Wearable artificial kidney
While HIV and tuberculosis are hitting the headlines daily, thousands are quietly dying of lifestyle diseases, many which can be prevented if diagnosed and treated early.
South Africa has about 15 000 people whose kidney problems cannot be treated because of a lack of organ donations, insufficient dialysis machines and exclusion arising from other significant diseases.The crisis was acknowledged by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who told Sowetan yesterday that the government was finalising a policy on organ transplantation and chronic renal dialysis. The South African Dialysis and Transplant Registry estimates that about 21 000 South Africans are currently experiencing kidney failure.Of that figure only 5 000 patients receive treatment, leaving more than 15 000 without treatment. There are two types of treatment available to patients with kidney failure -kidney transplants or dialysis, which alleviates the condition. There is a serious lack of kidney donations, said Katz. Similar problems affect thousands of patients, who need heart, liver, lung, pancreas, cornea, tissue and bone transplants, the Organ Donor Foundation said. The machines, however, were interim measures until transplants are performed. Each machine costs R100 000 and treatment for a single patient costs another R100 000 a year. Therefore, only those with the highest chances of living are afforded kidney treatment. The main causes of kidney failure were hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and toxins people received from using muti.