By Bejay Browne
THREE new dialysis machines have been installed at at the renal unit of Paphos general hospital, thanks to the efforts of a Paphos based charity.
This brings the total number of new units to five over the past few months.
The Cyprus Kidney Association (expats), has gained support throughout the community with three machines recently being donated by betting chain OPAP, according to association chairman Graham Brown.
He said: “We managed to buy two machines last year and it came as a fantastic surprise when three further machines were delivered, I have been told they came from OPAP which is so generous of them and a wonderful thing to do for the community.”
Brown said he was also hoping that the government would supply three more.
“We ultimately want to replace all of the old machines with new ones and also extend the renal unit to allow for more patients to receive dialysis.”
Until recently, there were 11 ageing dialysis machines in use at the hospital and one available for spares, with all working to capacity. The Paphos renal unit was finding it hard to keep up with the demand for the life-saving treatment as new patients were registering every month.
Brown said that the five online hemodiafiltration (HDF) units’ which are now up and running, enable patients to receive the best treatment possible. Each comes with a price tag of €25,000 and have the potential to reduce the mortality rate of patients by 30 per cent.
He is now one of many patients who need regular dialysis treatment for five hours, three times a week, to keep him alive.
“There are around 200 patients waiting for dialysis treatment in Paphos and it is only offered to patients who are at a critical stage. There are 53 people receiving life- saving dialysis three times a week at the unit. The new machines don’t speed up the lengthy process, but they do deliver better treatment.”
The treatment cleans the patients’ blood, removes a build-up of toxins and regulates potassium and electrolyte levels. These machines artificially perform the same job as a healthy kidney would.
Brown, 65, only took over as chairman of the association in April 2014, determined to raise the profile of the charity. He was diagnosed with a hereditary condition of polycystic kidney disease and following the removal of one of his kidneys at a Paphos hospital, he started dialysis treatment at the general in November 2013.
The charity has also converted a large store room within the unit- purified water and the mechanics have already been set up- which will enable 8-11 new patients to be taken off the waiting list and receive treatment.
Five ‘chair beds’ at a total cost of €12,000 will be the next addition, said Brown. As soon as they arrive, two of the older machines will be set up in the converted store room.
“We already have the money to pay for these and are expecting the go ahead to order the new ‘chair beds’ this week, once the availability of spares and servicing has been checked. Technicians have already confirmed that they are compatible with the new machines. They are comfortable and will take up far less room, meaning that there will be further space for more dialysis machines.”
Although coping with a serious life-threatening illness, Brown is motoring ahead with plans to extend the unit and says he hopes that work will get underway this year.
“We are waiting for the costing figures from the department of public works and we are already organising a year planner of fundraising to ensure we raise as much as possible,” he said.
This year’s fundraising will include afternoon tea at the Annabelle Hotel, a summer ball, regular raffles at concerts held by Kendall and Morrelli, a sponsored walk, a fun day and a charity event at Elea golf club.
“We would appreciate any help people can give us, and if someone would like to take on the role of handling our advertising with the media as I’m now struggling, please get in touch,” said Brown.
Since 2000, the association has also bought oxygen masks, blood pressure monitors and a crash trolley. More recently, they donated specialised beds, an ECG machine, specialised patient weighing machines and a portable scanner.
www.cypruskidney.com [email protected] Graham Brown 99244679