Hundreds March to Fight Kidney Disease and Renal Failure
The Kidney Association of Belize held its third annual Kidney Walk on Saturday morning under the theme “Save Us Today So We Can Save Others Tomorrow.” This year, World Kidney Day promotes education about the harmful consequences of obesity and its association with kidney disease, advocating for a healthy lifestyle and health policy measures that make preventive behaviors an affordable option. Aaron Humes found out more along the route on Saturday.
Rudolph Slusher, Participant
“I’ve noticed in the past that this kidney has really been affecting the country and I guess the world; so I’ve decided to take a stand and come out with the Kidney Association and do the walk.”
“Do you know anybody that has the disease or related to anybody?”
“Yeah, quite a number; even in my family, people have passed on due to kidney failure and stuff like that, yes.”
“So it’s a little personal for you?”
“Very, very personal.”
Oscar Itch, President, Kidney Association of Belize
“My grandfather died of renal failure in 2012, and I have a first cousin who is suffering from renal failure at this point in time; she is nineteen years old. She is doing dialysis at this point in time and we try to assist her as much as possible, also, so its prevalent in my family, so because of that I’ve found it important to try to bring awareness and try to prevent the disease as much as possible.”
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
For these two men, and the hundreds of men and women who joined them at San Cas Plaza under inclement skies on this Saturday morning, kidney disease is personal. The discomfort and pain attached to losing this most valuable of organs is not one to be visited on anyone, although kidney disease is fast moving up the ranks as a leading cause of death in Belize. Medical officer for Matron Roberts Clinic, Mariana Ancona, says that diabetics and hypertensives are most in the line of fire, but we all should learn to be moderate about what we eat.
Mariana Ancona, Medical Officer, Matron Roberts Health Clinic
“You have to know your risk. Are you at risk for being diabetic and hypertensive? And if you are, you can prevent it from happening; you need to eat healthy and come out and exercise – nothing fancy, just get out there.”
“Okay; any particular foods, water, that kind of thing?”
“It’s a long list; but you keep it simple. You eat a little bit of everything; keep the stuff you know you shouldn’t eat low, and then we have services at the clinic – we have a nutritionist that that’s her job; she sits and she teaches you how to eat and how much.”
The men and women of the Coast Guard must keep physically fit to answer the challenges of their unique jobs as defenders of Belize’s coast and seas. But twenty-five of them came out to participate in the walk. Their leader, Lieutenant Junior Grade David Ayala, says they will work with the Association to spread the message of attention to physical health.
Lieutenant Junior Grade David Ayala, Adjutant, Belize Coast Guard
“[The] physical is a very important aspect in the Coast Guard. Actually, under our Commandant, we have moved from doing physical training two times a week to actually having it five times a week, right, so we do it daily. It is very important due to the fact of the nature of our job: very physically demanding and therefore we try our best to keep up with the physical standards as much as possible. We will have some of the members of the Kidney Association, that have visited my office, whereby we have tried to collaborate as much as possible in their events, and so definitely that is something that we are considering, so it is more dialogue and more planning that needs to be taken.”
“We mainly assist those patients who do dialysis at Belize Healthcare Partners and Dialisis de Belice; there’s a program at Karl Heusner Memorial and Loma Luz. For those who are not on the program, they tend to find it difficult to meet payments for dialysis, and they normally come to us and we try to assist them as much as possible in regards to having them do their dialysis on a weekly basis. They normally have to do three a week; some of them do two, some of them do one; all depends on what they can afford. We try to assist them as much as possible but we can only assist as much as our funds allow us to.”
“Can you say how many get assistance?”
“We have about twenty-two at Dialisis de Belice – we don’t assist all of them but for those that come to us we normally would assist them. On a weekly basis we would have three come to us and we would try to assist them as much as possible.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.
March ninth was celebrated as World Kidney Day under the theme “A Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys.”