Kidney failure or the malfunction of the kidney has been described as one of the worst ailments the world is battling to rid off. In fact, it is worst then the popularly known HIV/AIDS, polio and cancer diseases that have received wide publicity. These were some of the comments disclosed by some kidney failure patients who stormed the office of chief information officer, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano advocating for media intervention in providing publicity on their case to enable government and well meaning Nigeria come to their aid.
A long surviving kidney failure patient Mallam Ibrahim Datti is an indigene of Gwarzo Local Government Area of Kano State. He is a known kidney failure patient for almost eleven years. He was a public civil servant working in a private company. At one time, the company sponsored him to Egypt for the kidney transplant; unfortunately, he came back from Cairo without undergoing the transplant due to some logistic problems.
Mallam Ibrahim Datti explained that, during these years he had over 1,170 sessions of dialysis and each session cost not less than N14, 000 excluding drugs, injection (eprox) and dialyses. He sold his belongings ranging from farmlands, houses and domestic animals to pay for dialysis services, which he normally undergoes twice in a week. Malam Datti is now depending on his community to generate money every month for his dialysis.
Malam Aminu Mahmud Daneji, 42, said he was diagnosed of kidney failure in March 2002, after he had suffered high blood pressure. In October 2006, the then Governor of Kano State sponsored his kidney transplant at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. Being the first kidney patient to undergo transplant performed by the hospital’s doctors, the management of the hospital decided to offer him a job as clerical officer to enable him get access to routine and proper healthcare services.
After the transplant, Daneji enjoyed a very healthy life; he got married and was blessed with a baby boy. He played football in accordance with his doctor’s advice. But the transplant failed in October 2010 because he couldn’t afford to buy drugs.
Daneji explained that treatment of kidney failure patient from management, dialysis, transplant and the maintenance of the transplant cost a lot. According to him, from March 2002 to October 10, 2006 he had undergone 476 sessions of dialysis amounting to over N4 million and between October 13, 2010 to date, he had another 532 sessions of dialysis.
He added that, at the moment (time of interview) he had undergone 1,008 sessions of dialysis at the cost of between N4, 500 and N9000 each, with consumable from AA Rano dialysis Relief Material.
Daneji had sold all what he has inherited from his late father, Alhaji Mahmoud Daneji, to pay for his dialysis services, his relations had expended so much at one time he offered to sell the two-room apartment he was living in but the community prevented him from doing so.
Hauwa Mufida Saidu is a married woman, her husband Malam Saidu is the one who brings her for dialysis. He explained that initially Mufida’s doctor had requested that she should be on three sessions of dialysis in a week, which is (N27,000) excluding other things which may likely arise in the cause of the dialysis. But due to financial problems they can afford to come for only one session per week sometimes.
However, in spite of this inconsistency Mufida has undergone 369 session of dialysis during her four years with the ailment.
Lubabatu Umar, is a 30-year-old woman from Maiduguri, she had kidney failure after she gave birth to twins. She lost both of them as a result of the Boko Haram crisis.
She was displaced and had nothing to eat and could not pay for dialysis. Lubabatu is now at the mercy of God, as her mother wonders from media houses to mosques, seeking assistance from the public.
Abdulaziz Abdullahi, age 48 years resides in Kaduna. He was a commercial bus driver that normally shuttles from Kaduna to Kano. His wife, Malama Laure, said that her husband fell sick, which led to high blood pressure, but after series of medication his BP was controlled. but then he was unable to urinate, a catheter was attached to him, but with no results.
A referral letter was given to him from a general hospital in Kaduna to go to AKTH Kano where it was revealed to them that Abdulaziz’s kidney had failed and he had to be placed on routine dialysis to remove both the urine and the excess fluid that were retained in his body.
Abdulaziz has been on dialysis for a year now. During this period, Luba exhausted all the avenues of getting money for her husband’s dialysis, both within the family. At one time, even the money to transport them to Kano was hard to come by. Through the help of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW this problem was solved.
Speaking on their predicament, Mallam Aliyu Ishaq said the major worry of any kidney failure patient is how to cope with the dialysis expenses. He explained that dialysis has become a matter of life and death because it is through dialysis that one gets temporary relief from the pain and discomfort he/she experienced as a result of retained water in the body.
Aliyu therefore called on government to look into the problems of kidney failure patients with a view to finding permanent relief for them. That Federal Government should try to subsidise the charges for dialysis in all the hospitals where such services are provided.
He also urged philanthropists to emulate Alhaji AA Rano’s gesture, saying that for four-five years he had maintained the procurement of dialysis consumables, which were kept at the dialysis unit of AKTH free for the patient.
Alhaji Rano has been providing these consumables nonstop. May Allah Subahanahu Wataala reward him abundantly, as well as Ibrahim Ali Amin (Little) who also assists the patients from time to time through trust funds he set aside for the indigene patients at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.
Commenting, the matron in charge of the dialysis unit of AKTH disclosed that Kidney failure is a serious health problem that is a cause of concern not only to the patients and their families, but also to the healthcare providers. She explained that some medical personnel are overcome by emotions on seeing the difficulties experienced by patients due to lack of funds or pain, “we sometimes break into tears out of pity and sympathy for the patients.”
Kidney failure is on the increase in Nigeria and Kano in particular. The unit in AKTH has 20 machines, but only 12 are functioning and run 24 hours service. An average of 28 patients undergo dialysis daily, weekend and public holidays inclusive.
Speaking, a consultant nephrologist in AKTH, Dr. Bappa Adamu, said that it is obvious that management of kidney patients is quite expensive. No matter how financially buoyant someone may be, once inflicted with this ailment, one is bound to became very poor because of the frequency at which the dialysis will be required and the money involved.
According to him this is why, many countries of the world provide free dialysis to patients. Even in Niger Republic, a country very close to Nigeria dialysis is free.
In Sudan, in addition to free dialysis, a meal is also provided freely to patients whenever they report for service. We therefore advocate to the Nigerian government to assist such patients by making these services free or subsidise the charges. This is with a view to reducing the mortality rate of kidney patients, who cannot afford dialysis services.

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