More 250 persons diagnosed with end-stage renal-failure have benefited from the government’s $600,000 dialysis assistance to help them offset the costs of the expensive treatment.
This is according to Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony.
“As people are diagnosed with end-stage renal failure we continue to assist those persons but as of now I think more than 250 persons would have benefited,” Dr. Anthony said during a telephone interview with the News Room.
End-stage renal failure, also known as end-stage renal disease, is the final, permanent stage of chronic kidney disease, where kidney function has declined to the point that the kidneys can no longer function on their own.
Dialysis is a procedure to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. It often involves diverting blood to a machine to be cleaned.
The treatment is expensive, costing $12,000 per session – with about three sessions needed weekly.
The assistance was announced by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh during the presentation of Budget 2022 in January at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.
During his budget presentation, Dr. Singh said that the investment is being made because hundreds of people are undergoing treatment for life-threatening conditions – like kidney failure.
The annual assistance was intended to benefit 300 persons and expected to cost the government some $180 million for the year 2022. It will be renewed annually to continue to provide the support.
“This is going to be an annual thing because the only way those persons would come off dialysis is if they die or if they get a kidney transplant,” Dr. Anthony said.
Noteworthy, the government also passed the Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Bill 2021 in January, 2022 which provides the legal framework for removal of human organs, tissues, cells and biofluids for transplantation and blood transfusion.
Even though Guyana performed some kidney transplants since 2008, there was no regulatory legislation and in the absence of the legislation, only some 66 kidney transplants have been done locally.
The Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Act now allows cadaveric transplantation – the transplant of tissue from ‘brain dead’ individuals to living persons which will allow for more kidney transplants to be done.