Ministry highlights media role in kidney campaign

Health Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb visits an exhibition after opening events of the World Kidney Day in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)

Health Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb visits an exhibition after opening events of the World Kidney Day in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)

Health Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb called for the media to support the National Kidney Diseases Awareness Campaign which was launched on Tuesday to mark the World Kidney Day.

This year, the Kingdom joins 90 countries in the world to observe World Kidney Day.

“The media is a strategic partner for this campaign which needs dissemination of information about kidney disease, its prevention, cause and effects,” the minister said, adding that the world is spending colossal sums of money for such awareness campaigns.

“Let us work together to pass on the message to the people so that they can lead a healthy life,” Al-Khateeb stressed.

The minister pointed out that there are 15,000 patients who have reached the End-Stage-of Renal Disease (ESRD) in the Kingdom, this is minimal figure compared to the 600 million such patients around the world.

There are some 10,200 dialysis patients taking treatment in 143 centers throughout the Kingdom.

“There are 3,400 dialysis machines in these centers,” the minister said, promising that the dialysis centers will be increased to 167 to reach the patients living in remote towns and villages.

“These centers meet international standards and are maintained by two reputed companies which enjoy a sound medical service globally.”

Locally, he said his ministry has been coordinating with the ministries of Defense, Interior, National Guard and the private sector for the treatment of renal patients in the Kingdom.

At regional level, the minister said the Ministry of Health has been coordinating through its Saudi Health Council with the health ministries in the GCC and in the Arab region. He recalled that the Kingdom took part in recent meeting held in Cairo which dealt with the latest advances in the renal diseases.

“There are 2,400 Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC) in the Kingdom which help patients to identify renal diseases at an early stage and refer them to specialized health facilities,” he said.

He said that this year’s program has been dubbed “Kidney, health for all.”

He pointed out that the program not only would look after the patients but also would focus on their family members to offer counselling to ease their psychological problems caused by the patient’s illness .

Describing it as a silent killer, the minister urged everyone to be aware of this disease for its early prevention and early treatment.

Al-Khateeb also thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Muqrin and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif for their generosity in supporting the prevention and treatment of kidney patients in the Kingdom.

Undersecretary for Hospital Affairs Dr. Aqeel Al-Ghamdi said the annual growth of the number of kidney patients in the Kingdom is only 7.2 percent, while the global percentage is 14.2 percent. He attributed renal diseases to diabetes, obesity, change in lifestyle and hypertension.

Reports said that unless preventive actions are taken, the number of kidney patients would reach two million in the Kingdom.

The mission of World Kidney Day is to raise awareness on the importance of kidney function to overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

Al-Ghamdi pointed out that renal failure patients not only need medical support, but also need psychological treatment. The ministry offers both of these services in all its dialysis centers throughout the Kingdom.

He said the ministry had undertaken various programs not only to treat kidney patients, but also to advise them on how to prevent these diseases. He attributed the increasing number of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure to a change in lifestyle.

He explained that diabetes and hypertension are the two main causes of kidney problems.


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