With the annual mortality rate of 13%, the number of patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease has seen a substantial increase over the years according to health statistics.
From 42 patients in 2007 to 62 in 2010 annual cases are now around 160 annually.
“The most common cases are infection in kidney and kidney failure due to diabetes, hypertension and some systemic diseases,” said the Medical Superintendent of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Dr Gosar Pemba, adding that the most common causes of kidney disease is high blood pressure, obesity, bad food habits and obesity and lack of physical activity.
In Bhutan until first haemodialysis, carried out on 18 November, 1998, kidney related diseases remained uncommon or went undetected due to lack of medical facilities and awareness. “There are many kidney failure cases while many are undetected. Many people have no symptoms until the end,” said Dr. Gosar Pemba.
With 14 dialysis machines currently the number of patients for the dialysis treatment has increased to 10 from 8 a shift, which is done 3 to 4 times a day. The kidney patients are treated JDWNRH, Monger and Gelephu referral hospitals.
While kidney transplant cases are still referred to India in Vellore and Kolkata, he said it is difficult to get donor. “Even if there is donor, it has to be matched with the recipient,” he added.
However, he said that the number of patient should now ideally decrease with the improved facility to provide quick diagnosis and treatment. “If the diagnosis is done early, the treatment should not be complex,” he said.
In addition, he said the new machine for kidney diagnosis, Immuno Florescence Microscope, will be established within seven to eight months along with drug detection machine within next year which the kidney patients needs to undergo every once a year after the transplant. This procurement is expected to ease the burden of going all the way till India.
The main challenges currently are lack of human resource, high-end equipment and extensive treatment within country.