Kidney transplant policy coming
The Ministry of Health is to formulate a policy to guide the development of kidney transplantation as a viable alternative to haemodialysis for persons with end-stage renal disease.
"I've already had policies from other jurisdictions and we're looking now towards developing a national transplant policy because we believe that is the way to go," said Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson last Friday.
Ferguson was speaking at a function hosted by Sandals Royal in Montego Bay to thank the United Kingdom-based Transplant Links Community and members of the staff at the Cornwall Regional Hospital for their achievement in successfully carrying out kidney transplants at the hospital for the second consecutive year.
"I am certainly looking forward to the consultation with that and your own contribution to such a draft when it is in that stage because we really believe that whether local or international we want to develop a policy that is workable, that is sustainable," said Ferguson.
Expressing gratitude for the support from the medical team, Dr Ferguson noted that the cost for dialysis runs as high as $1.5 million per patient annually "and that is an extreme burden".
He said even as Government would be absorbing those costs, "at the same time for families and those who have had to go the private route, it's a burden even for middle-class and upper-middle-class families because at that rate, over time it could move a middle-class family into poverty where after a certain period they now try to get on to the public service."
Ferguson added: "I am bombarded as minister almost every day by private patients who should be doing three times a week dialysis down to one and two sessions because they just can't afford it."
He commended the transplant initiative being undertaken by the Cornwall Regional Hospital and committed to not only support its sustainability but to expand the surgical operation to other health regions.