Pedro Moabi, a Critical Kidney Disease (CKD) patient told a press conference the past week at Gaborone Secondary School that more men than women suffer from kidney failure.
He attributed this to men’s tendency not to open up and speak about life’s tribulations they undergo, since kidney infections follow diseases like Hypertension and Sugar Diabetes. The Press conference was organised to popularise the Trust Fund.
“Even when their partners abuse them, men prefer to keep it to themselves than to talk about it. Even when you go to China where I get treatment, about 10 000 patients can be accommodated and, majority of the patients are men. There could be other reasons for this, that I do not know, but what is clear is that most men remain mum when things go wrong in their lives,” said Moabi.
He narrated that he was diagnosed with the renal disease in 2012 after he fell very ill without knowing the kind of disease he was suffering from. He only came to do the right tests after being advised by his nephew to do the kidney tests. He was thereafter given treatment where he was fed two litres of water every 24 hours.
He was put on haemodialisys therapy for four hours three times a week. He thus required a kidney transplant as the ultimate treatment for his condition and his daughter volunteered to be the donor.
“The transplant was supposed to be done in India, but after thorough research I found that I could be treated without the need for a transplant, through intensive herbal remedies in China. I started treatment in China in August 2014. I was there for a month after which I returned to my duties as teacher while continuing with the prescribed medication,” he said.
He said the haemodialisys therapy has a lot of side-effects. The machine used often cleanses even substances the body needs. As patients, they hoped that the cure might take few a few months to occur, only to find that it takes up to eternity if the transplant is not done. He expressed concern over the rise of patients suffering from the same disease.
“When I first received treatment, there were only two sessions at Marina, but currently, there are so many patients such that the machines run non-stop. Batswana should support each other by donating organs for transplant to save lives instead of writing patients off as it appears to be the case in many instances,” he said.
Another speaker at the event, Thateng Majwabe, explained that Pedro Moabi was the first beneficiary of Moabi Trust Fund. She said the Trust Fund was his idea. She further explained that the patients and caretakers of kidney disease patients have a great challenge of raising funds for the treatment. The government’s medical aid, she said, takes long to help the patients, donors and caretakers. Even when it ultimately foots the bill, medical aid does not include the caretakers’ expenses.
“Our research has proven that the treatment of this disease is cheaper in India. A total amount of P60 000 was used in Mr Moabi’s treatment. He is on treatment and unfortunately during his last trip – the second one, the Trust Fund could not foot his bill. He is not the only beneficiary as six other people are waiting to benefit,” Majwabe said. The other beneficiaries include the Principal education Officer in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, a lady who has found a donor, as well as four others, including a Standard 7 pupil.
She said the cheapest treatment they ever came to know of for the transplant was P350 000 and this was in 2013.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Nnosang Mhutsiwa told attendees that the Trust originated from the MESD as it was initiated by its employees. It is envisaged that it would in the long run be rolled out to other members of the society.
She expressed disappointment over the fact that some of the stakeholders they invited did not turn up. She pointed out that hiccups existed in the initiative as shown by their relationship with the medical aid.
“Medical aid provides funds on the return of the patients’ group due to the fact that the Botswana government does not have working ties with that of China. We have visited the medical aid office and they have informed us that it cannot pay for medication that does not exist in the country. Thus the burden of treatment again comes to the patients and families. This is where Moabi Trust Fund comes in,” she said.
The objectives of Moabi Trust include raising awareness about kidney diseases and other chronic illnesses, raise funds for education officers, teachers, students and stakeholders of education in the world.