Glace Bay area residents who need dialysis are a step closer to receiving treatment in their own community. The province announced today, April 5, it will begin site and design work to support a six-station satellite dialysis unit at the Glace Bay Hospital. The new unit will reduce pressure at Cape Breton Regional Hospital’s dialysis unit in Sydney, cut down on travel time for many patients, and accommodate the increasing number of patients requiring this life-saving treatment. “When you consider the aging population and the demand for this treatment, it makes sense to proceed with a renal dialysis unit in Glace Bay,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “It is important to these patients that they can get the life-saving care they need closer to their own community.” The new dialysis unit will complement existing services in Cape Breton, including satellite dialysis units in North Sydney, Inverness, and the Strait Richmond Hospital near Port Hawkesbury. There are 190 people on dialysis in Cape Breton. Twenty-six patients from Glace Bay are expected to use the new unit. “We have been fortunate to have satellite units established in other Cape Breton communities, and the plan for a dialysis unit for Glace Bay is welcomed,” says Dr. Tom Hewlett, nephrology division chief with Nova Scotia Health Authority’s eastern zone. “Our staff and patients appreciate the recognition that there is a need to enhance access to this care.” Part of the project will be funded through a $1.7 million bequest from the estate of the late Thomas Peach of Glace Bay. He left the money with the intent of helping establish dialysis services in the community. A request for proposals for design will be issued this spring. The design phase is expected to take about eight months. In January, the province announced the construction of a new 12-station dialysis unit at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, and issued a request for design proposals for a new six-station unit at Digby General Hospital.
“As the conflict continues to escalate, over 12.9 million people in Yemen are now surviving without adequate access to basic food supplies, including six million who are deemed severely food insecure,” warned Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a press release issued earlier this morning.The situation facing children in the country is particularly alarming, she stressed, with reports suggesting that 850,000 of them face acute malnutrition – a figure that is expected to rise to 1.2 million over the coming weeks, if the conflict persists as its present level.Sieges in a number of governorates, including Aden, Al Dhali, Lahj and Taiz, have been preventing staple food items, such as wheat, from reaching the civilian population, while airstrikes have reportedly targeted local markets and trucks laden with food items. “The deliberate starvation of civilians in both international and internal armed conflict may constitute a war crime, and could also constitute a crime against humanity in the event of deliberate denial of food and also the deprivation of food sources or supplies,” Ms. Elver continued. “The right to food does not cease in times of conflict, indeed it becomes more crucial as a result of the acute vulnerabilities in which individuals find themselves.” The UN expert explained that in a country that relies on imports for 80 per cent of its food intake, current restrictions have resulted in steep price hikes, which, combined with increases in the price of diesel by some 47 per cent, are having a “devastating impact” on food security. In addition, she said that both “an immediate and unconditional” humanitarian pause in hostilities and a boost in relief funding would be needed to prevent “a deepening national catastrophe in Yemen.”“I call on the international community to do everything possible to provide on an emergency basis the necessary funding as well as essential aid,” concluded Ms. Elver.According to the latest data released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the ongoing conflict in Yemen has taken a heavy toll on civilians, more than 1,895 of whom have been killed by fighting since March. Half of the population does not have enough food to feed their families, while more than 15 million people are deprived of access to basic healthcare.The health system in Yemen is indeed continuing to suffer, leaving civilians without access to critical, life-saving health care, World health Organization (WHO) Representative Tarik Jašarevic explained during a press briefing in Geneva.“Almost 23 per cent of all health facilities in Yemen are currently non-functional or partially functional as a direct result of on-going violence, and additional facilities continue to close down week by week,” he said.While WHO had asked for $151 million to meet the health needs of internally displaced people until the end of 2015, it had received so far $23 million, resulting in a funding gap of 85 per cent.“Without the funds, many critical healthcare services would be forced to shut down,” warned Mr. Jašarevic.So far, he added, WHO had supported the Ministry of Health of Yemen and partners with over 181 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies for more than three million people, including trauma care, non-communicable diseases and laboratory and blood banks.