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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Last hope when organ fails

By unknown | Apr 24, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dialysis or a kidney transplant is the only way to keep you alive if the organ fails.

Dialysis or a kidney transplant is the only way to keep you alive if the organ fails.

The kidneys and the liver are the body's main waste-removal systems. Once the kidneys fail another way must be found to detoxify the body - and that is dialysis or a new kidney.

The dialysis machine is hooked up to a patient's blood supply to filter out the waste products and toxins that would otherwise kill him.

Patients on dialysis must come in to a hospital three times a week for about four hours a time and cannot miss a single treatment without placing their lives at risk.

Johannesburg General is the central facility administering dialysis and performing transplants on kidney patients from four other centres: Chris Hani-Baragwanath, Helen Joseph, Sebokeng and Klerksdorp.

Its 20 dialysis machines can treat only two patients a day who come in every second day. That is only 80 patients a week, or at most a fifth of what is needed.

South Africa has the capacity to treat at most only 3500 of the 20000 public patients with end-stage kidney problems. The 80percent left untreated soon die of their disease.

Though some patients can be sustained on dialysis for years, complications do arise and doctors recommend transplants to restore a patient to full health.


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