26 Jul 2004

Samoa could start its own dialysis treatments next year

7:23 am on 26 July 2004

Samoa's Health Minister, Mulitalo Siafausa Vui, says dialysis treatment should be available in the country from the start of next year.

Samoa has an estimated 15 000 people suffering from diabetes, who will be the primary users of dialysis services.

The bill for sending patients for treatment in New Zealand had climbed to two million dollar US.

Mulitalo said that New Zealand was beginning to close its doors to patients from Samoa, because it couldn't cope with the numbers.

Concern has grown to the extent that the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, had urged the medical profession to be more direct in describing the serious consequences of diabetes.

On his return from Singapore, Mulitalo said six dialysis machines had been ordered.

Doctors and technicians to run the Renal Dialysis Unit have already been sent overseas for training.