Namibia: Free Kidney Screening for 5 000 Patients in Zambezi

THE management of a newly opened kidney and dialysis specialist centre at Katima Mulilo has vowed to do free screening for kidney diseases for 5 000 patients over the next two years.

Owner of the centre Dr Glendah Kalunga revealed this during the official opening of the centre last week.

According to Kalunga, the centre's primary focus is the prevention, early detection and slowing down of the progression of chronic kidney disease. Kalunga said the centre would provide screening services so that people at risk of kidney disease can detect the risks early and be able to take measures to address the threats to their kidney health as well. "We will also offer diagnostic services for kidney disease in the form of kidney biopsies and therapeutic services in the form of dialysis treatment. As such we will also prepare patients for possible kidney treatment," she added.

Kalunga said their services would not be restricted to the centre, but would be extended to the state hospital at Katima Mulilo through collaboration.

The minister of health and social services, Kalumbi Shangula, who was also speaking at the opening of the centre, noted that patients would no longer have to travel long distances to access kidney and dialysis treatments, as the service has been brought close to them.

"I am confident that the new facility will radically improve the quality of service and infrastructure for patients and staff. Currently this dialysis centre has two machines. However, the facility has the capacity to accommodate eight machines should the need arise. The current machines can treat 12 patients on a 12-hour working day or 24 patients based on a 24-hour cycle. Dr Kalunga has assured me that she has more machines on standby should the need arise to increase capacity. There are currently seven patients of whom most have been referred by the state," he said.

Shangula further said he had been made aware that there were inquiries from neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe and Zambia about the possibility of patients in those countries receiving treatment at the centre. If there is extra capacity, medical tourism can also be accommodated.

"Namibia, with a total population of 2,5 million, has more than 300 confirmed cases of chronic kidney failure disease. The majority of these cases are already being treated in both government and private health facilities. The facilities such as these will go a long way in alleviating the need for kidney treatment," Shangula said.

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