From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
David Okengwu, 32, a native of Umuda Isingwu, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, is a graduate of Education Political Science from Abia State University, Uturu. He was working in a paint manufacturing company in Calabar, Cross River State, until April 2017 when he was forced to stop work as a result of a renal ailment.
Okengwu said he was officially diagnosed of chronic kidney disease between October and December 2015, but the disease condition reached its end stage in December 2018, when he had his first dialysis.
“So, since 2018, I have been on dialysis,” he said.
Since the dialysis could not provide permanent cure for the ailment, Okengwu said, in April 2019, he had his first kidney transplant surgery at Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, but, unfortunately, the surgery didn’t work out. A few days after the surgery, he went back to dialysis, as he had what was medically described as a case of delayed graft function (the transplanted kidney could not make urine).
“After the transplant, I was able to make urine within 24 hours, but afterwards, I couldn’t make urine and they had to take me back to dialysis and introduced some medications to see if they could help me start making urine again. We tried that severally until it was understood that the kidney could not function.”
Unable to further handle his case, Okengwu said, in June 2020, nephrologists at FMC, Umuahia, referred his case to Zenith Medical Centre, Abuja. The young man was handed depressing news by the referral hospital that a new renal transplant would be carried out on him. “After renal biopsy, they told me that I would have to start preparing for another renal transplant surgery, which meant I would have to go for another transplant. Since then, we have been working on getting another renal transplant surgery, but as a result financial constraints it has not been easy.
“In renal transplant surgery, you have to check if there are relatives who can donate a kidney, but if you can’t find a match, then you source for donors commercially. Getting a donor has not been easy because I was told I have a high level of antibodies in the blood. This was also one of the factors that contributed to the failure of the first renal transplant surgery.” Continuing amid pains he said, “There is a medical procedure called desensitization or plasma paresis, which is used to reduce the level of antibodies in the blood to make me less sensitive to a prospective donor. At Zenith, a session of plasma paresis is N780,000 and I have to do multiple sessions of this plasma paresis and also run what they call compatibility test.
“The test is to see if a prospective donor is fit enough to donate an organ to me. We have tried this five times between September 2020 and April 2021 and all these cost at least N1.2m to N2.5m, including logistics. We have done this about five times already without any success and that is not inclusive of multiple sessions of dialysis a week. A session of dialysis is N30,000, including the consumables you have to buy for the dialysis and the blood building drug you have to take thereafter, which costs N14,000. If we calculate all, we are talking of about N44,000 per session of dialysis. As a result of financial constraints, we manage to do twice a week.
Presently, Okengwu, whose father died years back and his mother is a retired civil servant, said he does not have the funds to even continue the dialysis before the renal transplant is carried out, let alone the money for the surgery that he said is N7.3 million at Zenith and other expenses for, during and after the surgery, bringing the amount to about N15 million.
Okengwu who had all this while been sustained by a few friends that are now exhausted, financially, is appealing to the Abia State government for financial assistance. Also on the young man’s appeal radar is the wife of the governor of Abia State, through her foundation, and other well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations.
David Okengwu could be reached on phone number 07034232140; and any financial assistance could be sent to him through Keystone Bank; account number: 1009249988, name, Save David Okengwu.