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Obasanjo seeks support for kidney patients, laws to prohibit organ harvesting

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has tasked the legislative arms of government to enact a new bill to help people with kidney disease and enact essential regulations to combat the country’s developing organ trafficking challenge.

Mr Obasanjo made the call on Tuesday while speaking on the conference theme, ‘Optimising Dialysis Therapy To Prolong Survival,’ at the 36th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the National Association of Nephrology held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

He commended the body for its efforts in screening and educating the populace and its recurring partnerships aimed at lowering the disease’s prevalence, particularly in young people and children.

Lamenting the high rate of kidney failure in Africa, the former president pointed out that 15 per cent of adult Nigerians suffer from kidney failure, which is irreversible and potentially fatal if left untreated.

“I have also been informed that the prevalence of kidney failure in Africa is higher than anywhere else in the world as an average African is four times more likely to develop kidney problems than a Caucasian or Mediterranean race.

“There is an urgent need for legislative support in terms of a new bill to support affected persons. Organ trafficking is an emerging issue in our environment and I want to plead with agencies concerned to help in examining relevant laws, especially with regards to cadaveric donations taking cognisance of our peculiar cultural and societal idiosyncrasies and also laws guiding organs to be harvested from living donors,” the former president said.

ALSO READ: World Kidney Day: How Nigerians can avoid kidney diseases

Mr Obasanjo stressed the need for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to increase its capacity to provide support to kidney patients. He also called on well-meaning philanthropists, foundations and Corporate Nigeria to collaborate in providing succour.

“I wish to acknowledge the role of the NHIS in providing limited support for only six dialysis sessions, but I want to suggest a need to consider increasing the carrying capacity substantially as it obtains in South Africa and Sudan.

“I also want to call on Nigerians in the Diaspora, well-meaning philanthropists, foundations and Corporate Nigeria to support worthy initiatives by the Nigerian Association of Nephrology (NAN), in reducing cost or helping out with capacity development, equipment support and other means of providing succour,” he added.

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