Union Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture V. Narayanasamy underscored the need for bringing in a national programme for prevention of kidney diseases. He promised to take it up with the Prime Minister.

Speaking at a special programme on ‘Preventive Nephrology’ during the 30th annual conference of the Indian Society for Nephrology-Southern Chapter on Saturday, he said kidney disease was the third major disease in the country and there was a need to reach out to the people.

He requested Union Minister of State for Health S. Gandhiselvan to consider introducing the national programme for prevention of kidney diseases like the other national programmes for malaria and cancer control. “Through this, we can screen every individual in the country including students, youth and elderly persons once in a year and then take up treatment if required,” he said.

The Minister suggested that Accredited Social Health Activists appointed under the National Rural Health Mission be roped in to motivate villagers to undergo tests.

Terming kidney transplant procedures as “cumbersome,” Mr. Narayanasamy requested Mr. Gandhiselvan to take steps to simplify the process.

In his address, Mr. Gandhiselvan said there was an urgent need for creating awareness, especially among the rural population, of the effects of diabetes and hypertension.

The Minister noted that finding legal donors for kidney transplant was a problem and the cost involved in transplant and post-operative care was high.

“The Union Ministry of Health is aware of the problem and is taking steps to refine the healthcare system in the country. We have introduced the diabetes control programme and steps are being taken for testing diabetes in the rural population of 30 to 40 years. This will go a long way in early diagnosis of kidney failure,” he said.

Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam said the government was ready to put in place any model scheme for prevention of kidney diseases.

Noting that France and India were marching hand-in-hand in the fields of education, nuclear energy, defence cooperation and art and culture, French Consul General in Puducherry and Chennai Pierre Fournier said an ambitious target had been set by the two countries in education to increase the number of Indian students in France by three-fold in the next five years.

“France and India should involve in medical research and development and increase further exchanges to tackle new challenges,” he said.

Public Health Minister A. Namassivayam, president-elect, International Society of Nephrology John Feehally and nephrologist M.K. Mani also spoke.