The $30,000 donated by Tautua i Puapuaga o Tagata (T.P.P.T.) of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) to the National Kidney Foundation will go a long way to assist the increasing numbers of dialysis patients.
This is according to National Kidney Foundation General Manager, Mulipola Iose Hazelman, who said they have been very fortunate with the monetary assistance offered by the T.P.P.T.
“The Foundation has been very fortunate to receive this annual donation from the Tautua Puapuaga o Tagata who has been donating the N.K.F.S. since its establishment in 2005."
“The Foundation is very much depended on donations and other fundraising activities to compliment the grants from Government each year."
“Dialysis treatment is heavily subsidized by Government with patients paying only T$10 per treatment."
“The major portion of donated funds goes into the Foundations preventive efforts, primarily on our Community Outreach Medical Screening programmes, as the bulk of the Government grant go to funding dialysis treatments, and pre-dialysis clinics.”
According to Mulipola, there are 109 dialysis patients being treated at Motootua with eight at Tuasivi.
“Ten years ago, 2008, the number was only twenty six. Government is committed to the sustainability of the Foundation and thus the major portion of our funding will continue to be from Government.”
He also pointed out the main concern for Samoa is the high incidence of non- communicable diseases (N.C.D.'s), which could lead to chronic kidney disease and eventually end stage kidney failure, if the N.C.D. is not treated or managed.
“This is especially with the relatively high rates of diabetes and hypotension within our community."
“The Foundation continues to work with the general health sector to help reduce the burden of N.C.D's.”
As reported last year, there is a huge increase in the number of Samoans undergoing dialysis treatment is alarming.
Mulipola at the time said there is an increase in end-stage renal disease patients who require dialysis support, the age at onset, survival rates, young dialysis patients and complexity of co-morbidities.
And this, he said, should be a wakeup call for Samoa.
Manager of Renal Services, Christina Poloai also expressed similar sentiments.
“The dialysis started back in 2005 with only five patients, fast forward now, 12 years later, it’s increased significantly to 103 patients."
“It’s a huge increase,” the General Manager told the Samoa Observer yesterday."
“The last survey indicated the increase was 23 per cent of Samoa’s population who are either diabetic or hypertension."
“Eighty per cent of our patients who are on dialysis either started from unmanaged diabetes or unmanaged high blood pressure.”
He is adamant the numbers would increase.
“In May 2017, we had to add another shift to meet the demands of the increasing numbers."
“We have 22 machines and so before we had only three shifts and it’s now increased to four shifts,” said Mulipola.
He told the Samoa Observer they had an awareness campaign and free screening currently being held in partnership with the Women in Business and medical students from National University of Samoa.
“This is where we go out in the villages and try to give lectures and offer assistance particularly those with chronic diseases in Samoa."
“We will probably get some figures by April 2018 on the increasing numbers."
“But we know it is a big problem because Samoa has a huge, non-communicable disease burden."
“And it will continue to increase,” said Mulipola.
“Also we have found relatively younger patients on dialysis, stemming from N.C.D’s between the ages of 29-50."
“Before, the norm with the patients coming in for dialysis would be between 55 and above, but we are now seeing this new trend of those under 30s,” said Mulipola.
“This suggests that our people are getting N.C.D’s at a younger age, at primary or secondary schools."
“We have students who are not on dialysis due to nephrotic syndrome, but most of the patients are due to unmanaged diabetes,” said Mulipola.
Mulipola reminded members of the public that treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure is free of charge.