WINDHOEK - Patients who travelled a weekly round-trip of roughly 2600 km from the Zambezi Region to Windhoek to access dialysis treatment will no longer have to worry about the marathon journey after a private medical doctor opened a new dialysis centre at Katima Mulilo.
Dr Glendah Kalunga, a specialist nephrologist and physician is the owner of the Kidney and Dialysis Specialist Centre at Katima Mulilo where she set up the kidney hospital after she found there was a need and was encouraged by the regional political leadership to open up such a medical facility.
Currently, she is assisted by three nurses and a cleaner. The kidney centre will officially be inaugurated by the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula on July 11.
“It is gratifying, it’s been such a long journey and this makes it worthwhile,” she enthused, adding that currently, the centre has two machines on which eight patients could have their dialysis on a day but she indicated more machines would be installed as the need arises and there is provision to make its operations to run for 24-hours as the number of its patients increases.
The centre also provides screening and modifying the lifestyle of patients to improve their lives.
In one of the cases one of the patients each week forked out N$3500 from M’pacha Airport to Eros to have two dialysis therapy in Windhoek before flying back while other kidney patients opted for cheaper road transport paying N$1000 each week to access dialysis services in Windhoek.
Apart from paying for transport, patients from the Zambezi Region also had to pay for accommodation while their cellphone bills were high as they communicated with their families mainly through mobile handsets which put a massive strain on their personal finances.
One of the kidney patients who requested anonymity to protect his medical privacy said the new dialysis unit operationalised this week by a private medical institution at Katima will compel him to relocate to his hometown because in 2017 he had relocated to Ongwediva on medical grounds.
His relocation isolated him from his family and he had to look for a room to rent at Ongwediva. “We are now very happy to hear Katima has its own dialysis machines. I’m now going back home to be near my family. I think they should increase the number of the dialysis machines from two to four,” said the homesick patient who rejoiced over the new kidney installation of the new machines.
He said chronic kidney patients from Zambezi have waited for this development for too long though others feel government should also buy dialysis machines for state hospitals as most of them are owned by private medical institutions in Ongwediva and Rundu.
Another patient who on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays of each week had to spend N$1300 to fuel his vehicle for a round trip of 1000 km from Katima to Rundu to access this treatment also echoed similar sentiments, saying he will now spend more time and be closer to his family.
The patient who similarly requested for anonymity to protect his medical privacy said, “I’m very happy, this will greatly help us and reduce stress and bring us closer to our families because before this, we had to communicate with our families mostly by cellphone. My family needed my attention but I communicated with them mostly via cellphone and I could not attend to family matters.”
The patient said he spent a fortune on rentals and he at times travelled to Windhoek, adding that the newly opened dialysis centre will save him and other kidney patients “a lot of money.”
Dialysis is the medical process of removing excess water, solutes and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally. This also helps to control the blood pressure. The most common cause of death overall in the dialysis population is cardiovascular disease which is 10 to 20 times more in dialysis patients than in the general population.
2019-06-07 09:39:26 19 days ago