From Steve Oko, Umuahia
A Nephrologist and Founder, Beatitudes Kidney and Eye Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Dr Chimezie Okwuonu, has identified malnutrition as a leading cause of deaths among kidney disease patients in Nigeria.
He disclosed this at a seminar organised by the Foundation in Aba.
Okwuonu who doubles as the Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Abia State chapter, revealed that more than one-third of kidney disease patients in Nigeria die of malnutrition because of misinformation about dietary intake and kidney disease management.
According to him, most kidney disease patients relied on the internet or public opinion for nutritional recommendation, which usually resulted in severe complications.
He said that the event was organised to address the numerous misconceptions associated with dietary intake for a kidney disease patient.
Okwuonu said that the seminar also aimed at educating kidney disease patients on the need to seek advice about their diet from a dietician, who specialised in managing kidney disease patients.
“Moving forward, we want to publish a book on dietary management for kidney disease patients, which would be given to our patients for free.
“We desire to circulate this piece of literature to all the Southeastern states because we want kidney disease patients and their caregivers to be well informed.
“We understand that the major challenge people with kidney disease face is finance.
“Therefore, we are offering free dialysis services to our patients until the end of this year,” he said.
Earlier, a Nephrology Nurse, Mrs Eunice Enyiocha, described kidney disease as a progressive long-standing damage to the kidneys which could lead to minor and major disorders in the body.
Enyiocha said that early detection and proper management were key to tackling the disease.
On her part, a Dietician, Mrs Confidence Solomon, reiterated the importance of nutritional management in kidney care as enormous because of its vital role in the overall health of the patient.
“Nutritional management in the treatment of kidney disease is individualised and requires an individual to seek the advice of a dietician for dietary recommendations suitable for the individual,” Solomon said.
However, in separate interviews, some participants expressed joy over the information they received about proper dietary management for kidney disease patients.
Mrs Conscience Nnaemelu, a civil servant, said that the information greatly addressed the various misconceptions she had about dietary intake.
Similarly, a businessman, Mr Chikezie Orji, said he learnt that seeking expert advice and applying moderation in dietary intake were essential in kidney disease management.
The event featured lectures, question and answer session as well as free counselling for the participants.