Inadequate dialysis facilities at Government hospitals forcing patients to opt for cheaper dialysis outside

It is like asking patients to survive on rice porridge or gruel by consuming it twice a week. The patient may survive, but the sickness and other health complications will remain.

This is the state in which chronic kidney patients, utilising the Government-sponsored free Arogyasree dialysis, find themselves in.

Inadequate dialysis facilities at Government hospitals are forcing patients to opt for cheaper dialysis outside, which makes them prone to infections. Arogyasree dialysis patients have also complained that medical equipment like tubing, dialysers and filters are not changed frequently, which poses serious health risk.

Ideally, chronic kidney patients, to lead a quality life, need anywhere between three to four sessions of dialysis a week. Incidentally, patients enrolled under the Arogyasree scheme have access to just two dialysis sessions of two hours each in a week.

“We are grateful that the Government is providing free dialysis. But, two dialysis sessions a week are not enough, and due to that I am going to a private clinic for one more dialysis session. There is a constant fear of infection because health workers here tend to reuse certain equipment like dialysis tubes and dialysers, which are supposed to be discarded,” says Md. Akram, a kidney patient at Gandhi Hospital.

Owing to weak immunity levels, chronic renal patients, especially those undergoing dialysis, are at a high risk of catching infections. Arogyasree dialysis patients say that dialysis equipment like dialysers and components such as filters are used multiple times.

“There are occasions when the dialysers, which should be used only for one month by only one patient, are being used for three months. Because of such unsafe practices, fluids started getting accumulated in my body, and that was when I decided to stop using the Arogyasree dialysis facility,” says another patient.

Many patients have also complained about the shortage of erythropoietin drugs under the Arogyasree dialysis scheme. Almost all dialysis patients are anaemic, and after each session, it is mandatory for such patients to take erythropoietin tablets to normalise the red blood cells level. Arogyasree dialysis patients are given free erythropoietin once in a month.

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