Kidney disease patients speak out

Survivor: Motyale says her faith in God gave hope. PIC: KABO MPAETONA
Survivor: Motyale says her faith in God gave hope. PIC: KABO MPAETONA

Kereng Motyale recalls her terror at being diagnosed with kidney disease. She believed the disease would end her life, but was put at ease when Princess Marina Hospital (PMH) medical officials told her that she would receive help.

“I, like Paul in the Bible, never lost hope. My faith was based on Paul’s Book where I have learnt that a thorn pricked him but he did not give up. He looked on God for help.

“He did not lay petitions to him but knew he would one day remove that thorn from his foot and he could walk again. I knew that chronic kidney disease did not determine my future,” she said with a smile.

Motyale shared her story last week as Princess Marina Hospital celebrated World Kidney Day in Gaborone. Patients shared their stories of living with the disease and the transformations they have had to make in their lifestyles.

Motyale said she is using Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) instead of haemodialysis as it is user friendly in most parts of Botswana.

PD is a treatment for patients with severe chronic kidney disease. The process uses the patient’s peritoneum in the abdomen as a membrane across which fluids and dissolved substances (electrolytes, urea, glucose, albumin and other small molecules) are exchanged from the blood.  Fluid is introduced through a permanent tube in the abdomen and flushed out either every night while the patient sleeps (automatic peritoneal dialysis) or via regular exchanges throughout the day (continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis). PD is used as an alternative to hemodialysis though it is far less commonly used in Botswana.

“I would like to advise those who use PD like me to pin down a hook or a nail on the wall of their rooms where they can comfortably insert the medicine on their body.

“This process is not painful or hard. Anyone can do it but you have to ensure that you do it well and the environment you do live in is clean at all times. Wash your hands thoroughly to avoid infections,” she advised.

Motyale also told the gathering that when one was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease they had to completely change their lifestyles such as going to the fields or cattle posts and even change the kind of food they eat as that would help them live longer.

Galaletsang Ishamael was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease on March 1, 2014 and she was later referred for an operation in South Africa. She said that before she went to SA for a transplant, she and her sister who donated her kidney went through counselling and various tests.

“We were told what to eat before and after the transplant. I have been advised not to get fat and I am in medical observation for a year. I used a mask for six months to avoid infections and was advised to avoid populated areas,” she said.

Even though she said the transplant was good, she advised the community to change their lifestyles by not drinking alcohol, smoking and eating junk food. She said people must exercise regularly and live well as prevention is better than cure. World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Dr Felicitas Zawaira, advised relatives to save their loved ones by donating kidneys. She said that people had a tendency of refusing to give a kidney to their relatives fearing that they might also be prone to chronic kidney diseases. “It is not wrong to save a relative. Kidneys are donated by people with the same genes and imagine how you would feel when you know that your brother or sister died because you refused to donate a kidney,” she said.

She further added that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 38 million people each year and that almost three quarters of NCD deaths, 28 million occur in low and middle-income countries, 16 million NCD deaths occur before age 70 and 82 percent of premature deaths occur in these countries.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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