Department of Health 23/03/2020 - 07:33
For 56-year-old kidney failure patient, Yolisa Besane, a kidney donation would literally be her gift of life.
“It’s rather unfortunate that it took my own personal journey with kidney failure to fully acknowledge the importance of organ donation. I was also guilty of believing the cultural stereotypes and stigma associated with it.”
“It was only until that fateful day that I lay in hospital, fighting for my life, in dire need of a donation myself,” narrates Besane.
Basane was part of a team of health workers and patients that educated staff and patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital about the importance of looking after our kidney at this year’s World Kidney Day.
The enthusiastic team from renal units moved from Patient Affairs, Out Patient department, Casualty and Pharmacy creating awareness.
Her journey started in 1998, when what she initially dismissed as a stress-related headache became more and more consistent. It was only weeks later when her health started severely deteriorating that she sought desperate medical intervention.
“At this point, my skin became a lot darker and my eyesight started to get poor. I grew more and more anxious, as I was also losing weight severely – to a point where I was dependent on my family for basic things like eating, washing and walking,” recalls Besane.
Based in Cape Town at the time, she was eventually referred to a public health facility after numerous misdiagnosis from private care that the worst was confirmed.
A teary-eyed Basane further states that her world came to a standstill when the doctor told her she had kidney failure due to her severe hypertension and had to be placed on dialysis instantly until she’s transplantable – medically capable to receive a kidney transplant.
In medicine, dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes, and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally. This is referred to as renal replacement therapy.
It was after seven years of dialysis that Basane journeyed back to her Rosettenville home in Gauteng that she continued her treatment in Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Soweto.
Today, a kidney awareness advocate and transplant hopeful at the hospital, her only appeal to the public is for people to reconsider donating an organ for those who desperately need it because as she puts it;” … hospitals like Bara, have an increasing number of patients with kidney problems and majority of them need transplants but the number of donors is extremely low. But more importantly, it’s literally a matter of life and death.”
More than 30 kidney transplants have been performed in the last five years to patients from Renal Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) in Soweto.
These 35 kidney transplant recipients underwent many tests and treatment options including dialysis before a match was found through a provincial data base which include both private and public patients with kidney failure.
Provincial hospitals which offer transplant services are CHBAH; Sebokeng; Helen Joseph; Leratong and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic.
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