Statistics from the Kenya Renal Association estimates that 4 million Kenyans are suffering from kidney disease and by the year 2030, the number will have reached 4.8 million.
The situation shows a dire increase in the number of people suffering from the disease contributing to the global 50 million people who have kidney diseases due to various causes.
Reports indicate that Chronic kidney diseases (CKD) are now the sixth fastest growing cause of death that claims 2.4 million lives every year.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) – a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days and one of the factors that accelerates CKD – affects more than 13 million people across the globe and 85 percent of these cases are found in low and middle-income countries.
It is estimated that approximately 1.7 people die every year due to AKI or acute kidney failure as is known to some.
Kenya is no exception, and as of March 2019, the Kenya Renal Association noted that the number of patients on chronic hemodialysis in both private and public hospitals rose eight times from 300 in 2006 to 2,400 in 2018.
Additional data indicates that out of about four million who suffer from CKD, less than 10,000 are on dialysis, and the cases are rising.
One of the factors propelling the increased cases of kidney diseases is because many people realize when it is too late that they have it. This, coupled with inadequate facilities across the country render treatment ineffective.
For instance, at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Kenya’s biggest referral hospital, patients with kidney disease wait for an average of eight days from one dialysis session to another. This is way below the recommended number that should stand at least three days.
As a result of the waiting, the patients suffer from increased risk of failure, elevated anxiety, and prolonged suffering.
Although the government and other corporate entities have made efforts to curb the rise in the number of cases by donating and buying dialysis machines, they still are not enough to deal with all the cases efficiently.
Between 1978 and 2002, Kenya had only one dialysis center at KNH. However, four more were added in Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Eldoret.
The number of hemodialysis units – machines used to treat the disease – has risen from 5 registered in 2006 to 54 in 2019.
Despite the increase, a huge number of patients still require services at these facilities for further delays may eventually call for more rigorous treatment.
The work of the kidneys is to filter toxins from the body. Also, they maintain the optimum functionality of the urinary system.
When the kidneys fail or are affected, a person is likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease and acute kidney failure, among other complications.
Like other chronic diseases, the treatment of CKD requires a chronic care model design to improve outcomes.
Chronic care model designs refer to treatment options that incorporate continuous care, decision support for providers, delivery system design, and patient self-management support.
According to international kidney treatment guidelines on renal therapy, patients need to be dialyzed for at least four hours, three times every week.
However, patients continue to suffer due to a shortage of kidney specialists as noted by both KNH and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. This is despite the efforts of devolving medical services to level 5 hospitals, which now have dialysis machines.
Nonetheless, with the rising cases of chronic kidney disease, more needs to be done to remedy the situation.