Monday, May 23, 2016

Simple intervention can preserve kidney health

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Up to one in five adults in Pakistan has chronic kidney disease, which has become one of the rapidly escalating causes of death. Patients with advanced CKD require dialysis or transplantation, unaffordable for the vast majority of people.

A research paper published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology revealed that simple and inexpensive public health interventions could help prevent many cases of CKD. 

As part of a two-year study conducted at Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi, researchers Professor Tazeen Jafar, Health Services & Systems Research at Duke NUS Medical School in Singapore and Duke Global Health Institute in Durham, and Visiting Consultant Nephrologist, Singapore General Hospital, and Dr Imtiaz Jehan, Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences at AKU observed more than 1,200 individuals with high blood pressure. 

The intervention included training community health workers on the many aspects of a healthy lifestyle such as improving diet, stopping smoking, increasing physical activity, and taking prescribed blood pressure-lowering medications besides training community general practitioners on the latest standards for managing hypertension. 

After seven years of follow up, five years after cessation of the intervention, the kidney function remained unchanged among adults in the communities assigned to the intervention, whereas it significantly declined among those who received usual care. 

Patients with the intervention were half as likely as other patients to experience over 20 per cent decline in kidney function. 

“Unfortunately, there is a dearth of information on public health interventions to preserve kidney health and prevent CKD, even though certain unhealthy lifestyle factors and conditions such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes are common, and are known to increase the risk of developing CKD,” Dr Jehan said. 

“This study shows that such a practical model based on training primary care physicians coupled with lifestyle advice from non-physician health workers is likely to have a long-term benefit on preserving kidney function at a population level,” Professor Jafar observed. 

“These simple strategies can be implementable in other low- and middle-income countries with similar risk factor burden and health systems infrastructure.” 

Other authors of the paper included Dr John Allen and Seyed Ehsan Saffari from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Dr Aamir Hameed from AKU, Professor Shah Ebrahim from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Professors Neil Poulter and Nish Chaturvedi from Imperial College London.

VC visits SSUET heatstroke centre

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Vice Chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Prof Dr Jawed H Rizvi, visited the Heat Stroke Treatment Centre established by the university within its campus. 

The SSUET took a lead over other universities with the establishment of a Heat Stroke Treatment Centre which was inaugurated by the SSUET Chancellor, Jawaid Anwar, on May 19. 

With the temperature continuously soaring, alongwith humidity, the centre has been equipped with necessary facilities and is supervised by doctors and paramedical staff of the university's Medical Centre round the clock.

During the visit the SSUET Registrar, Syed Sarfraz Ali, and Dr Mohammad Taufiq briefed the Vice Chancellor about the salient features of the centre. 

Accompanied by university officials, the Vice Chancellor also inquired about the condition of a student, having been admitted in the centre. 

Chancellor Jawaid Anwar has already directed that besides any mishap within the campus, the facility should also be available to anyone outside the campus. 

The SSUET has taken the initiative of establishing the centre as a precautionary measure to the meet the oppressive summer months of Karachi.