Major focus on the kidney this week

MONTEGO BAY, St James — This week is being observed as World Kidney Awareness Week, and the renal dialysis unit at Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) has planned a host of activities geared at raising awareness of chronic kidney disease and renal failure.

This year’s World Kidney Awareness Week is being observed from March 5-11, with World Kidney Day celebrated on March 9 under the theme ‘Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable!’

To kick-start the week Georgette Lee-Green, a patient care assistant at CRH, told the Jamaica Observer that patients and their loved ones are invited to gather for worship at 9:00 am on Sunday at Salt Spring New Testament Church of God in this western parish. The renal department is looking forward to celebrating its 114 patients during this week.

“The patients and staff will be in attendance. They, the patients and staff, will also be actively involved in the service,” Lee-Green said.

Over three days the department will be hosting educational seminars for the relatives and loved ones of those diagnosed with kidney diseases, Lee-Green shared. She explained that with a high prevalence rate of chronic kidney disease across the Jamaica society the CRH renal unit believes that more support is needed for its patients.

“On March 8-10 we will be having a patient education seminar and also a patient appreciation day; the relatives are invited to come in. We will be giving the patients educational talks on their nutrition, a psychologist will be coming in, a pharmacist will be coming, and different churches in the community will be involved in these activities,” she told the Sunday Observer.

Lee-Green also noted that a lack of understanding and support had caused several renal patients to feel isolated. Some have also been bullied for their illness, according to the patient care assistant.

“This week is also aimed at educating the public about what renal failure is and what dialysis is, because I don’t believe that the public is adequately informed or they even know what it is. Sometimes we have our patients who have a catheter in and are disfigured being teased for it. People who have cancer are supported but I believe that persons who are on dialysis need to be treated fairly just the same,” she said.

Source: Jamaica Observer