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Children’s hospital commemorates World Kidney Day

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital commemorated World Kidney Day (WKD) last Thursday March 11.

The theme “Living Well with Kidney Disease” was aimed at looking at ways to reduce stress factors through education, empowerment and by building a partnership with patients and their families. The Children’s hospital ‎paediatric nephrologist, Dr Deveshni Reddy says the diagnosis and management, particularly in the advanced stages of kidney disease, impacts severely upon the lives of their young patients. “It reduces their ability to participate in everyday activities like attending school, participating in extra-curricular activities and socialising, whilst the whole family’s ability to travel and parents ability to work is also affected,” she says.

The Children’s hospital conducts around 10 to 12 kidney transplants a year.

Bronwen Fredericks, 15, is one of two patients who received new kidneys in February. She is really grateful for her new kidney and is excited to start her new life. The kidneys were donated by a young organ donor who had discussed donation with his family before his untimely passing. Bronwen says she is grateful for her donor and looks forward to pursuing her hobby of dancing again. She and her mother Briget Fredericks would like to thank the family of the organ donor and all the organ donors for their selfless sacrifice. “I would like to encourage everyone, especially parents, to do a regular general check-up with their children at a clinic or general practitioner,” she says. Ms Fredericks says a simple blood pressure test could show them that there was a serious problem and they were able to take action that saved her daughter.

Dr Reddy says their goal is to take a more patient-centred approach in addition to managing the disease itself. “Patients will feel hope and be encouraged to live well and ‘better’ with kidney disease and be able to participate more in all life has to offer.”

Head of Paediatric Nephrology and Solid Organ Transplantation at the Children’s hospital, Professor Mignon McCulloch said: “While we always try our best to treat chronic kidney disease and other kidney disorders through medical intervention, sometimes a surgical intervention, or dialysis and resultant kidney transplant, is the only option.” Professor McCulloch says the children’s hospital has one of the most active paediatric transplant services in South Africa, “which is only possible due to the close collaboration with the multi-disciplinary role-players from Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross.”

The Western Cape Health Department have shared several ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease:

– Keep fit, be active.

– Eat a healthy diet.

– Check and control your blood sugar

– Check and control your blood pressure.

– Take appropriate fluid intake.

– Don’t smoke.

– Don’t take over the counter inflammatory medication and painkillers on a regular basis.

– Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more high risk factors like hypertension, signs of obesity, diabetes and a family history of kidney disease.

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