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Groups seek awareness, funding for renal diseases

By Stanley Akpunonu
08 February 2018   |   2:10 am
Global Assistance for Healthy Kidney Initiative (GHAKI) in collaboration with JFK dialysis centre has partnered Apollo Hospital, India on a medical mission to raise awareness on renal failures.


Global Assistance for Healthy Kidney Initiative (GHAKI) in collaboration with JFK dialysis centre has partnered Apollo Hospital, India on a medical mission to raise awareness on renal failures.

In Nigeria, 17, 000 people are diagnosed of kidney diseases annually with less than 2,000 having access to dialysis.To address this challenge, GAHKI, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has led an awareness campaign to sensitise people on the need to embrace a healthy lifestyle in order to curtail the scourge.

The campaign, which comprise of free medical check up, consultations and counselling had over 200 beneficiaries. Senior Consultant Surgeon, Department of Kidney Transplantation, Apollo hospital, Dr. Vijaya Rajakumari, said the essence of the partnership is to train medical practitioners from Nigeria, which in turn would increase quality care.

On the increase of people with renal disease in the country, Executive Secretary, GAHKI, Samuel Nabena, said the NGO was established to support patients who cannot afford dialysis.Nabena added that many patients could not afford dialysis and sometimes have to sell their properties to survive.

In his words: “It cost about N40, 000 to N50, 000 per session while some with minimum of N25, 000, and you have to do it two or three times a week, so in a year a person can pay up to N3.2 million for dialysis.

“How many Nigerians can afford such huge sum of money? Another challenge with dialysis is that all the input required are all imported, that is, the chemical, machines and consumables except the personnel and water. If the consumables can be cheap then the price of the treatment can go down and many people will be able to afford dialysis.”

The Executive Secretary decried that health insurance does not include dialysis and that the government is non-chalant about it.“Adopt a Dialysis Patient is one of the platforms where we link indigent dialysis patient with donors based on some criteria. We also look at the economic history, if the person is employed, the income, where the patient lives, if the patient is financial handicapped, if he or she is old or young. We supply the donor all the information they need. The duration of the sponsoring also depends on the donor, it might last for one month, six months, a year or more, the donor pays in advance to affiliated facilities.”

On continuous awareness programme, Nabena said they are trying to create awareness soon by March ‘The World Kidney Day’, to create an outreach towards roadside, Association of Motor Drivers because some of them don’t know the causes of this illness.

This will be a medium for them to know the cause, for some of them consume food with a lot of salt, talking much alcohol and intake of concussions to treat malaria and self medications. Many Nigerians do not know that some of the things they consume damage the kidney. One is meant to visit the doctor when he or she feels sick than to take concussion or self-medication to avoid kidney damage.”

He advised the public to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating balance diet, watching their weight, checking their blood pressure often, avoid excess salt intake, reduce the excess intake of alcohol, and they should engage in exercise like three times a week as to keep fit, particularly the diabetes patients, they should also check their blood sugar, cut the consumption of high level of protein, observing a clean environment so as to be able to live well.

Meanwhile, Chairman, JFK dialysis Centre, Jumoke Adebiyi, said most of the victims do not know if they have renal failure so the reason why they are here is to check if they are almost having the renal failure or they do not have renal failure or they have it already and they do not know they have it so I think that is the first step.

Adebiyi added: “We create awareness for everybody because if you look at what is going one in Nigeria today many die from renal failure. We now decided in GHAKI to lead the awareness for everybody to know what exactly is going on now in this country about renal failure. If they are diagnosed, I think they should change their lifestyle some of them, according to the doctor will only need one kidney to function, if one is damaged. It is our lifestyle, what we do what we eat and some us abuse drug a lot when we have headache or running temperature we do not go to the doctor we just assume its malaria. And again once we are over 40 we should try and be doing check up at least once a year that might help us.”

Supervisor for Health Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Obale Rafeev, said the awareness and free medical checkups happen to be in line with the government’s mandate in delivery its campaign promises. He said the government will partner GHAKI in subsequent events by providing sponsors and drugs for the beneficiaries of the awareness programme.

Healthcare Practitioner, Nephrologists’, Dr Segun Babafemi said that many diseases affect the kidney and they are divided into two broad groups, “there is one we call acute kidney diseases and chronic kidney failure. Chronic can be with you for long time and you won’t know. Hypertension and diabetes are major causes. Anything that can cause obstruction in flow of urine that will cause disruption of the kidney.”

Babfemi added that the most effective treatment for renal failures is to prevent, treat the causes so as not to get to kidney failure.He encouraged the government to help in educating the populace and also make it possible for people to access the hospital and also to focus more on mass education in mass media, management in hypertension and diabetes. The government should come to their aid and subsidise their treatment