Over the last four years, a total of 80 kidney patients who were accessing dialysis treatment at the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre in Georgetown have died.
This was revealed by the Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, St Clair ‘Jimmy’ Prince, in his response to questions posed by the Opposition during the sitting of the House of Assembly last Tuesday, December 13.
Minister Prince said since the introduction of dialysis treatments in 2018, 176 patients have accessed the clinic, 88 male and 88 female. He added, that of the 80 recorded deaths, most patients were known to suffer with other diseases.
“A total of 80 patients have since died. We know that there are patients who have migrated, some patients who switch to the private company, and patients who have recovered and no longer need the treatment. “Three or four of them have recovered. Most patients who have died had other co-morbidities such as lupus, cancer and NCDs.”
The dialysis treatment was instituted by government in 2018 and offered to kidney patients at a subsidized cost which was reduced in 2020 due economic constraints presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves revealed that government will be putting a waiver of fees on the treatment, to continue into 2023.
Minister Prince explained that patients are usually dialysed two to three times per week or more frequently, depending on their current health condition.
The Minister also responded to questions about the incidents of diabetic related amputations in the House. The most recent figures provided revealed that in 2020, there were 52 amputations.
Providing a breakdown, Minister Prince said the number of amputations has been reducing on average, as indicated by the fact that in 2015, there were 101 diabetes related amputations, in 2016 there were 63, the following year there were 77, the figures stood at 63 in 2018 and in 2019 there were 67.
He said the ministry has been taking measures to address the increase in non-communicable disease (NCD) numbers and resulting complications including providing “highly subsidized insulin and oral diabetic medications” which he noted has been in adequate supply, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the military invasion of Ukraine.
He added that the hospital had introduced a drug from Cuba used to promote the healing of diabetic leg ulcers, however due to procurement issues they have been forced to switch to other drugs.