By Bejay Browne
THE RENAL UNIT at Paphos general hospital is in urgent need of further dialysis machines to keep up with the demand for the life saving treatment which is being used by an increasing number of patients.
Graham Brown, 64, is one of many patients who need regular dialysis treatment to keep him alive. He is also the treasurer of the Cyprus Kidney Association expats, a non profit charity set up in 2000, primarily to raise funds to purchase equipment for the renal unit.
According to Brown, each dialysis machine comes with a 25,000 euro price tag and the registered charity is hoping to raise enough money to purchase at least one in the coming months. The charity has already helped to kit out the facility with all sorts of other equipment.
“Since 2000, we have bought oxygen masks, blood pressure monitors and a crash trolley. More recently, we have donated specialised beds, ECG machine, specialised patient weighing machines and a state of the art portable scanner,” Brown said:
The charity has also provided computers and office equipment for the medical team as well as televisions for the patients to help relieve the boredom of their treatment.
Brown, like many other kidney patients, needs to have dialysis treatment three times a week. Without it he would die within days. It takes around five hours for the process to be completed each time.
He said that the expat kidney organisation shouldn’t be confused with the Cyprus Kidney Association, which was set up in 1984 and concentrates on looking after families of kidney sufferers.
“We felt there was a need to purchase machines and other vital paraphernalia,” he said. “I wanted to try and do something positive; there is no cure for me and others like me,” he said.
Brown’s life has been turned upside down by a hereditary condition – polycystic kidney disease. Following the removal of one of his kidneys at a Paphos hospital, he started dialysis treatment in November last year and has already completed 70 treatments so far.
Such treatments clean the patients’ blood, remove a build up of toxins and regulate potassium and electrolyte levels which are necessary for a relatively balanced life. These machines artificially perform the same job as healthy kidneys would.
According to Dr Lakis Yioukkas, who runs the Paphos renal unit, the facility is treating a growing number kidney patients of all nationalities on a daily basis.
“Every six weeks or so, we are seeing two new patients. Since 2000, the numbers are steadily increasing and we desperately need new machines,” said the doctor. “The ones we have are working almost all day every day.”
Although not all of the doctor’s 50 patients need dialysis yet, most will do in the near future he says, and the age of new patients is becoming younger.
There are eleven dialysis machines in use and one available for spares and they are all working to capacity.
“Although the doctors and nurses are doing a fantastic job, there just isn’t the money available from the government for the unit,” said Brown.
Brown says they are appealing to anyone who would be willing to hold fundraisers or to help raise cash in other ways.
The association is also organising a sponsored marathon row and a summer fun day in the coming months to help raise a large chunk of the total cash needed.
“We hope to be able to continue to aid this unit for as long as possible and as long as is needed,” he said.
Graham Brown – The Cyprus Kidney Association ex-pats 99244679