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Expert calls for effective public awareness on prevention of kidney disease




Lagos, March 13, 2019 A Consultant Nephrologist, Dr Babawale Bello, has called for effective public awareness on the prevention of kidney disease.

Bello, who works at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, made the call on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He spoke ahead of the World Kidney Day slated for March 14.

NNN reports that the World Kidney Day was set aside by the International Society of Nephrology to bring awareness to the public about kidney health.

It holds every third Thursday in March.

According to Bello, the purpose of the World Kidney Day is to enlighten the general population about kidney disease, its causes and how it can be prevented.

“Kidney disease is a major problem that people do not seem to be aware of and it’s estimated that in any population of adults checked, about 10 per cent of them have kidney disease.

“Awareness is key to informing people that kidney disease is common, and also to let them know that they can have a kidney disease without having any symptoms.

“This is one of the biggest challenges with kidney disease, because most people have it and they don’t have symptoms.

“Until it is quite advanced or they have lost about 60 per cent of their kidney functions, that is when they start having symptoms.

“So, regular checkup is very essential to early detection, and this can only be achieved through effective public awareness,” he said.

Bello said that the biggest contributor to the burden of kidney disease were hypertension and diabetes.

“If we look at any population in general, hypertension and diabetes are the two biggest contributors to the burden of kidney disease.

“So, anybody who has hypertension or diabetes have a higher risk of developing kidney disease, especially if it is not controlled.

“Also for us in this environment, the other major contributor is chronic nephritis.

“It is an inflammatory process that affects the kidney where inflammation is triggered, most especially in this environment by infection that tend to linger and not properly treated.

“Also, some aspects of lifestyle can indirectly predispose people to kidney disease, such as eating junk foods, excessive drinking, smoking, lack of exercise and consumption of herbal medicines,” he said.

Bello said government should ensure that they provide information to the public on those things that might predispose them to kidney disease in order to reduce its burden.

He said that the public also needed to improve on the health seeking behaviour whereby people seek medical advice from neighbours, friends and non-medical professionals.

“When most Nigerians are sick, they first tell their neighbours, who will tell them what to use or they should go to a chemist, or to the herbal people until when everything has failed,  then they eventually come to the hospital.

“Nigerians should know that we need to go to the hospital when we are well and have the well person’s check, that’s when we can detect early whatever is wrong and fix it.

“We need to pass this message across to people so they can know that it is very important to do a regular check and not wait until they are sick before going to the hospital; this is not only about kidney problem.

“Simple test like putting stripe into the urine can tell us if someone has a kidney problem or not, that’s how easy it is.

“So, we need to improve our lifestyle, exercise regularly and ensure to eat food that are high in fibre.

“People should stay aware from all these traditional herbs, either the local or imported ones,” he said.

The expert also said that the growing burden of HIV contributed to the high increase of kidney disease.

“We need to keep it in mind and tell people to adopt the habit of abstinence and mutual fidelity,” he said.