Home Opinion Featured Articles Renal failure patient advises public against food with high preservatives

Renal failure patient advises public against food with high preservatives

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Junk Food

Kidney failure, according to medicine, occurs when the kidneys have lost the ability to filter waste from your blood.

This lost ability of the kidney happens in stages and it is when it gets to the end-stage that is where the term kidney failure comes in.

Rev Fr Dr Gaymfi’s Story

“I have only been a poor victim of renal failure since 2019. I was on dialysis till April 16, 2022 when I was lucky to undergo a kidney transplant”, says the Reverend Father Dr Lawrence Gyamfi, a catholic priest diagnosed with renal disorder.

Advice

Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi is therefore calling on Ghanaians to avoid or reduce the consumption of food with high preservatives, artificial colouring, and tastes.

According to him, people who failed to heed to the warning did so at their own risk, saying high intake of such food and junks exposed consumers to renal dis-function or failure.

“Take your time and read carefully the ingredients of every packaged food before you buy. Most of them are very harmful.

“If a product is labeled as having a taste of a particular fruit it means it is not that fruit, rather chemicals have been added up to arrive at that taste”, he stated.

Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi, a Catholic Priest of the Obuasi Diocese, based in Udine, Italy gave the advice when he shared his experiences in a telephone interview with this reporter.

Reactions

According to the Rev Fr, renal failure remained an extreme health condition which is sometimes difficult and painful for patients to contain or live with the reactions.

Some of the reactions include poor appetite, loss of weight, swollen feet and tiredness, swollen eye bags, shortness of breath, tiredness, blood in urine and in some cases no urine at all and insomnia.

With all these difficulties, pains and discomforts, described above, one would die after a short while if he or she does not have a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Dialysis and Transplant

Kidney or renal transplantation is a surgical procedure by which a kidney, either of a deceased or a living donor is transplanted into a person suffering an end-stage kidney failure.

In many developed countries like Italy and Spain, and other places,people donate ‘a kidney’ just as others donate blood elsewhere.

A kidney because according to medicine, every human being has two kidneys, however needs only one healthy kidney to survive.

Research has proven that the remaining kidney works better after one is donated.

On the other hand, Dialysis is described as a clinical purification of the blood as a substitute for the normal functioning of the kidney.

In-center hemodialysis is common in Ghana where dialysis is done in the hospital or health center, elsewhere, countries also practice in-home hemodialysis.

Sharing his experiences, Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi said “both the transplant and the dialysis are very expensive everywhere”, and therefore called on the government to do more and sponsor patients.

“In many advanced countries these procedures are always government sponsored and for a standard purification of the blood the patient needs three separate sittings of the in-center hemodialysis every
week.

“I used to have mine on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The process is painful, uncomfortable, time consuming and very exhausting. Even in Italy the patient is served with breakfast, a television above to watch if so desired, and a sandwich after treatment.

“The hospitals provide car services to pick you from home and send you back home immediately after, the pain and the tiredness is still felt. Every month they run thorough medical examinations on all patients.

“All these are provided free of charge and when they finally found a donor for me, they performed the transplant surgery that lasted for six hours free of charge”, Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi explained.

“The medicines needed to keep the transplanted kidney functioning are very expensive and must be taken for the rest of one’s life. I am grateful to the Italian government for this great act of charity they do for all, mostly foreigners.

“I say foreigners because in most Italian dialysis centers the patients are mostly foreigners, Africans and Asians.

In fact, I always feel sad when I see fellow Ghanaians who have the same condition I had suffered and died through such experiences. I feel guilty anytime I think I have felt worried about my situation.

“How I wish I could help my people in that regard. It is my prayerful wish that one day I find someone or group of people who would be willing to help build a dialysis center in the hospital in my district serving over half a million people and without such important
facilities”.

“I have since taken upon myself to help a few kidney failure patients whose appeals for help I saw on social media. Surprisingly, most of them look very unhealthy, very weak in spite of the dialysis”, Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi stated.

Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi said uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, acute kidney injuries and many bad habits including alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, and abuse of painkillers as other identifiable causes of renal failures.

From the Priest advice, it is therefore imperative for everybody to restrict him/herself from the use of unprescribed antibiotics and guard against bad eating habits.

Appeal

“When I was doing dialysis, one wouldn’t know I was sick unless I told them. That means something is not working perfectly with the dialysis in Ghana.

“In fact, I was shocked when I read a couple of days ago that Korle-bu Teaching Hospital is considering increasing the cost per sitting for DIALYSIS from GHC380 to GHC765.42, because of high import taxes”, Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi stated.

He therefore appealed to the government to subsidize the import duties on the medicines and accessories needed for dialysis for all to access treatment.

“Let us make the effort to make our health insurance system stronger to cover such conditions as well. It is a very painful condition and it is killing many”, he said, and entreated health professionals to intensify public health education to conscientize Ghanaians about the causes of renal disorders.

“In fact, the boy I am helping now pays GHC450 per sitting and we are only able to pay for two sittings a week and that is not enough. I have even heard of people who do it just once in a week or even more days elapsed without dialysis”.

I also know of many who cannot even afford the attempt at all and I wonder how they breathe. When I was on dialysis, Mondays were always a hell for me. I struggled to breathe. This is because there was always a long break from Saturday to Tuesday”.

Rev Fr Dr Gyamfi also appealed to Ghanaians to support patients as well saying “many are dying in Ghana for this disease which is on the ascendancy among adults, our youth who are the future of our country”

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