MINISTER of Health Sylvia Masebo says Covid-19 can induce kidney disease by causing acute kidney injury.

And Masebo says kidney disease might become the world’s fifth leading cause of death by 2040.

At a Covid-19 briefing, Monday, Masebo said she wanted to draw people’s attention to kidney disease because March was an awareness month for that illness.

“Our public health practitioners and scientists are continually analysing data collected through surveillance and case management. The data indicates those factors that push transmission of Covid-19 as well as outcomes of those infected or affected. I have several times emphasised how those individuals with non communicable diseases or underlying diseases as severe as Covid-19, of those conditions is kidney disease. The risk of those with kidney disease getting severe Covid-19 is high,” she said.

“Additionally, Covid-19 can induce kidney disease by causing acute kidney injury. The month of March is celebrated as world kidney disease awareness period and I thought we could draw your attention to the important subject of kidney disease health, of note, is that, a persistent and ongoing chronic kidney disease knowledge gap exists. This is demonstrable at all levels of health care and in all the communities.”

And Masebo said kidney disease might become the world’s fifth leading cause of death by 2040.

“Chronic kidney disease which is known as (CKD) is common and harmful with 1/10 adult people globally having it, most cases are treatable, however if left untreated it can be deadly. Kidney disease related death continues to increase annually and globally, data indicates that it may become the fifth leading cause of death by the year 2040. Early dictation remains key as it allows disease care and management to help prevent disability and death,” she said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic causes more challenges amongst people living with kidney disease in adults and people with kidney disease. Other severe chronic medical conditions seem to be at a higher risk for more serious Covid-19 illness. As I indicated earlier, it has also been observed that some people suffering from severe cases of Covid-19 get kidney damage. This includes those who have no history of existing kidney problems. Studies indicate that more than 30 per cent of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 globally develop kidney injury.”

She warned that over use of painkillers could lead to kidney disease.

“Other causes of kidney disease besides high blood pressure, sugar disease, HIV and Covid-19 include cancers, especially cervical and prostate. Abuse of painkillers like ibuprofen and diclofenac, malaria, severe bacteria infection, pregnancy, induced blood pressure, severe diarrhoea or vomiting, burns, severe bleeding of any form, abuse of herbs, this is therefore a huge health problem and the current kidney services are very far from meeting the need,” Masebo said.

Meanwhile, Masebo said the ministry had recorded a 24 per cent decrease in the new Covid-19 cases compared to the previous week.

“A review in the past two weeks indicated 1,381 confirmed cases, one death, 1,266 recoveries, reported last week compared to…the previous week, this marks the 24 percent decrease in the new cases. In the last 24 hours, however, we recorded 49 new Covid-19 cases of 1,581 tests conducted countrywide, giving an overall National positivity ratio of three per cent. We had four new admissions and we discharged a total of 180 patients from both home management and facilities leaving 1,346 active cases nationwide, of the current active cases, 14 are admitted in the hospital and six of those on oxygen therapy and two classified as critically ill,” she said.

“All currently admitted patients are not vaccinated. For the fifth consecutive day we didn’t report any new deaths. The total new admissions were 16 in the past week, compared to 33 the week before, cumulatively 3,015,202 cases with 3,960 deaths and 3,009,765 recoveries. And of the total deaths, 2,851 have been classified as Covid-19 deaths and 1,109 as associated deaths. I wish to re-emphasis the need to adhere to the five golden rules and get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 whether you have chronic illness or not. Let us also remember to get the booster dose and very importantly get our children over 12 years vaccinated.”

She said it was time the ministry must stop pleading for people to get vaccinated.

“As Zambia, we are at a time where we don’t need to be reminded of getting vaccinated, I think we are at a time where everybody is agreeable, whether it is the church, traditional leaders the government, our families our parents our gradians, anybody responsible enough at this point in time, has come to agree that the vaccinations, which is a game changer in terms reducing the number in the hospitals and reducing the severity of the disease. So I think we are at a point where I don’t believe that we must continue pleading for people to get vaccinated. I think we are at a position where people should be putting pressure on us to make the vaccinations available and bringing closer the services of vaccination. I want to believe that by the end of next month, we should not be making announcements about vaccinating anybody, we should not, by next month, we should be talking about something else,” said Masebo.