efforts to curb Kidney disease in NCP | Daily News

efforts to curb Kidney disease in NCP

Since CKD and CKDu are on increase in the North Central Province, top priority is being extended to the region on the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena

The North Central Province is the largest province in Sri Lanka which includes the Anuradhapura district, which is the largest in the country, and the Polonnaruwa district. This region is famous as wew bendhi rajya or Rajarata due to the existence of around 4,000 irrigational tanks from ancient days. The total population, of which the majority are farmers, is 1,367,776, including 930,875 in Anuradhapura and 436,901 in Polonnaruwa.

Kidney disease was first reported in the zone in the first quarter of 1990, and the number has been rapidly increasing in the last three decades. Any permanent solution to eradicate the disease in Rajarata has not been found yet. According to Health Ministry statistics, the majority of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) patients are found in the Anuradhapura district.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an unsolved problem and the people suffering from CKD expect the state to help them cope with the disease. According to the WHO, the main cause for the ailment is contaminated water containing heavy metals such as cadmium and arsenic.

According to the district-wise statistics, at the end of 2018, the number of patients with kidney diseases was 10,016 in the Anuradhapura district and 6,663 in the Polonnaruwa district.

Hospital statistics indicate that annually around 200 to 300 patients die in the two districts. Provincial Health Service Director Dr. Palitha Bandara said that the CKD / CKDu screening programme began in 2015, for those above 20 years.

During the period from 2008 to 2018, the total number of patients in the Anuradhapura district was 21,757 and 11,120 in the Polonnaruwa district.

The highest number of CKD patients in the Anuradhapura district is in Medawachchiya and in the Polonnaruwa district, in Medirigiriya. The areas, Kebithigollewa, Padaviya, Rambawewa, Horowpothana, Elahera, Hingurakgoda and Dimbulagala in the North Central Province are more prone to the occurrence of CKD.

When categorised, it was found that the farmer community was highly vulnerable to the disease.

In advanced stages of the disease, the patient would need dialysis. Due to the dearth of trained doctors and nursing staff to run dialysis units, the eight dialysis machines in Thambuttegama and Kebithigollewa hospitals are idling. The total number of CKD patients in the two MOH divisions is 862.

Each patient needs dialysis treatment thrice a week and the exercise costs the government around Rs. 40,000 monthly.

The Anuradhapura Kidney Hospital undertakes renal transplant surgeries and from 2012 to 2018, 174 surgeries were performed in which 14 patients died after the operations.

The Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) is a self-dialysing treatment methodology. Under this system, a kidney patient can perform dialysis at home without travelling to a hospital. The majority of CKD patients in Rajarata are deprived of this CAPD system as it requires a separate hygienically prepared room and a toilet equipped with modern accessories which they cannot afford.

In the meantime, the Kidney Protection Foundation (AKPF) in the Anuradhapura Kidney Treatment and Research Institute has embarked on a welfare programme for kidney patients. This was initiated by Dr. Thilak Abeysekara in 2008. Atamasthanadhipathi Ven. Dr. Pallegama Siriniwasa Nayaka Thera chairs the Foundation. The AKPF has screened 20,000 persons since 2015 and 2,221 positive cases were referred for medical treatment. Also, the Foundation offers a donation of Rs. 25,000 to every patient who undergoes kidney transplantation surgery at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital. So far they have donated Rs. 1.1 million.

Apart from these activities, the AKPF supports school-going children whose families have CKD patients or whose family members are have succumbed to the disease. Under the Sisu Diriya programme, Rs. 2,262,750 was paid to 136 school-going children.

The Presidential Task Force for the Prevention of Kidney Disease has been taking continuous efforts to minimise the spread of renal ailments and provide for the welfare of CKD patients. Since pure drinking water is essential in preventing the spread of the ailment, the Presidential Task Force in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Navy and the National water Supply and Drainage Board has taken steps to install reverse osmosis (R.O.) plants to provide treated drinking water to the people in the disease-prone areas. So far 230 R.O. plants have been provided for rural areas in the NCP which suffer from acute shortage of potable drinking water. It is learnt that a population of 565,000 in both districts gets 228,000 litres of purified drinking free per day in the province.

The government has spent Rs. 375 million for installation of the 230 R.O. plants in the NCP. Apart from the provision of large-scale machines, under this programme, 5,000 domestic water filters have been offered to 21,000 beneficiaries including 900 in the NCP. In addition, 13,432 CKD patients in the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts were paid an allowance of Rs. 5,000 per month in 2018.

Since CKD and CKDu are on increase in the North Central Province, top priority is being extended to the region on the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena. The construction of a specialised kidney hospital in Polonnaruwa is in progress with financial aid from China.

This hospital building complex consists of 200 beds, 100 dialysis beds, a well-equipped operating theatre, an intensive care unit and a research laboratory. Also, a four-storey kidney patients’ welfare centre containing 30 rooms for patients, two dormitories, a lecture hall, an auditorium and a shopping complex is coming up close to the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital at a cost of Rs. 200 million. This welfare centre is scheduled to be inaugurated soon by the President. Also, a kidney patient’s livelihood empowerment centre in Girandurukotte is under construction at a cost of Rs. 43 million.


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