Gov. Benigno R. Fitial led other officials yesterday for the official opening of the long-delayed Dr. Jose T. Villagomez Dialysis Center, described as the most modern hemodialysis facility in the region.
“Undoubtedly, this is a major accomplishment and a most welcome health care development for our people. We now have a much needed 11,000-square-foot renal care facility. Not only is this an impressive facility but we now have the most modern hemodialysis center in the Pacific region located right here in the CNMI. This facility will definitely go a long way in ensuring that top-of-the-line care is afforded to patients that need to go through dialysis,” said Fitial.
The dialysis project was initiated in 2004 but was delayed due to funding constraints, other issues, and lack of Medicare certification.
Fital also recognized yesterday one of the Commonwealth’s medical pioneers for whom the new facility is named after: the late Dr. Jose T. Villagomez, a founding father of the Commonwealth Health Center and director of the CNMI Department of Public Health.
Department of the Interior’s Insular Affairs assistant secretary Anthony M. Babauta was also present during the occasion and lauded the progress of the islands’ health care services.
With the new facility, Babauta said that 78 percent of all patients currently needing dialysis can be served simultaneously. He expects about 105 patients to be treated weekly. The center has 27 new stations and two isolation wards.
“I want to commend the CHC for the efforts they have undertaken as a health center with limited resources, to coordinate their efforts to bolster cooperation between diabetes program here on island and the fight against other non-communicable diseases. CHC has made vast improvements in the area of preventive care, bringing to light the issue of renal disease, uncontrolled diabetes, and uncontrolled high-blood pressure and how all of these health complications disproportionately affect our island communities,” he told the crowd yesterday.
Babauta encouraged the island community to live a healthy lifestyle and pointed out the need for preventive care to avert contracting chronic diseases.
Public Health Secretary Joseph Kevin Villagomez said that the completion of the facility is a combination of more than 10 years of planning and construction of the project. He recognized the contributions of both the federal and local governments in making the facility a reality for the Commonwealth.
From 2001 through 2011, the number of hemodialysis patients in the islands doubled from 80 to 159. Of this figure, 107 are being treated at CHC.