Nephrologists appeal to IIT-Madras to come up with indigenous products

Sapiens Foundation launches awareness drive to mark the World Kidney Day

March 11, 2022 09:44 pm | Updated 09:44 pm IST - CHENNAI

Nephrologist Edwn Fernando, left,  IITM  Director V. Kamakoti, and Rajan Ravichandran of Sapiens Foundation at the World Kidney Day programme in Chennai on Friday.

Nephrologist Edwn Fernando, left, IITM Director V. Kamakoti, and Rajan Ravichandran of Sapiens Foundation at the World Kidney Day programme in Chennai on Friday. | Photo Credit: K.V. SRINIVASAN

Sapiens Foundation, which is in its silver jubilee year, launched the World Kidney Day event with an awareness programme to protect the kidneys.

World Kidney Day was observed on March 10.

Rajan Ravichandran, founder of Sapiens Foundation, gave a recap of how the organisation came into being and its journey in the last 25 years. He said almost 10% of the population had kidney diseases. Even if it was a small percentage that required dialysis, the actual number would be big, he said.

To treat more patients better, it was necessary to have new machines, he said and suggested that engineers could help nephrologists to predict future events accurately using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Equipment such as dialysis machine or current experiments in developing artificial kidneys were being done by engineers.

Director of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras V. Kamakoti, who welcomed the move, recalled the journey of launching Aarogya Sethu. The difficulty in hosting the app on a platform had prompted the Centre to aim for self-reliance. He said the institute proposed to launch a school for medical technology. “There will be doctors and engineers who will come up with suggestions to develop non-invasive devices. AI is data-based. We can train a model giving data of different cases that India that could be used to its advantage,” he said.

M. Edwin Fernando, head of Nephrology Department at the Government Stanley Medical College, said it was engineers who designed the dialysis machine and the CT scan.

“The ease of our operations is due to collaborations between doctors and engineers,” he said and appealed to Mr. Kamakoti to encourage development of indigenous machines to reduce the cost of treatment. At present, the machines were imported and in a country where 14% of the population had chronic kidney disease and 35% is considered high risk for chronic kidney disease, it was necessary to reduce the treatment cost.

Dr. Fernando pointed out that 6,000 people were waiting for a kidney transplant.

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