National dialysis programme non-starter in Kashmir

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The Health and Medical Education department has failed to set up dialysis centres in three district hospitals of Kashmir under the PradhanMantri National Dialysis Programme.

In 2016, Prime Minister NarendraModi had announced the ambitious programme aimed to provide free of cost dialysis services to the needy across the country.

The facilities had to come up under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

Four years down the line, the Health and Medical Education Department has failed to set up dialysis centres in district hospitals of Budgam, Ganderbal and Shopian.

Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, AtalDulloo, had announced that under the programme all district hospitals in J&K would have functional dialysis centres by July 2020.

“There are several district hospitals in J&K where the authorities have even failed to establish the basic infrastructure for dialysis centers,” a senior official said. “Hundreds of patients suffer kidney failures simply because they can’t afford dialysis at private facilities.”

According to rough estimates, 4000 patients are admitted annually in the Department of Nephrology of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Srinagar, for various kidney ailments, with majority of them suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Some doctors said that roughly 20 to 30 percent of kidney patients in Kashmir die every year for want of treatment or due to infection.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director, Health Services Kashmir, Dr Samir Mattoo said, “We have got the funds and by the end of this year dialysis centers at Ganderbal, Shopian and Budgam district hospitals will be made operational.”

He said the delay was due to COVID-19.