Traditional Approach to Fight CKDu – A Sri Lankan Story

Chronic Kidney Disease is a widespread medical condition specially prevailing in the Dry Zone in Sri Lanka, Since the etiology of the CKD in Sri Lanks is still unknown the disease is named as Chronic Kidney Disease of uncertain etiology or CKDu.  According to government estimates there are approximately 70,000 estimated CKD/CKDu patients in known high risk areas of which majority are from North Central Province.

The government officials have found it hard and difficult to manage the CKDu patients as the patient number is very much high and the needed facilities too are expensive and most of the time sophisticated machinery are involved. Even now we can see the need for facilities such as nephrology clinics, dialysis machines and a trained medical work force has been highlighted by the news media, activists, and doctors.

In a recent seminar held in Colombo a Senior Lecturer from the The Institute of Indigenous Medicine of the University of Colombo, Dr. Pushpa Kulanatha explained an effort taken by a group of Ayurvedic Doctors to find a way to cure CKDu affected patients. According to Dr. Pushpa a group of medical professionals on volunteer basis started a CKDu clinic in Kebigthigollewa area on October 2015 and have been conducting the clinics once in every three weeks. In their traditional approach the team treat the patients in a combination of treatments which consist a series of traditional treatment methods.

The Group – CKDu CARE

Formed in 2015 the group CKDu CARE is a project, dedicated to providing treatment, promoting awareness and conducting research on Chronic Kidney Disease of uncertain etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka, initiated by a group of qualified Western and Ayurvedic medical professionals.  The main aim of the group was to provide a comprehensive care to improve overall quality of life of CKDu/CKD patients.

CKDu Clinic
A busy day at CKDu Clinic in Kebithigollewa

CKDu dedicated clinics:

The group usually treat about 150 selected patients in a clinic day channeled to them through government sources. These people mainly belong to underprivileged category of the society and they get their treatments 100% free from these clinics. The treatment package includes medical examination by Allopathic and Ayurvedic physicians, 3 weeks medication pack (clinic conducted once in 3 weeks) testing blood for creatinine and other markers of the CKDu as well as a refreshment pack with a drink while waiting get the care. In addition to that good food habits lifestyle and agricultural practices are emphasized in health education sessions while waiting for the medical care.
At the same time agrochemical independent rice cultivation is also promoted in the clinic by providing education and seeds for free.

CKDU Clinic
A doctor from CKDu CARE examining a patient
Leech therapy
A patient going through the leech therapy

During the treatment process the patients are assessed through various clinical and observational data, including various blood and urine tests.

Outcome 

In their first series of clinics they have treated 300 patients and they have been able to successfully monitor 150 patients throughout the full treatment process. From that group of 150, 130 patients have shown a significant improvement in quality of life and 28 patients who went through the full treatment process have now totally finished their treatments and now have returned to their normal lives.

Dissemination of knowledge:

CKDu CARE have successfully conducted a knowledge and skill-sharing workshop for the Ayurveda physicians who treat CKDu patients in the north central province. This five-day workshop conducted at the Ayurveda Teaching Hospital Anuradhapura was well attended by about 20 government Ayurveda doctors and they are now undergoing their clinical training at the CKDu CARE clinic, Kebithigollewa. This workshop covered the essential basic knowledge and skills relevant to clinical management, making simple traditional medicine remedies for CKDu by using ingredients abundantly found in north central regions in Sri Lanka as well as systematic data recording in CKDu clinics. These young doctors are now well geared for combating CKDu and to help relieve the suffering of needy people affected by CKDu.

CKDu Lecture
A group of CKDu patients and villagers attending a lecture on CKDu management

Research on CKDu:

Dr. N. Kumarasinghe a correspondent from the CKDu CARE group says “So far the research on CKDu done locally and internationally has ended up in getting nowhere. The aim of CKDu CARE research is to find a feasible solution to CKDu by using Western and Ayurvedic integrated approach. So, the young researchers working with CKDu CARE, are systematically recording the data of the patients to cover the biological, psychological, socio-demographic and environmental aspects of their lives. These data are being presented at the national and international forums in order to create awareness among the scientific community who has similar intention to find a solution for this seemingly incurable disease. More in-depth research will be carried out with the support from the ministry of primary industries and some foreign collaborators who has promised to provide essential funding. ”
Creating public awareness about CKDu in  a novel way:

In addition to regularly conducted health education and knowledge dissemination via leaflets and lectures, CKDu CARE has taken a novel move by inspiring a group of Street Drama artists to present a drama dedicated to CKDu. They have successfully completed their rehearsals and inaugural show will be played at places like Sunday fairs and bus stands very soon.

Challenges and the road ahead

Dr. N. Kumarasinghe explained the challenges the group is facing in their approach to treat CKDu patients. According to him one of the main challenges they are facing is the general attitude towards the traditional medicine among the general public. He says people are generally reluctant to go for traditional treatment methods mainly because of the negative mindset towards this system. Dr. Kumarasinghe further says that unavailability of enough dialysis machines in these areas is also a big problem for  CKDu patients. According to Dr. Kumarasinghe poverty and the lack of basic infrastructure like transport and proper health facilities are also a major challenge faced by these people.

So far this project has achieved a lot for a period of one year from its humble start in October 2015 without seeking funding or any major support from the government. More has to be done to relieve the sufferings of the CKDu affected people not only in Sri Lanka but also in all over the world.  According to some researches done by Rajarata University, more than 80% of the population in North Central Sri Lanka is affected by this disease, even though only a minor proportion of  them have been found and are tracked by the medical authorities. In this plight, CKDu CARE aims to operate until it achieves its noble aim of relieving the sufferings of the CKDu victims.

 

For further information on CKDu care project 

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/pg/CKDuCARE/

CKDu Care Correspondence – 

Dr. Nishantha Kumarasinghe MBBS PhD

Mobile:  +94 71 8002880, Email: drkumarasinghe2015@yahoo.com

2 thoughts on “Traditional Approach to Fight CKDu – A Sri Lankan Story

  • January 6, 2017 at 10:44 am
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    Please keep me posted of current news in Science

    • January 9, 2017 at 3:36 am
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      Stay with us and you will be updated on all the Science news from Sri Lanka and rest of the world

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