Number 1000• Friday, December 27, 2013

Brantley: NIA Making Progress On Dialysis Unit

by LK Hewlett


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The contentious issue of the establishment of a dialysis unit on Nevis may soon be resolved says the NIA’s Minister of Health.

“Tremendous progress has been made and the NIA should be able to make a formal announcement in due course as to the future of this service on Nevis,” Hon. Mark Brantley told The Observer.

The CCM-led administration has been accused of not putting the machines to use because they were purchased by the previous NRP Administration; an accusation the new government vehemently denies.

During last week’s 2014 Budget Debate the Health Minister raised the issue of the former administration’s purchase of two dialysis machines and accompanying equipment.

According to him, there was a major discrepancy in terms of what the books say the NRP government paid and what equipment was actually on the ground.

Brantley said the NRP claims it paid US$21,4500 for a container with the two chairs, water treatment system and other equipment however an expert they brought in reported that what the Nevis government had was US$80,000 worth of equipment altogether.

“The overpayment of US$134,500 is a matter for concern and demands urgent investigation. The NIA is now exploring accurate costing to determine the true costs associated with the provision of the service,” he said.

Meanwhile Nevisians are clamoring for the government to set up the service and worry about cost and the alleged financial discrepancy after.

Brantley says it is not that easy, to plug the machines in and start treating patients. Besides needing trained staff, the unit could not be put into operation with the existing equipment.

He explained that once any dialysis machine was in operation there had to be a backup system in case anything went wrong during the procedure.

“We would have to buy an additional two units for US$30,000 each,” he said.

Patients suffering acute renal disease or other forms of kidney failure are forced to fly out of the Federation for dialysis treatments at great financial burden.