What you need to know:
- A high protein diet is defined as daily consumption of greater than or equal to 1.5g daily.
- This is almost twice the current recommended dietary allowance but within the range of current dietary reference intakes for protein.
High protein diets especially those rich in animal products have been linked to increased renal failure in Marsabit County.
Speaking during the World Kidney Day celebrations at Marsabit Referral Hospital, Health Executive Jamma Wolde said the number of patients with renal complications handled in the facility had increased over the past three years.
“There is a need for heightened sensitisation on kidney health among the residents. Many suffer because they do not recognise the early warnings of renal failure,” said Dr Wolde.
He said the county referral hospital, the only facility equipped with a renal unit, undertakes 176 dialysis sessions for 22 patients monthly up from only two patients in 2018.
He attributed this to poor health seeking behaviour, ignorance and the community’s nomadic lifestyle. In addition, he cited the excessive intake of animal protein, use of painkillers by miraa chewers and sedentary lifestyles.
In Marsabit, animal protein is a cheaper source of food for urban dwellers. For instance, a cabbage goes for between Sh100 and Sh200. A kilo of kale costs Sh100 while one watermelon costs Sh250.
Marsabit Referral Hospital Renal Unit Coordinator Jarso Galgallo said out of every 10 patients attended to in the facility, one has renal complications. She also blamed the high protein intake for this. Data from studies show that dietary protein intake may be related to the progression of renal disease, said the coordinator.
A high protein diet is defined as daily consumption of greater than or equal to 1.5g daily, which is almost twice the current recommended dietary allowance but within the range of current dietary reference intakes for protein.
A high-protein diet increases the risk of renal diseases.
Their warnings are also backed by findings in a study conducted by the county in 2019 with the help of development partners.
The Marsabit integrated Smart survey of 2019 indicates that consumption of protein rich foods was high compared to other foods in the region.
“In terms of the average number of days micronutrients are consumed in a household, the major micronutrients consumed in Marsabit County were protein, staples and oil/fats which were consumed over five days in a week. The least consumed was Vitamin A, one day in a week. These results explain the deficiency in dietary micronutrient intake among households,” the report states.
The study was undertaken by county experts with the help of Unicef, USAid, Concern Worldwide, among others.