After Cochin Shipyard called it quits a year ago, the dialysis centre at the Regional Blood Transfusion Centre at Aluva is yet to find a private partner who could cushion the treatment cost for the poor.
For the poor, dialysis at the centre costs only Rs. 200 and for the very poor, even that is waived. “It is still possible because various individuals and organisations are bankrolling the project,” said the medical officer in-charge N. Vijayakumar.
Apart from individuals who open up their purse, the Dialysis Centre was scouting for a major private partner who could fund the public-private participation model which could benefit more poor people, he said.
For the poor, dialysis costs only Rs. 200 at the centre. And for the poorest of the poor, even that is waived.
In private institutions, the cost of a dialysis is about Rs. 2,000. Recurring medical expenses of dialysis bog down even a patient who has a Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna support which provides Rs. 30,000 for the treatment, said Dr. Vijayakumar. At the Centre, the actual cost of dialysis is about Rs. 700.
The private partner with deep pockets had so far picked up the bill for poor patients at the centre, which has 23 dialysis units and conducts nearly 1000 dialyses a month.
It is the largest centre in the public sector offering dialysis to poor patients at such a subsidised rate. So far, the centre has conducted 17,156 dialyses since it became fully functional in 2011. There were 117 patients on the list last month.
The centre is capable of doing 46 dialyses daily. But on an average 42 dialyses are conducted.
It can do with a lot of support from other government agencies and programmes. However, these are yet to happen. Applications for Karunya Benevelont Fund for 38 patients are still pending. Even after getting sanction for another eight patients, the fund is yet to be allotted.
The chemicals and the consumables required for dialysis are the recurring expenses. An application to Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited for supply of chemicals like acid concentrate, bicarbonates, fistula needles and dialyser are yet to get a reply. The corporations’s support would take a big load off the Centre’s shoulders, said Mr. Vijayakumar.