Talks are underway to allow Tongan overstayers who are on dialysis treatment in New Zealand to receive the same benefits as New Zealand citizens receiving the treatment.
An inquiry is being conducted in Auckland to collect information on the number of Tongan overstayers who need treatment for kidney failure.
The move has been organised by Tongan community leader in Mangere, Makalita Kolo.
Kolo told Kaniva News a proposal was being written up to be presented to the Minister for the Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio before he could talk to the New Zealand and the Tongan governments to see if the idea could be taken further.
Kolo said she was investigating whether part of New Zealand’s annual grant to Tonga could be allowed to help the Tongan patients.
“It would depend on what the minister would come up with after he talks to the two governments,” Kolo said.
Kolo said at the moment there were six patients in Auckland alone who were Tongan overstayers.
She said if they returned to Tonga it would be like giving them a death sentence because there was nothing there to treat them.
Kolo said she organized a fundraising in Auckland in 2012 to help the dialysis treatment of a Tongan church minister, Rev. Sione Malamala Vaea who arrived in New Zealand on a visitor’s visa. She said the fundraising was successful.
Unlike its neighbours, Samoa and Fiji, Tonga has no dialysis unit.
As Kaniva News reported, a young Tongan man, Tamahanga Tukunga who has kidney failure, has been pleading to stay in New Zealand, knowing he will face a painful death if deported to Tonga.
As we reported last month, Tonga’s Ministry of Health has refused to support a move by the Tonga Dialysis Foundation (TDF) to establish a national dialysis unit in the kingdom.
Health authorities said the Ministry could not support the project because TDF had failed to show it had links with kidney specialists, had not submitted a financial plan, proved the project would be sustainable, or addressed issues of financial transparency.
TDF president Saia Moehau told Kaniva News they had met with Minister of Health and two doctors a number of times to discuss the proposal for a joint venture.
Moehau claimed the medical authorities were supportive during the meetings, but said different things in public.
Last year Ministry of Health CEO Siale ‘Akauola told Radio New Zealand said most cases of kidney disease cases developed from diabetes.
Health authority believed there were 200 patients in Tonga with chronic kidney disease.
‘Akauola 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.”
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