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World Kidney Week 2018 to focus on women

By Glen Simon, Ministry of Health

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(GIS) – World Kidney Day 2018 coincides with the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8.

Annually observed on March 2, World Kidney Day is a global awareness campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of kidneys to one’s overall health and reducing the frequency of impact of kidney disease and its associated problems.

Consultant Nephrologist Dr. Merle Clarke spoke briefly about this year’s observance.

“We are focusing particularly on our women as it pertains to their kidney health this year. Some of the activities planned for this week’s observance include presentations at various schools and business houses on the importance of kidney health. The activities culminate with the annual Celebrity Sports Day on March 11 at the Vigie Sports Complex, and we’re extremely excited about our sports day this year because again, it’s all about the women. For the most part we do plan to have women against men, competing in cricket, netball, football and volleyball. So we advocate both kidney health and overall women’s health, as women really are the backbone of the family, of the society, and of the world at large. So when women are healthy you find the society tends to prosper.”

Dr. Clarke pointed out that although the number of persons presenting with renal issues are increasing it’s not necessarily bad as it points to increased awareness and advocacy on the part of both physicians and patients to seek the relevant tests early.

“We certainly see that as a success. There’s a lot more that we need to do, but for now we do think that we’re getting somewhere and we certainly plan to continue to be warriors in this fight, to continue to advocate until we get to each and every Saint Lucian.”

Ucella Joseph, a dialysis patient for over 10 years made an appeal for greater public assistance.

“In order to help those on dialysis and in order to make prevention something easier we try to raise funds especially during that month. There is a ribbon that is available and the minimum donation is three dollars but you can donate as much as you like. And with that money we use it to help prevent new patients from coming onto dialysis, and to assist those who are already on dialysis.”

With just over a month of the new dialysis unit being commissioned, Dr. Clarke said: “We’ve been able with the extra machine to increase our capacity.”

World Kidney Day is being observed under the theme “Kidney and Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower.”

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