• Kidney Disease in Kenya

    Kidney Disease is among the top killer diseases in Kenya

    According to Kenya Renal Association (KRA) chairman Prof. Seth Mc'Ligeyo, about 4 million Kenyans are suffering from Kidney Disease as of 2017 and the numbers are going up.

    "Of this number, only about 10 per cent can afford dialysis services. I can confidently tell you we currently have less than 10,000 patients on dialysis" He added.

    One dialysis session costs about Sh9,500 (About $100) and only a fraction of the 4 million can afford that due to already existing financial constrains locals are suffering from.

    "Between 4.9 million and 9.7 million more still need treatment with at least two million people dying because they cannot access or afford it." Business Daily

    NHIF, National Hospital Insurance Fund has however taken over the burden by helping cover the bills. If you need help or guidance on how to benefit from NHIF click here (Link this to the NHIF page please)

    At least more than eight people out of 10,000 in the country are diagnosed with one form of kidney disease or another, according to Dr Ngigi. The lack of awareness on signs and risks of kidney disease is also to blame as it leads to late presentations which when coupled with poor laboratory support results to poor diagnosis, he said. "Simple tests like urinalysis, monitoring of one's blood pressure and sugar level testing can identify likely problems and are recommended for screening at risk population," said Dr Ngigi.

    As of 2017, there are only 46 units, and only 29 kidney specialists within the country but there are plans to introduce more. Kidney transplant is available locally as well.

    "Prevalence of the disease and worldwide use of renal replacement therapy (RRT) including dialysis are expected to rise sharply in the next decade," said Dr Ngigi. "Opening up of many dialysis centers and increasing uptake to insurance just improves on both financial and geographical accesses but does not affect disease prevalence or incidence… more needs to be done."

    Every hour, close to three patients go for a session of dialysis at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), translating to at least 60 kidney patients a day and the numbers are going up. There are other facilities where other patients go as well as those who do not go to the hospital at all.

    The lack of awareness on signs and risks of kidney disease is also to blame as it leads to late presentations which when coupled with poor laboratory support results to poor diagnosis, he said.

    "Simple tests like urinalysis, monitoring of one's blood pressure and sugar level testing can identify likely problems and are recommended for screening at risk population," said Dr Ngigi.

    "This is a silent disease.  So by the time the symptoms become pronounced, it's often too late for most people," said Professor Fred Segor, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health during Monday's launch of the Kidney Transplant and Awareness Campaign Week.  

    Causes of CKD in Kenya

    Anyone can get kidney disease.

    "Complications related to infections, hypertension and diabetes are the commonest causes of chronic kidney failure in our setting and in that order."

    "We identify people (high risk population) who have diabetes, hypertension, have a family member with kidney disease, people living with HIV, obese, people on chronic drug use especially for various arthritis including gout to be at high risk of suffering chronic kidney disease," said Dr Ngigi.

    Mc'Ligeyo warned: "While kidney disease is a problem on its own, it becomes a much bigger problem when combined with obesity." The disease has been linked with unhealthy diets that lead to obesity.

    "Generally swelling of the body (especially morning facial puffiness and subsequently whole body swelling), anemia, difficulties in breathing, easy tiredness, bone pains and finally poor appetite and vomiting are some major signs and symptoms of underlying kidney disease."


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