Dialysis reform in Belize – recommendations by Glenn Tillett

Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017. 4:29 p.m. CST.
By Glenn Tillett:  Pablo Saul Marin, Belize’s current minister of health, has an opportunity now to re-structure the provision of dialysis services in Belize with a view to making it equitable, accessible and affordable. I’ve been told he does have a plan.

I haven’t seen or read or been apprised of what that plan is, and therefore cannot form any opinion as to its consequentialities but as one of the almost 100 Belizean citizens who must have dialysis or face certain death, I am all ears.

Currently, as I have been told by several persons who claim authority, there are 32 persons receiving dialysis services from the WORTH implemented program at KHMH in Belize City and La Loma Luz in San Ignacio. Reportedly they pay $25.00 per session.

The rest of us pay upwards of $220 per session at the private providers. For nearly all of us this is unaffordable.

I beg to be corrected. My inquiries inform me that the rate of mortality among dialysis patients in Belize is quite high, far, far higher than the international rate. Without having empirical knowledge I am of the opinion that the high cost of dialysis must be a factor.

It seems generally accepted that 25%, one in four persons who must undergo dialysis as a result of kidney failure, die within five years. I was told that 22 persons have died in Belize in the last 12-18 months alone due to renal failure.

There are anamolies in the system, things that make you scratch your head. Why, for example, does KHMH have to refer and literally send its patients to Healthcare Partners for dialysis services, utilizing BERT services too, when it has a dialysis center within the very walls of the institution?

Why does it appear that the provision of dialysis services in Belize is largely unregulated and mostly unsupervised?

I am of the opinion that a collectivist approach such as the now moribund National Health Insurance scheme would ensure equitability, accessibilty and affordabilty, in other words “equal health for all”, than the current status quo in which it seems the rich will live, and the rest of us will die.

I am still alive today because so many of you are compassionate and generous. I am forever in your debt.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

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One Response to Dialysis reform in Belize – recommendations by Glenn Tillett

  1. Annie Reply

    June 13, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    It gives me hope that the Minister of Health Mr Marin has the will to take this on. The misconceptions surrounding kidney failure and dialysis is the result of lack of knowledge period! In the progressive health care world people are now doing their own hemodialysis at home.
    While Belize is not ready for this there are many options for having a successful Dialysis program. It can support everyone whose life depends on it – not just a few. We can adapt to the current limitations and move forward with developing a successful program or we can forever find excuses for people dying.
    We need to educate the population on how to prevent or prolong the progression of kidney disease.
    We don’t need an army of body parts specialist, we have competent nurses, nephrologists, and vascular surgeons that are trained or can be trained, and dialysis machines. The cost of supplies needed are negotiable.
    Bottom line:
    It will take putting people before profit.
    Getting someone knowledgable and competent to get the job done.

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