News Item

Cost Effective Kidney Care A Relief For Fijians

News 25 Oct 2018

The Fijian Government’s efforts to develop kidney care services has created remarkable benefits for many kidney patients. Many have already started to save up to $4500 through the specialised kidney services provided by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The Health Minister, Rosy Akbar, said that this had been made possible through the Government’s ongoing commitment to enhance the accessibility and affordability of specialised kidney services in Fiji.

Minister Akbar has acknowledged Dr Amrish Krishnan for his support to the Health Ministry in co-ordinating these specialised procedures.

Dr Krishnan, who is a Fijian Specialist Nephrologist (Kidney Specialist), is now based at Colonial War Memorial Hospital as a Consultant and Head of Nephrology Department.

“Two specialised procedures, haemodialysis catheter insertions and surgical AV fistula creation, used to cost patients $1500 and $3000 respectively, but now it will be provided via the divisional hospitals using local and overseas specialists,” Minister Akbar said.

“In the past months, two patients from Labasa and three patients from Suva have already benefited from this assistance. This assistance ensures quality care and support for the kidney patients.”

Rupeni Ravai, 58, of Labasa has been able to receive catheter insertion for free at the Labasa Dialysis Centre last week.

Mr Ravai spoke emotionally of how the Government’s assistance has given new hope to kidney patients like him to seek the subsidised dialysis treatment and specialised kidney care.

“I am grateful that the catheter insertion was done without any cost to my family or otherwise we would have ended paying over $3000 to get this procedure done,” Mr Ravai said.

“Our prayers have been answered and all the praise goes to the Government for availing these much-needed services at no cost to the kidney patients.

“I would also like to thank Dr Krishnan for his support and generosity in assisting the needy families.

“We are also appreciative of the Government’s dialysis subsidy programme that now enables us to pay only half the cost for dialysis, it’s just $75 per session, which is much cheaper than what we had to pay in the past,” Mr Ravai added.

Similarly,56- year- old Senchaiya Chandraof Labasa has received a new lease of life through the free catheter insertion procedure done by Dr Krishnan and Labasa Dialysis Centre team, last week.

Mr Chand said that if it wasn’t for the Government’s assistance his family wouldn’t have been able to afford the much needed kidney care for his survival.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry launched the dialysis subsidy programme in Labasa last week.

This is for the provision of subsidised treatment through the Northern Dialysis Centre, which is the ministry’s only affiliated dialysis unit at present.

People in the Northern Division with household incomes of less than $30,000 per annum are able to access dialysis treatment for $75 per session while children, regardless of household income will be able to access dialysis treatment for free.

The Fijian Government’s subsidy programme has bought great relief to many Fijians who have been paying up to $250 per treatment over the past decade.

Minister Akbar said that dialysis subsidy programme would be rolled out to the central and western division upon the completion of the ministry’s own kidney centre in Nadera (Suva) and upon the completion of a satellite dialysis unit at Nadi Hospital.

The Construction Implementation Unit at the Ministry of Economy has placed the completion of these facilities among its priority projects.

With appropriate support from the Health Ministry, accessing clinical support such as blood and other tests, all dialysis centres should be in a position to treat Fijians at a cost of no more than $150.

The Health Ministry is also welcoming expression of interests from dialysis providers to further enhance the kidney care services.

In addition to hemodialysis, the ministry will also be subsidising Peritoneal Dialysis nationally.

Patients eligible for subsidy will be able to access this treatment at $150 for a week’s supply of necessary consumables.

Patients suitable for Peritoneal Dialysis can be referred to the Nephrology Department at the CWMH for further evaluation.

The ministry reiterates that the focus for treatment of chronic kidney diseases still needs to be on the prevention of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Early detection and seeking appropriate advice and assistance through the local health centres doctors and medical specialists is also critical in preventing the kidney failure from occurring.

Source: Fiji Sun