Seven to 14 pc of Tanzanians suffer from acute kidney diseases

TANZANIA: RESEARCH show that between seven and 14 per cent of Tanzanians suffer from acute kidney diseases, as majority cannot afford the dialysis and other medications, Acting Directive of Curative Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr Caroline Damian has revealed.

The percentage, she said, means ten in 100 Tanzania are living with the acute kidney diseases, calling for public to go for medical checkup for early detection.

She gave the statistics over the weekend when she officiated at the World Kidney Day organised by the University of Dodoma (UDOM) whereas specialists and doctors from the UDOM hospital were offering free medical checkup and treatments.

“On average of 9,150 patients with acute kidney failure diseases had to be prescribed for hemodialysis. Until December 2023, a total of 3,231 patients were undergoing dialysis compared to 1017 who were subjected to the services in August 2019,” said Dr Caroline.

The increase in number of patients, she said, is almost 68.5 per cent in the period of four years whereas dialysis services consume 80 per cent of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) coffers.

She underscored the need for the public to observe health lifestyle, saying the cost for medicine and treatment were high as one patient was supposed to pay 1.32m/- a month for diagnosis and dialysis, thus needing between 31.2m/- to 46.8m/- per year.

The Ministry of Health is carrying out a number of interventions including creating awareness to the public on how to prevent non-communicable diseases, including conducting early medical checkup for primary detection before the kidney disease become acute.

Moreover, she said, a number of guidelines are in place including lifestyle, and non-communicable disease which, to a large extent, contribute to kidney failure, a need for exercising, nutrition among others.

On her part, UDOM Vice-Chancellor Planning, Finance and Administration, Prof Wineaster Anderson said the university offers outreach programmes during the World Kidney Day for health for all- advancing equitable access to care and optimal medication practice.

The free medical checkup and treatment for three consecutive days aimed to support the government efforts in preventing the increasing number of kidney patients. During the last year, more than 2,000 patients received treatment and checkup during the free medical kidney camp held at the Nyerere Square grounds.

She said they also conducted outreach and awareness campaigns in various areas to ensure the public was educated and lived a life that would make them free from non-communicable diseases.

More than 60 percent of the kidney patients in the country cannot afford the cost of dialysis, prompting the government to focus on preventive measures than curative.

UDOM, its affiliate hospital and the Nephrology Society of Tanzania (NESOT) organised the free medical camp at the Mashujaa Grounds in Dodoma to promote and advance the knowledge and practice of nephrology for optimal care of renal patients.

World Kidney Day (WKD) is a global campaign day that aims to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

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