BENGALURU: During the pandemic, other sectors in healthcare took a hit, with patients either refusing to visit hospitals due to fear of contracting Covid-19, or unavailability of facilities.
This group of youngsters, however, made the lives of kidney patients easier in the last couple of months by offering free dialysis treatment. Earlier, the organisation started by the youngsters was providing the service at subsidized rates.
The Karnataka Marwari Youth Federation DR Ranka Dialysis Centre in Jayanagar kicked off the service in April, 2016. Till date, 86,919 dialysis procedures have been performed.
Even during the pandemic, the clinic was not closed for even a day, as many poor patients from different parts of Bengaluru Rural, Tumakuru, Kolar and other areas were dependent on it.
A homemaker Kavitha B S has undergone dialysis treatment there thrice a week. Her husband abandoned her and left for his hometown in Chinthamani with their son and daughter long ago.
She says her sister and mother were spending enormous amounts for her treatment.
“They would spend Rs 1,500 three times a week for dialysis. I heard about this centre that was charging a subsidised rate of Rs 500 for every session. For the last two months, they have waived that too and are providing us the treatment free of cost,” Kavitha adds.
Another patient Shaik Hidayath says, “I have been unemployed for a few years due to my kidney ailment, and my brother pays for all my treatment. It used to cost him nearly Rs 10,000 every month. This centre has changed our lives,” he says. Another plus-point for patients is the easy availability of beds, Hidayath says, adding that he has never had to wait for beds.
According to Rajesh Pirgal, a member of the centre, “As on date, 364 patients have benefited from the service, with 170 coming regularly. The number of procedures completed is nearly 90,000. Our daily expense is nearly Rs 1 lakh. Contributions from corporates and individuals have helped us sustain our work.”
From August this year, the state government stepped in to offer the kidney centre a subsidy, and this has helped in providing free treatment to patients.
A team of 28 staffers, including a consultant nephrologist, a senior medical officer, 17 technicians, two administration staff and seven housekeeping staff are instrumental in making the system efficient.
“As on date, anywhere between 75-85 patients visit our centre daily. There are still vacant beds – we have the capacity to help at least 108 patients a day,” says Pirgal.Free artificial limbs and dental camps are other activities they have carried out in the past.
NEW LEASE OF LIFE
Moved by the plight of patients who frequented the Jayanagar centre for dialysis, the Karnataka Marwari Youth Federation has facilitated kidney transplantation for five of them in a year, says Rajesh Pirgal.
“Each transplant costs nearly Rs 10 lakh. We mobilised resources for the procedure and got it done at a corporate hospital. Their family members came forward to become donors. We took care of pre- and post-care stages too,” adds Pirgal.