Over 200 people screened for kidney disease at Mandeville health fair
People being screened for kidney disease at a health fair in the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville on Wednesday.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With Jamaicans being encouraged to screen yearly for kidney disease, members of the Mandeville Regional Hospital's renal unit screened over 200 people on Wednesday.

Nephrology nurse manager at Mandeville Regional Hospital Marika Davis-Miller told the Jamaica Observer that the renal unit in celebration of World Kidney Day ramped up its sensitisation efforts.

"We want… to educate the public especially those who are vulnerable [including] people with diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus [and] any other disease conditions that would predispose them to have kidney failure," she said at a health fair in the Cecil Charlton Park.

She said the leading cause for kidney failure worldwide is uncontrolled diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension.

Nephrology nurse manager at the Mandeville Regional Hospital Marika Davis-Miller speaking with the Jamaica Observer. (Photos: Kasey Williams)

"We have five stages. Stages one [to] four, they [people] are not getting dialysis. The fifth stage is end-stage renal failure, which makes them [people] want dialysis. From stage one to four, we assist people in the clinic to kind of slow the process for them wanting dialysis, because there are a lot of people who require dialysis…" she said.

When asked about the number of patients on the renal unit's waiting lists, Davis-Miller said there is a burden on the system.

"Regarding the waiting list, I really don't like to talk about that because somebody has to die in order for somebody [else] to get dialysis and there are over 100 persons on the waiting list at Mandeville… We really need people to help themselves," she said.

She said the renal unit accommodates up to 36 patients daily to receive treatment from 12 dialysis machines.

People being screened at a health fair in Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville on Wednesday.

"Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we would accommodate those patients, but on a Wednesday we only have one shift which would be for 12 patients. Reason being, we have to do our thorough cleaning of the units."

She is encouraging people to regularly exercise and eat healthy to reduce the risks of being diagnosed with renal failure

"For people who do not exercise, eat fatty foods, eating late and don't drink [enough] water to flush the kidneys. Those are things that would predispose you to have not only kidney failure, but diabetes and high blood pressure which would lead to kidney failure, if uncontrolled," she said.

Health fair attendees recieve feedback from doctors of the Mandeville Regional Hospital renal unit.
BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

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