2021 May 24
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) has threatened hundreds of Sri Lankans and the number of deaths owing to CKD has been in the increasing trend in each passing year. With various reasons in the background, CKD has now become a common occurrence and has been an alarming topic for many in both local and global context. Realising this, the Rotaract Club of Alumni of the University of Moratuwa of Rotaract International District (RID) 3220 kept our first step in the year 2019 to support the eradication of CKD with the project “Kindred Kidneys”.
Kindred Kidneys is a project which was first initiated by the Rotaract Club of Alumni of the University of Moratuwa in the year 2019 as an international service initiative with the Rotaract Club of Kairós Xalapa (RID 4185). In 2019, the project was also launched in Egypt, Bolivia and Mexico, to aid kidney patients in each country by conducting awareness sessions and donating equipment for hospitals that are necessary for dialysis treatments.
CKD has shown slow progress of improvement in Sri Lanka due to the lack of physical resources and inability to tackle the root cause of the disease. It is stated that a major factor contributing to many CKD cases in rural areas in Sri Lanka could be the poor water quality in these areas which are contaminated by various fertilisers which are used for agricultural activities, which is the main livelihood in many of the CKD prone areas. Therefore, over the years of its journey, Kindred Kidneys got rebranded as a signature project under the Community Service Avenue to focus solely on the CKD spread in Sri Lanka in the year.
The main objectives of this project are to increase awareness regarding CKD among the general public and to provide physical resources to clinics that offer treatments for CKD in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, four phases were planned under “Kindred Kidneys” for the year 2020/21. The first phase of the project was focused on enhancing the awareness of kidney disease among the general public and educating them on necessary precautionary measures to avoid this deadly disease. The second phase was focused on providing physical resources to Samastha Lanka Kidney Patients Association (SLKPA).
The first phase of the project comprised three subprojects. As the first subproject, a video series on “Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka” was published on the official social media platforms of Rotaract Club of Alumni of the University of Moratuwa. The content was presented by Dr Sanjeewa Heyyanthuduwa – Nephrologist. The 4-part video series covered the role that kidneys play in our body to keep it healthy, causes and treatment methods for CKD and favourable habits that aid to keep the kidneys healthy. The second subproject of the first phase of Kindred Kidneys, project “සුව සවි – Suwa Savi” was initiated to provide the Samastha Lanka Kidney Patients Association (SLKPA) with sanitation liquid and face masks to be distributed at nephrology clinics as precautionary methods to prevent the spread of the prevailing COVID – 19 pandemic. 5L of hand sanitiser liquid, 10L of disinfectant and 200 face masks were donated with the objective of celebrating World Kidney Day 2021 which was on the 11th of March with the partnership of Eco Life Pvt. Ltd.
The third subproject of the first phase of the project was conducted as a social media campaign based on the “7 Golden Rules of Kidney Disease Prevention” which are,
- Get regular check-ups
- Control blood pressure
- Manage blood sugar
- Eat a healthy diet
- Quit smoking
- Do not overuse pain medicines.
As the second phase of the project, a portable Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter was donated to the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) office in Padaviya, Sri Lanka. The portable RO filter donated will be used to provide clean and safe potable water for patients attending regular nephrology clinics in the Padaviya area.
The feedback and the comments received for the project were an immense strength in continuing its service over the years and each new step of the project in the years to come will be based on thorough research on the requirements of the target audience. Rotaract Club of Alumni of the University of Moratuwa intends to expand Kindred Kidneys to address the root causes of kidney disease in Sri Lanka and work towards eliminating it from our country. The future of Kindred Kidneys intends not only to eradicate the disease but to provide consolation to the miserable fate that was bestowed upon the lives of CKD patients and their families. Consequently, plans are underway to provide scholarships to the children of underprivileged families who are victims of CKD and to expand the scope of the project to help schools in rural areas by improving facilities with a vision of CKD free Sri Lanka.