From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Mrs. Florence Ngozi Eluwa, a mother of two, woke up one morning to a strange feeling in her body and it was later to be diagnosed as renal failure. For the past three years, she has been battling to stay alive.
Her problem is such that requires she must undergo a kidney transplant procedure to stay alive. But the financial cost is well beyond her family, whose resources have already been sapped by medical bills and purchase of prescribed drugs.
“We need help from public-spirited Nigerians and organisations,” said Mr. Chibuike Benjamin Eluwa, husband of the sick woman. “My wife has kidney problem and she needs a kidney transplant.”
In an emotion-laden voice, the distraught husband narrated how the family had been fighting to keep the mother of the house alive since she was diagnosed with kidney disease. The signs of the ailment started manifesting in May 2020 when Mrs. Eluwa, a computer operator at a mission school, started having “unusual health issues”.
What the family thought was an “ordinary sickness” turned out to be a serious one when the sick woman was taken to the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba, where diagnosis revealed a case of high blood pressure and advanced diabetes. Her legs were already swollen and her blood count was low.
After undergoing treatment, which included transfusion of four pints of blood. Mrs. Eluwa was discharged on June 2, 2020, but by September her condition degenerated to the extent that she was finding it difficult to breathe. Back in ABSUTH, it was discovered that her kidney was not functioning well, hence the swollen legs as her body was not evacuating liquid waste in a normal way. She was discharged from the hospital in October 2020.
Barely 24 hours after returning from admission at ABSUTH, Mrs. Eluwa started experiencing breathlessness and the family decided to seek medical treatment outside public hospitals. It was at the Methodist Hospital, Uzuakoli, that an expatriate doctor diagnosed her with kidney failure and recommended dialysis. Since then, Mrs. Eluwa has been undergoing dialysis. Her medical report from the Beatitudes Dialysis and Kidney Care Center, dated April 5, 2021, shows that the patient is “currently dialysis-dependent”.
The family from Umuahia South local Government Area is really groaning under the weight of bearing the financial cost of “renal care by continuous hemodialysis at least three times a week”.
Each session, with necessary blood transfusion, costs about N45,000, making N135,000 per week. The patient also needs a permanent tunnel neckline vascular access for continuous hemodialysis at the cost of N180,000.
The family does not know how long they can hold on without external support. Mr. Eluwa is a technologist and lectures at Temple Polytechnic, Aba, a private institution. He lamented that he has been financially exhausted, as all his meagre earnings go into paying medical bills, adding that family members have equally assisted as much as they could.
As a way out, the doctor handling Mrs. Eluwa’s case said she should consider kidney transplant.
“She currently cannot continue hemodialysis and other renal care on account of serious financial constraints,” the doctor wrote in a medical report on April 12, 2021.
According to him, “the projected estimate for her transplant, including donor/recipient screening, surgery, donor pay and post-transplant needs, is about N15 million.
Mr. Eluwa can be reached on his GSM line: 08039476713. Account details: Eluwa Chibuike Benjamin, 3096945336, First Bank.