Depression is overlooked complication of kidney disease – Counselor

Depression is a common phenomenon complicating the management of people living with kidney disease but it is often overlooked, Pastor Benjamin Saah of the Psychology Department of the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) has noted.

This, according to Mr Saah, was mainly fueled by the behaviour and treatment the patients received from some relatives and health workers who pass all kinds of derogatory and discouraging comments about them.

“Some even see it as an abomination in the family and resort to saying all kind of things to the person who has had the kidney problem”.

He said living with chronic kidney disease could take a toll not only on the physical but also the emotional and mental health of patients and admonished all not to complicate their situations with derogatory comments.

“I will advise relatives and health workers to be mindful of their language, words, and utterances because their words can kill them early,” he stated.

Mr Saah made the observation at a Kidney Dialogue organised by YWC Kidney Foundation in collaboration with the Royal Ridge Hotel as part of activities to mark World Kidney day.

The dialogue, which was on the theme “Kidney Health for Everyone” was aimed at creating awareness about the kidney disease and also to encourage people to get screened to know their status.

Mr Saah urged families to show love and compassion, give words of encouragement and take good care of anyone diagnosed with kidney or any other chronic disease.

He also urged health professionals to be mindful of how they communicated information to patients and their relatives as it could scare relatives and even force patients to commit suicide.

He said many relatives have had to abandon their patients at the hospital because of how the information was communicated to them.

Speaking on the preventive measures of kidney diseases, Dr Rosemary Awindagi, a Physician Specialist at the Dialysis Units of CCTH, advised the general public to desist from consuming too much unprescribed herbal medication which become toxic to the body.

“Unprescribed herbal medicine is not good for your kidney and the liver as well. When you are sick, seek professional advice, do not take in things that are unprescribed,” he stressed.

Dr Awindagi advised the public to adhere to annual screening where medical practitioners would examine and identify the risk factors not only for kidney disease but of all other organs in the body.

Mrs Elsie Hayford, a Nutritionist at the CCTH, advised that people ate adequately and in the right quantities saying “Let food be your medicine, you can eat to live or eat to die”.

She said eating well could reduce the risk of getting certain kind of diseases such as Hypertension and diabetes, which could make one prone to kidney disease.

She encouraged the public to exercise regularly, follow healthy eating steps to prevent contracting kidney and other chronic diseases.

Mrs Irene Jacobs, Deputy Director of Nursing Services, Internal Medicine at the CCTH encouraged Ghanaians to develop the habit of giving to support kidney patients.

Mr Thomas Cann, a Journalist living with the disease shared his story about how he had managed an end stage kidney disease for about eight years and advocated for more support for kidney patients.

Source: GNA

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