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Kiwanians deliver

Your Health Your Wealth

BY ANIKA RICHARDS Observer staff reporter richardsai@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 25, 2014    

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THE Kiwanis Club of New Kingston last Wednesday officially presented two haemodialysis machines and US$10,000 to the Diabetes Association of Jamaica (DAJ), bringing to a close its major project for 2013, which was aimed at helping the health institution in its efforts to continue providing dialysis treatment to its patients.

At the official ceremony at the Association's office on Downer Avenue in St Andrew, immediate past president of the Club Lola Chin Sang said they were happy to hand over the equipment after originally setting out to raise funds to help offset 'lease-to-purchase' haemodialysis machines for the DAJ.

"Through the Club's fund-raising activities and marketing efforts, we are pleased to hand over to the DAJ US$10,000, two Fresenius Haemodialysis machines — each with a useful life of 10 years — and four haemodialysis chairs," said Chin Sang.

The equipment, according to Chin Sang, will allow the DAJ to "increase its dialysis capacity by at least an additional 80 patients per month, (with) a minimum two patients daily, per machine, over a five-day period".

Some of the fund-raising efforts included the Club's 2013 Golf Tournament and Luncheon Awards, which netted US$10,000, as well as pledges raised and cash contributions to a special account with the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), who partnered with the Kiwanians on the project.

Club President Rosemarie A Henry thanked corporate Jamaica, the Diaspora, local and overseas partners, as well as its members for making the donation possible and also dedicated the Club's commitment to the DAJ.

"As Kiwanians we are dedicated to impacting our world one child, one community at a time. Today (February 19), we have another opportunity to put this motto into practice," Henry said. "...I know we will find more ways of working together in the future, so that more patients will be able to access health care for kidney failure.

"Chronic kidney failure is a national problem and we are fully aware that the underserved proportion of affected persons continues to grow year over year," the Kiwanis president said.

According to Professor Everard Barton, former head of medicine and current chief of nephrology and hypertension at the University Hospital of the West Indies, there are 700 people in Jamaica in some kind of long-term kidney replacement therapy, which can mean dialysis and transplantation. Of this number, about 90 per cent are on haemodialysis treatment, while eight per cent use peritoneal dialysis and approximately two per cent are for transplantation.

The average cost per treatment, which lasts about four hours, is $14,000. Some patients may require treatment as many as three times per week. The DAJ offers this service at $7,700 per treatment.

The two haemodialysis machines, which are now to be commissioned into use, bring the health institution's total number of dialysis stations to 14.

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