The Akwa Ibom State Government has provided drugs for the treatment of people afflicted with renal diseases as part of its effort to check the increase in cases of kidney failure in the state
The government also acquired some dialysis equipment for those in need of specialised treatment of renal diseases.
A kidney disease specialist at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Dr. Udeme Ekrikpo, who revealed this in Uyo on Wednesday, noted that the state government would also subsidise the cost of kidney disease treatment in the state.
Ekrikpo expressed concern over the number of patients coming for treatment for kidney diseases and dialysis at the teaching hospital, adding that Governor Emmanuel Udom’s decision to intervene came after he had made a passionate appeal to the state government for assistance.
He said, “The number of patients coming for dialysis is alarming and the cost is prohibitive. The minimum cost for dialysis is about N500,000 for four sessions and not many people can afford this.”
Ekrikpo, who attributed the increase in the cases of kidney failure to many environmental factors and non-communicable diseases, including hypertension, added that one out of every three adults in Akwa Ibom, especially those living in crude oil producing communities, suffers from high blood pressure.
He added that it is only universal health coverage that can expand access to health care services in Nigeria. He added that other countries with fewer resources have moved to provide their citizens with subsidised treatment.
He said, “If we had a universal coverage scheme and with as little as N1bn, it would be easy to provide anti-hypertensive drugs for those requiring treatment: This will help to bring down the incidence of kidney failure in the country.
“This is something that can be done, even if it starts with a pilot scheme. The universal health coverage would ameliorate the high cost of treatment for kidney disease and reduce cases of kidney failures.”
He said it was possible for the government to provide anti-hypertensive drugs for those in need alongside a proper health scheme.