16 Feb 2017

Tongan govt aims to manage diabetes rates

4:39 pm on 16 February 2017

The Tongan government does not have the finances to provide dialysis treatment but is aiming to address rates of renal failure and kidney disease by managing rates of diabetes first.

Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels frequently.

Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels frequently. Photo: AFP

Dialysis treatment is currently unavailable in the country despite around 200 people being diagnosed with chronic kidney failure each year, and about a third of those needing such treatment.

This week the Tonga Dialysis Foundation said it has waited for over a year for a government letter of support so private funders could release finances to open a clinic in the country.

Ministry of Health CEO Siale 'Akauola said the majority of kidney disease cases develop from diabetes.

He said the government was focussed on prevention and management of diabetes rather than dialysis.

"That's the focus, to promote good healthy living so that people do not develop diabetes in the first place and then the second one of course, if you have diabetes, then aggressively manage diabetes to a very good level you will never develop renal disease. We've had diabetics who are well managed, they live healthy lives even into their 70s and 80s."

Dr Siale 'Akauola said the government 'in principle' would support a private dialysis facility.