A new partly government-owned dialysis centre is set to open in Tonga soon and a newly registered company has been set up to run the operation, it has been claimed.
The facility would be established “at no cost to the government,” a reliable source within the Ministry of Health told Kaniva news.
The source said a private company in Salt Lake City was partnering with the Ministry.
It said the US organization involved philanthropists who wanted to leave some of their money and wealth to charity.
No further details were available. The source said a statement would be officially released soon about the centre.
As Kaniva news reported at the time, the Ministry has said in the past that it could not fund its own dialysis programme “because it would eat up 20 percent of the annual health budget for less than one percent of the population and it is not equitable distribution of meagre resources.”
The Ministry said there was a 17.7 percent prevalence of diabetes in Tonga, a number revised after it was regionally reported as 34.4 percent.
The Minstry said there were 200 patients in the kingdom with varying degrees of kidney disease and around 66 patients, or a third, are in Stage 5, requiring renal replacement therapy, or dialysis.
Tongan patients in New Zealand and around the globe have faced a painful death if they were sent back to Tonga because dialysis was not available there.
Last year a Tongan national, Tamahanga Tukunga, was among a growing number of Tongans in New Zealand who requested help from the New Zealand government.
He received dialysis three days a week and as a foreign national he was not entitled to that treatment and could be deported to Tonga within a year.
His treatment was paid by his relatives through fundraising, including sausage sizzles back in Tonga, and sending yams to sell in New Zealand.
The cost of the medical treatment was always a critical factor for overseas countries in deciding whether or not to grant visas to Tongan patients.
As Kaniva news reported recently, Sosefo Lakalaka was ordered to leave New Zealand by May 2019 after a tribunal found the burden on New Zealand’s public health system outweighed the exceptional humanitarian circumstances of his case.
Mr Lakalaka was paying off a $US10,768 medical bill and his ongoing treatment was costing the taxpayer $US13,463 a year.
A Tongan international and ‘Ikale Tahi player Sione Vaimo’unga, who was trapped in Romania on dialysis, was luckier after Tonga’s Ministry of Health sought support from the Romanian government in 2017.
The Pacific Rugby Players Welfare finally reported last year that Vaiomo’unga was recovering well from a transplant after he had been on dialysis after being diagnosed three years previously.
The main points
- A new partly government-owned dialysis centre is set to open in Tonga soon and a newly registered company has been set up to run the operation, it has been claimed.
- The facility would be established “at no cost to the government,” a reliable source within the Ministry of Health told Kaniva news.
- The source said a private company in Salt Lake City was partnering with the Ministry.
For more information
No promises for dialysis in Tonga