UNN don raises alarm on kidney disease

KIDNEYA CONSULTANT physician at the College of Medicine, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Ifeoma Isabella Ulasi, has called for regular nationwide health screening to document the prevalence of non-communicable diseases.

The nephrologist said an effective screening of all communities in the country, similar to what obtains in the United States, United Kingdom and Japan, would help check the rising cases of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

In her inaugural lecture titled, “Kidney Solution: Nature or Nurture,” she maintained that a national health framework for a survey every five or 10 years for the purpose of documenting the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases would assist government’s health reforms.

Ulasi noted that Nigeria should have a veritable national health bill, which must include renal care policy and transplantation act, stressing that continuous organised awareness campaigns should be embarked upon by government or non-governmental agencies to educate the masses on the importance of periodic screening and medical check-up.

According to her, “stakeholders at all levels – family heads, community leaders, local councils, state and federal government – should help to spread information on the dangers of the disease. Since the world celebrates Kidney Day, this platform can be used to our advantage.”

The scholar, who has been managing patients with kidney disease at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) in Enugu State since 1994, however, stressed that the campaigns should target such lifestyle factors that are within the individual’s control, as well as emphasise the importance of a clean environment.

“Use of herbal medications, self-medication and consultation of non-qualified medical personnel should be discouraged,” she said.

“Appropriate routine medical check-up should be encouraged. The present practice where people come to hospital only when they are ill obviously does not work for diseases like chronic kidney diseases, hypertension and cancer.”

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