x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New dialysis centre eases strain on overloaded healthcare system

Abu Dhabi hospitals were previously so overloaded, patients were told they could only have two weekly dialysis treatments instead of the prescribed three.

ABU DHABI // Less than two months after opening, the new Al Mafraq Dialysis Centre is already treating 100 patients a week.

The centre, which opened in May and has the capacity to treat 360 patients, has helped to relieve overcrowding in other dialysis units in the emirate - some of which had only been able to offer patients two dialysis sessions a week instead of the recommended three because of space issues.

"One of the reasons this unit was built is that patients in the Mafraq, Bani Yas or Mussaffah area were having to travel to either Sheikh Khalifa Medical City [SKMC] or Al Rahba for their treatment," said Nick Richards, the chief executive and CMO of Seha, Abu Dhabi's health services company.

Dialysis is prescribed for patients with poorly functioning kidneys, and works to remove harmful waste from the body.

Diabetes is a common cause of kidney failure and, with the growing number of diabetics in the UAE, there has been increasing demand for dialysis treatment, said Mr Richards.

"I don't think the problem is about to go away, and this was understood as a problem some years ago, when Seha and the government decided to do something about it."

To further ease pressure on the strained nephrological health system, new dialysis centres are also planned for SKMC and Tawam Hospital in Al Ain.

zalhassani@thenational.ae