Honorable Benjamin Okezie Kalu, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, has bemoaned the rising cases of organ failure in Nigeria. He said that it has not only become a medical concern but also a challenge to Nigerian society. This was as he decried the rising cases in the country. According to a foremost nephrologist in the country and member of the team that performed the first successful kidney transplant in the country, Dr. Ebun Bamgboye, it is estimated that about 10 percent of the world’s entire population is at risk of chronic kidney disease. This is at least about 850 million people as of March 2022.
She also said that people of black African origin are four times likely to develop kidney problems from all the conditions that eventually lead to it. Medical experts also said that 100 persons per every million population require dialysis and or transplant every year. This is at least 20,000 people yearly. Meanwhile, Kalu stated that the legislative chamber will collaborate with the Transplant Association of Nigeria (TAN) and other relevant authorities to ensure that the concerns were addressed.
He assured TAN delegation of necessary legislation.
Kalu gave the assurance while hosting a TAN delegation who paid him a courtesy visit on Friday, August 11, 2023, in Abuja. He expressed happiness over the report of 700 successful kidney transplants carried out in the country by the Nephrology Association of Nigeria. In the same vein, he assured the delegation that the House of Assembly will enact necessary legislation that will make the requisite infrastructure and resources for more successful organ transplant in the country.
According to him, this will discourage Nigerians from seeking medical treatment abroad. He said that the National Assembly recognizes the importance of collaboration and partnership in addressing healthcare challenges. Therefore, the lawmakers are committed to creating an enabling environment through policies, legislation, and funding to ensure that the necessary infrastructure and resources are available for successful organ transplantation programs. “By combining our efforts, expertise, and resources, we can make significant strides toward improving healthcare outcomes and enhancing the quality of life for our fellow citizens,” he said.
Insecurity factors in the spike of organ failure cases.
Earlier, Dr. Oladise lamented that superstitions, myth and other belief systems such as reincarnation had inhibited the donation of organs. He suggested that a legal framework be put in place to make it compulsory. His reason was that Nigeria loses about 1.2 billion dollars annually to medical tourism abroad. Oladise also invited the deputy speaker to TAN’s forthcoming biannual conference where he said Nigerians were expected to canvass for more solutions to the problem. Meanwhile, medical experts identified hypertension, diabetes and infections such as hepatitis and HIV as major causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Nigeria.
They revealed that there was a spike in cases of CKD in the northern parts of Nigeria especially in internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camps. This was mainly due to insecurity which has disrupted everyday life in the region. As a result, most people with hypertension, diabetes and chronic infections are not aware and are not accessing treatment because of disruption in health services. Dr. Bamgboye confirmed that these causes are common in the environment. For instance, about 30 to 40 percent of adult Nigerians have hypertension, and many of them are unaware.
Way of life also contributes to risks of organ failure.
It is not also uncommon for lifestyle choices to result in organ dysfunction. For instance, many have aggravated their risks of diabetes by drinking heavily or taking too much sugar. Diabetes then leads to higher risks of having problems with major organs. Another choice is using bleaching creams. These creams have skin lightening agents that can result in the excessive leaking of protein in the urine (nephrotic syndrome) and kidney failure. Overall, the government and relevant authorities need to invest more in research and awareness to address the issue.