Renal experts raise concern about shortage of kidney donors

Monday, October 3rd, 2022 01:35 | By
Kidney transplant. PHOTO/Courtesy
Kidney transplant. PHOTO/Courtesy

Kenya Renal Association (KRA) has sounded an alarm over shortage of local kidney donors even as the number of patients in need of a transplant continues to increase.

KRA president Dr John Ngigi said patients seeking kidney transplants can only depend on family members due to insufficient supply of the organs.

Ngigi said the problem has been orchestrated by underlying factors like health complications, un-matching blood groups as well as family-related diseases.

The KRA chief said the number of patients seeking dialysis services in public hospitals has also risen even as it emerges that about five million Kenyans have kidney complications.

“We are having fewer donors, despite the fact that we think we have them, because many of our donors are unhealthy. We also have diseases that are running within families, that limits some people from donating, so to go round all these we need to get a pool of other donors,” said Ngigi.

Speaking in Mombasa during the Kenya Renal Association experts conference, Ngigi  said an urgent government intervention is needed to suppress the disease.

According to Dr Hussein Bagha, a Consultant Physician and Nephrologist at MP Shah Hospital and a member of the Kenya Renal Association, over five million people in Kenya need treatment for kidneys, and about 20,000 need dialysis or transplantation.

Urgent interventions

“There are over five million people in Kenya with different kidney ailments, with over 20,000 in need of dialysis or transplantation,” said Bagha.

He challenged the government to make urgent interventions to remedy the situation.

 “Transplant costs higher than dialysis, about 1.6 million, therefore we ask the government to consider kidney transplants patients to be catered by NHIF because it will help many people. We have more than five million Kenyans who have kidney complications,” he said.

Kenya is in the process of developing a policy to adopt a deceased donor kidney programme that will see kidneys harvested from dead people to save lives of renal patients.

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