Patients living with kidney conditions and who receive life-saving dialysis have appealed to the authorities to establish more facilities in the regions.
The patients say they were sounding an alarm about an overlooked crisis. “Some patients travel long distances to Windhoek to access life-saving dialysis treatment,” said a family member of a patient living with a kidney condition and who requested not to be named. A group of concerned patients complained that those from regions with no dialysis facilities are forced to move or travel to towns where there are such centres, compromising on their work, families, and other issues of importance.
“While we appreciate current dialysis scheduled programmes for us to attend, we access these services at a huge cost,” complained another patient from Gobabis, adding he has not been at his house for two years due to monetary reasons as he had to undergo dialysis centres three days a week in Windhoek.
Another patient from Keetmanshoop, who has been on dialysis treatment for three years now, said he is also financially burdened and is forced to take loans to cover his transport funds to and from Windhoek every week. These patients made a desperate call for the government to come to their rescue, adding that it would be within the proximity to reach out and not live in the current limitations or isolation which can compromise both on their health status and family commitments. In an interview with New Era, the patients argued that they are left in the cold and their concerns are not prioritised.
“We are suffering. Kidney failure is as deadly as any other disease and it requires good medical attention. If only we had an association that provides support as best possible to help prevent and promote better treatment options of this disease.”
The dialysis services are offered in Khomas, Oshana and Kavango East regions, while the state makes use of private service providers in other regions.
Approached for comment, health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe acknowledged the concerns of the patients, saying the matter is being taken care of.
“We are aware of that issue, but the matter is not just about setting up equipment, it requires trained personnel and at the moment we do not have sufficient trained personnel,” said Nangombe. He added the state uses the private dialysis services and the government covers the costs through the special fund of the health ministry.