New health care facility for kidney patients opens in SVG
February 12, 2013
New health care facility for kidney patients opens in SVG

According to the Caribbean Renal Registry at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus in Jamaica, Renal /Kidney Disease in the Caribbean is increasing at a rate of 6.5 per cent per annum.{{more}}

Research has also shown that the number of dialysis machines throughout the region have doubled since 2006, simply to satisfy the demand for renal replacement therapy.

When the kidneys lose about 10-15 per cent of their function, treatment referred to as “end stage dialysis” is required.

Health Solutions, the latest health provider to open in St Vincent and the Grenadines, specializes primarily in haemodialysis services.

Dr Malcolm Samuel, renal surgeon and part of the medical team at Health Solutions, explained that if chronic renal disease is not managed or diagnosed early, it can be fatal.

He said that chronic renal disease is caused by lifestyle chronic illnesses: hypertension and diabetes.

This also depends on the part of the world in which one lives, he explained, for in the United States, kidney failure is attributed to hypertension, while in Europe and the Caribbean, it is because of diabetes.

“Our lifestyle choices is the genesis of this problem,” he said.

“We know for a fact that the end stage of chronic renal disease is increasing and not only in developed, but in developing countries like ours.”

The ultimate goal of those in the medical field, he said, is to identify those at risk for chronic renal disease and to reduce the rate of progression from chronic disease to end stage.

“You can’t go back once you get to the stage of end stage renal disease,” he said, and end stage is when dialysis is required.

And with the increasing numbers of Vincentians succumbing to chronic renal disease, Samuel addressed the issue of access, saying that for a period of time, peritoneal dialysis was the only form of therapy available and this was done at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

“Over the years, this method has proven to be unsatisfactory for a number of reasons,” Samuel said.

So Health Solutions is a facility that is one of a kind in the country, Pauline Garabedian, registered nurse and managing director of the health facility said.

While kidney disease has been on the rise around the world and locally, availability of dialysis in St Vincent and the Grenadines was problematic.

“I am married to a Vincentian and having been involved in medicine for over 14 years and being someone who had to go elsewhere to seek health care, I thought something need to be done here,” she said.

Garabedian said the facility is the manifestation of a vision started by the Sutherland family; that family started making dialysis treatment available to locals over a year ago, she said.

And with the services being available here, it is anticipated that the cost of treatment will be cut tremendously, as individuals will no longer have to travel abroad.

She explained that the facility is modern and spacious and houses six dialysis machines.

It has the capacity to treat up to 18 patients daily.

The equipment is complemented by a well trained staff, the managing director said.

People are being encouraged to visit the facility, Garabedian explained, but not all those in the public have factual information relating to chronic renal disease.

“And not everybody has Internet access — so we are in the process of providing packages for hypertensive and diabetic patients,” she said.

The long term plan for the facility, according to Garabedian, is to provide other forms of health care as they are identified by the team.(DD)