South Africa

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | We anticipate a tsunami in public healthcare: Covid creates dialysis crisis

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | We anticipate a tsunami in public healthcare: Covid creates dialysis crisis

November 24 2021 - 06:00

We anticipate a tsunami in public healthcare: Covid creates dialysis crisis

Almost two years after organ transplants were suspended due to Covid-19, which increases transplant patients’ risks of dying, some public health specialists say it is time to consider reviving this life-saving procedure.

Kidney specialists from two of the Western Cape’s biggest hospitals, Tygerberg and Groote Schuur, said despite the tremendous pressure on public hospitals to treat patients with end-stage kidney disease, severe bottlenecks on the dialysis programme had been worsened by the suspension of kidney transplants. This, with a shortage of dialysis machines, had created an “untenable situation” for doctors and their patients. As a result, dialysis machines were not being freed up, restricting new patients’ access to them.

In a South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) article, nephrologists from these hospitals urged health authorities to relieve the pressure by not only vaccinating dialysis patients against Covid-19, but increasing theatre time and allowing more organ transplants.

One of the concerned nephrologists, Dr Yazied Chothia, who is also a senior lecturer at Tygerberg Hospital and Stellenbosch University, said with more medical-insured people losing their jobs, the pool of patients joining the state healthcare sector was expected to increase and put the under-resourced system under severe strain.

“We anticipate a tsunami to hit the public sector in the coming months or years.”

We anticipate a tsunami in public healthcare: Covid creates dialysis crisis