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Four million Kenyans suffer kidney disease

By Lonah Kibet | Published Fri, March 10th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 9th 2017 at 21:56 GMT +3

About four million Kenyans are suffering from chronic kidney disease, an organisation said Thursday.

Kenya Renal Association (KRA) chairman Seth Mc'Ligeyo said: "Of this number, only about 10 per cent can afford dialysis services. I can confidently tell you we currently have less than 10,000 patients on dialysis."

The first dialysis unit in Kenya was put up at the Kenyatta National Hospital in 1984 and had 25 machines. However, more hospitals, including private ones, have since set up dialysis units.

One dialysis session costs Sh9,500. This has caused a major strain on patients but the National Hospital Insurance Fund has since taken over the burden.

Currently, there are 46 units within the country and there are plans to introduce more to cover counties. There are also 29 kidney specialists in Kenya.

Mc'Ligeyo warned: "While kidney disease is a problem on its own, it becomes a much bigger problem when combined with obesity." The disease has been linked with unhealthy diets that lead to obesity.

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Prof Mc'Ligeyo who spoke during the World Kidney Day celebrations at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, noted that at least one in every three women in Kenya is either overweight or obese, with the overall number of those affected standing at 6 per cent.