THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has plans to increase dialysis machines in Zimbabwe to assist patients with kidney diseases.
In a speech read on his behalf by Manicaland provincial medical director Dr Patron Mafaune during World Kidney Day commemorations at Mutare Provincial Hospital yesterday, Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Obadiah Moyo said his ministry through the health levy was providing subsidies for dialysis so that it is offered for free.
The event was held under the theme “Kidney health for everyone, everywhere”.
“Transplantation is considered the most cost-effective treatment of chronic kidney disease,” said Dr Moyo. “However, it has set up costs with regards to infrastructure and requires highly-specialised teams, availability of organ donors and cannot be done without dialysis back-up.
“Physical and legal infrastructure requirements and cultural bias against organ donation often present barriers in many countries, making dialysis the default option. The Ministry of Health has plans to scale up dialysis machines in Zimbabwe and thereby improve the outcomes of patients with kidney diseases.
Dr Moyo said the World Kidney Day called for everyone to advocate for concrete measures to improve kidney care.
He said there was need to make the screening for kidney diseases a primary healthcare intervention.
“Chronic kidney diseases and acute kidney injury are key contributors to increased morbidity and mortality from other diseases and risk factors including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity as well as infections such as HIV, malaria and Tuberculosis,” said Dr Moyo
The World Kidney Day, which is commemorated on the second Thursday of March, seeks to highlight the kidney problems related to common health disorders like diabetes and high blood pressure, which may lead to the chronic kidney diseases.
Zimbabwe has more than 2 000 patients with chronic diseases.
Speaking at the same event, World Health Organisation country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said: “We reflect on the burden of kidney problems and what we all are doing to maintain good health for everyone, everywhere,” he said.
“The Ministry of Health, health workers and others are doing a commendable job to deliver good quality medical service to our patients with kidney disease. Our wish is to have machines everywhere.
“We are grateful to the Ministry of Health which is in the process of articulating a comprehensive policy for non-communicable diseases and we are looking forward to the kidney disease being a prominent part of this policy.”