Experts advocate Health Trust Fund for kidney, other diseases

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Medical experts have appealed to the Federal Government to establish a Health Trust Fund for the treatment of life threatening diseases especially Kidney related in the country.

Mr Adebayo Sokunbi, the Operations Director of the Kidney Clinics and Dialysis Centre, Abeokuta, made the appeal on Thursday while speaking with newsmen after a walk to mark the 2018 World Kidney Day.

Sokunbi lamented that the cost of treatment of kidney diseases have become unbearable for average Nigerians, adding that lots of Nigerians have lost their lives to the disease.

He disclosed that about 150,000 cases were reported every year, urging the government to address the situation.

He added that most Nigerians die as a result of negligence to their health status as well as financial incapability.

“Unfortunately, we are still in an environment where people have to pay out of pocket for renal replacement therapy and that is largely unaffordable by most of Nigerians.

Even for the rich, the cost to maintain the renal replacement is quite overwhelming, so you can imagine what it’s like for the ordinary Nigerians.

There are lots of people who decide to die and they are the people that are not ready to have any treatment.

“This is the reason we are having the world kidney day activities, we want to use this opportunity to call to action the health authorities in Nigeria and federal government to create an health trust fund for people with kidney diseases.

He raised alarm over the increase in rate of people with kidney diseases, saying government must take measures to address the situation.

“Don’t wait till you have a major health crisis before you come and check your health status and that’s one of the reasons of coming out today,” he said.

Sokunbi also appealed to the government to ensure that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) covers all ailments.

Dr Adesola Raji, Senior Registrar, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, decried the financial burden being faced by sufferers of chronic kidney disease.

He noted that the disease often attack and affects people in their economically viable years.

“In the United States, $28 billion was spent in 2010 alone to cater for kidney disease sufferers and two per cent of Europe’s budget goes into dialysis,” he said.

However, Raji said in Nigeria “we can only educate and sensitise people of the risk factors because the way out is taking preventive measures”.

He added that chronic kidney disease is a pandemic with its incidence, prevalence, thereby, asking government at all levels to rise up to the challenge and do the needful.

Raji advised people to take their health seriously, saying a lot of chronic Kidney disease could have been treated when still at the early stage.

No fewer than 100 persons enjoyed the free kidney screening at the event.