Rwanda joined other countries across the globe to mark the World Kidney Day (WKD) to raise awareness on kidney diseases. The day is observed annually on the second Thursday of March
The day also sensitises people about the increasing number of kidney-related diseases across the world. The day also emphasises the need for different strategies to prevent kidney diseases.
According to medical experts, kidney damage kills more people than malaria, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and Tuberculosis (TB).
They, however, identified hypertension, diabetes, chronic infection, bleaching cream, abuse of painkillers and unregulated use of herbal medicines as major causes of chronic kidney disease.
The WKD Joint Steering Committee has declared 2023 to be the year of “Kidney Health for All – Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable!”
The 2023 campaign focuses on raising awareness about disastrous events, natural or man-made, international or local, and their impact on people living with kidney disease whose access to appropriate diagnostic services, treatment, and care is hindered.
Previously, Dr Grace Igiraneza, a Nephrologist at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) said there are no official statistics for the Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD) in Rwanda.
However, Igiraneza estimated that there are currently 100 patients in the country on dialysis, and over 70 renal transplants patients.
“Treatment for these diseases is expensive not just in Rwanda but across the world. You will need more than Rwf25 million for a kidney transplant, and this is a very high amount.”
She added, “Even when a patient is on dialysis, they don’t have a lot of options, they will need to visit a treatment centre at least three times a week. For that service alone, you need over Rwf85,000.”
Rwanda currently has seven such centres that provide these services, with four in the capital and the rest upcountry, she said.
With this cost in consideration, Igiraneza points out that the best way to curb any form of CKD is to understand the prevention strategies.
CKD is a progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years.
“While the treatment of kidney disease is expensive, out of reach for many patients and requires a lot of resources especially renal replacement therapy, prevention remains the major weapon we can use to fight chronic kidney disease.”
She pointed out, “Most insurance don’t cover this, leaving health authorities with only one campaign; how do I prevent myself from kidney disease?, when is the right time to go for check-up?, this is what we are going to focus on mainly.”