70% of health spending comes from the pockets of patients, many unable to afford their own care have died from renal failure.

But moves toward the policy and a kidney institute have stalled for more than a decade on account of changes in government, said Fatiu Arogundade, consultant nephrologists at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital.

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