- Karnataka has abruptly ceased a pilot peritoneal dialysis programme.
- The patients in the programme can no longer afford live-saving treatment
Poor patients enrolled in a pilot peritoneal dialysis programme are now cursing the government as the state has stopped financial assistance for the programme.
Each patient was given a financial assistance of ₹18,000 per month for dialysis fluid. The programme was an alternative to haemodialysis - where a patient has to go to the hospital frequently to purify their blood.
The Medical Education Department launched the project with much fanfare in 2014, and the government said it would bear 65 percent of the treatment cost of patients undergoing the pilot peritoneal dialysis.
Now, after a year, the programme has been closed. The 18 patients of the plan face a bleak future as they have to purchase dialysis fluid (dialysate) at market prices now, and many are from poor and middle-class families unable to afford the treatment.
Under the pilot project, the enrolled patients were paying ₹6,200 per month for the dialysate (fluid) as against the market price of ₹24,000. About 24 patients across Karnataka, who were enrolled in the pilot project, used to come once a month to the Institute of Nephro Urology, situated within the Victoria Hospital campus.
Indramma, a Bengaluru resident and a diabetic patient under peritoneal dialysis, criticised the government for suddenly stopping the funds. "We are poor, and we cannot afford such a costly treatment. The government needs to release the funds," she said.
Abdul Saleem, a retired Union government employee, whose 39-year-old son was undergoing peritoneal dialysis at home and use to take the fluid from the hospital once a month said, "I spoke to the concerned minister seeking his intervention in this regard as many lives are at stake. Stopping of funding for the project will mean a death blow to patients and their families. He has assured me he will look into the matter, but so far nothing has happened".
Usha, in-charge at the Peritoneal Dialysis Centre in Institute of Nephrology and Urology said that the government had stopped the pilot project. Out of the 24 patients, a few suffering from chronic kidney ailments had died, and only 18 were receiving the fluid at the subsidised rate. The hospital also had given a representation to higher officials and the concerned department is contemplating restarting the project.
What is dialysate?
A chemical bath used in dialysis to draw fluids and toxins out of the bloodstream and supply electrolytes and other chemicals to the blood.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:32 PM IST