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Kidney dialysis services to expand

The National Kidney Foundation (N.K.F) will expand to 60 dialysis units next year to cater for the growing number of patients with late stage kidney failures.

Minister for Health Tuitama Dr Leao Talalelei Tuitama announced that the Government has approved the move from the current site to another building.

The move comes after NKF accepted a gift of five new dialysis units from the Rotary Club of Samoa. The foundation now has 27 dialysis units up from 22, which cater for 110 patients needing dialysis in Upolu alone, with another 12 patients in Savai’i.

To meet their needs, hours expanded to 6:30am to 11pm, with three rotations of patients coming in each day to get their thrice weekly needs of dialysis.

The Rotary Club’s donation has made a big difference to the foundation, said Minister Tuitama.

“We are continually struggling to keep up with the number of people needing dialysis,” he said.

“We have gone from just five patients in 2005 to 125 patients who require regular treatment.”

Not only that, but there are approximately 300 people in the ‘pre-dialysis’ stage, who are awaiting treatment and attempting to slow the degeneration of their kidneys.

Mulipola Lose Hazelman, NKF general manager said while of course he would like to see less patients needing dialysis, the foundation has no choice but to expand. 

“We have a big problem with NCD’s (non-communicable diseases) in this country,” he said.

“The majority of people on dialysis have end-stage rental failure because of unmanaged NCD’s, and we are seeing patients younger and younger all the time.”

Education and prevention is key, said Renal Services manager Christina Poloai.

“When someone comes in for treatment their whole family brings them in to support them,” she said.

“So while we have them all there we take that opportunity to educate them, and make them aware this is all preventable.”

Free kidney screenings to catch kidney related problems early can help delay the progression of issues like diabetes and hypertension and avoid dialysis altogether, she added.

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