Kerala to introduce mobile dialysis units to treat patients from remote areas in the state

Health Minister Veena George said it was a joint venture of local bodies and NGOs, is aimed at bridging the healthcare gap in rural areas.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 01, 2024 | 5:54 PM Updated Jul 01, 2024 | 9:08 PM

Representational pic of a dialysis unit in a government hospital.

In a significant move to expand healthcare access for the residents in the state, the Kerala government said it will introduce mobile dialysis units to reach patients in areas lacking dialysis facilities.

Health Minister Veena George stated in the Assembly on Monday, 1 July, that the initiative, a joint venture of local bodies and NGOs, is aimed at bridging the healthcare gap in rural areas.

The mobile units will provide dialysis treatment to patients who previously had to travel long distances or rely on inadequate facilities.

George also added that the goal is to ensure that every healthcare institution in Kerala has a dialysis unit by 2025.

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To be started in remote areas

Responding to a submission raised by CPI MLA VK Prasanth in the Assembly, George said that, mobile dialysis units would be started in remote and difficult areas where dialysis facilities are unavailable.

Vehicles fitted with dialysis units will reach a destination (health centre) where patients have accessibility and from there they can avail of the service, the minister said.

Hemodialysis is an expensive and hospital-only procedure.

“The state health department has launched a peritoneal dialysis scheme, which is relatively inexpensive and can be done by patients at home on their own. Peritoneal dialysis is currently available in all districts and the cost will be borne by the government. To date, 640 patients have registered for peritoneal dialysis,” she said.

George added that increasing the number of shifts by increasing the functionality of the existing dialysis units would create a facility for more patients to do dialysis.

The additional manpower required for this can be borne by the local self-government bodies, she said.

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Free dialysis under the Karunya scheme

The state government is also providing dialysis free of cost in government and private hospitals, which are empanelled under the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi (KASP).

“Free dialysis is also provided to those who are not members of KASP in government and private hospitals empanelled through the Karunya Benevolent Fund (KBF),” George said.

Arogya Keralam is providing erythropoietin injections free of cost to kidney patients under the ‘Palliative Care Project’ scheme.

Statistics indicate that lifestyle diseases are on the rise in line with the fundamental changes in people’s lifestyles, the minister said.

A total of 1250 dialysis machines are operational in government health institutions in the state.

“In taluk and district-level hospitals where dialysis units are not functioning at present, 13 more locations are in the process of starting dialysis units in this financial year itself. Apart from this, all the remaining hospitals are targeted to have dialysis units operational by 2025,” George said.

Regarding the mobile dialysis unit, officials said they were putting the finishing touches to the proposal.

(With inputs from Dileep V Kumar)

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