Bridget Mananavire 10 March 2017
HARARE – Zimbabwean hospitals are struggling to cope with the surge in
patients living with signs of chronic kidney disease, with the death toll
Health minister David Parirenyatwa said hospitals were finding it
difficult to provide enough beds and treatment for kidney patients, with
the total number of cases increasing.
“Facilities are being created at provincial hospitals but those won’t work
well until or unless we have the appropriate specialists to work in those
areas, so our policy as a government is now to say at every provincial
hospital we have to have at least five specialists, including those who
will be able to look at these dialysis machines,” he told the World Kidney
Day in Harare yesterday.
“So there is no point at times to have these machines where there is no
specialty, where there is nobody to use them. So you might be able to work
out a programme to put these specialists out there in the provinces.”
Currently, the ministry operates dialysis services at Chitungwiza Central
Hospital, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital. And
under the Zimbabwe-Chinese Equipment Loan deal, government is establishing
facilities at Masvingo, Mutare, Gwanda, Marondera and Chinhoyi provincial
Martin Odwee, a consultant physician or nephrologist at Parirenyatwa
Hospital, said the renal unit he was operating at the hospital was
understaffed, with only him and another nurse operating the unit.
There are 1 000 new cases of chronic kidney failure that are reported
every year in Zimbabwe with only 700 cases on dialysis, leaving a huge gap
of those in need failing to access to lifesaving services, according to
the Health ministry.
World Health Organisation country representative David Okello said
government should invest in specialist training to deal with the disease.
“We need also need to strengthen local infrastructure to deal with kidney
diseases as well as allocation of funds for training programmes and
training specialists dedicated to kidney conditions,” Okello said.
This comes as kidney treatments are expensive with patients having to fork
out about $3 000 a month.