Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The only Kidney Transplant Centre in the South-East located at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, Abia State, says it has conducted 10 kidney transplants since inception five years ago with 70% success.
A Consultant Nephrologist and member of the Kidney Transplant Programme of the hospital, Dr. Chimezie Okwuonu, who disclosed this during the 5th anniversary of the centre, decried the high cost of kidney transplant.
According to him, about N9 million is needed for kidney transplant at the hospital but greater per cent of the patients cannot afford it.
“We saw from our data that we have patients that have N3 million but they were not able to afford a transplant, even N4 million, N5 million, because our transplant programme is N9 million, N7.5million for the surgery and N1.5million for the tests that are required.”
Okwuonu, therefore, called on Government and corporate entities to subsidize the cost of kidney transplant to make things easy for kidney patients.
He further identified lack of willing kidney donors, adequate facilities, insufficient qualified medical personnel, and brain drain, among major challenges to kidney transplant.
Okwuonu disclosed that two of the five surgeons at the centre had travelled abroad in search of greener pastures.
He called for the provision of adequate equipment for kidney transplant at the centre to enhance its operations, adding that the personnel are willing to provide the needed services.
The kidney expert encouraged people to go for regular screening of their kidneys, submitting that early detection help so much in the treatment or management of kidney diseases.
He said the essence of the anniversary was to review the operations and brainstorm on the way forward.
“The main purpose of our gathering here today is to celebrate the success we have achieved, enumerate our challenges and discuss the way forward.
“And we have seen that we have been able to perform 10 kidney transplantation with 70% success within this five years, which is comparable to what we have in India, in America and the UK.”
According to Dr Okwuonu, the Programme was considering the way forward with a plan to batch the patients together to reduce the cost on the patients.
Chairman Medical Advisory Committee, CMAC, FMC, Dr Ugochukwu Onyeonoro, pledged the commitment of the Management in providing support to the centre.
Director of the Kidney Transplant Programme, Dr Anosike Erondu, also advocated subsidizing kidney transplant.
He urged Government to come to the aid of kidney patients to give them a sense of belonging.