Singapore is hopeful that more people in the country will consider becoming kidney donors, after a 40 year study revealed that most living donors do not suffer any long term side effects as a result of the procedure.
The study, which examined the blood pressure, kidney function and urine of 180 donors in the 11 years following their transplant, was carried out at Singapore General Hospital and showed that four out of ten donors regained ¾ of their pre-transplant kidney function in just five years.
Despite the high success rate and limited risk for donors, a fear of surgical complications and their health after donating a kidney were still the main reasons given by people in the country for not becoming a donor.
Worldwide death rates from kidney donation surgery stand at just 1 in 3000, making it one of the safest surgical procedures that anyone can undergo. In Singapore the death rate is even lower, with the high standard of facilities and highly trained medics combining to make it an extremely safe procedure for almost everyone.
Kidney failure is a massive issue in Singapore, with recently published statistics from the country’s Ministry of Health highlighting just why more donors are required.
As of the end of June this year 310 patients were on the kidney transplant waiting list, whilst just 16 transplants had been carried out from living donors all year.
With over 1700 people suffering from Kidney failure in 2014 in Singapore, the statistics for those needing a transplant in the future only look as if they will rise in the coming years.
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Mental Health in Singapore
The number of teenagers suffering from mental health issues in Singapore appears to be on the rise, although that may not actually be the main reason for the increase in calls received by Samaritans in the country.
Statistics published this week by the charity showed that the number of calls received from people between the ages of 10 and 19 increased from 244 to 550 last year, with depression and bipolar disorder amongst the most common concerns that were spoken about.
Whilst the sharp rise looks concerning it has been strongly linked with a better knowledge of mental health conditions throughout the younger population.
Psychiatrist Dr Ken Ung told the ‘Strait Times’ in Singapore this week of how many young patients are approaching him to say that they have self diagnosed themselves with mental health issues. Whilst the greater awareness around mental health conditions did please him, he did advise people to always seek a diagnosis from a medical professional before beginning any form of treatment.
The main reason given by children calling the helpline was often related to the educational pressures put on them by schools, as well as family members.
Schools in Singapore regarded as some of the best in the world, and the average educational attainment in the island city state far exceeds most other countries.
As a result of this however children find themselves under what can be extreme pressure to attain grades that are high enough to allow them to find employment in a hugely competitive workplace. This can also infiltrate family life, where pride and reputation are still valued very highly - and these can depend on a child’s success at school.
Psychiatrists in the country are therefore warning parents not to take the all too common ‘they can rest after they graduate’ attitude to educational related mental health issues.
Asia as a region as a whole where mental health issues can still carry a stigma. In Singapore however attitudes are rapidly changing and, with more knowledge about the issues, the country’s healthcare industry (ranked as the world’s most efficient) is perfectly placed to help treat the increasing numbers realising that they have an issue.
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