Dubai: More than 720 Emiratis per million and more than 320 people per million of the general population in the UAE suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), a nephrologist said on Thursday.

Around 1,600 people are currently undergoing dialysis with end-stage kidney disease, said Mona Al Rukhaimi, President of the Emirates Nephrology Society, on Thursday. She was quoting from a 2009 survey conducted by the Nephrology Society.

Al Rukhaimi attributed the high incidence of CKD to the prevalence of diabetes, obesity and hypertension in the UAE. She was speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of the seventh edition of the nephrology congress, which she is presiding over. The international Congress is an annual event, held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and President of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). The four-day conference being held in Dubai will conduct workshops and bring together nephrologists from around the globe as well as physicians, surgeons and other health care specialists from different specialities to discuss the future of nephrology and renal transplantation.

Al Rukhaimi said: “In the last two years we have had several cadaver kidney transplants; in this year alone we have had three cadaver transplants. CKD is a very challenging condition and with such a high prevalence the doctors are looking at the alternatives for prevention, screening, early diagnosis and care.”

One of the most important developments in managing kidney disease has been the home dialysis system, which has provided relief to geriatric, disabled and child patients for whom going to the hospital twice every week for dialysis posed a problem. Nearly 66 patients in Abu Dhabi are getting home dialysis and a couple of patients in Dubai too have enrolled.

“The trend is catching up and this means a great relief for patients who can now undergo dialysis at home. Although this facility was available in the West, in the UAE it is a recent one and has been welcomed by patients of CKD,” said Al Rukhaimi.

Home dialysis provides the patient the opportunity to save time spent in travel, and is also less expensive and easier to undergo, make it less challenging for people who have mobility issues.

Humaid Al Qutami, chairman of the board and director general of DHA who inaugurated the Congress, in his keynote address pointed out the numerous efforts being taken by the various health stakeholders in tackling renal disease in the UAE. “The congress represents a valuable opportunity to exploit the latest expertise and advanced techniques available on a global level to develop the local health sector.”