As Kenya celebrated the World Kidney Day themed “Kidney Disease & Children; Act Early to Prevent It!, this month, the country continues to grapple with the increasing number of children with kidney disease.
Health experts note that acute kidney injury account for about 80 per cent in children with increasing worldwide cases showing an increase of kidney disease and hypertension in children due to obesity.
Kenya Renal Association Chairman Prof. Seth Mc’Ligeyo says that lack of interventions focused at addressing kidney diseases among children has led to an increased number of reported cases.
“The main reason why kidney diseases afflict many is because of lack of awareness about the disease and how to manage it leading to late diagnosis stages especially among children,” said Prof. Mc’Ligeyo.
Pfizer Corporate Affairs Director Ms. Margaret Olele said that kidney disease among children has deleterious effects. It affects children’s ability to enjoy quality life. Parents are encouraged to seek medical guidance for their children as soon as possible once kidney disease is suspected.
“With 18 per cent of children under the age of 15 estimated to be overweight, their risk of being diagnosed with kidney disease is increased. It is, therefore, paramount that parents make healthy lifestyle decisions for their children such as increased physical activity and regular scheduled exercises,” said Ms. Olele.
Once the kidneys have failed, one requires renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis or kidney transplantation. It is estimated that managing renal failure through dialysis costs Kshs 60,000 per week, which is six times the minimum wage in Kenya. For those who require kidney transplant, public hospitals will charge Kshs 500,000.00
The economic burden of managing kidney failure is huge. Prevention of kidney diseases is the feasible long-term strategy to combat kidney disease. This can realized through adequate education highlights prevention, detection and eventually treatment of kidney ailments.
Health experts also note that it is pertinent that prevention strategies like early detection and treatment of urine tract infections in children, checking blood pressures for children and growth monitoring are scrutinized closely as these might be the earliest signs of chronic kidney disease. Moreover, availing management of acute kidney injury, like dialysis will help in reducing mortality rates for children with kidney disease.
The one thing that will help children with end stage kidney disease is availing options of transplant including cadaveric transplant so that all children with end stage kidney disease are given a chance as there is enough evidence as this is the treatment of choice for children with end stage kidney disease.