Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Govt allocates $28m for private dialysis centres
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan says $28 million has been allocated for private dialysis centres and tenders will be put out soon. He also urged citizens to not contribute to the burgeoning health problems but to change their unhealthy lifestyles so as to avoid becoming dialysis patients in the future and place further burden on the health sector. He was speaking during the lunch interval at Parliament on Friday.
Khan said, “We've gotten $28 million allocation for private dialysis. I’ve gotten a note approved by Cabinet where private dialysis centres will be available for the population and that will be starting very soon by tender. “Hospital dialysis is filled as it is already, and more patients are coming every day.
“We’re looking at the figures, and I realise more and more people need dialysis because of the unhealthy lifestyles and unhealthy way of eating, so they're damaging their kidneys by not taking care of their blood pressure or their diabetes and causing us more and more problems with kidney failure.”
He said with thousands of people now suffering from diabetes and complications from diabetes, dialysis was keeping them alive. Khan said it was unfortunate that citizens were not listening to the ministry’s warnings that the country had a serious obesity and hypertension problem, as well as a problem with diabetes and cardiac disease which had now taken the forefront in chronic diseases.
Khan said at the rate the country was going due to improper diet and inactivity, with more people become susceptible to diabetes, home dialysis units in every single house might become necessary. According to Khan, there was a dire need for people to watch their diets and how much processed food they ate. High lood pressure, diabetes, limited physical activity, eating foods with lots of sugars, not eating enough vegetables, not drinking enough fluid all contributed to destroying their kidneys and hearts.
The Health Minister said under the previous administration Cabinet had approved four private dialysis treatment centres for citizens. However, they are now unable to handle the capacity of patients needing treatment. Khan said the ministry will monitor and regulate all the dialysis centres so there will be an increase in the amount of private dialysis service suppliers and an improvement in the patients’ care and treatment times.
He said they were also going to ask patients themselves to monitor the length of time for their treatment cycles. Khan said he hoped that when more of the private dialysis treatment centres become available, once they are properly licenced and recommended, competition will drive down the cost of $950 for a single treatment.
When asked about the former health minister, Jerry Narace’s proposal of a partnership with Fresenius Medical Care Holdings to create two new dialysis centres during his tenure, Khan said it was still being assessed.
Howai on dialysis
In his 2014 budget presentation on Monday, Finance Minister Larry Howai said appropriate infrastructure with best practices for delivery of quality services for dialysis patients was put in place. He said from November 1, only those private health institutions which meet best practice standards will provide dialysis service to patients referred from public health facilities.
Howai said this initial arrangement would last two years and will allow for the delivery of 12 sessions per month at a maximum sum of $950 per session.
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