Mr Isaac Asare Lartey, a senior Nursing Officer at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Renal unit on Thursday said, diabetes and hypertension are the two major causes of kidney diseases, hence, the need to create awareness.
He said, it was not automatic that every diabetic or hypertensive patient would have a kidney disease, adding that, factors such as severe malaria, severe dehydration and excessive loss of blood either through a surgery or any other means could contribute to kidney disease.
The senior nurse, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra during the commemoration of the World Kidney Day, said the day was celebrated to create awareness and focus on the importance of the kidney and reducing the frequency of the disease.
There are two major stages of the disease-acute stage and the Chronic stage, he said.
The acute stage he explained was reversible because it happened suddenly and that after a number of dialysis, the kidneys could function again, but with the chronic stage, it is progressive and permanent, because the kidneys are no longer functioning and could function unless the patient goes through a kidney transplant.
Mr Asare Lartey explained that, the functioning of the kidney was to produce red blood cells that helped in excreting waste from the body, adding that, “if the kidneys are damaged and could not perform its functions, the waste goes into the blood.”
He noted that there should be means of getting rid of the waste from the blood, since the kidney, which is expected to perform such a function, is damaged, hence, the importance of the dialysis, as a means of accessing the blood to bring out the waste that was deposited as a result of the kidney being damaged, he added.
The senior nurse said, one of the ways to gain access to the blood to excrete the waste from the blood was the use of a tube called the catheter, which includes the Femoral catheter that is done on the thigh, the permanent catheter carried out on the chest, A.V fistula done on the hand as well as the A.V Graft
Mr Asare Lartey told the GNA that, the major challenges faced by the Unit were power outage, water outage and insufficient dialysis machines, adding that, the Unit was the biggest centre in the country but operated on 15 machines, hence, making their work slow.
He said, currently the Unit had 270 patients and about 70 of them were being put on dialysis each day, but the 70 target had decreased due to challenges facing the Unit.
He said, Dialysis was expensive because every type comes with different price, ranging from GHC650.00 to GHC1, 500.00, adding, most patients had challenges paying for it, adding, every patient had a maximum of four hours to be on the machine for each session and that also came with a price of GHC 260.00
Mr Asare Lartey said every patient was to have a minimum of two dialysis session in a week and three times maximum.
To avoid kidney health related diseases, he advised the public to lead a moderate life style as the disease could be hereditary, stop excessive smoking, excessive intake of alcohol, and drink a lot of water.
A kidney patient who gave her name as Pat, said she has been suffering from the disease for 10 years, adding that, she has been getting support from her husband and family members.
She said when she was diagnosed from the onset, and placed on dialysis section, the payment was moderate as compared to the GHC250.00 she pays currently.
She said people needed to take their health seriously and watch what they eat and drink.
Others also complained their inability to access medical facilities for their treatments as some of them came from remote areas to receive medication.