KARACHI - Various health centres and organisations in the metropolis on Thursday observed “World Kidney Day” spreading awareness on kidney diseases that had have an alarming presence in the country.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 180 million people around the world have diabetes and 10 to 20 per cent of them will die of renal failure, as diabetes and hypertension are the leading causes of kidney failure worldwide.

In Pakistan, there are about 18 million people suffering from diabetes and at least 40 per cent of them will end up developing a chronic kidney disease. With the sixth largest population of diabetes in the world, Pakistan is encountering a rapid rise in kidney diseases. The country does have a law for donation of organs of a cadaver. And if the same is practiced, we can save the majority of patients from dropping dead from renal, liver, heart and lungs failure. “Donate Kidneys for Life Receive” was the theme of this year’s World Kidney Day.

At various seminars and conferences, experts stressed the need for early diagnosis and intensive treatment for people suffering from renal diseases, saying that an increased intake of vegetables, whole grain cereals, low fat milk and a low intake of saturated fats (ghee), salt and simple sugars can help prevent various diseases, including heart and kidney problems.

In the City, various hospitals, including the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), held “kidney function tests” (urea, blood tests, ultrasound, blood pressure, measurement of height and weight) of citizens free of cost. It is pertinent to mention here that the SIUT is considered as a role model and a centre of excellence in the country. It offers free services to kidney patients from all over the country.

The SIUT organised this event and a seminar as a part of worldwide celebration.

SIUT Director Prof Adib Rizvi said world kidney day was a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF).

He said this year the theme of World Kidney Day was “Donate Kidneys for Life Receive”. He said every year, 50,000 people suffer from organ failure. Out of these, 15,000 suffered from renal failure.

SIUT Nephrology Assistant Professor Dr Sajid Bhatti said yearly there was an increase in incidence of renal failure. He said, “About 250-300 million people the world over suffered from renal failure. There is an increase in incidence of diabetes and hypertension leading to chronic renal failure. There is 40 per cent rise in incidence per year. There is urgent need for early detection through blood and urine tests, and ultrasound kidneys.”

SIUT Diabetes Specialist Dr Imran said every year, 366 million people suffered from diabetes and by year 2030, this number would reach 552 million, of which 80 per cent of the patients live in middle and lower income group. “Pakistan will be the 10th largest country of the world having diabetic patients. It is necessary to control diabetes to prevent chronic renal failure.”

Dr Seema Hashmi, Paediatric Nephrologist of the SIUT, said if “we diagnosed and treated the disease in early stages, we can save lives of children suffering from chronic kidney diseases and hypertension”.

Dr Munawar Khaliq of the SIUT gave an overview of stone disease. He said stone disease is also a major cause of renal failure in this part of the world. With adequate oral hydration we can minimize stone disease.

SIUT Dietician Sabeen said obesity was one of the main reasons of cardiac diseases, diabetes, and hypertension. She said obesity was preventable and the national health survey of 1990-94 showed obesity was more common in urban population, especially amongst females. She said a balance between physical activity and diet would help prevent obesity.