ON either side of the human spine; below the ribs and behind the belly, is a pair of a bean-shaped organ, called the Kidney. Each one is about four or five inches long, roughly the size of a large fist.

Its function is to filter the blood by removing the wastes, controlling the body’s fluid balance, amongst others. All of the blood in the body passes through them several times a day.

Without at least one of the pair of the organ, the human body cannot function properly.

It is, therefore, alarming to hear that Kidney related diseases are assuming epidemic proportions in Ghana, with more than 12,000 cases reported annually.

According to Dr Solomon Kotey, president of the Ghana Association of Doctors in-Residence (GADOR), about 30,000 patients are estimated to be living with kidney related ailments.

He told the Ghanaian Times in an interview published yesterday, that, the patients have the potential to increase beyond manageable proportions, if the trend continues.

“This figure of 12,000 could be an underestimation as it represents figures collected from only health facilities with the capacity to diagnose such ailments. It could well be that figures from the rural areas and peri-urban are not captured because most facilities found in those areas lack the capacity to diagnose the disease,” he explained.

The figures are frightening but even more startling to know that although the only available remedy for such people in Ghana is undergoing dialysis, since it lacked the capacity to conduct kidney transplant, there are only 28 dialysis centres across the country making it 1000 patients to a centre.

Apart from the fact that there are only 28 centres, the cost of GHȻ250 per session makes it very expensive for people to access the services of dialysis.

If the country does not put in place stringent measures to find a life line for such patients, many citizens would be lost to the disease due to their inability to seek health care.

The socio-economic impact of this would be enormous as the human resource of the country would be reduced while families would lose their breadwinners.

The Ghanaian Times therefore calls on the government and stakeholders to join hands either establishing more facilities where patients would receive care as well as set up a fund to lighten the financial burden of patients.

Efforts to establish a foundation for the disease, which have not materialised over the years, must also be scaled up to save lives.

While seeking support for patients, it is also important that the disease is prevented.

The Ghanaian Times therefore urges the public to take their kidney health seriously by getting the organ checked regularly as well as avoid habits particularly drugs and alcohol abuse which are detrimental to one’s health.


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