By Vivian Ihechu
Lagos – As the world marks the 2020 World Kidney Day on Thursday, the Nigerian Association of Nephrology says 700 kidney transplants have so far been performed in the country.
Prof. Fatiu Arogundade, the President of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the figure was based on a survey by the association around transplant centres in the country.
NAN reports that World Kidney Day (WKD), marked annually on the second Thursday in March, creates awareness on the importance and functions of the kidneys and need to take care of the kidneys to avoid diseases.
Kidney diseases occur when the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should.
The theme for 2020 WKD is: “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere – from Prevention to Detection’’.
According to the medicalnewstoday.com, the kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs present in all vertebrates with important functions in the body.
The kidneys remove waste products from the body, maintain balanced electrolyte levels and regulate blood pressure.
Arogundade, who is also the President, Transplant Association of Nigeria told NAN that the figure was low because majority of those that developed kidney disease could not afford the treatment.
“It is not because the personnel are not there, it’s not because the facilities are not available in Nigeria, we are further expanding our personnel. We have about 15 centres that can do it now.
“St Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, started kidney transplantation in Nigeria. The Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital followed two years later and then the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano and Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.
“Private establishments like the Zenith Medical & Kidney Centre, Abuja, are also doing the procedure and they’ve transplanted the most in the country. They have done more than 300 transplants already.
“We have another private centre in Abuja that is also transplanting and I would say, government centres that have transcended are still transplanting,’’ he said.
According to him, the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) also do transplants but the private centres have more sustainable programme.
On why private facilities are topping the chart in kidney transplantation procedure, Arogundade said: “This is mainly because those that go there are people that are affluent in the environment and can afford it.
“Those who raise money to afford the treatment, most times will also want to go outside for treatment; go to India, Pakistan.
“Many patients also travelled because they could not source for donors locally and because they could not do that, they are able to pay for donors somewhere which is totally condemnable and unethical.
“They are not able to provide a donor here but they go outside to get a donor, get transplant done and then come back.
“What we have seen also is that the outcome of such are equally not good enough. The patients don’t do well.’’
He urged governments to make the prevention, detection and management of kidney diseases a priority as well as increase funding allocation to same.