Home therapy a big win for Richards Bay renal community

Dialysis centre awarded SA’s Best NRC

Wednesday, March 27 2024

Innovation and support that is empowering people with kidney failure to perform their own dialysis safely at home has been recognised at National Renal Care Richards Bay’s Home Therapies Centre of Excellence. The centre was recently honoured with the renal group’s coveted 2024 Best NRC Unit national award.

“We are extremely encouraged by the progress we have made since our facility was officially opened a little over a year ago – it is a labour of love,” says specialist physician and nephrologist Dr Sithembiso Cedrick (SC) Coka, who founded the centre in association with National Renal Care (NRC).

“This award signifies the care, passion, and dedication that we have poured into our work, which aims to improve the quality of life for our patients reliant on dialysis in Richards Bay, Zululand, and the surrounding areas.”

National Renal Care (NRC) Richards Bay Home Therapies Centre of Excellence was recently recognised for its contribution to improving quality of life for people with kidney failure through the introduction of home peritoneal dialysis. Specialist physician and nephrologist Dr Sithembiso Cedrick (SC) Coka and unit leader Kasavani Kandasamy are pictured with the award certificate.


Individuals with kidney dysfunction or kidney failure often depend on dialysis to artificially purify their blood multiple times each week. The NRC Home Therapies Centre of Excellence offers three types of dialysis: chronic haemodialysis, assisted peritoneal dialysis, and acute dialysis. Under the care of Dr Coka, patients receive vital renal therapy with the support of highly skilled and fully qualified nephrology nurses.

“One of the great wins in the past year was assisting certain patients, where clinically appropriate, and their families to learn how to safely do peritoneal dialysis at home. This means they do not need to spend the time and money coming into the centre for dialysis so often,” Dr Coka says.

Qualifying patients and their family members are thoroughly trained by the NRC Richards Bay Home Therapies Centre of Excellence staff, overseen by clinicians who ensure the comfort and safety of the patient at all times.

Once the team is confident that the patient is ready, the person can continue to perform their own peritoneal dialysis conveniently at home. The clinicians are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide urgent assistance if needed.

“Consider the difference this breakthrough has made to the life of every person who would otherwise have to visit the facility three times a week, spending four hours each time. This allows greater flexibility for people on dialysis to enjoy more time with their loved ones, work, attend school or even travel with more ease than before,” Dr Coka says.

“On behalf of National Renal Care, I congratulate Dr Coka and the dedicated team at NRC Richards Bay Home Therapies Centre of Excellence on winning this year’s top NRC facility award. Thank you for being a shining light in kidney care and for keeping abreast of advances to improve the lives of the communities we serve,” concludes Dr Chevon Clark, chief executive officer of NRC.


Protect your kidney health

“Kidney disease or illnesses affecting kidney function can occur at any age. With kidney disease, the onset is usually so gradual that initially, the person may not experience any noticeable symptoms,” says specialist physician and nephrologist Dr Sithembiso Cedrick (SC) Coka of the NRC Richards Bay Home Therapies Centre of Excellence.

“It is important to check in regularly with your doctor regarding the health of your kidneys, and blood and urine tests may be conducted to identify any possible concerns. Diabetics, people with high blood pressure and anyone with a family history of kidney disease should be especially vigilant.”

National Renal Care, which operates a network of 71 dedicated dialysis centres around South Africa, offers a unique Healthy Start programme to assist people in the early stages of kidney disease to manage the dietary and lifestyle factors that can help slow the progression of the disease and preserve remaining kidney function as far as possible.

Be kind to your kidneys

  • Don’t smoke – Quitting smoking is one of the most important controllable factors to reduce your risk of developing kidney disease. Smokers are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function.
  • Alcohol in moderation – drinking excessive alcohol can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure, which both increase the risk of kidney disease.
  • Healthy food choices – A balanced, nutritious diet can help prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease.
  • Keep an eye on your waistline – People who are overweight have a significantly higher risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, which contributes to the risk of kidney disease.
  • Drink water – Skip caffeinated or sugary drinks, and instead, drink six to eight glasses of water daily to flush out harmful toxins and keep your kidneys functioning optimally.
  • Keep moving – Make exercise and physical activity part of your daily life. Cardio exercise is especially important for protecting your health and your kidney health.

“People who have been diagnosed with a condition affecting their kidney function require individual professional nephrology guidance on diet and lifestyle, which is among the services available at NRC Richards Bay Home Therapies Centre of Excellence,” Dr Coka advises.

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