Spendylove Safoaa, 14, says she was diagnosed with renal disease three years ago when she was only eleven (11) years old.
It began by manifesting on her face, she said. Her face began to swell then her belly and then her feet.
Living with her parents at the time, the disease was inferred to be a curse by members of their community. This triggered a travel spree from one spiritual avenue to another.
She narrated, “I’m 14 years old, I have Chronic Kidney Disease, I was 11 years old when I was diagnosed with it. My face began to swell first, followed by my belly and feet. People said I had been cursed by someone so I was taken to various spiritual centres.
All those while, her health kept deteriorating. Finally, her mother decided to seek medical attention for her daughter. She was admitted to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).
“My mother lost hope and sent me to a hospital and I was transferred to the KATH. I was admitted there. At that point, I couldn’t empty my bowel and I was weak. I was given medical care and that is why I am standing here today.”
Emotionally, she said many of the renal disease victims she met at the teaching hospital in Kumasi died.
She recounted her ordeal during the celebration of the 2022 World Kidney day at the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi, organised by the Ghana Kidney Association (GKA). This year’s celebration was dubbed, “Kidney Health For All, Bridging The Knowledge Gap To Better Kidney Health”.
It is estimated that about 697.5 million Chronic Kidney Disease cases were recorded in the year 2017 which is a 29.3% increase in cases recorded in the year 1990. Similarly, in the same year, over a 1.2million individuals died worldwide from Chronic Renal Disease, which is a 41.5% increase over the number of kidney-related deaths recorded in 1990.
Records show that around 1.4 million people died from kidney disease in 2019 which is over 20% rise in kidney-related fatalities recorded in 2010 which means that since 1990, the number of people afflicted with kidney disease is increasing and at the same time, a lot of people are dying from kidney diseases.
In Ghana, the prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is estimated to be about 13.3% according to records. The Ghana Health Service (GHS) data shows that in 2021, 31,835 kidney-related diseases were recorded representing over 250% increase of the 9,071 recorded in 2016.
Kidney disease-related mortality continues to increase yearly and is projected to be the 5th leading cause of death by 2040.
Regular dialysis or transplantation is the only treatment for CKD each of which is expensive. According to the Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, a patient who needs three sessions of treatment a week will need to pay an estimated 50,700 Ghana cedis a year for the dialysis, a cost of treatment that is out of reach of the majority of the victims and results in the premature death of many renal disease patients.
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini