An estimated 15,000 new patients are diagnosed every year in the country even as children are now the most hit. In a study conducted between 2008 and 2011 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, kidney- related diseases accounted for 8.9 per cent of paediatric admissions, with a prevalence rate of 22.3 admissions per 1000 child admissions per annum. Yearly incidence also doubled during the study period.
However, many factors have been adduced to the disturbing trend of the disease. Some include untreated microbial infections, especially urinary tract infections, diarrhoea, malaria, hepatitis, diabetes, hypertension, potassium bromate poisoning, abuse of painkillers/ analgesics, particularly paracetamol amongst others.
The Chief Executive Officer, Kidney Clinics Nigeria Limited, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Mr. Adebayo Sokunbi, who lamented that Nigerian dialysis patients and their families are suffering greatly said out of 120,000 cases diagnosed annually, only 400 patients are on regular dialysis.
In a month, dialysis centres attend to at least 50 persons. Sokunbi said at Kidney Clinics, Abeokuta Dialysis Centre, an average of about 60 sessions are done monthly. “Nationwide, we have no accurate data but most of the centres are in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Abuja and Kano among others.
Managing kidney-related diseases is expensive and complicated in Nigeria and even abroad.
For those that are able to afford to seek expert or specialist medical attention abroad, it has been estimated that they spend over N120 billion annually on foreign medical tourism, while about 5,000 patients travel to India monthly for treatment of various diseases, including kidney challenges.