Renal patients face serious challenges

It’s World Kidney Day on 10 March and, at this very moment, thousands of South Africans are desperately waiting for kidney donors.

“Each week, the equivalent of two planes full of South African lives are lost because of lack of access to renal replacement treatment,” wrote Prof Rafique Moosa in an editorial published in a recent issue of the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ).

Prof Moosa heads the Department of Medicine at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). In the article, Moosa, who is also a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Transplantation, and his co-authors, discussed the challenges faced by renal patients in South Africa. These include:

  • A shortage of trained health professionals – South Africa currently has 1,1 kidney specialists (nephrologists) for every million people.
  • Inequities in the provision of renal services between rich and poor, and people living in urban and rural areas.
  • A shortage of funds and the high price of dialysis – treatment costs approximately R200 000 per patient per year.
  • The small number of organ donors in South Africa – only 4,7 out of every million South Africans are organ donors.

Click here for the full SAMJ article.

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