In a recent lecture titled ‘The Evolution of Kidney Transplantation in Nigeria and the Legacy of Emeritus Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe’ at the University of Medical Sciences, UNIMED, Ondo, Dr. Ebun Bamgboye, the Clinical Director at St. Nicholas Hospital, sounded the alarm about the growing prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Nigeria. He revealed that an alarming one out of seven Nigerians suffers from this condition, necessitating urgent action to address the crisis.
Dr. Bamgboye emphasized the pressing need for a deceased donor program, which could potentially save the lives of many chronic kidney disease patients who currently rely on dialysis. He pointed out that a considerable number of viable organs are wasted daily, and implementing a deceased donor program could utilize these organs effectively.
The statistics presented by the former NAN boss were staggering. With over 15% of the population affected by chronic kidney disease, it means that one in every seven individuals in Nigeria faces the risk of kidney failure. Additionally, an estimated 100 out of every million people require kidney transplantation each year.
Sadly, the reality is dire as there is a severe shortage of available dialysis treatment. Only a fraction of the required 22,000 people in need of dialysis actually receive it, leading to devastating consequences. Dr. Bamgboye stated that 90% of those who need dialysis but cannot access it face a life-threatening situation, with many succumbing to kidney failure within two weeks.
Financial constraints add to the burden of kidney healthcare in Nigeria. The cost of a kidney transplant averages around N20 million over two years, which makes it an unaffordable option for most citizens. With an estimated 20,000 people developing kidney failure annually and requiring transplants, the financial burden on both individuals and the country as a whole is substantial.
Addressing this crisis necessitates a dual approach: a focus on prevention and increased screening across different segments of the population. Dr. Bamgboye stressed the importance of early detection by implementing screening programs for vulnerable groups such as schoolchildren, pregnant women, and undergraduates.
Professor Adesegun Fatusi, the Vice-Chancellor of UNIMED, also expressed admiration for Emeritus Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, highlighting his brilliance, impeccable character, unwavering integrity, professional dedication, and remarkable achievements. Professor Akinkugbe’s contribution to the medical field and Nigeria as a whole merits perpetual recognition.
It is evident that immediate attention and strategic measures are required to address the burgeoning kidney disease crisis in Nigeria. Implementing a deceased donor program, combined with proactive preventive measures and early detection, could significantly alleviate the burden and save countless lives. The government, medical community, and civil society must collaborate to bring about the necessary changes and ensure a healthier future for all Nigerians.