New dialysis clinic to improve kidney treatment in Vredenburg
The official opening of a new dialysis clinic at Vredenburg Provincial Hospital today marks the beginning of a brighter healthcare future for renal patients in Vredenburg and surrounding communities. No longer will they be required to travel to Groote Schuur Hospital every week to receive treatment for kidney disease, as the new facility will cater for all their needs.
The new facility has 12 stations and will initially cater to 36 dialysis patients, with the capacity to treat 48 patients. Patients with kidney diseases in this region of the Western Cape will have convenient, cutting-edge treatment on their doorstep.
Due to the combination of rising non-communicable disease burden (particularly diabetes and hypertension) as well and infectious burden especially HIV there has been a substantial rise in patients reaching end stage kidney disease. There is also limited resources in the state sector and hence the number of available slots for dialysis is restricted. The current demand is greater than what the province can accommodate. Currently 1 in 10 patients is being turned down for dialysis due to lack of availability.
The Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness (WCDOHW) in collaboration with Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) looked at numerous options to increase access to haemodialysis in the public sector. Based on various factors including increased burden of disease, access to care, availability of resources and a previous model that was in place at a much smaller capacity they decided to enter a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with a private service provider to expand Renal Dialysis services in Vredenburg.
The bid was awarded to National Renal Care (NRC)to provide renal dialysis in Vredenburg. Part of the bid was for the service provider to fit the allocated area. Established in 1995, NRC is a private renal therapy provider in South Africa that offers a network of dialysis units countrywide. This supported the principles of trying to take health care services closer to the patient. Presently there are several patients having to obtain transport from the Vredenburg area three times a week for chronic haemodialysis (HD) treatment at Groote Schuur Hospital.
According to Fikile Ntloko, Business Development Executive at NRC, the unit's opening is another step towards improving access to quality healthcare for all South Africans in support of the Millennium Development Goals vision. Ntloko points out that specific challenges must be tackled for the transformation dream to become a reality, such as limited financial resources and skills shortages. "Collective and cooperative action is critical to achieving our healthcare goals. Participation, dedication, and hard work are the order of the day for both stakeholders to make a success, "he says.
Dr Silvio Morales Perez, Medical Manager at Vredenburg Hospital, was very excited about the opening of the clinic, “Having a Dialysis Unit in the Rural area means a lot to us. It takes us to another level of care, with high quality, and better outcomes for our patients. For our clients, a service that is close to their home mean a high satisfaction, for them and their families, decreasing anxiety of traveling on a weekly basis and not a financial burden.”
Having the dialysis unit at Vredenburg increases the number of patients with access to dialysis in the province. It also frees up additional dialysis slots for those patients’ requiring dialysis in the local drainage area of Groote Schuur Hospital.