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First facility of its kind in Fiji will have 13 machines for patients

By Frederica Elbourne SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 2, 2011) – Work on the country's first dialysis centre has commenced as stakeholders gathered for a ceremony to lay part of the foundation yesterday.

The 13-station center, meaning it will have 13 dialysis machines, being built at Extension Street in Suva will offer some respite for those who suffer from kidney disease or failure as they wait for kidney transplants.

Kidney Foundation of Fiji chairman Dewan Maharaj said the construction of the dialysis centre and purchase of the land would cost about FJ$1.4 million [US$581,955].

"Without government funding, we are running a dialysis centre in Fiji. Don't ask us how we do it," he said.

He said many people believed the dialysis centre would not be possible, adding that the accomplishment of a dialysis centre was the result of a "long journey for the board".

Maharaj gave thanks to God for the "opportunity to serve our citizens" and hailed the government of India for its FJ$100,000 [US$41,568] contribution to the foundation.

He said there were other donors who contributed as much as FJ$300,000 [US$124,705], some of which were used to treat kidney patients.

"Whatever we collect, we use on our patients. It costs FJ$60 [US$25] to treat one patient. The number of patients fluctuates because some have a transplant and old cases come in late. But we maintain 45 people at any one time," Maharaj said.

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