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Christchurch employees offered vital kidney check

Media Release – March 6, 2008

Christchurch employees offered vital kidney check

One of Christchurch’s largest employers is helping keep its staff in good health by offering them the chance to undergo a free kidney check.

This week marks World Kidney Day, and with this in mind staff from Christchurch Hospital’s renal unit will be offering free tests to staff at Skope.

The company, which manufactures commercial refrigeration and domestic heating, has 350 staff who are mostly based onsite in Christchurch.

The tests, being carried out on Tuesday, March 11, will include blood pressure checks and a urine protein test for signs of kidney disease.

“We saw this as an opportunity to offer something to our employees that may have long-term benefits,” says Andrew van Herpt, HR manager at Skope.

“This is about raising awareness, and if we can help even just one of the staff pick something up that would be great.”

A significant number of the staff working at Skope are from the Maori and Pacific Island communities, which means they are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease.

World Kidney Day takes place on Thursday, March 13, and will be marked in more than 60 countries worldwide. In New Zealand events are being led by Kidney Health New Zealand (formerly the New Zealand Kidney Foundation).

The key message of World Kidney Day is that kidney disease is – common, harmful and treatable.

Globally more than 500 million individuals, around one adult in 10, have some sign of CKD, but most do not know it. CKD increases the risk of heart disease and stroke ten-fold and it is estimated that up to 36 million people will die prematurely by the year 2015 as the result of CKD.
In New Zealand almost 2000 people currently depend on dialysis, while about 1200 are alive with a transplant.
“Chronic kidney disease is a growing problem in New Zealand, closely linked to diabetes and high blood pressure. It places a huge strain on patients, their families and the health system,” says Professor Kelvin Lynn, Kidney Health New Zealand’s Medical Director.
“However, this does not need to be the case, and that is the message we hope to get across this World Kidney Day.
“If discovered early enough, chronic kidney disease is treatable. The main problem is that studies show up to 90% of CKD goes undiagnosed in the early stages.
“By making people more aware of CKD, and educating them on who is at the highest risk and how to look after their kidneys, we hope to cut the number of people reaching the stage where they need dialysis and transplantation. Prevention is our best chance of coping with this global health problem.”
Professor Lynn is delighted that Skope has decided to hold the free testing for its staff and hopes it is an example other employers chose to follow.

“By offering staff the chance to get tested Skope are acting as a responsible employer.

“I think it’s fantastic that they clearly care about their staff. And, at the end of the day, it is in every company’s best interest to maintain a healthy workforce.”

Meanwhile, other events to mark World Kidney Day in New Zealand this week are set to include a lunch in Parliament’s Grand Hall on Wednesday (March 12) which will be followed by a day of kidney checks for MPs and Parliamentary staff at the Beehive on Thursday.

The Amazing Kidney – the facts

• Surveys carried out before the first World Kidney Day showed that as few as 5% of people knew where there kidneys were located in their bodies.

• Despite this lack of knowledge, the kidneys do an amazing job.

• Our kidneys are roughly the size of two fists and are located deep in the abdomen, beneath the rib cage.

• Their main job is to remove toxins and excess water from our blood.

• Everyday our kidneys filter and clean 200 litres of blood – enough to fill 20 buckets.

• In addition to this feat, the kidneys help to control our blood pressure, produce red blood cells and to keep our bones healthy.


© Scoop Media

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