Kidney patients red-flag high dialysis costs

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BY VANESSA GONYE
KIDNEY patients continue facing challenges such as the high cost of treatment despite many interventions made by non-governmental organisations to reduce the costs of dialysis.

Speaking to NewsDay Weekender on the backdrop of the World Kidney Day commemorations held on Thursday, consultant physician and nephrologist Martin Odwee said improvements were being made on kidney treatment in the country.

Odwee said he envisaged a bright future as better solutions and kidney regimens were continuously being introduced.

“In the 1980s, dialysis was only limited to acute care. Since then, several government and private units offer chronic dialysis programmes. Similarly, kidney transplant did not exist. Today, many patients have undergone kidney transplants. Better medications now exist to reverse or reduce kidney disease. Costs for the entire above still remain a stumbling block,” he said.

Odwee said there was need for more education on kidney diseases.

“World Kidney Day was set up to improve awareness of kidney disease but this awareness should be done every day.”

Zimbabwe has about 2 000 patients with chronic kidney diseases.

The only treatment for kidney ailment is dialysis.

Most public hospitals charge about US$80 per each dialysis session, while private hospitals charge as much as US$240 per session.

A kidney patient requires three sessions per week.

The country records 1 000 cases of kidney failure every year, with only 700 patients accessing dialysis because of prohibitive costs.

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