WINNIPEG -- March 1 is the start of Kidney Health Month, and to mark the occasion, the Manitoba government announced the opening of the new hemodialysis unit at the Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC).

Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson made the announcement in a news release on Monday, saying the new unit will strengthen renal care for people who need dialysis services.

“The new hemodialysis unit will allow HSC Winnipeg to accommodate a growing number of individuals receiving treatment for the first time, as well as patients from across the province who have been hospitalized, are receiving specialist care or need ongoing dialysis treatments,” she said.

The $6.8-million unit is located within the Diagnostic Centre of Excellence. It will feature 22 stations and have the capacity for 132 patients to receive 396 hemodialysis treatments every week.

Adult patients who are currently receiving treatments in temporary dialysis stations will have first access to the new unit. 

Dr. Mauro Verrelli, the provincial renal specialty lead for Shared Health, said in the news release, the need for hemodialysis – a treatment that cleans patients’ blood – continues to grow.

“This bright, state-of-the-art unit will be a significant asset in caring for Manitobans living with kidney failure,” Verrelli said.

In Manitoba, there are 1,845 people receiving dialysis treatment, including 420 patients on home dialysis. The province noted that an additional 6,475 are being treated for chronic kidney disease.

“The demand for services for patients living with chronic kidney disease and kidney failure is increasing across Canada including here in Manitoba,” Stefanson said.

“The opening of this new unit reflects our government’s ongoing commitment to meet that demand and provide the care these patients regularly need, both in Winnipeg and in communities across the province.”