Taluk, General Hospitals in Kerala stare at a dialysis crisis

The dialysis units at the various Taluk and General Hospitals set up as an ambitious initiative of the government is likely to prove a major burden for the hospitals.

Published: 13th February 2018 01:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th February 2018 02:58 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose. (Reuters file photo)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The dialysis units at the various Taluk and General Hospitals set up as an ambitious initiative of the government is likely to prove a major burden for the hospitals, with the government only providing the initial financial assistance and leaving it to the hospitals to meet the remaining expenses.Unable to meet the expenses on their own, majority of the hospitals will be forced to shut down the dialysis units started for providing affordable, quality treatment to the common people.

In Taluk hospitals where such units have been functioning for quite some time, the funds from the Hospital Management Committee (HMC) is used to buy the consumables. In some other places, the contribution from voluntary organisations is used to run the units. After the units were set up, the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd only provides consumable for about 30-40 dialyses, sources said. In a hospital with around 50 or more patients, it could be difficult to run the unit without proper funding, they said. 

Presently, the hospitals charge Rs 400 and Rs 600 for the  BPL and APL patients, respectively while it is provided free of cost to those who come under various schemes like the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). The sources said the hospitals will not be able to function if the HMC  fund is used. According to them, it will be well nigh impossible for the hospitals to meet the dialysis cost using the amount charged from patients. The government should have a centralised funding system for providing assistance to the dialysis units, they said.

Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) president A K Raoof said sourcing funds from the HMC is not a viable option. “The only way to sustain the dialysis units at the hospitals is by setting up a corpus. This could reduce the burden on the hospitals and the patients will not also suffer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kerala Government Specialist Doctors’ Association (KGSDA) president Sunjith Ravi called for utilising the funds given for Non Communicable Diseases. “A lot of fund from the Centre is meant for NCD. As renal failure and dialysis are also associated with NCD, the funds can be used for this. This is the best available option,” he said.According to Dr Ravi, having a separate fund will also be good for running the dialysis units, with nephrologists carrying out  a monthly review of the dialysis units.

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