MWANGI: Kidney health prevents chronic diseases 2023

The huge detrimental impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on public health systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is now on the policy agenda.

Despite this progress, kidney health and its links to heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory illness, and diabetes may be overlooked.

This does not mean that NCD prevention efforts should be pulled back, but rather that chronic kidney disease (CKD) prevention behavior change information should be amplified.

Due to the growing devastation of low- and middle-income populations in the global South, CKD awareness must be raised.

Most individuals know kidneys filter blood and excrete urine.

However, the two bean-shaped organs below your rib cage and near to the spine have additional essential functions.

These include managing blood pressure, producing red blood cells, and balancing blood water, salt, and minerals.

Nerves, muscles, and other tissues depend on kidney health.

Thus, unhealthy kidneys prevent health.

Chronic renal disease—damaged kidneys—affects one in 10 persons worldwide, according to the NCD Alliance.

renal disease is called the “silent killer” because up to 90% of renal function can be lost before symptoms appear.

Testing kidney functioning is the best way to manage renal disease, like any life-threatening conditions.

The kidney blood test examines creatinine levels from muscle and protein metabolism.

A urine protein test can indicate renal impairment.

Kidney illness causes high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, nerve damage, swollen ankles, and weariness.

Lifestyle adjustments can prevent or slow renal disease.

These include regular exercise, good food, reducing salt, not smoking, and regulating blood sugar and hypertension.

Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and CKD family history require regular kidney function tests.

Governments and politicians should prioritize public health programs that promote healthy lifestyles and lower kidney disease risk factors.

CKD burdens countries’ and households’ health resources and causes high rates of disease and death in underdeveloped countries.

Kenyatta National Hospital charges US$2,300 for kidney transplants and US$73 for dialysis.

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) subsidizes renal dialysis, which has become its largest medical insurance claim, with payouts for kidney failure treatment jumping by 41% in 2019 to Sh. 1.8 billion (US$ 13.8 million).

Kenyan dialysis sessions average KSh. 9,500–16,000.

Session dialysis costs US$60-72 in Ghana and Kenya.

Over 80% of renal failure patients worldwide live in wealthy nations with universal health care and big senior populations.

Governments in the SSA region have had to find strategies to improve chronic kidney disease (CKD) care access due to the high expense of managing CKD.

Nurturing private-sector and other non-state collaborations is most likely.

Kenya’s Interlife Kidney Transplant Project is one.

Kenyatta National Hospital and Novartis founded the 2009 Project.

It improves the transplant system at KNH and nationwide through capacity building, technological and skills transfer, and patient confidence in the Kenyan transplanting system.

The program also provides Novartis-subsidized post-kidney transplant medicines to all participants.

The Project performed almost 200 kidney transplants before its 10th anniversary in 2019.

NHIF funds kidney transplants up to $5000.

Patients and their families face a great financial burden because the funding does not cover pretransplant workup and post-transplant immunosuppressive medication.

Thus, primary healthcare systems should include CKD screening programs and train healthcare personnel in renal disease detection and management.

Kidney disease identification and treatment can postpone or prevent NCDs.

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