Anxiety builds up after grumbling by kidney patients

Friday, June 5th, 2020 00:00 |
Kidney transplant physician Dr. Srinivas Murthy, during the interview. Photo/PD/BENARD MALONZA

Patients battling various kidney disorders are anxious to see the social distancing restrictions, especially the partial lockdown lifted in order for them to attend their regular doctor appointments with renal specialists.

It has emerged that most of the patients requiring renal procedures have to undergo through a number of challenges to be able to see their doctors.

Besides being required to apply for special permits, especially for those who have to come to Nairobi, they are confronted by other challenges such as logistics and drug stock-outs occasioned by the raging coronavirus pandemic across the world.

In a discussion with Dr. Srinivas Murthy, a kidney transplant physician, known in medical circles as nephrology, People Daily established that for fear that his patients may be infected with Covid-19, he had to postpone the procedures.

“We temporarily postponed the transplant activities for a couple of months because of corona, and since transplant is an elective surgery, meaning it can be done at any time, we are planning to restart the programme in a few weeks when the restrictions have been eased,” he said.

In a Third World country setting like Kenya, Murthy, a consultant nephrologist with Mediheal Group of Hospitals, said many drugs come from outside the country particularly from India, which closed her borders.

He said resumption of the transplant programme will happen when the diagnostics and other logistics restrictions are eased off as transportation of samples has become difficult.

“So the cargo transport itself is experiencing delays. At times we are not sure whether we will get our shipments of drugs in time.

Drug procurement is becoming difficult and even patient travel for instance those from villages to dialysis facilities.

We have to apply for special permissions to allow them attend their dialysis units,” he added adding that so far he has been able to manage despite these challenges of drugs.

“Reason is that even during this period of corona, I have been watching both the dialysis and transplant patients.

They are doing fairly well. Though technically they are at risk by virtue of being kidney patients and transplant patients,” he said adding, “during Covid-19 period we do not encourage patients to travel too much from a low risk area to a high risk area.”

Dialysis being a life-long medical programme for kidney patients with those affected living on artificial organ support, he has arranged for his patients to attend clinics twice or thrice a week.

“Let us note that our kidneys work round the clock; not once a week or otherwise, so dialysis is technically round the clock but that is not practically possible.

So it’s done say twice or thrice a week, bearing in mind that if patient misses it that would be dangerous. When you are a patient who requires dialysis, you can’t miss it,” he said.

When the Covid-19 was first reported in Kenya, Murthy said as physicians they were afraid that they could lose many of their patients.

But that has not been higher than what is happening among members of the general public…”somehow.”

“The mortality has been at par or even less than the general public. More elderly people have died more than 

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