Borno commissioner of health, Prof. Isa Marte Hussaini, says kidney problems are very common in the state.
He said, as common as the noncommunicable disease is, the state lacks radiotherapy centre to take care of the teeming patients.
Consequently, he said, the state operates a free dialysis initiative aimed at encouraging patients with renal-related challenge to present early.
The free dialysis initiative gulps about N10m per month, the commissioner said.
In medicine, dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes, and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally. This is referred to as renal replacement therapy.
In an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Hussaini, who is also a professor of pharmacology, explained that while the free dialysis initiative is a good development, it comes at a cost.
“Unlike in other states where people pay between N50,000 and N100,000 for treatment, dialysis in Borno is free.
“The free dialysis treatment in Borno costs the government about N10m a month. That’s about N120m yearly,” he said.
He, however, told our correspondent that rather than abandon the initiative, the state government would go to any length to sustain it.
“You know that kidney problem is very common in Borno State. We plan on having a massive enlightenment campaign because we have discovered that some patients have diabetes and others have hypertension.
“If these two diseases are not well taken care of, they may end up in kidney failure. We have to enlighten our people to get the right medications to take care of themselves and drink lots of water,” he stated.
Hussaini, a specialist in oncology treatment, said that Borno State has only one dialysis centre, which is located in a specialist hospital owned by the state government.
“There is also one that is run by the Federal Government at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. What this simply means is that we have two in Maiduguri for now.
“The state dialysis treatment is free, while the one at UMTH charges patients for its service,” he said.
When asked what the situation looks like when patients present for dialysis treatment each day, the commissioner explained that patients take their time since the arrangements are done in orderly fashion.
“Everyday, we get up to 15 or 20 patients showing up. If well regulated or organised, dialysis is not a problem. One can just show up, sit, get your dialysis done and walk out two or three hours later.
“We are going to see how best to improve the system. We have some nurses there who are really very good. They run the centre for 24 hours,” he said.
On radiotherapy, Hussaini said that the state had yet to register its presence in such area.
“We don’t have one at the moment. But I understand the UMTH has secured funding to build one, especially for cancer and other treatments,” he said.