Medical staff at the Scarborough General Hospital are now better equipped to care for dialysis patients after receiving training last week to conduct AV fistula surgeries.
They received the training from April 15-18, when 39 patients with renal (kidney-related) failure got free AV fistula surgeries thanks to a partnership between the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) and US-based NGO Bridge of Life (BoL).
AV (arteriovenous) fistula surgery involves the tying of arteries and veins together in a way that creates a “natural access point for a [dialysis] patient”, according to BoL senior programme director Sandra Hendren. The procedure is a more comfortable way for dialysis patients to receive treatment, and costs less than using a catheter.
Hendren said Bridge of Life is seeking a “long-term, continuous partnership” with the TRHA.
TRHA medical chief of staff Dr. Rufaro Celestine is optimistic about what the training means.
“We’re hoping that this joint programme can succeed and provide good healthcare for kidney patients in years to come,” she said.
Dr. Celestine believes the training will help build capacity within the TRHA, and allow staff to better respond to the needs of renal failure patients who require dialysis.