Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 05, 2013 (SKNIS):  

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has embarked upon a journey to continue improving the health and lifestyles of its people, by opening a Haemodialysis Unit at Joseph N. France (JNF) General Hospital.

In an SKNIS exclusive interview, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Andrew Skerritt gave an overview of this new unit. Haemodialysis Machine_050913

“We have been planning this unit for many years, dating back to 2005,” he said. “This initiative is a private-public partnership based with the Ministry of Health, by extension of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and Pero Group out of Guadeloupe.”

He mentioned that planning for this process included putting protocols in place and training for both the water treatment facility and nurses.

According to Skerritt, at present, there are three Haemodialysis machines at JNF and a fourth one is on the way. He further stated that the department has the capacity to expand to eight machines, and this will be done according to the demand of treatment.

The Permanent Secretary expressed how proud he is with the persons who have made this venture a success thus far.

Medical Chief of Staff at the JNF Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, spoke a little on ethics, as it relates to who gets preference on getting on the machines.

“Because of the number of machines at present, not everyone can get Haemodialysis,” he stated. “A number of criteria were developed by a committee, with the absence of the patients names, to determine who is eligible to get treatment.”

According to Dr. Wilkinson, some of the criteria include age, where a person who is 20 would be given preference over someone who is around 80. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), where a person with a lower GFR rate will be most likely to get treatment first; symptoms, psychological state and length of time on the waiting list, will also be factored in.

Minister with responsibility for Health, Hon. Marcella Liburd, gave some brief remarks about the unit and said it would greatly aid the health of the population.

“It is part of our continued efforts to improve health care in this country and to provide more health services and better care for citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, in this case, as it relates to kidney disease,” she said. “It is significant that it is coming when we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary of Independence and particularly, this week is a themed week, ‘National Health Sports and Fitness Week’.

Minister Liburd expressed how thankful she was for this initiative and thanked everyone who in anyway helped to ensure that everything is in place for the opening.

“We at JNF, MOH and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, are happy to be able to open this Haemodialysis Unit, as health is of course a major priority,” she said. “We express special thanks to Dr. Pero, for partnering with us on this very important initiative.”

The Haemodialysis Unit is schedule to open on Friday 6, September, 2013.

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