Samoa discusses dialysis treatment options

The Ministry of Health is currently discussing options it could offer to patients to address the growing demand for dialysis treatment in district hospitals.

The ministry said some of these options include a dialysis mobile unit as well as distributing dialysis machines to each of the country's district hospitals.

Health Minister, Valasi Tafito Selesele said Ministry is currently awaiting a response from a Cabinet Special Committee to their request for 30 more dialysis machines for the health sector.

The request was made by the Ministry prior to a recommendation from the Opposition Member of Parliament for Aleipata Itupa‑i‑Luga, Fuaava Suluimalo Amataga during the sitting of the House.

Fuaava called for district hospitals to have their own dialysis machines for patients who need them, while also addressing the challenges faced by rural-based dialysis patients, such as costs and the distance to travel from the main hospital in Apia.

According to Valasi, these challenges were taken into consideration by the Ministry, who added that if the request made to the Cabinet for more dialysis machines is approved, that can be the answer to the appeal by Fuaava.

MOH is also discussing other options such as a mobile unit to transport dialysis machines across district hospitals to meet the demand from rural constituencies.

But the mobile unit came with challenges, such as the hospitals needing approximately 10,000 litres of spare water, for the treatment as well as the overall cost according to the Minister. 

"If approved, the Ministry will have to look at the safety and risks and challenges and the committee has also advised that the nurses should be well trained for dialysis treatment knowledge before implementing the mobile unit in district hospitals," Valasi said.

"There should also special engineers with advanced knowledge to assist with the unit if it ever pushes through."