President wants legislation on organs to fight kidney disease
President of the Barbados Kidney Association, Allan Haynes, says that now is the time to encourage Members of Parliament to pass the legislation to harvest organs, a step that would go a long way in fighting chronic kidney disease which affects one in 10 adults globally.
The legislation, which has already been passed in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana, can result in significant improvements in the life of dialysis patients and financial savings to the Government through the act of transplants.
It would translate to approximately $200k per patient saved over a five-year period.
“At present Barbados can only complete transplants from live donors. The law does not allow kidney transplants from deceased persons,” Haynes said. “This limits the amount of kidney transplants that can be done. Government has to pass legislation to allow doctors to harvest organs when persons are deemed to be brain dead.”
At present Barbados has over 400 patients with stage 5 kidney disease who receive dialysis treatment at an annual cost of $18 million, but between 50 to 60 people die from it every year. Additionally there are between 20 000 and 30 000 people on the island with kidney disease between stages 1 and 4.
According to the data, it is estimated that if ten per cent of these people progress to stage 5 kidney disease, the treatment would result in an additional cost of $100-$150 million for dialysis which is the main treatment for End Stage Kidney Failure – Stage 5.
It was numbers like those and others around the world that led to The World Kidney Day Joint Steering Committee declaring 2023 to be the year of “Kidney Health for All- Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable”.
It was celebrated on March 9 this year.
Speaking on the theme Haynes said: “It invites us to be fully conscious of how disasters, natural or man-made, can impact on people living with kidney disease when their access to appropriate diagnostic services, treatment and care is hindered. It is not only people living with kidney disease and their caregivers, but all society must be prepared to avoid and/or minimise any disruption to access to treatment or care.”
There are five stages of Kidney failure. In the early stages there are usually no symptoms. The only way to know if you have kidney failure is through a blood or urine test. The main symptoms of kidney disease are: vomiting, no appetite, weakness, swelling feet, itching and shortness of breath.
There are precautionary measures to take in order to protect the health of one’s kidneys. It is advised that one reduces their salt and sugar intake, monitor their blood pressure, get some exercise, eat a balanced diet, limit processed foods, avoid smoking and drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
Chronic Kidney Disease is projected to be the fifth leading cause of death globally by 2040. (JC)