The Vice Chairperson of the House Committee on Health has appealed to government to heed calls by nephrologists to train more specialists and also equip regional health centres to handle patients with kidney complications.
Hon. Spellanza Baguma, who was addressing the media ahead of Parliament celebrations to mark the World Kidney Day, said there was need to establish regional dialysis centres to handle patients that require the services.
Dialysis is the clinical purification of blood, as a substitute for the normal function of the kidney. It is recommended for patients, whose kidneys cannot sufficiently and normally do the purification.
Hon. Baguma, who is also the Kyenjojo district woman representative, said that there is an increase in kidney related illnesses amidst inadequate services.
“Kidney related diseases are a big problem in our country and yet very little has been said about it. Our leaders do not know that it is happening,” said Hon. Baguma during a press conference held at Parliament Building on Monday 25 March 2019.
The press conference was jointly addressed by Dr. Joseph Gyagenda, Head of Nephrology unit at St. Francis Hospital, Nsambya.
“For the young children, we do not have dialysis services at all, meaning that for those families which do not have finances to seek treatment abroad, the children wait for death,” Baguma added.
About one quarter or 21.4 per cent of Ugandans suffer from kidney related diseases, with less than one percent being treated due to inadequate dialysis services in the country.
Dr. Gyagenda proposed that government should budget for establishment of regional dialysis centers countrywide to avert the shortage.
Currently, there are only two regional dialysis centers in the country, including Mbarara and Kiruddu hospitals.
“Government needs only Shs560 million to set up dialysis centers countrywide. This is clearly affordable, and given the money it saves, there is an urgent need for scaling up of these services,” said Gyagenda.
He said that an assessment has already been made and it has been found that there are enough structures required to host dialysis units in regional hospitals.
“There are people of goodwill who are ready to provide the dialysis services, leaving government with the task of providing consumables,” he added.
Doctors from the Uganda Kidney Foundation recently petitioned Parliament asking government to empower regional hospitals to offer specialized treatment.
Dr. Gyagenda, who led the petitioners, said that some regional hospitals should be equipped to perform dialysis on patients, which would also save the country foreign exchange for the patients that go to India for such treatment.
Parliament will on Thursday 28 March 2019 host the World Kidney Day commemorations under the theme, ‘Kidney health for everyone, everywhere’.
Meanwhile, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has appealed to Parliament to consider an increase in salaries of doctors that did not benefit from the same in earlier financial years.
Dr. Mukuzi Muhereza, the Secretary General of UMA, District Health Officers, Assistant Commissioners and Directors in the Ministry of Health were not considered during the recent salary increment.
The doctors presented their petition to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, on Monday 25 March 2019.