Kidney support group promotes benefits of early transplants


Members of the Kidney Transplant Support Group at an event organised by the Aga Khan University Hospital. PHOTO | COURTESY

Kidney patients now have a forum to share experiences for better living after the Aga Khan University Hospital formed a kidney transplant support group.

Aga Khan University Hospital Nephology Section head, Dr Ahmed Twahir, said the forum, to be held annually, was aimed at improving understanding of kidney ailments as well as the importance of embracing local kidney transplants.

He said kidney transplant was a more effective and cost effective treatment than dialysis that saw patients attend dialysis clinics throughout their lives.

The support group forum to be held annually will bring together kidney patients undergoing dialysis, patients awaiting transplant, kidney donors and recipients to share their experience and encourage each other.

The forum will also sensitise patients about available kidney transplant facilities and specialists in Kenya, helping reduce cost of overseas treatment sought by about 10,000 Kenyans annually over a variety of ailments.

The hospital’s multi disciplinary team of specialists including consultant nephrologists, renal nurses, chaplains and nutritionists will also attend the annual kidney forum for a one-on-one consultation with the participants.

“Successful kidney transplant offers better quality and longer life for patients compared to kidney dialysis. After successful surgery, the recipient is able to enjoy a normal life often referred to as the “Gift of Life”. 

The good news in Kenya is that this operation is covered by most insurance companies including NHIF,” he added.

Dr Twahir said that waste and fluids accumulation in the bloodstream adversely affected the wellbeing of other body organs leading to health complications.

“It is a dreaded disease and is increasing at an alarming rate all over the world. One in 10 persons has some form of chronic kidney disease and about four million Kenyans have a form of kidney disease,” said Dr Ahmed Sokwala, consultant physician and nephrologist at the same hospital.

Aga Khan University Hospital has conducted successful kidney transplant procedures since 1995, but the numbers of kidney transplants done at the hospital have increased since 2012.  The date for the first forum will be announced soon.

The local kidney transplant costs are far much cheaper compared to overseas treatment where family members have to purchase air tickets for the ailing member and a family member to accompany them to the hospital.