Colombo, December 7: Mortality due to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Pakistan is the highest in the South Asian region with 24.77 deaths per 100,000 population, and is the lowest in Sri Lanka with 16.34 deaths, says www.worldlifeexpectancy.com quoting the World Health Organization (WHO).writes P.K.Balachandran in Daily Express.
At 24.21 deaths per 100,000 population, the death rate due to CKD in Bangladesh is marginally less as compared to Pakistan. Myamnar comes next with 23.4. India has a death rate of 21.56. It is 20.83 in Nepal and 20.58 in the Maldives. Bhutan has a death rate 18.25.
In Sri Lanka, mortality due to CKD has been coming down sharply from 1990, when the problem was first brought to light. In 1990, the death rate was 20 per 100,000 population. It is now 16.34, though some sources put it as low as 12.2.
China builds South Asia’s largest kidney hospital in Sri Lanka
However, given the fact that CKD seems to be endemic in the political constituency of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, namely the Polonnaruwa district of the North Western Province, the Sri Lankan had requested China to build top class kidney hospital in Polonnaruwa.
The state of the art hospital, which is set to become the largest kidney hospital in South Asia, is to be built at a cost of US$ 78.6 million. The foundation stone for that was laid by President Sirisena on Wednesday.
Though local and international research is going on about the causes of the disease in this dry zone of Sri Lanka, experts currently think that the available drinking water is responsible. Provision of clean drinking water and a ban on certain pesticides have been among measures taken to reduce the incidence of the disease.
But given the number of people with CKD, a specialized hospital was thought to be the need of the hour. Furthermore, Polonnaruwa district is the electoral constituency of President Sirisena.
As soon as he came to power in 2015, Sirisena set up a Presidential Task Force to go into the problem, suggest measures to fight the disease, and oversee the implementation of projects relevant to it.
Although many countries were approached for help, and help did come in some ways, it was China which readily agreed to help fund and build a full fledged state-of-the art kidney hospital.
Xi Jinping Gave Green Light
Speaking at the inauguration, Sri Lankan Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said that President Sirisena had approached China’s President Xi Jinping about the need for a hospital, and the latter had responded immediately and positively.
Thanking China, Sirisena said: “Sri Lanka and China have been friends since ancient times. This year marks the 60th anniversary of our bilateral relations and within these past 60 years, China has always helped Sri Lanka’s development programs.”
Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, said the hospital is being built following consultations between the leaders of both countries because kidney disease had become a major issue of concern in Sri Lanka.
The hospital has a Basic Treatment Unit, Out Patients’ Department, Wards with 200 beds to treat residential patients, 100 blood dialysis beds, surgeries with modern technology, two Intensive Care Units and a blood bank.
Presently, around 6,500 kidney patients from Polonnaruwa district, and another 13,000 kidney patients from the Anuradhapura district undergo dialysis or require facilities for dialysis.
According to the Presidential Task Force, there are about 70,000 CKD patients in Sri Lanka though experts believe that the actual number may be more, given the limited facilities for detection and a lack of awareness among the public about the disease.
(The featured image at the top shows a kidney patient undergoing dialysis in Pakistan)