Unveiling the power of social media in chronic kidney disease awareness

Pandian, 52, from India, shares his journey with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) arising from diabetes and high blood pressure. This personal narrative highlights the financial challenges and limited awareness surrounding CKD. He champions the transformative role of social media in raising CKD awareness, and emphasizes the need for proactive initiatives like counselling to prepare individuals for the CKD journey.

Hello, my name is Pandian, a 52-year-old man living in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, India, sharing my journey of the past three years as a recipient of haemodialysis treatment due to CKD.

It all began with diabetes, which later escalated to high blood pressure, eventually resulting in CKD. This occurred despite receiving appropriate medication and treatment for both diabetes and high blood pressure.

As my creatinine levels started to raise, I was advised to take oral medications to manage it. Although the treatment seemed to work for a while, my levels spiked within three months, leaving me with no choice but to start dialysis immediately.

The main barrier for my treatment was the financial constraint, considering I was the sole breadwinner of my family. With no savings, each dialysis session, costing over 2000 rupees, coupled with additional expenses for regular medications, a specific diet, and transportation to the hospital, created a substantial burden. Additionally, my town Tirupur had only two dialysis centres at the time, both with limited facilities and outdated machines.

The journey highlighted the lack of awareness surrounding CKD, particularly its progression from diabetes and high blood pressure. A proactive initiative such as counselling or discussions initiated by hospitals or healthcare professionals could have provided valuable insights, preparing individuals like myself for the challenges that lay ahead.

While there are hospitals with the required facilities, the affordability of CKD treatments, especially frequent dialysis sessions, remains a significant concern for many. It wasn’t until I started undergoing dialysis that I fully grasped its potential as a life-sustaining treatment. The financial projection was daunting, forcing us to carefully consider the implications before starting the treatment. 

Currently, I am undergoing dialysis at the TANKER Foundation Dialysis Centre in Tirupur, where I have experienced not only remarkable medical services but also received valuable guidance on maintaining a proper diet and adopting healthy habits conducive to managing CKD.

However, the broader issue extends beyond my personal journey to encompass other CKD patients who lack the means to afford treatment or remain unaware of the available resources. Recognizing the power of social media as a powerful tool for disseminating information and raising awareness, there is a pressing need to shift from traditional advertising methods like newspapers to platforms that are more widely accessible and popular today.

The initiative to collect patient stories, compile them into a blog, and circulate them on social media is a commendable step. This approach could significantly contribute to educating the younger generation about CKD, helping them understand and prepare for potential health challenges. It is not about creating fear but fostering awareness, ensuring that individuals receive the necessary treatments at the right time.

To further enhance awareness, leveraging TANKER Foundation’s social media handles by featuring awareness videos or short clips from healthcare professionals across all centres could be an impactful strategy. Together, we can bridge the knowledge gap and empower individuals to take proactive steps in managing their health.

Disclaimer: The blog series is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to endorse or promote any specific drug, product, or brand. Each individual’s experience is unique and should not be construed as medical advice or a guarantee of similar results for others. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions regarding your health and well-being.