Dialysis treatment

ONLY 20 patients out of the 80 at the Kidney Foundation of Fiji are able to financially cope with having the required three dialysis sessions a week, says a senior nursing manager.

Dialysis centre nursing manager Satendra Sharma said this was because of the financial amount required per session.

“Our patients are finding it hard to pay for the $250 a session treatment and we do understand this because they pay it out of their own pockets,” Mr Sharma said.

“Of the 80 patients, only 20 can afford and are currently undergoing three dialysis a week, 50 patients have it twice a week and 10 have it only once a week.”

Mr Sharma said there were about 20 regional patients from Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru and Tonga.

“For those who come in only once, we the staff find it very hard to watch them when they come in a very bad state and we have to make sure they are stable so we remove large amounts of fluids that we can because when the kidney fails the body contains a lot of toxins.

“For those that come in only once, we do all that we can in that five hour dialysis session.”

Consultant Dr Vandana Krishna said although kidney transplant was an alternative option, it was much more costly to the patient.

“The percentage you are at in terms of the operation of your kidney does not determine the amount of dialysis you have but rather, the number of dialysis sessions actually depends on a patient’s financial status,” Dr Krishna said.

“Transplant is just a single operation but you need another person who will donate and operations come at their own risk but when you look at it financially, transplants are actually cheaper in the long term.”

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