New Delhi: 1 in 10 people in India is said to be suffering from some form of chronic kidney disorder (CKD), of which 2,20,000 new cases of kidney failure (stage V CKD) are reported in India each year, severe enough to need dialysis. Chronic kidney disease is a severe public health problem so much so that kidney failure is projected to be the fifth leading cause of death worldwide by 2040! On this World Kidney Day, keeping in line with the theme of ‘Living Well with Kidney” it would be pertinent to spread the much required education and awareness on how patients suffering from kidney failure can live a healthy life, maintain their role and social functioning, whilst maintaining some semblance of normality and a sense of control over their health and wellbeing.
One of the major hurdles for such patients is the lack of access to dialysis, which has long been a reality owing to critical shortages of dialysis equipment and staff especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has made the entire process even more challenging for them. However, the Indian government’s decision to include Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), an advanced and convenient technology for home-based dialysis treatment under the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP) in 2016 has been helping kidney failure patients to have affordable and easy access to this home-based treatment option. With the inclusion of PD in PMNDP, the government has brought down the overall cost of treatment by efficiently leveraging the resources, which in turn will help all the kidney failure patients to have easy access to the services.
‘’While the government has made a move to make dialysis accessible to all kidney patients in the country, it is so far been incorporated only by four Indian states. With the private insurance companies including PD in health insurance plans, both insurers and patients will certainly benefit from the initiative. The advancement will enable patients to avail value added benefits of the painless, home-based, and cost-effective therapy’’ said Dr. Sunil Prakash Director & Head, Nephrology and Renal Transplant Service, BLK Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi
PD frees patients from the multiple visits to the clinics every week as applicable in the conventional Haemodialysis (HD) and can be performed at home without any specialized equipment. In fact, it can be easily carried out at home by the patient, often without help. Contrary to a HD session, PD is painless and needle-less procedure that allows the patient to lead a better quality of life even with the chronic ailment. Moreover, PD is suitable even for children below five years as it does not stop them from pursuing their school or other normal activities.
Mahesh Kumar I have been suffering from CKD since a decade and while coronavirus outbreak has virtually halted the entire world, I had to initially go to the hospital twice every week for 4-hours long sessions for dialysis, which was quite painful and frustrating especially because the pandemic situation has instilled a sense of fear in me. But soon after, my doctor introduced me to the home-based dialysis process, PD and I can now carry my treatment with more flexibility as per my schedule. PD has eliminated the need of visiting the hospital thrice a week for dialysis, reducing my expenditure significantly.
Nevertheless, private insurance companies’ latest decision of including PD under the ambit of insurance policies will help India in making renal care affordable for all. There is an increasing dialysis demand of 31 percent in the county. Including PD in insurance policies will act as a driving force for more people to opt home-based dialysis. This would prevent people from discontinuing the dialysis due to financial crunch. Today, about two-third of 70 to 80 percent kidney patients in India withdraw from dialysis and succumb to death due to financial crunch and around 60 million dialysis patients are pushed under the poverty line due to exorbitant medical bills