Reduced costs for patients as Ameena Gafoor Medical and Dialysis Centre opens at Parika
Dialysis patients can now access treatment at a reduced cost in Region Three with the Ameena Gafoor Medical and Dialysis Centre officially opened at Gafoors’ Parika branch on Tuesday.
The facility is named after philanthropist Ameena Gafoor, the wife of long-time businessman, Sattaur Gafoor, who has worked keenly in partnership with other members of the private sector to assist the visionary Dr Budhendranauth Doobay in making healthcare, especially dialysis treatment, less costly for Guyanese.
It becomes the third centre following the start of the Doobay Medical & Research Centre at Annandale, East Coast Demerara and in New Amsterdam. With support from the Directors, Dr Doobay is eying a location on East Bank Demerara, ideally at Diamond.
There are other Dialysis Centres in Region Three but the cost is approximately G$15,000 per session. However, at Gafoor’s Parika location, it will be G$10,000.
Kidney dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes, and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally. This is referred to as renal replacement therapy.
Patients would need at least three of those sessions weekly, with a duration of up to four hours per session.
“I am extremely happy…I feel safe and I feel so happy and I am being well taken care of as the staff is great”, said Abdool Azeez, one of the patients at the facility.
Azeez, 77, who has been a dialysis patient for the past eight months, and previously, would leave his home at Leonora, West Demerara, at 05:00h, to travel to the branch at Annandale for treatment.
Likewise, Carla Edwards, who is from Venezuela, is a patient for the past six years, and she too travels from Parfait Harmonie, West Bank Demerara to Annandale, East Coast Demerara, for treatment.
“It is hard for me; sometimes I don’t get the money to pay; it is so difficult…,” the mother of five related.
A kind heart
Since the Doobay Medical & Research Centre Inc. started in 2011, the Gafoors have been a pillar in funding.
According to Dr Doobay, Mrs Gafoor has been “an icon in the development of the centre”, and it is not just about the finances but also her compassion shown to patients whenever she visits the facilities.
More so, the Gafoor family has donated approximately US$2M to assist in building the operating room in the centre, and for the Parika branch, they offset the expenses for construction by 98%.
“When I went and see what people have to go through three times per week to purify their blood then I realized how difficult it is to have dialysis,” said Mr Gafoor.
Noting that dialysis is on the increase due to the eating habits of the millennials, he called on the government to take it as a serious matter.
“I recognized the importance of having the dialysis centre and the relief it brought to people who have no hope of being able to afford dialysis. The cost went from US$200 to about US$40, and I think we need to pay great congratulations to Dr Doobay”, Gafoor expressed.
For persons, who may not have the finances still to do the treatment at the reduced cost, Mr Gafoor stated they would look to raise funds to assist persons, as, at times, more than 100 people are treated daily at the East Coast facility.
He did commend the Government for its efforts in off-setting expenses as, in addition to patients receiving the annual $600,000 grant from the government to help with the cost of dialysis treatment, the Ministry of Health will now put systems in place to assist patients with free blood testing and also provide them with a specific medicine free of cost.
Additionally, the Executive Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited, Komal Samaroo, said they would be delighted to support the work of Dr Doobay as he noted that the world is moving from “neo-liberalism to a more considerate world” where human beings are important and business are more and more recognizing their social responsibility.