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How Much Is Sma In Nigeria

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How Much Is SMA in Nigeria?

SMA, short for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, is a rare genetic disorder that affects the muscles responsible for movement. Unfortunately, SMA is one of the most expensive medical conditions to manage, and this has made it unaffordable for many Nigerians. In this article, we will discuss the cost of SMA treatment in Nigeria, the implications of the high cost, and possible solutions for those in need.

What is SMA?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetic condition that affects the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. The disease is caused by the lack of a protein called SMN1, which is needed for the survival of motor neurons. Without this protein, the motor neurons in the spinal cord die, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy.

Types of SMA

There are four types of SMA, which are classified based on the age at which symptoms begin and the severity of the condition.

  • Type 1: This is the most severe form of SMA, and symptoms usually appear within the first few months of life. Infants with type 1 SMA are unable to sit or crawl and have difficulty breathing and swallowing.
  • Type 2: Symptoms of type 2 SMA usually appear between 6 and 18 months of age. Children with this form of SMA are able to sit but may have difficulty standing or walking independently.
  • Type 3: Symptoms of type 3 SMA usually appear after the age of 18 months. Children with type 3 SMA can walk independently but may experience muscle weakness and atrophy.
  • Type 4: This is the mildest form of SMA, and symptoms may not appear until adulthood. Individuals with type 4 SMA may experience mild muscle weakness and atrophy.
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Causes of SMA

SMA is caused by a mutation in the SMN1 gene, which is responsible for producing the SMN protein. When this gene is mutated, the production of the SMN protein is reduced, leading to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord.

Cost of SMA Treatment in Nigeria

The cost of treating SMA in Nigeria is quite high, and this has made it unaffordable for many families. The cost of treatment depends on the severity of the condition, the age of the patient, and the type of treatment required.

Diagnosis

The cost of diagnosing SMA in Nigeria can range from ₦60,000 to ₦500,000 ($150 to $1,250). This cost covers the genetic test required to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

The cost of treating SMA in Nigeria can range from ₦800,000 to ₦40,000,000 ($2,000 to $100,000) per year, depending on the type of treatment required. The following are some of the treatments available for SMA:

  • Spinraza: Spinraza is a drug that is injected into the spinal canal to increase the production of the SMN protein. The cost of Spinraza in Nigeria is around ₦30,000,000 ($75,000) per year.
  • Zolgensma: Zolgensma is a gene therapy that replaces the defective SMN1 gene with a healthy copy. The cost of Zolgensma in Nigeria is around ₦400,000,000 ($1,000,000) for a one-time treatment.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is an essential part of SMA treatment and can cost up to ₦500,000 ($1,250) per year.

Other Costs

In addition to the cost of diagnosis and treatment, there are other costs associated with managing SMA, such as the cost of equipment, home modifications, and transportation.

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Implications of the High Cost of SMA Treatment

The high cost of SMA treatment in Nigeria has several implications, including:

Financial Burden

The high cost of SMA treatment places a significant financial burden on families, making it difficult for them to afford basic necessities such as food, housing, and education.

Reduced Access to Treatment

The high cost of SMA treatment has made it inaccessible to many Nigerians, particularly those who live in rural areas or have limited financial resources.

Poor Health Outcomes

The inability to access SMA treatment can lead to poor health outcomes, such as increased morbidity and mortality rates.

Possible Solutions

There are several possible solutions to the high cost of SMA treatment in Nigeria:

Government Intervention

The government can intervene by providing subsidies or grants to families with SMA patients or by partnering with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of treatment.

Health Insurance

Health insurance can help to reduce the financial burden of SMA treatment by covering the cost of diagnosis and treatment.

Research and Development

Investing in research and development can lead to the development of more affordable and effective treatments for SMA.

Conclusion

The high cost of SMA treatment in Nigeria has made it unaffordable for many families, leading to reduced access to treatment and poor health outcomes. Possible solutions include government intervention, health insurance, and research and development. It is important to take action to ensure that all Nigerians have access to affordable and effective SMA treatment.

FAQs

  1. What is SMA?
  2. How much does it cost to diagnose SMA in Nigeria?
  3. What are the treatment options for SMA in Nigeria?
  4. How can the high cost of SMA treatment be reduced?
  5. What are the implications of the high cost of SMA treatment in Nigeria?
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