The Herald, 19 February 1996
Zimbabwe’s renal centres are facing an acute shortage of personnel and lack training programmes to increase the manpower required to provide care to patients with kidney problems.
The executive director of the Zimbabwe Kidney Fund Association (Zimbabwe Kidney Foundation), Dr Obadiah Moyo (pictured right), told The Herald recently that the renal programme was running through expatriate nephrologists (kidney specialists) from Cuba who are here on a two-year contract, because the country does not have nephrologists.
Out of the four renal centres in the country, Harare and Mutare General Hospitals do not have nephrologists, while the remaining hospitals, Parirenyatwa and Mpilo, each have one nephrologist serving a daily average of 20 patients.
The other three nephrologists who were in Zimbabwe have since left the country following the expiry of their contracts.
One Zimbabwean specialist physician is available to the programme at Parirenyatwa Hospital through the University of Zimbabwe medical school’s Department of Medicine.
“On average, we should have at least a nurse attending to two patients and a doctor per 50 patients. We are having to train patients to look after themselves and utilise a system whereby patients will dialyse themselves — promoting self-care for haemology dialysis,” said Dr Moyo.
The Zimbabwe Kidney Foundation has, among other things, proposed that individuals be trained outside the country on certified university programmes and that training programmes be established for kidney disease care aimed at certifying dialysis nurses, renal technologists, and training ancillary personnel to assist with renal care programmes at the level of prevention, dialysis and transplantation
LESSONS FOR TODAY
By 2016, reports from the Zimbabwe Kidney Foundation said there continued to be an alarming increase in kidney ailments. With the current economic challenges, what this means is that renal centres are facing more problems than in 1996.
The health sector continues to face challenges, mostly among vulnerable groups due to the two-decade sanctions regime that has resulted in lack of foreign exchange to buy up-to-date equipment, medications and pay well-trained health professionals.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo, who has worked in the kidney ailments section, brings vast knowledge and experience, and we hope that he will use it to best advantage.
When he was CEO of Chitungwiza Central Hospital, he bemoaned the increase in kidney-related diseases. “Kidney diseases affect children in various ways and this ranges from treatable disorders to life-threatening conditions and acute kidney diseases develop suddenly and they last usually for a very short time.”