FOR the first time, dialysis treatment will be offered in Fiji — free.
This comes after the Kidney Foundation of Fiji (KFOF) signed a memorandum of agreement with the Health Ministry in Suva yesterday.
The agreement will allow, for the first time, people who require dialysis treatment to be able to access it here free of charge instead of having to pay to go abroad for the treatment.
Speaking at the signing yesterday minister Dr Neil Sharma said the agreement would save many people a lot of money and save lives.
"This agreement provides patients the ability to have three treatments a week for three months, giving them time to make up their minds about whether they want a transplant or not," he said.
"Many may not need a transplant and the three-month treatment will actually cure them. However, because of certain financial constraints, we cannot give them the treatment longer than three months."
Dr Sharma confirmed the current budget for the one-year agreement was $160,000.
Acknowledging the ministry's assistance, KFOF founder Deewan Maharaj said Fiji was now the cheapest provider of dialysis.
"In Fiji in the past, around 95 per cent of those who required dialysis treatment would just die, while the remaining 5 per cent were the ones who could afford to go to New Zealand and Australia for treatment," he said.