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New Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) clinic officially opened

[photo: Leua Aiono Frost]

This Nov. 27 Samoa News photo shows LBJ Medical Center staffer, Josephine Lam Yuen Fuga working in the reception area of the new Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) clinic, which officially opened Nov. 21.

LBJ chief executive officer Faumuina John Faumuina announced the new clinic at last week’s cabinet meeting, saying the clinic is an effort to fight the increase of diabetes and kidney disease in American Samoa.

Faumuina said the hospital had requested assistance from the Pacific Islands Health Officers Association (PIHOA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to look at all LBJ data collected, and to conduct a survey to find ways to reduce the high number of diabetes cases.

Kidney disease occurs when a person’s kidney is affected by diabetes, and there are different stages of the disease, with some patients at the stage where they are awaiting dialysis.

A poster displayed in the clinic’s reception area shows the five stages of kidney disease. Stage One - early stages, and Stage 2 - mild - fall under the category “proteinuria”. Stage 3 - moderate - falls under the “chronic kidney disease” category. Stage 4 - severe - and Stage 5 - finished - comes under the “end of stage kidney failure” category.

At the cabinet meeting, Faumuina said PIHO and CDC recommend to “target” people who are at the early stage — their kidneys have started to be affected.

These are the ones "targeted" by the clinic, he said, adding that LBJ has the names of individuals affected, according to their medical records at the hospital. These individuals will be contacted to come to the clinic so “we can start helping them,” he said.

When the clinic was ready to be open, there was a new challenge. And that was, identifying a funding source for operation. But that has since been resolved.

Faumuina said professionals — including nutritionists, pharmacists, nurses and doctors — have offered to help, spending 2 to 3 hours with patients.

The CEO is hopeful that the clinic will help slow down the spread of diabetes and kidney disease in the territory.

As of Monday this week, local residents were already being contacted to visit the CDK clinic and health officials urge these individuals not to delay coming in to the clinic for medical check ups.