The Ghana Police Hospital dialysis center today [Thursday], joined the rest of world to mark World Kidney Day with a free screening exercise for girls and women.
The Center said it has noted over the years that there is an alarming increase in chronic kidney disease in the country.
World Kidney Day, which is commemorated globally is to raise awareness about kidney diseases and also promote activities that will ensure healthy kidneys.
This year’s celebration, which is under the theme, “Kidneys and Women’s Health,” is being commemorated with an event held at the hospital under the auspices of the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
A statement by the Chairperson of the Bilateral Committee of the Kidney Dialysis Centre and an Eminent Scientist, Dr Sylvia Anie said “across the globe, 10 percent of the population is affected by preventable yet deadly kidney diseases. Chronic Kidney Disease was ranked 18th in the list of causes of total number of deaths worldwide according to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study. The degree of movement up the list was second only to that for HIV and AIDS.”
In Ghana, kidney failure forms about 35-40% of all medical admissions at hospitals, most patients with ages between 25-45 years. For every 10 admissions to a hospital emergency ward, 4 admissions have kidney-related conditions. Unfortunately, a significant portion of patients diagnosed with kidney disease in Ghana are in their productive ages whereas the situation is the reverse for advanced countries.
Due to expensive treatment costs and poor coverage of national dialysis centers, less than 20% of these patients received haemodialysis treatment. The rest manage conservatively and some end up losing their lives.
When a person is diagnosed with chronic kidney or renal failure due to damage or disease to the kidney, dialysis is used to remove waste (diffusion) and unwanted water (ultra-filtration) from the blood of the patient whose kidneys are not functioning adequately.
Dialysis can allow individuals to live productive and useful lives for many years provided adequate treatment and regulated diet and medications are available, affordable and applied.
Data for year 2017 indicates the total number of dialysis treatments undertaken was 2,479 with the highest number of clients recorded in March as 34.
“The highest number of dialysis treatments in a month was 309. We serve clients from Ghana, West Coast of Africa and also provide services to international clients visiting Ghana for a period of time. Four of the patients have gone on to have kidney transplants, only possible from the good care they received at the dialysis center. Approximately 50% of the patients who undergo dialysis are staff of the Ghana Police Service.” Dr. Sylvia Anie said.
Women and Chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a worldwide public health problem with adverse outcomes of kidney failure and premature death. CKD affects approximately 195 million women worldwide and it is currently the 8th leading cause of death in women, with close to 600,000 deaths each year.
The risk of developing CKD is at least as high in women as in men, and may even be higher. According to some studies, CKD is more likely to develop in women compared with men, with an average 14% prevalence in women and 12% in men.
However, the number of women on dialysis is lower than the number of men.
At least three major reasons are recognized so far: CKD progression is slower in women compared to men, psycho-socioeconomic barriers such as lower disease awareness lead to late or no start of dialysis among women and uneven access to care is a major issue in countries with no universal access to healthcare.
Kidney transplantation is also unequally spread, mostly due to social, cultural and psychological aspects: even in some countries that provide kidney transplantation and equitable treatment for men and women, women tend more often to donate kidneys and are less likely to receive them.
Women are at higher risk for acquiring Lupus Nephropathy & Kidney Infection
Some kidney diseases, such as lupus nephropathy or kidney infection typically affect women. Kidney infections (as most urinary tract infections) are more common in women and the risk increases in pregnancy. To ensure good results, as most renal diseases, diagnosis and treatment should be timely.
Kidney Disease & Pregnancy
CKD is also considered a risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcome and reduced fertility. Women who have CKD are at increased risk for negative outcomes for the mother and the baby; pregnancies in women with advanced CKD are most challenging with high rates of hypertensive disorders and preterm births. They may have reduced fertility but conception is possible, even if infrequent, on dialysis.
In successfully transplanted women, fertility can be restored and chances of successful birth increase. There is a clear need for higher awareness on CKD in pregnancy, to timely identify CKD in pregnancy, and to follow-up women with CKD during and after pregnancy. In this respect, pregnancy may be also a valuable occasion for early diagnosis of CKD, thus allowing planning of therapeutic interventions.
In turn, pregnancy-related complications increase the risk of kidney disease: pre-eclampsia, a syndrome in which a defect of the implantation of the placenta affects normal kidneys inducing hypertension and proteinuria, is one of the 3 leading causes of maternal mortality. Preeclampsia, septic abortion (infection of the placenta) and post-partum haemorrhage (major bleeding after giving birth) are leading causes of acute kidney injury in young women, and may herald future CKD in survivors.
The burden of those maternal complications is particularly high for women in developing countries, due to insufficient access to universal and timely prenatal care, to improper management of women with preeclampsia, and to lack of availability of dialysis for acute kidney injury.
Dr Sylvia Anie said there is the need for more awareness and timely diagnosis of Chronic kidney diseases, especially among women.
She said this will enhance planned therapeutic interventions.
“There is a clear need to address issues of inequitable healthcare access for women across Ghana who need dialysis care . We should collectively intensify advocacy for increasing awareness, education and empowerment for women and girls. We need to change negative lifestyle habits, take control, become better informed and aim for early detection,” she said.
An NGO, Health Education on Wheels in collaboration with the Ghana Police Hospital and the Paramount Chief of Osu and President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI, will conduct the free screenings.
The Medical Director of the Police Hospital, DCOP Dr Iddi Musah remarked “We shall continue to strengthen our public private collaboration with Health Education on Wheels and initiate expansion plans at the Dialysis Center. We intend to increase the number of dialysis machines in order to address the increasing client load and we will continue to provide a service of quality.”