Health: Bhutan kidney foundation (BKF) celebrated World Kidney Day (WKD) at Kanglung in Trashigang with the theme “Kidney Disease and Children.”

The event shed some light about the real situations.

Of the 141 patients with kidney problems undergoing dialysis in the country, 13, the highest, are from Trashigang. This is from the 2014 record, but the trend points to the rising number of kidney patients in the dzongkhag.

Yesterday, eight children in the country underwent dialysis; two were fortunate to receive kidney transplant.

Executive Director of BKF, Tashi Namgay said while the number of kidney patients are increasing, it was alarming to see eight of the cases related to children.

“Hence, our focus for WKD 2016 is on children who are generally unaware of the ways they can prevent the disease. Through them, the message would also spread to the parents,” he said.

During the event, students and teachers from four schools in Kanglung rose to advocate about the disease. Student members of BKF-Sherubtse, one of the network groups of BKF, helped coordinate the event.

Given the long-term nature of the disease, patients in villages lack family support, Tashi Namgay said. While seeking health services in Thimphu, they are not aware of the basic rights.

“In the process, patients have to go through a certain level of psychological torture. This initiative would provide specific attention to individuals and groups living in rural areas, non-literate and young people,” he said.

Although kidney diseases have been related to our life styles, he said that no research has been carried out in Bhutan to find out what precisely is causing too many kidney failures in the country.

“We would want to come up with some research based evidences that would help prevent kidney diseases. For this, support from the health ministry is vital,” he said.

As of 2014 records with BKF, 59 percent of the total kidney patients were women.  Since 2003, the number of patients has drastically increased from 33 to 141 patients in 2015.

“From our data analysis in 2014, it was found that the age bracket of kidney patients across the country fell between 26 to 39 years old,” Program Officer with BKF, Karma Tobgay said. “Since kidney transplants started in the late 1990s, about 300 transplants have taken place so far.”

Registered as a Public Benefit Organization, BKF was established under the patronage of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang