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PIA Press Release
2007/09/13

Urinalysis for school kids seen to prevent Renal Disease

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (13 September) -- If resources are available, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) here is more than willing to conduct urinalysis for Grade I pupils, to help prevent the escalation of renal and other kidney disease cases here in Aklan.

According to Dr. Emma Cortes, Provincial Health Officer II, it is the mission of the PHO to implement health programs of the government, and if conducting urinalysis is mandated in all schools in Aklan, the health office would comply readily.

The conduct of urinalysis in school children is currently pushed by the Department of Health Center for Health Development 6 (DOH-CHD) as one of the main preventive measures against renal diseases.

Renal Disease, according to the DOH-CHD, is still one the top ten leading causes of death in Western Visayas.

This fact was reiterated once more by the Department of Health during a recent conference it initiated with partner-agencies for the Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP) the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine Information Agency.

The conference was a follow-up to the one conducted last year with the same participants, composed of public health nurses from the provinces of Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Antique, Capiz and Aklan, a representative from the DILG Regional Office, and Information Officers from the PIA.

In Aklan, Dr. Cortes said that in the late 90's, the province was able to conduct urinalysis in school children in all municipalities but this program was not sustained. She also said that since renal disease was not in the top ten leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the province and being short in resources, the urine screening was not continued that time.

On the other hand, Erlin Morales, designated REDCOP Provincial Coordinator in Aklan, said that in going around the province in the conduct of urinalysis among school children in the late 90's, she observed that there were really school children who had abnormal urine samples. She said some of these school children, mostly found in Nabas, a western town in Aklan, were even referred to the National Kidney Institute for assessment and medication.

That time, according to Morales, urinalysis was conducted only in central schools, and the tests covered Grade I up to Grade VI pupils in a span of three years.

"So for those found to have abnormal urine samples, we were still able to follow-up their cases even if they were in high school in the case of Grade Six pupils. However, when the program was not sustained, we lost track of them. As the program was not sustained, probably what the DOH now is advocating is for its revival, and we are more than willing here to conduct that, as long as we are fully trained, there is enough resources, and there are facilities for referral for those who will be found positive for inspection in their urine tests," Morales explained.

Renal disease, according to health officials, is asymptomatic, meaning a person may be suffering already from kidney problems but he doesn't know yet, unless he had urinalysis, or if he is already in the end stage.

"Our target now is on the preventive aspect of renal disease, and in Western Visayas, if it could not be dislodged from the top ten leading causes, at least we must try to relegate it to the last number," was DOH-CHD 6 officials' appeal to the conference participants. (PIA) [top]

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