Posted on March 31st, 2016

Sarath Wijesinghe former Ambassador to U A E and Israel- Solicitor and Attorney -at -law 

Case for a Kidney Bank                                       

Kidney is a vital organ of a human body to be protected and looked after for health and long life. Kidney is beneficial and an essential vital organ for the   future and the health of a Nation infested with poisonous / junk food, polluted water and polluted environment. Kidney disease (CKD) is on the rise at an alarmingly high rate in Sri Lanka and worldwide. Kidney is one of the main precious organs in the human body making urine, removes excess water, controls body chemicals, toxics, controls blood pressure, keep bones healthy, help maintain red- blood corporals and control mineral and potassium on blood acidity and many other factors for a healthy life. Kidney is as important as heart. Due to the rapidity of the increase of Kidney diseases governments and non-governmental organisations have set up foundations and institutions.  10% of the world population is suffering from Kidney related diseases and 6% of the Asian Population is diabetic with 1.5 million of the world population die of diabetic related diseases. Sri Lanka has 4 million diabetic patients out of 22 million populations when world has 382 million adiabatic patents increasing at a rapid rate. N C P has 17.5 diabetic patients in the population and 300 deaths have occurred with 22000 treated for CKD in one year. It is understood that there are over 100,000 Kidney related patients in Sri Lanka currently adding 5000, yearly on a very rough estimate. Diabetic related patients are on the rise in Sri Lanka and worldwide due to carelessness and absence of regulatory preventive procedures. CKD is a threat to India and worldwide due to number of factors such as poisonous junk food, contaminated water incorrect food/living patters and mis/over use of drugs being factors closer to the dangerous trend facing the mankind on threats of diabetic related diseases leading to CKD. Kidney transplant is expensive and it is near impossible to find donors due to legal complications and factors beyond the control of the patents donors and the administration. Few can afford the excessive and enormous expenditure and also meeting the stringent requirements. This has become a world epidemic which has led to corruption which has reached highest levels local and worldwide. Currently Sri Lanka is liberal on kidney donations which has hampered due to adverse publicity on Kidney rackets of Indian and other National/Nation due to sheer need of the patients. Legal framework is not clear in India and Sri Lanka on the issue though transplants have taken place in both countries due to sheer need to save lives of love ones. This is a human issue badly in need of a viable and quick solution as the death rate due to Kidney related diseases re on the rise.

Similar Institutions Worldwide    

National Eye Bank

National Eye Bank ( NIEBSL) in Sri Lanka established aiming to pay a significant in alleviating coronary blindness in Sri Lanka and throughout the world. It is a result of alliance between Sri Lanka and Singapore as a joint project situated  in Colombo Eye hospital which is well established and reputed worldwide as a pioneer organisation initiated by a group of social workers led by Late Dr Hudsan Perera managed by a committee consisting of Minister of Health, Deputy Minister of Health, Director General of Health Services, Manager Singapore Eye Bank, Director National Eye Hospital, Manager National Eye Bank of Sri Lanka, Secretary Minister of Health, Project Director, and Chairman National Eye Centre which is a well-represented powerful body acting purely on voluntary basis with no profit motives in order to provide high quality, cost effective corners for transplantation.

National Blood Bank in Sri Lanka 

National Blood Transfusion Service collects 350,000 volumes of blood donation per year to the country with branches in provincial hospitals. First blood donation took place in 1921 which is running as a pride to the nation and as an example being the pioneer to the donation process and the first blood transfusion took place in 1959 during the death of Hon S W R D M Bandaraneike’s tragic death which has aroused emotions of the common man. Today cluster of network of centres are active countrywide.

Kidney Federation in India (KFI)

This is set up to give life to the living individuals with the help of the donations of the healthy fellow human beings. The system will use the kidneys of the dying on brain death and accidents. There are allegations of corruption alleging ethical rackets by Doctors and middle men with the help of private hospitals, which is inevitable due to the sentiments and sensational nature of the issue. In Sri Lanka Buddhist Monks and relations could donate which has extended on humanitarian grounds. With the media exposure on the so called Kidney Racket” genuine donors and recipients are in trouble indicating the need for a Kidney Bank in Sri Lanka.

Organ Bank in the United Kingdom and U S A

Organ Bank in the UK is well organized and systemized collecting organs from dying patients and accidental deaths. It is a system we can learn from.

Outcome of the World Kidney deliberations which motivated the proposition to set up the Kidney   Bank

Sri Lanka 2050 which is a non-political and non-profitable group of intellectuals and professionals organized a workshop/summer on the world Kidney Day at the Professional Centre with professionals learned on the subject which erupted the proposition to set up a Kidney Bank. Like the Eye Bank we too can get the support of Israel Technology they are prepared to offer with the Government and professionals. Diplomatic channels should be made use of on this exercise with the professionals acting in parallel.

Way Froward

This issue is to be addressed in two ways. Preventing spreading CKD is difficult due to different theories, and schools of thoughts on the cause of the epidemic fast spreading. Common sense approach for the cause could be food habits, water pollution, excessive use of poisonous chemicals in food, use of fertilizer and over use of antibiotics in agro – industries could be the main cause which is difficult to control due to excessive power of multinational companies. It is not only the small and developing countries that are affected. Entire world will suffer in few decades due to excessive use of antibiotics and CKD related diseases which included diabetes around 10% of the world is effected including children. Drinking water is a main issue especially in rural area. Contamination of water from sea water and poisonous fertilizer flows with running water are main sources of spreading cause to the nation. There are lectures, promises, and thamashas” by politicians with no vision or a strategy. It is time professionals come forward to avoid the danger facing the nation.

Other area to be considered is treatment including transplants and correct and organized medication. Kidney transplant is the last stage of treatment which is expensive and complicated. Sri Lanka is successful in Kidney transplants over 2.5 decades, with a massive success rate attracting foreign patients arriving with donors that we would invite and encourage as this epidemic is spread worldwide. We need 1000 dialysis centres but hospitals can provide few.

Action Plan by Professionals on 26th May at the OPA

Sri Lanka 2050 has invited the professionals intellectuals with experts in the field and leaders in the legal profession worldwide to prepare a draft Act with the procedure in line with other foundations worldwide. World Kidney day was celebrated by Sri Lanka 2050, with the topic TOWARDS A WORLD FREE FROM CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE” with speakers including Professor Rohan Rajapaksa, Senior Professor on agritcultire Biology at Ruhuna University, Dr Channa Jayasumana, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Pharmacology at the Medical Faulty Rajarate University, Dr Ruwan Dahanayaka Transplant surgeon from   the National Hospital, Dr P. G.  Mahipala director of Health Services, Dr Lanka Dissanayake of World Health Organization, Dr B A Ratnapala Traditional Ayurveda Consultant and, Professor Sheriff Consultant Physician Nephrologist as moderator, sponsored by Dr B A Ratnapala and Shamual Kinsburg from Israel who has pledged to help set up the foundation. Same invitees on the World Kidney day and many more world renewed international lawyers have pledged to support the cause and this the opportunity for you to be a participant or a volunteer in the team in the formation and setting up of the Kidney Foundation. Let this be the invitation to likeminded Sri Lankans media and the public to participate.

Sarath Wijesinghe

Former Ambassador to UAE and Israel

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