Health Ministry fails to adhere to WHO recommendations

* NCP Kidney diseaseby Ifham Nizam


by Ifham Nizam

The World Health Organization (WHO) had made strong recommendations following the completion of its final report on the investigation and evaluation of the Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka, but the Health Ministry had failed to either come out with the facts or take immediate preventive measures, an official of the Technical Committee, appointed by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), said.

Technical Committee Member Hemantha Withanage, who is the Executive Director of the Centre for Environment Justice, told The Island yesterday that the disease was spreading to other parts of the country in the form of cancers.

He said that sadly the Ministry of Health had failed to make the battling of the Chronic Kidney Disease a top priority despite stakeholders realising its danger and spending Rs. 100 million on the comprehensive multidisciplinary research project.

WHO Senior Advisor and Coordinator, Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Dr. Shantha Mendis pointed out that the overall prevalence of the disease in the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and

Badulla districts, in people aged 15 to 70 was 15 per cent.

He recommended the use of alternative fertilizers, reduction of heavy metals in soil or making them less available, developing rice strains which require less fertilizer and resistant to pests, reduction in environmental pollution.

Civil servant cum farmer community head for Hingurakgoda, Kaudulle Jayathissa told The Island that recently they had found it difficult get coffins in Anuradhapura and had come to Colombo to purchase three coffins.

"All three deaths were due to Kidney diseases and on an average there are three deaths now as against one or two in 2004. Most of the patients don’t go to hospitals for a number of reasons, while some believe in cure through age-old rituals and end up dying without any hospital records," he added.

Jayathissa said that the patients in the districts went through unbearable suffering, due to insufficient dialysis equipment; there are only five. He added: "We know the Health Minister, a man from our district and he should do his utmost for the betterment of the people who provide rice to the nation. Sad to say, despite our attempts he was unavailable for a meeting."

Meanwhile, the latest report indicates pesticides and fertilizers are the major causes of the kidney diseases.

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