Print Edition - 2015-03-12 | Main News
World Kidney Day
- Fund crunch hits free treatment
Mar 11, 2015-
The health centres that offer free dialysis service are struggling to continue the programme due to budget crunch.
Free dialysis programme for poor kidney patients is being run from seven health facilities inside Kathmandu Valley. However, the government’s failure to release the funds on time has affected the service, concerned health officials said.
It is estimated that Kathmandu Valley alone has 2,000 kidney patients who undergo dialysis.
National Kidney Centre at Vanasthali, one of the seven facilities that run free dialysis programme, receives around 500 dialysis clients on a regular basis. The centre has 40 dialysis machines.
“Many of our clients come for free dialysis service. But since the government has not released the fund, we don’t know for how long we’ll be able to run the programme,” said Dr Rishi Kafle, the centre’s director.
Some months back, the Bhaktapur-based Human Organ Transplant Centre had also complained about lack of budget to continue the programme.
The government has announced a special medical package worth over Rs 500,000 for kidney patients who cannot afford the treatment. The sum includes the costs of medicines, 208 sessions of dialysis, and a waiver up to Rs 200,000 for those patients who undergo kidney transplantation. To avail the service, one should have a document from his or her District Public Health Office mentioning that s/he cannot afford the treatment.
Ramesh Chalise, who recently underwent kidney transplant under the government programme, said the service has certainly helped many poor people, but there are also several instances where the patients are charged because the government had not released the budget on time.
Dr Guna Raja Lohani, chief of Curative Division of Ministry of Health and Population, said that they have recently decided to release the budget to support free renal disease treatment programme. He did not comment on what was causing the delay in budget distribution.
People with a chronic kidney disease usually have two treatment options—undergoing dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Around 500 people have undergone kidney transplantation in the country since the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hosptial (TUTH) introduced the service in 2008. The service has since been made available at Bir Hospital and Human Organ Transplant Centre. The progress made in renal disease treatment has been encouraging, but there are still a room for improvement, Dr Divya Singh, nephrologist at the TUTH, said.
“Still many people are dying due to lack of access to kidney specialists or dialysis service,” she said.
Published: 12-03-2015 09:29