An alarming 12 new cases of chronic kidney disease each month are placing tremendous strain on the health care sector’s ability to provide much needed dialysis treatment for those diagnosed.
According to Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, the situation has become so dire that both public and private sector facilities were finding it difficult to meet the growing demand.
As a result of the growing prevalence of renal disease, he told Barbados TODAY the planned enactment of legislation to facilitate tissue and organ donation has become even more important than before.
“The capacity of the country, including the public and private sectors is being threatened daily and monthly because I am advised there are about 12 new cases every month and that is why we have had to first of all look at the whole question of tissue and organ donation and transplantation and the Cabinet recently approved a policy paper and we are in the process of framing the legislation along with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel so that we can introduce the bill to parliament to be able to facilitate this process,” Bostic said.
While stressing the impending legislation would assist health care officials tremendously, the Health Minister strengthened calls for Barbadians to make key lifestyle changes to reduce the prevalence of the disease.
“That [organ donation legislation] certainly would do a lot to reduce those numbers, but we have to intensify the efforts in the communities and get people to understand what we are facing and the need to adopt healthier lifestyles.
“We have problems with renal disease in Barbados and in the Caribbean and the truth is the hospital for several years has run out of capacity in terms of being able to treat the number of patients that were arriving for services and as a result, the Ministry of Health has, in the past and will continue in the future, to contract services to the private sector because of the numbers which are continuing to grow,” he said.
In addition to outsourcing to the private sector, he said the Government has gone a step further to assist over 100 persons capable of purchasing their own dialysis machines, staying at home and having supplies provided to them from their usage.
To facilitate this, he said, plans were in the works to train a cadre of people to assist affected Barbadians in their communities with taking their medications and improving their lifestyles.
“The problem is not necessarily that the hospital is short of supplies. It is really that the demand for services is greater than the capacity of the hospital to facilitate,” he concluded.