Telangana’s free dialysis boon for the poor

Given the relatively high burden of kidney ailments, the authorities launched a phase-wise plan over the last five years to expand free dialysis facilities to all the 31 districts

By Author  |  Published: 25th May 2019  1:09 amUpdated: 25th May 2019  1:25 am
Telangana
File Photo.

Hyderabad: The Telangana government’s efforts to provide comprehensive medical care to people struggling with chronic kidney diseases (CKD) in the State appears to be yielding positive results, with nearly 40,000 patients availing the free dialysis since the scheme was launched across the State.

Given the relatively high burden of kidney ailments, the authorities launched a phase-wise plan over the last five years to expand free dialysis facilities to all the 31 districts so that more patients could be brought under the scheme.

Though it took a while to stabilise, the dialysis network and other kidney care facilities were now top-draw for patients, especially those with limited financial resources. The initiative to provide comprehensive kidney care facilities was further strengthened with the decision to provide free kidney transplantation services in State-run hospitals under the Aarogyasri health insurance scheme.

Till date, in the last five years, nearly 442 patients have undergone free kidney transplantation at various public healthcare establishments in the State. Moreover, another 730 patients were receiving life-long supply of immunosuppressive drugs, which are vital for patients who underwent kidney transplantation.

During the initial years of the launch of free dialysis facilities, the number of patients opting for the services was close to 5,000 a year in Telangana. But, over the years, health authorities managed to improve the quality of healthcare services and last year, for the first time, the free dialysis facilities attracted close to 10,000 patients.

The entire Telangana Free Dialysis Network (TDN) is based on the hub-and-spoke model with three major hubs — Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Osmania General Hospital (OGH) and Gandhi Hospital (GH) — controlling and coordinating the dialysis centres in all the districts of Telangana.

The authorities are collaborating with German medical equipment company D-Med and acquired 300 dialysis machines that were installed in the 31 districts. “We are incurring Rs 1,375 for a single session of dialysis. In private hospitals, it would cost anywhere between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 for a single session,” officials said.

Senior kidney specialists at government hospitals said they managed to keep infections among dialysis patients under control, another reason behind its popularity. The dialysers and other medical tubes used in the procedure are used only once on one patient. This reduced Hepatitis, a common infection among kidney patients.

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