By Omon Smart
Experts have called for equity in the treatment and care for kidney patients in Nigeria even as they also maintained that government intervention has become inevitable.
The Experts took the stance at the 2020 World Kidney Day celebration organized by Kidney Foundation for Africa at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos on Thursday.
Theme of this year’s celebration was Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Stop the Epidemic in Africa, was attended by medical experts from across the world including Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and of course Nigeria.
Dr. Bamgboye, Consultant Nephrologists, Physician and Clinical Director, St Nicholas Hospital speaking on what Nigeria can do to nip kidney problem in the bud said that Nigeria must recognize that the problem is enormous adding that this year’s World Kidney Day focuses on the need to be able to give universal health coverage in terms of renal care to everybody and everywhere. “So we must make sure that there is equity in health issues. There is need for us to recognize that certain groups of people are disadvantaged. Women, kidney failure is more common in women, if you look at access amongst our patients in most dialysis units, we have 2 to 1 in favour of men; transplant number is almost 3 or 4 to 1 in favour of men, so women are getting kidney failure but they are not getting access to proper care.”
He called for Nigeria to be serious in terms of proper care for kidney treatment “So I want to see us getting serious as a nation, and ascribe to the principles of universal health coverage. We must ensure that there is equity, the way we provide that care; we must be able to provide care even in the rural areas. We must ensure that wide spectrum of people is cared for, and at a price that individuals in that part of the country can afford. We must make sure dialysis centres are set up even in rural areas.”
Bamigboye stated that the nation must recognize the common causes of kidney problem, identify those common causes early and controlling them.
Prof. Nasir Allah from Cairo, Egypt maintained that dialysis should be made affordable if we must overcome the menace of kidney disease in Nigeria, saying government has a lot to do by way of intervention.
Alain Assounga, Professor and Chief Specialist, Head, Department of Nephrology Division of Medicine, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa speaking on what his country is doing to care for kidney patients said the government tries to cover as many patients as possible within the means, from prevention, dialysis to transplantation which is done through what he called 5 spectrum. It covers kidney treatment from stage One to stage five.
“In terms of stage one is when we do the diagnosis and try to treat it as much as possible, the whole of that is covered by the government, those who go to private sector, those who have private insurance cover can use the private sector, those who pay their dues as long as they are qualified and that includes all the spectrum.
“In the private sector, you go and join the medical AID or what you call it; you have to be there for 12 months before dialysis, the awaiting period before dialysis.
“In the public sector the whole patients are qualified for kidney care, according to your conditions, if you don’t have money you don’t have to pay for it 100% provided you are qualify for conditions for dialysis, so we do the screening for dialysis to see if you have conditions like stroke or heart problem or cancer, or infections which cannot be control, meaning you are not conditioned for dialysis or the transplant, but if you don’t have money you will be supported 100%.