By William Ysaguirre
A new kidney dialysis treatment facility, Dialisis de Belice, is introducing its services to Belize, offering dialysis at a significantly cheaper price than ordinarily is the case.
Dialisis de Honduras’ Chief Executive Officer Patricia Molina and Chairman Donald Swendener joined Orange Walk Town Councilor Angel Cal in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new center. It is located beside the Heritage Bank on the Belize Road entering Orange Walk Town.
The new center has 12 state-of-the-art dialysis machines. Chairman Donald Swendener explained that having the treatment readily accessible in country will considerably improve the lives of patients who previously had to travel to other countries for treatment. Not only will foreign exchange now remain at home; it will also provide jobs for Belizean nurses, blood technicians and administrators at the center.
Each session, which lasts between two and a half to four hours, will cost the patient $200 – a huge saving over the treatment that had previously been available to Belizean kidney disease patients suffering from renal failure.
For them, blood dialysis is the only way to remove the body’s waste products, toxins and excess water; and patients can require one to three sessions per week. The center also has a large flat screen television and WiFi connectivity, so patients may engage in other productive activities while receiving treatment.
For kidney patient Estella Reyes of Orange Walk Town, the new center is a Godsend. She happily testified that the new center was the answer to her many prayers, as it put dialysis treatment on her doorstep almost.
She said she previously had to travel to Chetumal, where each session costs 1,300 Mexican pesos, or $200 – $260 per session, depending on the exchange rate that day.
Treatment in Belize City was really not an affordable option for her, as the cost at a private health care facility could run as high as $650 to $700 per session.
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital does offer dialysis treatment at a minimal cost, according to unofficial sources – about $50 per session for patients with demonstrated economic need. But the KHMH reportedly has two machines, and the waiting list for patients is long.
Patients are required to access treatment through a social worker, who then assesses their economic need, and whether they would qualify for treatment at the KHMH.
Outside this program, a single session at the KHMH reportedly costs $450.00.
Managing partner Carlos Perrera reports the new center is under Belizean-ownership, and works in partnership with the Honduran company, which has provided similar service in Honduras for the past 16 years.
He anounced that as demand grows, the company plans to open another center in the Cayo district and possibly a third in Dangriga to serve the south of the country.