Pushed to penury for regular dialysis, kidney patients seek pension

 thehindu.com  09/16/2020 17:45:19 

Mandatory visits to hospitals thrice a week to undergo dialysis despite the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. 3,000 to 5,000 monthly expense for medicines, tests, and running between home and hospital. Apart from the discomfort caused by kidney failure, these are some of the issues that patients are forced to live with.

Telangana Kidney Patients Welfare Association members have requested the State government to issue monthly pension so that they can bear the expenses and do not become a burden on their family.

Nephrologists say that the reasons for kidney failure could be uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes, hereditary, overuse of over-the- counter drugs like painkillers or unknown reasons.

Patients include children as young as nine to people over 70 years. It is estimated that there are over 18,000 patients in the State suffering from Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD) and need dialysis. They need to undergo dialysis regularly if their kidneys are not transplanted. One session of dialysis lasts for four hours.

The State government offers free dialysis under Aarogyasri or through other provisions. Bus passes are issued too.

With these mandatory visits, it becomes difficult to hold a regular job. Only a few patients hold a government job. So many of us dont have a regular income. We get to undergo free dialysis because of the Aarogyasri scheme, said Ch. Mohan, president of the Telangana Kidney Patients Welfare Association.

He added that patients need regular doses of drugs for calcium, iron, and medicines for co-morbidities. This comes to around 4,000 a month. And as a result, patients who dont hold jobs run into debts, Mr. Mohan said, who lost his job at a private firm around five years ago after it shut down.

A 34-year-old woman, Ch Parvati, who undergoes dialysis, was detected with kidney failure around 14 years ago. She dropped out of Degree course, and is currently jobless. Now, she tries to earn some money by selling flowers near a temple in Vidyanagar.

We have to undergo dialysis three days a week. Who will give a job if we want to work for the remaining four days? Besides, on other days, we suffer from other complications associated with dialysis. It costs me around 3,000 for medicines, Ms. Parvati said.

Some of them rely on family members for their expenses, or small scale business that can be operated from home.

Our issues can be addressed and we can stop being a burden on our families if the government issues a monthly pension, Mr. Mohan said. We requested the State government earlier also, he added.

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