KATHMANDU, Nov 8: Removing the limit in the number of free dialysis to be provided to kidney paitents, the Ministry of Health has decided to provide the service for such patients for unlimited number now onward.
Health Minister Gagan Kumar Thapa instructed all the concerned agencies under the ministry to make necessary arrangements for providing dialysis service to kidney patients throughout the week free of cost.
The policy to support kidney patients with dialysis service was introduced by the previous government of KP Oli. However, the ministry has been providing free dialysis only twice a week per kidney patient. Patients needing more than two dialyses a week needed to pay for the additional dialysis.
According to Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha, executive director of the Human Organ Transplant Center (HOTC), kidney patients usually need three dialyses per week. Generally, it costs Rs 2,500 per dialysis.
The government of KP Oli presenting its annual policy and program in parliament had announced to provide free dialysis service to kidney patients. Sunday's move by the ministry is part of implementation of the government's policy and program.
"It is requested to implement free treatment mandatorily as stated in the directive," reads the directive issued to the health agencies.
Altogether 32 hospitals provide this facility across the country. Of them, four are regional hospitals outside the capital.
While assuming office, Minister Thapa had announced to provide free kidney dialysis from all regional hospitals within six months of his term.
As part of translating the commitment into action, Minister Thapa has already released money for two regional hospitals to purchase dialysis machines.