Doctors in Bali have raised formal concerns about rising cases of kidney disease in young children. Doctors have reported that since August 2022, there have been 17 cases where an unnamed kidney disorder has hospitalized children. Heartbreakingly, 11 children have died.
The Head of the Bali Provincial Health Office, Dr. I Nyoman Gede Anom, told reporters that research is ongoing to establish what is causing the mysterious kidney disease and what can be done to prevent these cases from rising. He has speculated that parents have been giving their children drugs to solve common ailments without a prescription from a doctor.
He suggested that the wrong, unprescribed medication with an unspecified dosage could be causing kidney disease in these cases. He noted that clinicians had observed a similar phenomenon in Gambia, West Africa.
He told reporters, ‘Parents should take their sick children for treatment to health care facilities to get the right medicine and according to their child’s illness. Take medicine only given by doctors or health workers at health facilities’.
He urged parents and caregivers not to give their children any medication that has not been bought at a registered pharmacy. He noted that there is a children’s cough medicine that is suspected to be being circulated across Indonesia that could be the cause of these kidney disease cases.
Dr. Anom confirmed to reporters that medical professionals across Bali are now on high alert for symptoms of kidney disease in children. He said that clinicians are working in partnership with the District and City Health Offices, hospitals, and clinics to carry out early-detection symptoms checks on all children who come through the door. He explained that if any early symptoms of kidney disease are detected in a child, even if they went to the clinic for a different issue, they will be referred for treatment immediately.
Dr. Anom explained, ‘Everything is handled by a team of pediatricians at Prof Ngoerah Hospital because this is a new case and only at Prof Ngoerah Hospital is an expert team’. Via reporters, Dr. Anom urged families to keep a close eye on their children’s bathroom habits and overall health. He explained that caregivers must immediately take children to see a medical professional if they display symptoms of a cough or cold accompanied by reduced urine output.
The Head of the Pediatrician Team at Prof Ngoerah Hospital, Dr. I Gusti Ngurah Sanjaya Putra, reiterated Dr. Anom’s urgency for parents to be observant of their children’s health and not to give them medication that has not been prescribed. He explained, ‘On average, patients who come in are in a very terminal state of kidney function, severe functional impairment. The normal glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is above 90 mL/min per 1.73 m2. They are already under 15 mL/min per 1.73 m’.
He explained that of the 17 patients bought to the hospital displaying correlating symptoms, the majority were under the age of six. Many had to undergo dialysis, and sadly 11 of the patient’s conditions were too severe to be saved. Dr. Putra said that five patients were able to be saved after considerable medical interventions and that they remain to receive out-patient care. One 17-year-old patient remains in the hospital undergoing life-saving treatment.
Looking at the situation at a national level, the Indonesian Ministry of Health has reported mysterious cases of acute kidney disorder to the World Health Organization. Across Indonesia, a total of 152 pediatric kidney disease cases have been logged as of October 14th, 2022. The cause remains unknown, but the Indonesian Paediatrician Association will continue to investigate the issue.
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