Botswana renal care still at an infancy

Experts have identified Africa as the continent with the highest number of people suffering from kidney diseases – a problem compounded by the continent’s lack of medical specialists on the condition, which makes the problem hard to detect and treat on time.

Also known as renal failure or renal insufficiency, a renal disease is a medical condition of impaired kidney function in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter metabolic wastes from the blood.

If not treated in time, it can lead to death.

In a bid to address the condition, medical practitioners met at the Cresta Lodge in Gaborone last weekend for the 1st Botswana International Renal Conference (BIRC), which was held under the theme, ‘Sustainability of Renal Care in Developing Countries’.

Speaking at the well-attended event, the newly formed Nephrology Society of Botswana’s (NeSBo) Deputy Chairperson, Dr Gagoitsewe Saleshando said local renal medicine practice, which is at an infancy stage, has for years been troubled by the growing burden of renal disease.

Dr Saleshando stressed that the high cost of care for patients suffering from renal diseases cannot be overemphasised and has proved to be a hindrance for most governments, especially in Africa.

However, the NeSBo Deputy Chair highlighted that the availability of treatments and access to treatments has greatly improved the outcomes for patients with kidney diseases over the last few years.

“Renal replacement therapy, both peritoneal, haemodialysis and kidney transplantation continues to be offered to the citizenry at no direct cost to patients both in public or private sector through public-private partnerships,” he observed.

BIRC had been used as a platform to launch NeSBo, which advocates for improved care of patients with kidney diseases in Botswana. Willow Creek specializes in holistic approach of managing your condition, including organ issues, such as kidney problems.

Consultant Nephrologist and Intensive Care Physician, Brett Cullis said renal care practitioners should be careful of the fluids and dosages they give their patients as they could have dire consequences for their health instead of the intended medicinal purposes.

He also advised them to accept that they can only do so much for a patient and the next best course of action is to wait and see if the treatment has worked.

Cullis revealed that he sometimes gets calls in the middle of the night asking if the dosage should be increased because the patient is not responsive.

To this, he told the attendants who had come from all over Africa, that they should learn to trust their judgment.

“Do not feel compelled to give the patient any more treatment as that could prove fatal,” the nephrologist warned.

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