Thousands of people in Guyana have suffered from renal failure, and the numbers continue to rise. Gone are the days when dialysis was hardly available. There is hope for Kidney patients.
But the numbers that perish annually can turn around, at least if it was up to those at the Kidney Foundation. With Thursday (March 12) being World Kidney Day, those at the Foundation are gearing up for a week of activities to promote awareness on the importance of maintaining healthy kidneys.
Dr. Areefa Alladin, who sits on the Management Committee of the Kidney Foundation, maintains that with awareness there can be a major turnaround in the number of persons who perish from this disease .Against that backdrop, the organisation will be the driving force behind a series of awareness events will take place this week.
“Kidney disease is an associated health problem worldwide. World Kidney Day provides the perfect opportunity to get out in the community and get involved. We can increase awareness by telling our family members, our friends and the people out there that we meet. We can just save a life if we just start spreading the message,” she said.
The aim of the Kidney Foundation, she said, is to raise awareness of the importance of the kidney to health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney diseases in Guyana.
The Kidney Foundation of Guyana was established three years ago by demand because of an increasing need for kidney services such as dialysis and Dr. Alladin said that there is also a high incidence of non-communicable diseases in Guyana such as hypertension, diabetes, even with obesity being on the rise.
“The general population is not aware of the functions of their kidneys and that your kidney can continue to function until about 80% of it is damaged and that is when you start to show signs and symptoms and by then it is usually too late to reverse those changes,” she said.
According to the health care official, the demand for dialysis is great, and the local dialysis centers are even expanding to meet this demand. This she said tells of the burden of kidney diseases in Guyana.
Dr. Alladin emphasised that patients with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases need to be screened, at least annually, and to monitor their diseases, control their blood sugar level and pressure; to prevent kidney failure.
She stated that on Sunday, March 8 at 9:00 hours and Wednesday, March 11 at 14:00 hours, representatives from the Foundation will be hosting a television programme on Television Guyana (Channel 28).
“Those shows will feature patients who are on dialysis. They will be addressing Kidney failure: what it has been like for them, how they ended up needing dialysis and walk the public through the treatment they have been receiving.”
Dr. Alladin explained that the objective is to increase the awareness and to send a clear message on the consequences of failing to care for one’s kidneys.
A part of their activities includes sending out a blast message and featuring publications in the print media. The advocate explained that the Foundation will also be updating its website (www.kfg.org.gy/).
According to Dr. Alladin, the hinterland and outland regions of Guyana will not be neglected. She said the Foundation will be sending posters to areas in Essequibo and Berbice, as well as sending out Whatsapp broadcast messages to health care professionals all across Guyana to get everybody involved.
“The main thing is to drink a glass of water and pass one on…It just starts with a glass of water. If you drink ten glasses of water a day, it is going to help you a lot. Start by doing a simple thing like drinking a glass of water on World Kidney Day and give somebody else one,” she remarked.
“We are asking everyone out there to get involved. Drink a glass of water and give one too. Shout Kidney Health for all in 2015 and we are going to hope for continuing years, we are going to try to relieve the burden of kidney disease in Guyana.”
She made a call for the public to contact the Kidney Foundation of Guyana at their new found office at the GuyEnterprise building at Lance Gibbs and Irving streets, Queenstown where additional information could be provided.
The Kidney Foundation of Guyana aims to provide public awareness, to be able to provide education and to provide services that are needed to prevent kidney failure in Guyana or even if patients have kidney failure, to be able to manage it.
They also assist with renal replacement therapy and provide information on public health.
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