Saturday 29th August 2020
The National Federation Party says revelation by a renowned medical specialist that only 10% of almost 900 patients suffering from serious kidney disease are receiving dialysis is a massive betrayal and denial of their right by the Fiji Fist government to provide subsidised dialysis.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says this also proves beyond any doubt that government’s allocation of $3.5 million in 2018 to subsidise dialysis costs for patients from families earning a combined income of less than $30,000 per annum, was an election gimmick.
“Prior to 2018, a paltry sum of $200,000 to $300,000 was allocated in every budget by this government. Our motions during every budget pre-2018-19 budget for this to be increased substantially was defeated by government in parliament”.
“Then in June 2018, a sum of $3.5 million was allocated but only a handful of kidney patients, especially those in the Northern Division could benefit from the subsidised rate of $75 per session while patients throughout most parts of the country namely Central, Western and Eastern Divisions were being forced to pay $200-$250 per session or up to $750 for the required three sessions of dialysis per week”.
“Once elections were over the Fiji First retained power by a whisker, the 2019-20 budget saw dialysis allocation reduced from $3.5 million pre-election to $90,000 in the 2019-2020 (Covid Response budget) and $100,000 in the 2020-21 budget”.
“A Motion by NFP MP and Vice-President Lenora Qereqeretabua for the dialysis subsidy treatment allocation to be increased from $100,000 to $3.5 million was defeated by government during the budget debate”.
“While speaking against the Motion, the Health Minister stated that new dialysis machines and the national kidney research and treatment centre would be operational in November”.
“He further said $3.5 million allocated in 2018-19 budget before elections was not for subsidy alone but used to buy equipment and for the establishment of the centre”.
“But the budget documents from the 2017-18 budgets onwards, clearly show that separate allocations were made for purchase of new machines and establishment of the centre”.
“So what is the truth?”
“Now we have medical specialist Dr Joji Malani revealing that there is a lack of government support towards subsidizing dialysis”.
“Worse, the statistics provided by him show that at the most 100 out a maximum of 900 kidney patients are being provided dialysis”.
“This has resulted in Fiji’s death rate from kidney ailments earning itself the most unfavourable rank of 4th highest in the world”.
“The NFP had fully realised the seriousness of the issue and the huge financial burden to kidney patients requiring dialysis regularly”.
“That is why we had offered free dialysis to patients from families earning a combined income of less than $30,000 per annum and subsidised dialysis for patients above the $30,000 threshold”.
“This government is breaching Section 38 of the 2013 Constitution by denying its citizens the right to health in the form of subsidised dialysis”.
“Yet it has sufficient resources to provide $7 million for a new office complex for the Prime Minister, $40 million for 4 new police stations and over $11 million to FBC”.
“It is still not too late, in the name of humanity, to pour moneytowards dialysis at a time when our people are drastically affected due to economic strangulation exacerbated by Covid-19”.
Video by Hon. Biman Prasad via our Official Facebook Page: