The Civil Service Cooperative Credit Union made a donation of $150,000 to Victoria Hospital towards the purchase of two fully equipped dialysis units to support the Nephrology Department at the hospital.
The two units will increase the number of clients who can access dialysis treatment at the medial facility.
Executive Director at the Victoria Hospital, Jeanette Hughes highlighted the importance of collaborations like this between corporate St. Lucia and the Hospital. “What is important to us is the fact that you are making a contribution towards a service which is a very costly service for the hospital and for the clients and it is also a lifelong service. As a result any resources we can get on behalf of those clients we welcome.”
Consultant Nephrologist, Dr. Merle Clarke, revealed that many persons are afflicted with chronic kidney disease in St. Lucia which is one of the main complications of diabetes and hypertension; the most common chronic non-communicable diseases on island.
“Treating persons with chronic kidney disease is extremely expensive there really is no getting away from that. In the early stages it is not that expensive but doesn’t mean there are no expenses involved. But in patients with stage five kidney disease who require renal replacement therapy, dialysis or hemodialysis, being the modality which we provide here, it really becomes extremely costly and out of the reach of the average patient particularly without heavy government subsidies. Patients unless they get a kidney transplant, in and of itself is very costly particularly in the first year, you require dialysis for the rest of your life.”
Dr. Clarke added that the cost of dialysis doesn’t include the cost of the medication patients require which also is very expensive. “So every facet of effectively treating a patient with chronic kidney disease is extremely expensive.”
The Civil Service Cooperative Credit Union came in for high praise from the medical doctor for the support provided over the years and for also hosting last year’s World Kidney Day Fair on the grounds of the Credit Union.
President of the Civil Service Cooperative Credit Union, Adria Rose Sonson who presented the cheque of EC$150,000 on behalf of the members, board, management and staff of the union stated that the credit union is member driven therefore anything affecting the society will most likely affect her members.
“This donation in particular is very dear to our hearts because among us I know there are a few members of our credit union who are afflicted with kidney disease. And so we are very happy. You said it’s a very generous donation but it’s something we want to continue to do every so often because if our society is affected, we are affected and so this partnership, this donation, our efforts together will continue.”
Sonson added that during the observance of World Kidney Day the credit union was informed of the long waiting list of persons to be dialyzed, the shortage of machines and the high cost of providing dialysis services.
The credit union she said felt that the best way to make a contribution was to donate the monies for the purchase of two dialysis machines, recliner chairs and supplies to the Victoria Hospital.
Nurse in the Renal Unit at the Victoria Hospital, Lily Daniel said currently there is no dialysis unit in the Intensive Care Department and so one of the two units will be placed within this unit to support patients with both chronic and acute renal failure until their kidneys recover.
“It’s really tedious for us at the moment to take them down to the unit and back to the ICU. So we just want to thank you for this opportunity that is going to improve the level of care for our patients and the supplies that go along with the machines we just want to thank you so much for this grand gesture.”
Nurse Daniel indicated that the successful dialysis of a patient requires some essentials separate from the machine.
This includes a recliner chair for the four hour long procedure, an artificial kidney and extracorporeal circuit which are disposable units for each treatment per patient, three times a week for the rest of their life. The renal unit is currently at maximum capacity with 66 patients per week.