One out of five Nigerians has kidney disease – Expert

By: Chioma Umeha

A nephrologist, Dr Ebun Bamgboye, has said  that ongoing studies in Nigeria have confirmed that one out of every five persons had one stage of kidney disease or the other. Bamgboye, who works at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, said in an agency report, that the studies also showed that black people’s kidneys were prone to renal failure. 

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, defines renal failure as a medical condition in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter waste products from the blood. “Studies are ongoing that in Nigeria, probably about one out of every five of us has one stage of chronic kidney disease or the other. Not all of them have got to the stage where they required dialysis of course, the nephrologist said. “But, if you are looking at individuals who have chronic kidney disease in requirement of renal replacement therapy, that is, either dialysis or transplant, you are looking at 100 new cases per million populations every year. He added: “So, in a population of about 150 million, you are looking at a very least, 15, 000 new cases every single year. 

“The implication of that; the number of the new cases plus the old ones are estimated to be about 300 per million population, which is, the population of about 150 million will come to about 45, 000 persons who require dialysis or transplant at anytime in a country as Nigeria. “But, if you look at the number of people that are accessing healthcare they are probably less than 1,000. “The implication is that if you are in end stage and you need dialysis and you don’t access it, you will die within about a week or two weeks. “So, obviously many people are dying from kidney failure because they are not able to access care,” Bamgboye said. He said that hypertension, Chronic Glomerulonephritis and diabetes were some of the major causes of kidney failure. 

According to him, one out of five adult Nigerians has hypertension. Bamgboye said that many people having hypertension were not aware that they were hypertensive. He said that only 30 per cent of hypertensive victims knew of it while only 30 per cent of those on treatment were controlled. The nephrologist also said that between N5.2 million and N10 million would be an average cost of managing a patient in the end stage of chronic kidney disease that required dialysis. Bamgboye said transplant was the cheapest method to tackle kidney disease, adding that a patient would need about six million naira to carry out kidney transplant. 

“We started about 10 years ago and so far we have done about 125 successful transplants. I do know that, currently, there is committee that government has set up that is looking into this. “And what they are trying to do is to incorporate dialysis into the NHIS, (National Health Insurance Scheme) and hoping that it would at least cover, if not all, at least a few sections and possibly subsidise subsequent sections. “I think government can do a bit more as well, that is, to look at ways of bringing down the cost of dialysis and what contributes to the major cost of consumables. “So, if we either start to manufacture the consumables locally or we eliminate any duties and taxes that are imposed on those who import these things, it will drastically bring down the cost of these materials,” Bamgboye said.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 12,  2013.