Kidney disease increase alarming as new unit opens

| 25/09/2013

(CNS):A modern, purpose-built dialysis unit near the entrance to the Cayman Islands Hospital was formally opened last week. The service provided by the haemodialysis unit is crucial to those suffering kidney problems and this new facility is fully equipped to meet the specific needs of up to 11 patients at a time. According to health officials, the number of patients with kidney disease in Cayman has leapt over 400% in less than 15 years. With diabetes and hypertension a major factor in the increase, the HSA said the new unit would provide a comfortable and convenient treatment centre for those battling kidney problems as medical staff tackle the burgeoning and worrying problem of non-communicable diseases here.

“For the patients that are currently undergoing dialysis, this unit plays an integral role in their everyday lives,” said Health Minister Osbourne Bodden when the unit was formally opened. “With the new advancements to the facility and scheduling, those patients will be able to accommodate dialysis treatments into their personal schedules.”

The Dialysis Unit serves local outpatients and inpatients, visitors and in-transit cruise ship passengers six days a week, Monday to Saturday, and a dialysis nurse is on call for emergencies.

“As comfortable and  beautiful as the unit may be, I want to assure everyone that our long-term goal has been and will always be to reduce the patient load in the unit by confronting  squarely the menacing epidemic of chronic kidney disease,” said Dr Nelson Iheonunekwu.

In 1998 there were only 10 dialysis patients in the Cayman Islands but by 2012 there were 52 patients on dialysis, representing a 420% jump over a period of 15 years. Dr Iheonunekwu said diabetes and hypertension were the major drivers of chronic kidney disease in the Cayman Islands and had serious morbidity and mortality implications.

“They impose serious financial burdens on the individual and government as treatment of CKD, including dialysis and transplant, is prohibitively costly. Fighting this disease should therefore be a priority,” he said.

Last year the Cayman Islands unveiled its National Health Policy and Strategic Plan for the Cayman Islands 2012-2017, which this government and new minister fully support. One of the strategies under the policy is to educate and empower residents to ensure the Cayman Islands has a health conscious population. To achieve this, the ministry is committed to a comprehensive programme of life-long learning to educate the public on health and wellness.

Another strategy is to promote increased research for the production, dissemination and use of health relevant information, knowledge and scientific evidence for decision making. The objectives of this strategy are to develop a national research policy and establish a regulatory mechanism to conduct research.

“This second strategy will assist us to fulfil the objectives of the first. With research we will have the necessary data to develop education programmes to help people stay fit and healthy,” Bodden said.

The new Dialysis Unit has been in use since 12 August and patients were able to transition from the previous location at the side entrance to the hospital to the Atrium without interruption. The ribbon cutting of the unit was the first official act for Albert Anderson in his new role of Chairman of the HSA Board of Directors.

“At the Health Services Authority we are committed to ensuring that all our patients receive a fully rounded service while striving to provide excellence in every area of service that we deliver. Because of this commitment, we continue to look at ways that we can improve how we deliver care to meet the needs of our patients,” said Anderson. “I believe that this new Dialysis Unit is a great example of how we have been able to improve theservice to our patients.”

HSA has also recently started a home based dialysis programme in the form of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, which offers the patient the chance to take control of his or her treatment, flexibility and independence and obviates the need to go for treatment three times a week.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr Anderson hope that you are going to address the parking at the hospital. Most people going to the hospital are very sick and is very frustrating to find parking and not able to walk long distances. While quite a few are eligible at the time to park in the handicapp they gets tickets for parking there. With all the security at the hospital couldnt at least two of them supervise the parking and monitor those that really need to park close even if they dont have a handicapp sticker. Some illnesses are very temporary as little as a few days sir.

  2. Senior says:

    What about the Chlorine and Fluoride that is found in water?  Have we checked our tap water?  Have we checked our bottle waters?  What are "they" putting in our water just so to make a profit and expand the medical business?  These things locals need to investigate. We are having far too many cases of diabetes, cancer, and kidney diseases.

    • Cayman aha. says:

      Agree! I live in Prospect and felt my water actually tasted poisoned last week!  Strong chemical taste.  Oh gosh, what are they putting in our water?  Huge cancer rates and kidney disease here.  Let's not be duped while our politicians assure us (too many blatant lies) I am not swallowing their BS or the water!! I implore our reporters to conduct a no -biased overseas report of what is really in our water that may be harming our people.

      CNS- here is a challenge.  You choose a USA company and then ask the Compass to try another…. Publish the water testing reports either to assure us or alert us, the public!