Renal clinic provides dedicated treatment in Soweto

Posted on 13 Feb 2022

Mediclinic Renal Services takes flight with a specialist clinic in the heart of Soweto.

A specialist renal dialysis clinic in the heart of Soweto promises to transform the lives of many patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the local community. Mediclinic Renal Services Soweto, a standalone facility, provides dedicated kidney care to patients who need ongoing treatment – giving them access to expertise within walking distance of their homes.

This makes a huge difference, says PN Maggie Mlangeni, Unit Manager: Mediclinic Renal Services Soweto. “There are very few similar centres in the area, so by bringing these services to Soweto, we can assist the community here, and in the neighbouring towns, to live a healthier life, especially those with renal failure.”

The prevalence of CKD in South Africa has been described as an epidemic and reliable estimates indicate the condition is a major public health concern worldwide. As many as 13% of the world’s population above age 20 have reported cases of CKD, while the number of patients who require renal replacement therapy stands anywhere between 5 and 7 million.

CKD, or chronic kidney failure, is an umbrella term that describes a gradual loss of kidney function. It’s usually caused by the onset of other conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes (high sugar levels), which puts the kidneys under strain.

Diabetes, for example, can lead to damage in the tiny filters found within the kidneys, while high blood pressure and high cholesterol can cause blood vessels in the kidneys to stop functioning as they should. CKD can range in severity, but if it’s undiagnosed, untreated, or mismanaged, it can lead to a serious condition known as renal failure, where the kidneys cease to function.

The result is a severely compromised quality of life, says PN Mlangeni, unless these patients receive expert and ongoing care.

“The function of the kidneys is to remove toxins and additional fluid from the blood,” she says. “When you go to the bathroom to urinate, that is your body’s way of removing toxins and extra fluid. People that develop renal failure can no longer urinate and cannot release those toxins and additional fluid from the body.”

Patients with renal failure require dialysis. By diverting blood to a machine to be filtered through a procedure called dialysis, this procedure removes waste products and excess fluid from the blood – performing the work that the kidneys are unable to do.

Renal failure patients at Mediclinic Renal Services Soweto receive dialysis treatment 2-3 times per week, and a session lasts up to four hours at a time. “We’re able to assist the functioning of the body by replacing the natural function of the kidneys. Everything that those with renal failure and drink is retained in the body, and this can cause toxins and fluid to build up to dangerous levels in the blood, making dialysis a life-saving option for survival.”

With only two such centres in the area, the burden of time and transport is high, she says. “Most people have to drive very far for treatment. But going without treatment is life threatening, and if you don’t receive treatment, it could be deadly.”

Another treatment the unit offers is peritoneal dialysis (PD). With PD, patients are fitted with an abdominal catheter that they use to perform dialysis at home. PN Mlangeni and her team support PD patients with regular training and home visits and ensure regular doctors’ visits.

The Mediclinic Soweto Renal Services team, under the leadership of Sr Mlangeni, are proud to offer this quality service to the community. “It’s an honour for us at Mediclinic Soweto Renal Services to have brought this service to the community of Soweto.”


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