The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has started free dialysis in all state-run hospitals of the province. This facility, however, is limited to residents in the province.
Rupees nine million have been allocated for the next three months. The funds may increase in view of the number of patients visiting. The patients will, however, have to purchase all medicines required.
Health Minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah announced the provision of dialysis at the Institute of Kidney Diseases (IKD), Hayatabad on Thursday. “Every patient needs around Rs0.3 million every year for treatment as dialysis is required three times a week, but most patients coming to these hospitals cannot afford it,” said Dr Sultan Zafar Khan, a nephrologist in IKD.
Zafar said they have conducted around 50,000 dialysis since 2008 in IKD while 6,000 were conducted free of cost. He added around 10% to 15% people in the province suffer from kidney diseases.
“The main reason of contracting the disease is lack of awareness among people,” Zafar said, adding that they will run an awareness programme.
Muhammad Tahir Khan, programmer at IKD, said they were already providing free treatment in their centre from the Zakat programme ,but they have very strict selection criteria and many deserving patients were left. He said anyone visiting the hospital for treatment can get it for free now.
Tahir said every hospital will get the funds according to its needs and the number of patients visiting. However, only residents of K-P will be able to avail the treatment, not tribesmen or Afghans, he added.
Tahir added they have performed 33% of all dialysis conducted in 2012.
Kidney dialysis is a life-support treatment that uses a machine to filter harmful wastes, salt, and excess fluid from your blood. This restores the blood to a normal, healthy balance. Dialysis may be used for patients who have acute or permanent kidney failure.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2013.