How One Serious Illness Can Make You Go Bankrupt

Avon Healthcare
May 7, 2019

You’re one health emergency away from going bankrupt in Nigeria.

  • – Some human on the internet

In that human’s defence, they’re not wrong. But we’re not here to just tell you that that statement is correct, we’re here to show you why. With facts.

Strap yourselves in ladies and gents, it’s going to be an eye-opening ride..

But first, here’s a fun fact:

It affects over 17,000 Nigerians annually. As the name implies, the disease destroys the kidneys, leaving the sufferer to depend on mandatory dialysis sessions 3 times a week to clean the blood. (Stuff the kidneys should be doing.) The cost for one dialysis session ranges from ₦17,000 – ₦25,000. These sessions will go on until one finds an organ donor and when that happens, the transplant will cost at least ₦6.5 million.

The annual salary of the average Nigerian we mentioned earlier doesn’t even come close to being able to cover everything we just went over.

Let’s go with another chronic illness:

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. About half of people living with Hepatitis C don’t know they’re infected, mainly because symptoms can take decades to become apparent i.e. when the virus has done near irreversible damage to the liver.

At this point, the infected would need a liver transplant to survive, which costs millions of naira.

Another chronic illness:

When most people are told by their doctors that they are diabetic, their first instinct is to self-medicate with traditional concoctions without actually reducing their sugar intake. What they don’t realize is that their diabetes may have already gone far beyond what mango leaves boiled in hot water can solve.

Then the symptoms escalate.

Diabetes can cause heart attacks, strokes, blindness, etc. The price of diabetes medication keeps going up, and then there are those who need daily insulin injections or tablets.

In severe cases, diabetes can lead to lower limb amputation. This procedure costs nothing less than ₦3 million.

If you think you don’t need to worry because the above illnesses aren’t that common, here’s one that’s a lot more common than you think:

Appendicitis (the inflammation of a finger-like projection of the large intestine called the appendix) is a medical emergency that requires prompt surgery, and If not treated on time, it may rupture, spilling poisonous content into the abdominal cavity and the bloodstream. This will lead to death.

Appendectomy (the surgery required to remove an inflamed appendix) is said to be the most common abdominal surgical emergency, and it is said to occur in all ages. The cost of an emergency appendectomy can range between ₦150,000 and ₦250,000.

People with illnesses like the ones above start with self-funding. When they inevitably run out, they turn to friends and family for assistance before the next level.


Now, no one hopes to fall sick, but the fact is that it’s a part of life. Until technology gives us the ability to transfer our consciousness into android bodies, the best we can do is give ourselves a fighting chance.

With health insurance.

Health insurance protects you from unplanned medical expenses. It helps you pay for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, important preventive care and other medical needs. You can choose from a variety of health insurance plans with different levels of coverage to fit your needs and budget.

The following images have been created as a way to further illustrate how health insurance plans can benefit you:

You might be the epitome of health right now,  but the idea is to be prepared for any illnesses or accidents that may occur in the future.

Remember, unlike Superman, you’re vulnerable.

Find Zikoko
wherever you are

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.