NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – At least one out of every 10 Kenyans is suffering from some form of kidney disease, with 10,000 people dying annually, a new survey shows.
The Kenya Renal Association which released the figures on Thursday warned that the number is likely to rise by 17 percent over the next decade, unless it is recognised as a global public health challenge.
Speaking at the 9th World Kidney Day celebrations held at Uhuru Park, Director of Medical Services Francis Kimani urged Kenyans to go for regular screening to avoid dealing with emergencies.
“Obesity is one of the things that trigger hypertension and diabetes and this is why there is this rise of kidney ailments,” he says.
“However there is now a campaign to create awareness to ensure that the patients can protect themselves therefore also those who are affected can get treatment on kidney failure.”
He said the government is committed to setup more centres to manage kidney patients, some of who have had to travel abroad for kidney transplants at a very high cost.
“We are aiming to have at least each and every provincial hospital to have a Renal Dialysis Unit.”
“We are going to start a Kidney Institute for East Africa where we shall be able to train more people on transplant operations and dialysis both practical and chemotherapy. So far we have trained 20 doctors and nurses at the Kenyatta National Hospital,” he added.
Also speaking at the celebrations, Assistant Director of the Social and Political Pillar under the Vision 2030 secretariat, Ada Mwangola, pointed out that most kidney failure patients are seeking treatment abroad especially in Asian countries.
A study conducted by the secretariat and supported by the health policy project of USAID indicated that the reason to this is due to the high cost of treatment in public and private hospitals.
“We are seeing a rise in this and most patients cite the area of cost saying it is just too costly to have operations here in Kenya therefore they mobilise funds to go to these countries to seek better quality treatment.”
She urged the government to set up a program that would capture these people who would prefer treatment elsewhere.
Figures released by the Kenya Renal Association also indicated that dialysis cost from Sh2,500 to Sh9,000 per session depending on the stage at which the disease has reached.
It will also cost Sh60,000 per month to undergo dialysis at Kenyatta National Hospital and the same process cost Sh100,000 per month in private city hospitals.
Even after a transplant, a patient has to take expensive anti-rejection drugs three times a week for the rest of their lives and these cost between Sh30,000 and Sh60,000 per month for as long as they live.
It is recommended that a patient undergoes dialysis three times a week. However, due to high costs, many opt to do it twice a week.