JEP Group Pledges Funds for UHWI Dialysis Unit, Appeals for More Support of Kidney Health in Jamaica

In commemoration of World Kidney Day, Jamaica Energy Partners (JEP) Group has committed funds to support the urgent needs of the Haemodialysis Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). This week, JEP Group Corporate Social Responsibility Officer Cherries Wiles conducted a needs assessment with Nephrologist, Professor Barton, to confirm the unit’s medical deficiencies.

To offset an increase in the dialysis unit’s stock, the Jamaica Energy Partners Group pledged monetary support to purchase what they need urgently. Immediate supplies comprise dialysers, fluids to dialyse patients, heparin, lines, renalin, acid and bicarbonate.

According to the Health and Lifestyle survey by UWI/CAIHR (2016-2017), the prevalence of chronic renal failure in Jamaica was an estimated 327 per million in 1999. More than 2,700 chronic kidney disease patients live in Jamaica, and over 800 receive dialysis.

2018 WHO data states that kidney disease deaths in Jamaica reached 686 or 3.77% of total deaths. With an age-adjusted death rate of 19.47 per 100,000 persons, Jamaica ranks #75 globally. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus and chronic glomerulonephritis are the predominant causes of early-stage renal disease across most English-speaking Caribbean countries.

The outfit, established by the late Professor George Nicholson in 1972 as a one-room treatment facility, now has eighteen dialysis stations and serves approximately 132 patients per month. Each patient receives dialysis twice weekly or 264 sessions per week. Presently, the haemodialysis centre grapples with the recurring costs of consumables and space – an area where the team wishes they could expand.

Professor Barton had a long-time aspiration to construct a five-story building with ultrasound/transplant rooms, surgical theatres, and dialysis wards for both adults and paediatric kidney patients. However, the plans had to be foregone due to the lack of funding for the entire project scope. Today, budget is still one of the unit’s primary challenges as the cost to dialyse one patient is roughly J$1.8M per year. Other limitations include acquiring the everyday supplies (consumables), specifically acid and bicarbonate, which the unit needs to treat the water used in dialysis.

Last year, the centre had the unfortunate experience of running out of acid and bicarbonate and were unable, through the hospital, to get more. Thankfully, a charitable organisation intervened and provided them with two shipments. But regrettably, they only have enough supplies to last them an estimated 4-5 months.

Dialysis treatment for ten patients would cost the centre J$10.M per year. Considering this, the JEP Group encourages other organisations to assist the UHWI when and how they can. We also urge Jamaicans to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle (exercise regularly, stay hydrated, do annual physicals, etc.) to maintain good kidney health and preserve kidney function.



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