Every major hospital and all districts should offer the facility

The government must set up systems to check the quality of drugs in the country in order to ensure that fake and poor quality drugs do not enter the market, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Vayalar Ravi said here on Saturday.

Poor quality drugs could even endanger the life of the patient. The government must take the initiative and launch strong action against those involved in making and distributing such drugs, Mr. Ravi said.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the annual conference of the Peritoneal Dialysis Society of India, he said that contrary to haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis had the advantage that it could be performed by the patients and their aides in the comfort of their own homes. There was a huge demand for dialysis facilities in the country, but the procedures remained expensive, and inaccessible. It was therefore necessary for the government and the NGO sector to take steps to enable the poor to have access to the dialysis they are required to undergo. Every major hospital and all districts should offer facilities for dialysis, he said.

Mr. Ravi later released a copy of the compilations of scientific proceedings of the seminar.

Georgi Abraham, organising secretary, PDSICON 2011, said there were about 7,000 patients on peritoneal dialysis in the country, with over 350 centres helping them. Three state-of-the-art fluid manufacturing units have also been set up.

Dr. Abraham was conferred the first Dimitrios G. Oreopoulos Award, instituted by the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis (ISPD) for contributions to peritoneal dialysis. The award was given by Joanne M. Bargman, president, ISPD.

Vidya Acharya, senior nephrologist, urged the government to make the therapy cheaper for patients, with end stage renal failure. This would make life easier for them. The high costs were due to the huge taxes built into various components that constitute dialysis procedures. Several appeals had been made to waive these taxes, so that the burden on the public would be reduced. Also, sufficient action must be taken to ensure that awareness of peritoneal dialysis is created among the community, she said.

Rajan Ravichandran, president, PDSI, highlighted the fact that insurance did not cover peritoneal dialysis since it was considered an outpatient procedure. Only a few hospitals offered the patient the option of peritoneal dialysis, and most offered only haemodialysis. Therefore it was very important to take the message about this procedure to the common man.

Prevention stressed

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, said chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease together had become a large part of untreated non-communicable diseases. The share of national burden was likely to increase.

With renal transplant addressing the problem for a small group of people, dialysis must be provided as a matter of right to patients. A number of distinguished physicians headed by senior nephrologist M.K. Mani were also emphasising the supreme need for prevention, which could be meaningful and inexpensive, Mr. Ram said.

Honoured

The PDSI also honoured Bargman, and other faculty members including Ramesh Khanna from Manchester, U.K., and Sarah Prichard from the University of Montreal, and peritoneal dialysis expert Padma.

Regi Abraham, patron of the PDSICON 2011, said, the conference would go a long way in increasing awareness of peritoneal dialysis in South Asia.

The conference, which began on September 30 at Madras Medical Mission, will conclude on October 2. Speakers from 10 countries and over 350 delegates are participating in the conference which is being held to celebrate 20 years of experience with continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis.

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