With at least 17 million people suffering in the country, Pakistan currently ranks eighth in the world among nations with a high rate of kidney diseases, according to experts at a seminar organized by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with the Pakistan Kidney Centre Abbottabad on the occasion of the World Kidney Day.Consultant Nephrologist and Pakistan Kidney Centre Chairman Dr Khalil ur Rehman delivered his special lecture on ‘Increasing Trends of Kidney Diseases, Prevention Strategies and Challenges’. Late diagnosis, kidney stones, diabetes and high blood pressure are major factors behind spread of kidney diseases at an alarming rate in Pakistan, he said, and added that consuming junk and low-quality food, self-medication, excessive use of medicine, low water intake and obesity make the situation worse for the kidney patients.Dr Khalil said people should adopt healthy lifestyle and avoid junk food to prevent spread of kidney diseases, adding that early and regular check-ups and aggressive screening helps avoid future complications in case one captures the disease. Drinking adequate clean water, exercise, healthy diet and tobacco control also help prevent kidney diseases, he added.Separately, Dr Khalil addressed a press briefing at the Abbottabad Press Club, followed by an awareness walk from press club to the General Post Office Chowk in which general public, health institutions and students from different schools participated.In connection with the World Kidney Day, free OPD and screening services were provided to the kidney patients at the Pakistan Kidney Centre.Speaking on the occasion, Dr Khalil said the centre is providing various services to the people in the region, including a dialysis of 75 patients, out of which 70 percent are getting free services. “Another 70 percent of patients are getting free medical check-up at the OPD. Till now, 29 mobile camps have been conducted and 4,798 patients have availed free medical check-ups through the Mobile Outreach Screening Program,” he said. “This year, the Pakistan Kidney Centre will start construction of an operation theater. Whereas, construction of 50-bed hospital and transplant center are also in the pipeline,” he added.The centre, built by the Pakistan Welfare Society (PWS), a Jeddah-based non-profit organization, with the support of Pakistani expatriates and philanthropists working in Saudi Arabia and other countries, is equipped with the latest dialysis equipment while the facility is accessible to around 10 million people in the region.Published in Daily Times, March 15th 2019.