World Kidney Day falls on 9th March 2017, and as the years go by we are faced with an alarming increase in chronic kidney disease.
Across the globe, 10 percent of the population is affected by preventable yet deadly kidney diseases. Chronic Kidney Disease was ranked 18th in the list of causes of total number of deaths worldwide according to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study. The degree of movement up the list was second only to that for HIV and AIDS.
The situation is no different in Ghana as an average of over 12,000 diagnosed kidney patients are recorded per year, a third of whom needlessly die.
In Ghana, for every 10 admissions to a hospital emergency ward, 4 admissions have kidney related conditions. Unfortunately also,most patients diagnosed with kidney disease in Ghana are in their productive ages whereas the situation is the reverse for advanced countries.
This has necessitated the need for a vibrant national campaign to create awareness in order to encourage early detection.
The campaign against Chronic Kidney Disease gave birth to Health Education on Wheels (HEOW), an NGO with a mission to provide accessible health information and education services to individuals with preventable diseases.
HEOW through extensive consultations and support from the Ghana Police Service formed a Public Private Partnership with the Ghana Police Hospital to set up a Dialysis Centre presently at the forefront of Dialysis Treatment for End Stage Renal Failure.
The Police Hospital Dialysis Centre was officially opened in April 2011 by the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Alhassan. The centre was a brain child of Dr. and Mrs. Anim-Addo, both stationed in the United States of America.
Dr. and Mrs. Anim-Addo, after experiencing the effect of CKD in the family, and having observed the critical impact the illness can have on the patient, families and friends, decided that they would voluntarily do whatever they could to assist other unfortunate patients.
In February 2010, Dr. Anim-Addo with help from other concerned individuals shipped a container of dialysis machines and consumables to Ghana. Dr. Anim-Addo’s HEOW, started to install the dialysis machines after consultation and advice from dialysis experts at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
The clinic started with seven dialysis machines and comfortable dialysis chairs, a machine to regulate water filtrations and consumables to last for the first year.
Initially, there were a few CKD or End Stage Renal Failure (ESRF) patients however; currently there are a considerable number of patients receiving effective dialysis care at the Police Hospital.
This clinic is the second largest in the country and charges less than other dialysis clinics. In collaboration with the Police administration there are plans to extend the facility to accommodate the increasing number of patients.
The Centre is at the forefront of the World Kidney Day celebrations in Ghana which is observed and celebrated each year to promote awareness and education about the importance of kidneys to our overall health.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Kidney Disease and Obesity-Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys”.
Interestingly, the trend in Ghana suggests that 28% of men and 38% of women are overweight or obese. In overweight or obese individuals the kidneys have to work harder to meet the demands of the increased body weight. The theme is therefore apt in order to advocate for health lifestyles including proper diet and regular exercise.
Obesity increases insulin resistance leading to diabetes which is the number one cause of kidney disease. Thus it follows that by tackling obesity there will be an associated reduction in the number of cases.
HEOW in collaboration with the Police Hospital will conduct free screenings for the uniformed services personnel and their families as well as members of the public during the celebration at the Police Hospital Annex on 9th March, 2017.
The Chairperson of the Bilateral Committee of the Kidney Dialysis Centre and an eminent scientist, Dr Sylvia Anie commented “Obesity is a well-known renal risk factor; the prevalence of kidney disease is on the increase threatening people from a very young age- we need to change negative lifestyle habits, take control, become better informed and aim for early detection….”
The Medical Director of the Police Hospital, DCOP/Dr. Iddi Musah remarked, “We shall continue to strengthen our public private collaboration with Health Education on Wheels in order that we can expand and provide a service of quality and hope to our patients…… We intend to increase the number of dialysis machines in order to address the increasing numbers and we will continue to strive for quality care”.
Support has been provided to the Dialysis centre in various ways by corporate bodies and individuals including Enterprise Insurance Co. Ltd, Aquafresh Limited, D Med Health Care andVoltic Ghana Ltd.
By Godfried Nyante, Chairman, HEOW