9 October 2011

Watching the Health Show on BBC World is really informative. Today I learnt about the growing problem of kidney failure in Nigeria. The team interviewed patients and doctors at the St Nicholas Hospital – a private hospital in Lagos that offers dialysis. I would to know share my thoughts on how what I saw relates to the piece ‘The discourse of failed kidney’s – what’s missing’.

Apart from highlighting the immense cost of dialysis in Nigeria, where only a few of the thousands of patients who need it ever get it, they spoke about the need for prevention. The onset of the Western diet (lots of meat, fat, fewer vegetables and grains) that is replacing he Nigerian diet (most grain based according to Ehimen Aneni who I worked with this past summer) is the main cause. The doctor interview spoke of hypertension and diabetes as two key causes. Interestingly, this is the same thing that the Namibian doctor Oosthuizen said last year in the media during the congress of the Medical Association of Namibia. But this Nigerian doctor spoke about HIV:

‘ There are probably more deaths due to kidney failure than Malaria and HIV in Nigeria’.

This interesting on two levels. Firstly, leaving the malaria aside (we can write about in another post), the deaths due to HIV are placed in a separate category, implicitly, from those due to kidney failure. Does this mean that most kidney failure patients are not HIV positive? I wonder, since Nigeria has lower HIV prevalence than Namibia, but in terms of abosulte numbers of people on ARV drugs, there may be more people due the greater population size of Nigeria (I think 50 times that of Namibia’s at least!)

The second level is then to ask about the reporting of deaths due to HIV or kidney failure. Is the HIV status of all kidney failure patients known? I assume that if they were on ARVs, their doctor would know, but is it then recorded as a death due to HIV or due to kidney failure in the event the two conditions manifest in one body? Specifically, it would be informative to see a Venn diagram of people with kidney failure and people with HIV and see how much overlap there is.

In any case, fascinating stuff,

Por último quisiera decir que la próxima entrada en este blog debería ser en español porque me toca escribir algo en este idioma, ya que posee un nivel suficiente alto para poder expresar temas enlazados con la salud y además quisiera hacer mi solicitud para la master de Salud Pública Europea, a pesar de tener la Fulbright, en español, solo por el amor al arte

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About writinghealth

Wannabe Epidemiologist? Wannabe med anthro person? I guess. Christian, scientist (not Christian scientist), i mean like I studied molecular biology. I am doing a Masters of Public Health, at the University of Cape Town.
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