EACH year, about 500 new cases of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) patients are recorded in Fiji.
This was revealed by Dr Joji Malani who told this newspaper the figure was much more than anticipated.
"There have been a number of approximations and studies done over the years which suggest new cases of end-stage kidney diseases between 200 and 400 yearly," he said.
"However, a recent proper retrospective study suggested about 480 new cases per year.
"This means that this is the number that requires renal replacement therapy (RRT) — hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplant. This is much more than expected and will assist us in planning for RRT in Fiji."
Dr Malani said late diagnosis of kidney-related issues in the country was always an issue and people needed to take better care of their health, particularly those at higher risk of developing these problems.
"This always happens in Fiji and has a lot to do with access to screening, evaluation and ongoing management.
"The attitude of patients to their health needs to change and particularly for those who are at high risk including diabetic, hypertensive and older patients with family history of kidney diseases."
Dr Malani explained that the biggest cause of ESKD in Fiji was diabetes, which is about 70 per cent of the cases each year.
"We need more public information to be available on kidney diseases. It involves screening, prevention and the management of kidney diseases once diagnosed," he suggested.
Things you should know about kidney failure
* Approximately 480 new cases of end-stage kidney disease presented annually in Fiji
* These end-stage kidney disease patients usually require transplants
* One patient undergoing dialysis pays $200 each time they receive the treatment - these treatments are supposed to happen three times a week
* This $600 figure weekly for one patient is not affordable for over 80 per cent of dialysis patients in the country
* Diabetics are at the greatest risk of potentially developing end-stage kidney disease
* The best thing to do is to ensure your diets are healthy and that you exercise regularly to prevent unhealthy lifestyles