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Belize: Study shows alarming rates of kidney disease in country

The Ministry of Health in Belize with their Taiwanese partners headed by Cathy Wang the Director, of the Humanitarian Assistance Department of ICDF presented a final overview and accomplishments from the Belize Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) project to the Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin and extended management staff of the Ministry. According to Dr. Francis Morey, while a final report was due in January, at their overview meeting on January 29, 2019, they discussed the preliminary report, which was a recap of the initial findings identified during a national survey for risk factors of CKD, referring to the level of functionality of an individual’s kidney showing some degree of damage, between the dates of August 7 and December 15, 2017. The survey, which was done by MOH in partnership with Taiwan ICDF, and the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), showed that 13.9% of citizens between ages 20-55 years show some evidence of kidney impairment. The prevalence of CKD worldwide is estimated to be 8-16% and as such, these findings puts Belize among countries with the highest prevalence.

The survey saw a total of 10,343 persons being interviewed from which, 7,506 participants also provided a blood and urine sample to be tested. The information gathered was used to identify other potential risk factors for the development of CKD such as age, ethnicity, and specific conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.  A more detailed analysis of this data suggested that countrywide, the female population has a higher prevalence of CKD (15.0%) than the male population (12.5%). Aging also seems to show an increased risk of CKD as the population between the ages of 50-55 years represented the group with the highest prevalence (27.4%) of those in the study.  The ethnic group most at risk is the Mestizo group with a prevalence of CKD (15.5%). An analysis by district shows that persons living in Orange Walk and Corozal have a higher prevalence of CKD at 19.3% and 17.0%, respectively.

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