Kidney failure prevalent in Ngami

WORRIED: Dr Lebogang Mokotedi

High prevalence of renal disease or kidney failures in Ngamiland has got medical doctors thinking and guessing possible causes as a medical research on the subject is yet to be conducted.

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While locals blame unclean drinking water for the common kidney failures, Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital’s superintendent- Dr Lebogang Mokotedi, suspects that the district’s popular delicacy, ‘tswii’ or water lilly roots could be a contributing factor.

Mokotedi was giving an update of the hospital’s state recently during a visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

When briefing the President, Mokotedi noted that without any research, they could only suspect tswii as the cause of the life threatening ailment which is being recorded in high numbers at the hospital. “It leaves us a scope to look at it more in terms of research to find out what exactly is it. I secretly think it is Tswii, but they wouldn’t want to listen to that because in this area it’s an important food dietary intake.”

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Further Mokotedi says since people in these areas consume a lot of meat with salt, a combination of these diets could be causing the problem.

“We don’t know whether in terms of long-term beef eating with the salts and others…we don’t know if these are co-relating and causing these problems, but we unfortunately have patients who need replacements (renal) having to go as far as Francistown,” added Mokotedi.

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Francistown’s Nyangabwe Referral Hospital is about 500 kilometres away from Maun and some of the patients end up being taken further to Gaborone’s Princess Marina Referral hospital which is located some 950 kilometres from Maun.

Mokotedi noted that the long distance to health facilities sometimes hampers on the speedy recovery of patients who may feel isolated when they do not get visits from family, relatives and friends.

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Nonetheless Mokotedi says the hospital has outsourced renal health services and that the contracted company will be based at the hospital.

She says as early as beginning of September, dialysis services will start to be performed at Letsholathebe Memorial hospital.

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Mokotedi further noted that the introduction of the renal health services in Maun will not only benefit its communities, but will also promote health tourism as some tourists in need of the service may choose to travel to Maun with the assurance that their health would not be compromised by lack of a dialysis provision.

Meanwhile Tswii remains one of the popular delicacies found in the region.

It can be taken in juice form but most commonly it is served with beef.

According to locals, regular eating of these roots have varied health benefits including improvement of blood circulation and improves libido among others.

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