By Genge Kakhuta
Out of at least 12 patients with kidney failure that Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) recruits every month, six come from Dedza alone, a development which has worried stakeholders in the district.
KCH, situated in Malawi’s Capital Lilongwe, is a referral hospital serving districts in the country’s Central Region.
The bad news from Dedza was revealed during the commemoration of World Kidney Day held Thursday at Umbwi Secondary School by KCH and its cooperating partners.
In fact, the commemoration was held in Dedza because of those scaring statistics from the district and stakeholders took advantage of the event to raise more awareness among residents about how they can prevent kidney failure.
According to health experts, the disease is, among others, caused by the damage inflicted to the kidneys by sicknesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes and severe malaria.
However, stakeholders gave mixed views on what may be leading to increased cases of kidney failure in Dedza with Senior Chief Kachere saying it is due to excessive consumption of alcohol and smocking.
“Please, reduce uptake of alcohol and stop smoking,” he pleaded with the gathering during the ceremony.
On the other hand, District Medical Officer, Dr Misha Stande, alleged that it is because people drink an influx of traditional medicine from neighbouring Mozambique.
According to her, the unregulated dosage of traditional medicine in the human body releases alot of toxic matter that overworks the kidneys and eventually leading to kidney failure.
“However, we are civic educating people through our Out Patient Department and Non Communicable Diseases sections on how they can stay healthy. We conduct regular tests for NCDs which also enables us to detect early enough if there is any kidney injury,” explained Stande.
Taking his turn, Dr Charles Munthali from KCH, acknowledged the problem of Kidney failure in Malawi, describing it as severe.
“The 12 referral cases we receive in a month are a few the district hospitals can manage to diagnise using the limited equipment and resources they have. So many people remain undiagnised and continue to suffer ignorantly,” observed Munthali.
He added, “Even at KCH we do not have enough Dialysis Machines that we use for treating patients with kidney failure. Of late, we have been prioritising those that are critically ill”.
Munthali thinks there should be mass sensitisation about kidney failure in the country to prevent the disease and emphasized that if the disease reaches chronic level in a person, it is very expensive to treat.
“Actually, k4 million is required for a patient with kidney failure to undergo kidney dialysis treatment for one year,” he said.
And Mayamiko Khomba, a Renal Nurse at KCH, concurred with the other speakers on prevention of kidney failure, adding that people need to eat healthy.
“A balanced diet panctuated with a lot of vegetables and fruits is very important. People must also consider drinking at least two litres of water per day and reduce salt uptake,” she said.
This was the 13th year Malawi was joining the rest of the World in commemorating World Kidney Day which falls on 14 March and the theme was; Kidney Health for everyone, everywhere.