Govt-run dialysis centers struggling to cope with rush of patients

Govt-run dialysis centers struggling to cope with rush of patients
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Srinagar: Dialysis centers started at three government hospitals in Kashmir have accumulated a huge waiting list of renal failure patients. According to sources, patients awaiting the free dialysis facility have already crossed 500.
The three dialysis centers were started last year at District Hospital Anantnag, District Hospital Baramulla, and JLNM Hospital in Srinagar.
“The infrastructure is not enough to cater to the huge rush of patients who have registered themselves with the government dialysis centers. There are only 14 machines in the three dialysis centers but the registered patients are more than 500,” said an official at National Health Mission.
He said each dialysis center was catering to only 30 to 40 patients per week, as per the roster.
The health department had opened the three dialysis centers on trial basis, which had raised many eyebrows over the implementation of the National Dialysis Program (NDP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The dialysis centers are still running on trial basis because there is no dedicated staff recruited for these centers. This has also led to the inefficiency,” sources said.
As per the Operational Guidelines of NDP, it is recommended that the dialysis center should be headed by a qualified Nephrologist or MD Medicine with one-year dialysis training from recognised center, and performing one visit every fortnight and clinical review for all patients.
Other requirements include one Medical Officer (on duty), one doctor (MBBS) per shift for a maximum of 10 machines; dialysis technicians/ nurses; one technician for every 3 machines; and one dedicated dialysis machine for patients with blood-borne infections per shift. Also required are sweepers, one for every five machines per shift, and a hospital attendant for every five machines per shift.
“Dialysis station shall be designed to provide adequate space area and safe treatment as well as to make sure the privacy of patients. The area shall not be less than 6 square meters to accommodate a bed or chair, the dialysis equipment, and emergency equipment if needed,” the guidelines read.
They say that a separate hemodialysis area shall be designated solely for use of Hepatitis B patients.
In the Kashmir hospitals, the area designated for the dialysis centers is in crumbling spaces within the existing infrastructure.
“No separate building was constructed for these centers. Small areas have been designated for the facility,” said a doctor.
He said a dedicated space of 120 sq ft per dialysis machine is a must to run the facility smoothly.
Medical Superintendent (MS) of District Hospital Baramulla, Dr Syed Masood, claimed that the facility was working fine even within the limited infrastructure and staff.
“We are catering to 60 renal patients as per the weekly schedule. We are waiting for more equipment from the Health Ministry,” he said.
Dr Masood said doctors and paramedics were trained specially for the treatment.
“We have a long list of patients who have registered to avail the free dialysis facility. We are not able to put them on dialysis because we have only six machines,” he said.
MS of District Hospital Anantnag, Dr Majid Mehrab, said the free dialysis facility was not adequate for south Kashmir because patients were registering in huge numbers.
“We have a waiting list of nearly 150 patients. It will ease out only when similar facilities are started in other hospitals of south Kashmir,” he said.
Medical Superintendent of JLNM Hospital, Dr Zakir Hussain Khan, said the centre had already completed 1200 dialysis sittings on 43 patients since last year. However, he said the centre also needs uplift vis-à-vis infrastructure.
“We can’t entertain all patients because of limited resources. We do dialysis on rotation basis,” he said.
All the administrators said that the existing staff of the hospital had been trained to handle the free dialysis centers under National Dialysis Program.