BY YUNUSA BUNU ZANNA, MARCH 12, 2018 | 09:02 PM
MAIDUGURI — People from this part of the world are not too familiar with kidney or liver related diseases as they are about malaria, typhoid or even HIV/AIDS until recently.
Kidney diseases and ailments have now become prevalent in Maiduguri, causing several deaths. The case is further worsened by poverty and inadequate medical facilities for the patients to access. The cost of medication, particularly constant in-take of drugs, dialysis and transplant where the case has reached a chronic state is not affordable to most victims.
A number of the victims do not know exactly how they are inflicted with the disease.
Unlike what is commonly known, Dr. Ibrahim Ummate, a renal (kidney) care physician, consultant and an associate professor in Medicine at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), explained that there are a number diseases related to kidney and caused by different factors.
He however said that notwithstanding the variations, 'the end result of all the various forms of kidney diseases is kidney failure'.
The expert also said that kidney failure can be caused by other diseases that are not kidney-related such as hypertension and diabetes.
Unfortunately, most of the patients only report to them at a complication stage, he further explained. According to statistics in the UMTH Kidney Center, 15 % of kidney patients have chronic complication while 1% or so have kidney failures--which require dialysis and eventually transplant.
About five new cases of chronic diseases are diagnosed weekly, the statistics reveal. Five cases a week means at least 20 persons a month.
'Most patients, when they come to us, they come very late, by the time it is almost at a stage when they require a treatment call Renal Replacement Therapy, that is either in form of dialysis or eventually those that may require kidney transplantation', Ummate explained.
Dialysis is done to perform the function of kidney or what it is supposed to do because it has failed. However, the cost vis-à-vis the sequence it is done is not affordable to majority of the patients.
The exercise, which are of two types--hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, becomes necessary for the patients to survive.
Depending on one’s complication, it is done between two to three times in a week. Each session costs 15,000 to 20,000 Naira. Every day, about 50 to 60 persons undergo dialysis in the UMTH, findings in the hospital show.
Matron Mercy Marcus said the Kidney Center of the hospital had done about 241 sessions or so in February.
Patients who spoke to YERWA EXPRESS NEWS expressed worry over charges of the therapy. Many of them said they could not afford the sessions prescribed for them by their doctors because the price is high.
After 6 weeks, a patient, Ibrahim Junaid, an electrical engineer said 'I am doing it twice a week but I have reduced it to once now because of life challenges', noting that ‘I will keep up with that until when I cannot afford it anymore’.
Another woman, a housewife, Halima Mohammed Bukar who is undergoing the dialysis since May 2017 said ‘it is already becoming beyond the capacity of our family’.
Halima said they sold their house with her husband who is a labourer to be able to meet up with the medical bills.
Also, Mal. Musa Ladu, a retired civil servant explained that 30,000 Naira weekly for two sessions of the replacement therapy is beyond his means. ‘It's beyond my power! It's beyond my power, it's beyond the power of a poor man,' he repeatedly exclaimed. Mr. Ladu who said he had written to the government several times without anything positive once again pleaded for help.
‘I am advised to make my session twice because my stomach is filled with a lot of water’, Grace Zamdai Wasiri, a junior staff at the State Specialist Hospital said, thereby seeking the help of the government. She said the cost implication is too hard for her.
Kidney complications and diseases have become an issue of concern among the people of the state.
The Chief Imam of Borno, Imam Zanna Laisu Ibrahim Ahmad, in view of how alarming the situation has become, made case for the victims at a public event.
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24 July 2023