Residents of Central Jamaica, who are in need of renal treatment, will no longer have to travel long distances to access the service.
This, as the Government has opened a dialysis treatment facility at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, who officially opened the $24 million facility on Wednesday (January 19), said it will boost the provision of renal treatment in the region and across the island.
“The dialysis centre here at the Mandeville Regional Hospital will complement the others at Cornwall Regional, Spanish Town and Kingston Hospitals. It will reduce the need for travelling for some patients in the southern region, who would have had to go to one of three public facilities for this service,” he said.
The Minister said he hopes that the unit, which has four machines, will be expanded in the near future. “It is expected that the unit will eventually be able to serve at least 28 patients twice per week. We hope that with the support of our various stakeholders, we can increase the capacity of the unit in the near future. The Ministry’s policy is that patients should not have to travel for more than 30 minutes to access this service and we will continue to do all we can to make this a reality,” he said.
In the meantime, the Minister informed that initiatives are underway to strengthen dialysis service in Jamaica.
“Eleven nurses and their educators are (in) Cuba to get clinical experience in nephrology to strengthen the service that we offer. We hope this will be a continuous process in partnership with the Cuban government,” he said.
In addition, he said, 22 dialysis technicians at the Lionel Town Hospital in Clarendon are benefitting from training in collaboration with the University of Technology (UTech).
The dialysis centre was funded by the CHASE Fund, with input from other partners such as the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Lion’s Club of Mandeville, Jamalco Foundation, Global Links, and Professor Everard Barton from the University Hospital of the West Indies.
The facility will serve residents in the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon, St. Elizabeth and St. Ann.
According to the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey 2008, there are approximately 150,000 persons living with diabetes, which is a leading risk factor for kidney disease.
CONTACT: GARFIELD L.ANGUS
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE