Bengal in urgent need of more pediatric nephrologists : Doctors


PTI, Mar 9, 2022, 12:55 PM IST

Kolkata: West Bengal is in urgent need of pediatric nephrologists as the number of kidney-related ailments among children is on the rise, senior doctors in the field in the state said on Wednesday.

They said the state also requires more medical institutions and specialised centers to address the problem. A senior official of the state health department when contacted admitted that though there is an increase in the number of children with kidney ailments, the state is yet to prepare statistics on it. ”We are witnessing rising cases of kidney disorder among children in the state. But, we hardly have two or three trained pediatric nephrologists in our state to deal with the situation. We need more and more trained pediatric nephrologists and more specialised units/ hospitals here to address the situation,” Rajiv Sinha, head of pediatric nephrology at the Institute of Child Health (ICH) told PTI.

The ICH was established in 1956 and is the first pediatric institute in the country. ”We also require more and more centers here to address kidney disorders in our state. There are centers which are carrying out dialysis but we need more and more specialised hospitals. There is also need for developing hospitals specialised to treat children with kidney ailments by the government,” he added. He was echoed by Jaydeb Ray, head of the pediatric department at the ICH, who said that more corporate hospitals need to come forward and start building infrastructure to treat children having kidney ailments. He also pressed for building pediatric nephrological units in the districts. ”There are units at the state-run SSKM Hospital and the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College Hospital. I am hopeful that with more super speciality hospitals coming up in the state we will have such units in the future. But we need more corporate hospitals to come up with new units to treat children with kidney ailments. We have nothing in the newly formed districts,” Ray said.

Paediatric nephrologist Deblina Dasgupta stressed on the need to raise the awareness level of the parents, a major step in treat their wards affected with the problem.

The state needs more dialysis centres, basic healthcare units with specialised doctors and above all programmes to raise the awareness level of parents to address the problem, she said.

”Often an affected child requires hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. But we do not have that infrastructure in the remote and peripheral areas of the state. It is very very difficult to come to Kolkata for the dialysis of a child thrice a week. So the infrastructure must be developed. There are NGOs, but what we need are dedicated hospitals,” she stressed. For the record the ICH had treated around 200 children with kidney ailments, mostly with nephrotic syndrome, in 2021, Sinha said.

Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder caused by damages to clusters of small blood vessels in the organ resulting in the body to pass too much protein in the urine. The government official said, ”We are witnessing a rise definitely in the last few years. We do not have any statistics for the same but we will prepare one which will help in treating children having kidney ailments”. Ray said early medical intervention help in treating the children with kidney ailments but the lack of awareness among the parents creates hindrances to their treatment. Delayed treatment may lead to chronic kidney ailments, he said.

”Most of kidney problems can be reversed when diagnosed and treated early. Even permanent kidney damage does not mean the end of the world. Children can be started on dialysis and then subjected to kidney transplantation which is not much of a challenge anymore with the availability of widespread medical facilities these days. So, we need to make ourselves aware and gain knowledge to help our children fight kidney diseases,” Sinha said.

ICH has launched ‘Prayas’, an initiative to raise the awareness-level of people on kidney screening for children in the run-up to the World Kidney Day on March 10.

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