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Dialysis treatment a reality for Manu’a — just needs DOH to identify which clinic

In this December 2015 Samoa News file photo, the new dialysis unit at LBJ was previewed to the press. [SN file photo]
Funding source for chairs has been identified by LBJ

Dialysis patients in Manu’a will no longer need to come to Tutuila for their dialysis treatment, once the LBJ hospital moves forward with their plan to take three or four dialysis chairs to Manu’a, this is according to hospital Chief Executive Officer, Taufete’e John Faumuina.

Responding to Samoa News questions, Taufete’e said they have already made a proposal to the Department of Health (DOH) for the use of their clinic. He said the move came after much consideration of the inconvenience of the dialysis patients in Manu’a to travel to Tutuila. According to Taufete’e the hospital’s Chief Engineer Sa Mavaega has been tasked to purchase the chairs for this project. Each dialysis chair costs $18,000 and the hospital has identified funds to get this project going.

The hospital CEO said this project would go a long way for their dialysis patients that live in Manu’a, who want to return home; and Chairman of the House Health Committee, Vesi Talalelei Fautanu Jr. said with this project, Manu’a residents can move back home as it’s an option that his constituents have been wanting.

In the meantime, Taufete’e noted that with the significant increase of dialysis patients, the hospital’s move now is to open a pre-dialysis clinic. He said this pre-dialysis clinic would happen within six months of dialysis initiation, and would go a long way in helping patients to identify and manage co-existing conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease, and would also include the identification and treatment of reversible causes of renal impairment.

According to the hospital CEO, “Referral time also affects the choice of modality of treatment. Patients and their families should receive sufficient information regarding the nature of their CKD and options for treatment so that they can make informed decisions concerning their care.”

Taufete’e said that addressing the timing of pre-dialysis clinics is limited and existing data suggests that such clinics and patient education programs may improve the medical care of patients, promote greater patient involvement in the selection of the mode of dialysis, reduce the need for “urgent start” dialysis, and improve short-term survival and quality of life after initiation of dialysis.

The CEO said the numbers of dialysis patients has increased significantly and that’s why there is a need to open a pre-dialysis clinic, for the benefit of the public who are not on dialysis yet.

He further noted that with the pre-dialysis clinic he believes that once the patients are diagnosed they will make good healthcare decisions; maintain their current levels of health and they will be prepared to make the best therapy selection at the time that dialysis is needed.

Taufete’e said some people refuse to believe they are to be on dialysis, and this clinic will go a long way in getting them to deal with the healthcare decisions they will need to make,  “and it’s long overdue for the hospital.”