The Nigerian Association of Nephrology (NAN) says 20 million Nigerians have kidney disease, just as it canvassed early detection of the disease.
President of the association, Prof. Ifeoma Ulasi, disclosed on Monday at a news conference heralding the association’s 32nd annual general meeting and scientific conference in Ibadan.
According to her, the theme of the annual general meeting is: “Kidney and demographics” is to sensitise the public on the modes of primary prevention of the disease owing to the high cost of treating the disease.
She noted that there were multiple factors that cause kidney disease, apart from genetics, adding that the nation’s health insurance needs to be reviewed to cater for people with the disease.
“The prevalence of kidney disease is about eight to 12 per cent of the Nigerian population; it can be more, but as you may well know, many of our people don’t report to the hospital on time.
“They would have tried one or two alternative practices like native doctors or turned to spiritual houses to seek attention; we don’t get to see them early, but we believe it is about eight to 12 per cent.
“So, if you work it out, 10 per cent will be about 20 million Nigerians having kidney diseases. There are so many practices apart from us being genetically predisposed to kidney diseases.
“There are some practices that are not very good for our kidney health. Oftentimes, some women use some medicated soaps that contain mercury, this is not good for the kidney,” Ulasi said.
According to her, many people also take herbal medications which are not quantified, while the concentration is unknown are also susceptible to the disease.
Ulasi however, noted that early detection as well as government support in terms of policy for renal care would help reduce its prevalence.
She called for the review of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover care of kidney disease, adding that other ailments, such as hypertension and diabetes as well as some drugs for arthritis for the elderly, if not prescribed can cause kidney disease.