Health News

KIDNEY INJURIES: First Peritoneal Dialysis Unit Opens at St John XXIII Hospital Aber

On Friday, February 23, 2024, a significant milestone was reached in healthcare provision as the first peritoneal dialysis unit was inaugurated at St. John XXIII Hospital Aber in Kadaini Sub County, Oyam District. This groundbreaking development aims to address the pressing needs patients with kidney injuries in the region and beyond.

The journey to this moment began in November last year when three dialysis machines were installed at at the Hospital where the index patient was admitted. Since then, the hospital has been diligently preparing to offer peritoneal dialysis services to patients in need.

The commissioning ceremony was graced by Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health who officially commissioned the dialysis unit at the private not-for-profit (PNFP) Hospital in Oyam District.

Peritoneal dialysis is a vital treatment for kidney injuries involving the removal of waste products from the blood using dialysate, a cleansing fluid introduced into the abdomen.

Prior to the establishment of this unit, between January and March 2023, St. John XXIII Hospital Aber managed 45 kidney cases; 18 of which were chronic while 27 were acute kidney injuries, tragically resulting in seven fatalities.

In her address, Health Minister Dr. Jane Aceng commended the hospital for augmenting government services, expressing confidence that more kidney patients would now have access to essential dialysis services.

Dr. Ronald M. Kasyaba, Assistant Executive Secretary at the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau, emphasized the importance of ensuring the delivery of quality specialized services to the community, tasking the Hospital’s Board with this critical responsibility.

Fr. Dr. Sam Okori, the hospital’s Medical Director acknowledged that the unit is fully equipped and operational, with a primary focus on managing acute kidney injuries to prevent the progression to chronic kidney disease which poses greater challenges and financial burdens to patients.

However, a notable challenge arises from the need to import the cleansing fluid from Europe, highlighting logistical hurdles in the provision of these vital services.

Despite the hospital’s commitment to providing affordable healthcare, patients will be required to pay user fees. Patients with chronic kidney disease can expect to pay between UGX 80,000 to 120,000 per dialysis session, depending on the severity of their condition. Meanwhile, individuals with acute kidney injuries will face costs close to 4.5 million shillings for three months of continuous treatment.

While the inauguration of the peritoneal dialysis unit marks a significant step forward in addressing the healthcare needs of kidney patients in Northern Uganda, challenges such as staff retention and financial sustainability persist, underscoring the ongoing efforts required to ensure the provision of quality healthcare services to all in need.

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