KARACHI - Renowned surgeon Prof Adibul Hassan Rizvi has said the organ trade was on the rise in various parts of the country despite the government ban on this inhuman practice. "Some religious people have moved to the Shariat Court against the organ trade bill claiming that it is contradictory to the Islamic laws. Every year 20,000 new kidney patients are reported in rural areas of the country due to the lack of infrastructure there," he said. He was talking to The Nation on Wednesday in connection with the World Kidney Day. He added that high blood pressure was one of the key symptoms and causes of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). "Lahore and Rawalpindi have become centres of the kidney trade and majority of the kidney sellers, almost 70 per cent, are bonded labourers from rural Punjab. They work in inhuman and deplorable conditions and are burdened by heavy debts of the landlords, which is carried on for generations. They sell their kidneys as they are attracted by the handsome sum of money offered initially. But after losing their kidneys their economic condition does not change. They still remain under the burden of the heavy debt as they are paid a very small amount of around Rs 70,000 and the beneficiary is the middleman, the doctors and the hospitals. They earn billions through exploiting the poor desperate villagers", he added. Rizvi warned that patient's numbers would be doubled in the years to come. Dr Rizvi said, "Only 1 per cent of the GDP of Pakistan is allocated to the health sector. Private hospitals can be afforded by no more than 2-4 per cent of the population. Basic health care is not widely available in Pakistan, let alone costly treatment modalities such as solid organ transplantation. The goal of SIUT is to provide healthcare in the field of Urology, Nephrology and Transplantation to all, entirely free of cost and with dignity. Pakistan has a high burden of urological diseases. Stone disease afflict 60 per cent of these patients, and other conditions such as posterior urethral valves, bladder outlet obstruction, urethral stricture, bladder exostrophy, hypospadias, neurogenic bladder, urological tuberculosis and malignancies have also been treated." According to experts of Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Kidney failure is caused by slow, progressive and often silent chronic kidney disease and is a result of kidneys losing their ability to remove excess fluids, minerals and wastes from the blood. Once this happens a person's options are limited to extremely expensive dialysis or a kidney transplant. The average cost of dialysis treatment is over Rs. 300,000 a year, while the cost of a kidney transplant is approximately Rs. 400,000, excluding other treatment costs. These procedures are simply unaffordable for the vast majority of Pakistani families. But kidney disease is treatable and early detection can keep kidney disease from getting worse and can prevent the need for dialysis or a transplant. Simple urine and blood tests can detect early signs of kidney problems and should become part of public health programmes. According to research, led by Dr Tazeen Jafar, Head, Section of Nephrology, AKUH, one in three adults in Pakistan over the age of 40 has some form of kidney disease, caused mainly by diabetes and high blood pressure. In all cases of kidney disease, regular exercise, monitoring blood glucose levels, maintaining a diet low in saturated fats and salt, and quitting smoking are advised. The number of children in Pakistan who develop kidney stones is also growing. Dr Raziuddin Biyabani, Head, Section of Urology, mentioned that the causes of kidney stones range from dehydration to dietary imbalance, and symptoms include abdominal pain and blood in the urine. Monitoring this condition is essential as kidney stones recur with greater frequency over time and may decrease the life expectancy of young children. When treating children with kidney disease, Dr Arshalooz Rahman, Consultant Paediatrician, mentioned that health care providers must also look for other health problems such as anaemia and high blood pressure, conditions commonly found in children with advanced kidney diseases.