From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Mr. Walter Ukaegbu, an Abuja-based journalist and executive member/internal auditor of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council, who is down with kidney disease, has cried out to kind-hearted Nigerian to help him pay the bill for routine dialysis and kidney transplant.
According to Ukaegbu, he needs financial assistance, as he spends a minimum of N27,000 weekly for dialysis. He said he had spent over N5 million on the ailment in the past few years, excluding blood that he buys sometimes, when the need arises.
Ukaegbu said he had been suffering from kidney failure since 2018, which has taken a huge toll on him financially and otherwise and denied him the opportunity to do certain things freely, especially urinating and other natural activities.
He is on admission in one of the hospitals in Abuja, awaiting the expected financial help from the kind-hearted, philanthropic Nigerians and non-governmental organisations for continued treatment so he can live.
Dr. Kudirat Busari, consultant nephrologist at Garki General Hospital, Abuja, who is handling the case, could not be reached on Tuesday morning. But records obtained from the hospital’s patients’ records office indicated that the patient (Walter Ukaegbu) first visited the hospital in September 2019, and was attended to by the former consultant nephrologist in the hospital who has relocated to Lagos.
“Since then, he has been coming from time to time for routine medical check-up. Records from our system indicated that the last time Mr. Ukaegbu visited the hospital was August 12, 2021. He was scheduled for dialysis on that day but could not, perhaps, for financial reasons, as reflected in our records. His last dialysis in the hospital, according to records, was on August3, 2021, and it was Dr. Busari that attended to him.
“However, records indicated that has been placed on weekly/bi-monthly dialysis because of the state of his health, which will cost him a fortune. Dr. Busari took over the treatment from our former consultant nephrologist, who had relocated to Lagos,” a health records officer said.
Ukaegbu told Daily Sun from his hospital bed that he had exhausted his finances and had run out of help, particularly from his close friends and family members.
He said: “As a result of the huge expenses, my finances have been drained significantly, thus making it impossible for me to meet other obligations. Even at the moment, it’s very difficult to meet up with weekly dialysis, unless with the assistance of friends and relations.
“At the moment, life has been challenging as I have not been able to move freely because of the temporary incapacitation. I noticed the sickness in July 2018, when I had pains on the side of my abdomen. I went to Gilgal Hospital in my estate, which recommended me for scan and tests.
‘‘Shortly after that, I developed leg pains which made me go to Primus Hospital, Karu, Abuja. From there, I went to the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, where a team of doctors diagnosed me and discovered that I had kidney problems. Because they did not have a neurologist, they referred me to Garki General Hospital, where I have been undergoing dialysis for more than two years now, which has depleted my funds completely due to the cost of treatment and has rendered my pockets completely empty.
‘‘I have not urinated freely for the past two years. It has been God and friends that have been helping me and sustaining me to do the dialysis. I need N15 million for the transplant, even as I spend N27,000 weekly for dialysis and have spent more than N5 million, as I also buy blood sometimes, if need be.
“However, I have been assisted so far by my old schoolmates, my town’s union in Abuja, Nigerian Communications Commission and Corporate Affair Commission. I am passionately appealing to Nigerians, people like my governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator T.A. Orji and other good-spirited Nigerians.”
Ukaegbu said he would not abandon journalism, no matter what. He vowed to continue his journalism practice when he recovers from the illness, expressing gratitude to people who have assisted him so far.
He also appealed to other good Nigerians to come to his aid, saying it would be the greatest leap in his life and to his family if he could do the transplant.
To assist Ukaegbu, kindly donate to Walter Ukaegbu: 3021101954, First Bank. He can be contacted on 08025548395; [email protected]