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Consultant Nephrologist Dr. Merle Clarke

World Kidney Week 2018 focuses on women

World Kidney Day 2018 coincides with the celebration of International Women’s Day on Thursday March 8th. Annually observed on the 2nd Thursday in March, World Kidney Day is a global awareness campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of kidneys to one’s overall health and reducing the frequency of impact of kidney disease and its associated problems.

Consultant Nephrologist Dr. Merle Clarke is excited about the build up to this year’s observance of World Kidney Day under the theme, “Kidney and Women’s Health, include, value, empower.”

“We are focusing particularly on our women as it pertains to their kidney health this year. As you see with me our lovely nurses here these are the soldiers in the fight for kidney health and against kidney disease.

Some of the activities planned for this week’s observance include presentations to various schools and business houses on the importance of kidney health. The activities culminate with the annual Celebrity Sports Day on Sunday March 11th at the Vigie Sports Complex.

“And we’re extremely excited about our sports day this year because again as we said it’s all about the women. We expect domination by the women, let the men come they under estimate us but we’re absolutely going to be ready.

So for the most part we do plan to have women against men and they better not think that we’re not ready because look at these faces here no body cannot begin to think that they are not ready. So be it that they’re participating in cricket, netball, in football, in volleyball, we are women and we are ready. So kidneys, we advocate kidney health it is important and off course women. When it comes to healthcare our women they really are the backbone of the family, of the society, of the world at large. So when women are healthy you find the society tends to prosper.”

Dr. Clarke pointed out that though the number of persons presenting with renal issues are increasing it’s not necessarily bad as it points to increased awareness and advocacy on the part of both physicians and patients to seek the relevant tests early.

“So we certainly see that as a success. There’s a lot more that we need to do but for now we do think that we’re getting somewhere and we certainly plan to continue to be warriors in this fight, to continue to advocate until we get to each and every St. Lucian.”

Ucella Joseph, a dialysis patient for over 10 years made an appeal for greater public assistance.

“In order to help those on dialysis and in order to make prevention something easier we try to raise funds especially during that month. There is a ribbon that is available and the minimum donation is three dollars but you can donate as much as you like. And with that money we use it to help prevent patients from coming onto dialysis to assist those who are already on dialysis.”

With just over a month of being commissioned, we asked Dr. Clarke her impressions of the new dialysis unit at the Owen King EU Hospital.

“Look at the faces here. I think everybody is extremely happy with our new home. The only complaint is, ‘mesyé here really cold sometimes.’ I mean we’re really very, very happy with our new premises. I mean the machines are working amazingly well. We’ve been able with the extra machine to increase our capacity somewhat so we are extremely excited about that and again we are not where we want to be yet but we’re certainly a lot better off than we were before. So all round we agree that we are very happy with our home here at the Owen King EU Hospital.”

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