By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
284 patients who suffer from kidney failure are on the waiting list for renal dialysis in Gauteng hospitals.
This information is disclosed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
There are 712 patients currently receiving dialysis for chronic kidney failure at seven Gauteng hospitals.
The longest waiting list by far is at the George Mukhari Hospital, with 150 patients requiring dialysis, followed by Chris Hani Baragwanath with 59 patients, 28 at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg, 24 at Steve Biko and 20 at Helen Joseph Hospital.
Only three patients wait for dialysis at Sebokeng hospital, and none at all at the Leratong hospital.
It is disturbing that 12 out of 155 dialysis machines are broken. Most seriously, 4 out of 49 machines at Helen Joseph and 3 out of 17 machines at George Mukhari hospital are non-functional.
The Chris Hani Baragwanath and Charlotte Maxeke hospitals have two broken machines each, and there is one broken machine at Steve Biko Hospital.
According to Mahlangu, the National Guideline for Renal Dialysis is followed, which essentially recommends that all patients fit for kidney transplant qualify for haemodialysis. All those who are not fit for kidney transplant can be put on peritoneal dialysis.
It is a tragedy that the future is bleak for those on waiting lists, as many will die while they wait for treatment.
It is inexcusable that 12 machines are broken as they could save many lives and avoid much suffering.
The machines should be repaired as soon as possible and more effort made to get kidneys for transplant so as to shorten the waiting lists.
Kidney failure should not be a death sentence for many patients when more can be done to repair broken machines and perform more transplants.