May 19, 2013 | 07:17 AM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
90pc kidney patients go untreated
S. M. Mahiuddin :
Bangladesh has nearly 18 million people with kidney diseases and the number keeps swelling, as experts say. Lack of awareness and limited treatment facilities over 90 percent of them are untreated. Rising trend of high blood pressure, diabetes and mindless use of drugs are linked to the increasing number of kidney patients even at rural areas.
"But they do not have facilities to know and treat the condition (kidney diseases)," said Prof MA Samad, president of Kidney Awareness Monitoring and Prevention Society (KAMPS) at a discussion on kidney diseases in Tangail district recently. He dubbed the ailment as 'silent killer.'
Citing their study, he said only 1.5 percent people in rural farming community have 'very basic' knowledge on kidney diseases in Tangail's Shakhipur upazila. Nurul Alam, a trader who attended the discussion, told that he was a diabetic, but today he first learnt that there was a link between diabetes and kidney diseases. "There are at least 0.6 million people suffering from kidney diseases in Tangail and its adjacent districts," Prof Samad said and added 3,000 to 4,000 of them die of kidney failure."We could save many of them, if we have dialysis facility in the area," he said and urged all to support their efforts to set up dialysis facilities in Tangail. Quoting from their study he said, over 90 percent kidney patients die as they do not have enough money for dialysis needed at the 'end-stage'.
"Only 10 percent of the kidney failure patients can start dialysis, but a certain percentage has to stop at some point as they cannot afford it." Prof Samad said dialysis costs a patient Tk 0.4 to 0.5 million a year. It costs less at public hospitals, but only five to six big hospitals can offer the service. "The (dialysis) costs go up as people have to travel a long way to a centre." The voluntary organisation KAMPS has taken steps to set up a dialysis unit in Tangail. Local elites including politicians, businessmen, doctors and teachers offered to support the initiative in the discussion. Senior Supreme Court lawyer barrister Rafique-ul Haque, who was present as chief guest at the function, pledged to donate a dialysis machine for the proposed centre. He also urged other well off persons to come forward for the cause of 'humanity'. Former ambassador Anwar ul Alam also promised to support the initiative.
M Bazlul Karim Chowdhury, Deputy Commissioner, Tangail, also promised to support building a dialysis centre. The kidney expert also called upon all to be aware of the disease as symptoms of chronic kidney diseases baffle people appearing later, 'damaging almost 75 percent of a kidney.' "But we could prevent over 50 percent of the (kidney) failure, if detected early. Blood and urine tests of people at risk, who are diabetic and have high blood pressure, can ensure early detection."
According to Prof Samad, people can get some clues through change in amount, color and frequency of urine, swelling in different parts of the body, fatigue and shortness of breath. But people must see a doctor since it (kidney disease) is also a 'disease multiplier'. He explained: "People with chronic kidney diseases are more likely than healthy individuals to die of heart attacks and strokes."
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