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Boost for Mandeville Regional Hospital Renal Unit

A life-saving gift

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 11, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With a lengthy waiting list and the challenge to treat the approximately 40 kidney patients who now use the facilities on a consistent basis, administrators at the Mandeville Regional Hospital were more than elated to get some support for the Haemodialysis (Renal) Unit.

The hospital has received a donation of 10 dialysis machines, training of technicians, and refresher knowledge for nurses in the unit provided by United States-based non-profit organisation Bridge of Life/Davita Village Trust.

"(It is) a magnanimous hand of kindness you have extended to us through your outreach here," said Southern Regional Health Authority representative Hershel Ismail at a recent appreciation function at the hospital.

According to chief executive officer of the Mandeville Regional Hospital Alwyn Miller, the renal unit now has machines that are working more efficiently and the wait time of dialysis patients, many of whom take public transportation to access the treatment, has been shortened.

Funding of close to $347,000, raised this year from the annual High Mountain Coffee 10k Road Race organised by Jamaica Standard Products, assisted in clearing the Bridge of Life/Davita Village Trust container at Customs, he said.

Team leader of Bridge of Life/Davita Village Trust, Lori Vaclavik said that it is through the support of "in-country" partners that her organisation is able to offer assistance.

"Together we are literally saving lives and giving people an opportunity to raise their children, to have hopes for their future, to take care of their families, to live. The care that you are giving the patients is just exceptional and as high quality as any you will find anywhere in the world," she said.

Senior Medical Officer Everton McIntosh said that the island has a relatively high incidence of chronic kidney disease and uncontrolled hypension and diabetes is usually the cause.

He said that even though there is a proliferation of private haemodialysis centres many patients will still try to access the service at the public hospitals because it is more affordable.

Miller said that the needs of the haemodialysis Unit remain a constant challenge because of factors such as cost.

He said that Bridge of Life is assisting the Mandeville Regional Hospital for the second time and other partners have been offering their support.

Miller, however, told the Jamaica Observer that efforts were being made to find ways to further assist kidney patients who are typically dependent on the hospital for care until they die and enable the many others who are still unable to access the service because of inadequate resources at the hospital.

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