More help for kidney patients
More help is coming for persons who suffer from kidney disease. Two hospitals across St Catherine and St Andrew are expected to benefit from a total of 40 new dialysis machines funded by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.
Speaking at a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum, Wilford Heaven, CEO of CHASE, said a recent research paper on chronic kidney disease in Jamaica found that approximately 2,339 people were at stage four or five of end-stage renal disease.
"When you are there, you need dialysis of one sort or the other: haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplantation are the three treatment options that you have available to you," Heaven disclosed.
"We have an immediate plan for two hospitals, one being the Spanish Town Hospital, which has space and can take an expansion of about 20 machines. The other is the University Hospital of the West Indies, which can also take an expansion of 20 machines. That can be done within 12-18 months. Anything beyond that is going to fall say two years within the medium term," added Heaven.
In addition to the 20 new machines that will be donated to Spanish Town Hospital, CHASE is in the process of replacing 15 existing machines.
According to Heaven, over the years, the Fund had made contributions to individuals for dialysis treatment, but individualisation was not a sustainable way to go, so, establishing and expanding different treatment centres was important.
"We are also looking at the establishment of at least one dialysis centre in each of the four regions. We don't have to roll out four centres at once; we can roll out one at a time over a period of time," said Heaven.
The four regions are Southern Regional Health Authority (Clarendon, Manchester, and St Elizabeth), Western Regional Health Authority (St James, Hanover, Trelawny, and Westmoreland), North East Health Authority (St Ann, St Mary, and Portland) and the South East Regional Health Authority (St Catherine, St Thomas, Kingston and St Andrew).
Over a 15-year period, the organisation has spent $2.3 billion on upgrading and equipping health facilities across the island.