Kathmandu, October 25
Of the total budget that the government allocates every year for treatment of eight different types of chronic diseases, some 60 per cent is set to be spent on treatment of kidney-related diseases this year.
The government provides Rs 100,000 to patients of heart, kidney, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, and those with head injury, spinal injury and sickle cell anaemia, for treatment.
According to the management division at Department of Health Services, the government provides free dialysis service to kidney patients, while it gives Rs 400,000 for kidney transplantation and Rs 100,000 for post-transplant medication.
Prakash Ghimire, senior assistant health worker at Impoverished Citizen Treatment Fund under the division, said both the kidney donor and recipient get Rs 50,000 each for lab tests. The government is spending relatively more on treatment of kidney diseases than other chronic ailments. Besides, a patient of acute renal failure is given Rs 100,000 to cover expenses for medication.
The government set aside more than Rs 1 billion for the division that regulates the fund in the current fiscal. According to Ghimire, this amount is insufficient and the division has asked the concerned authority to add another Rs 1 billion for it to be able to render free healthcare to poverty-stricken citizens in the country. He said, “The number of hospitals where impoverished citizens could avail themselves of free healthcare is increasing. This will see an increase in the number of patients frequenting the hospitals. Hence the current allocation is insufficient.”
The number of kidney patients receiving dialysis service currently stands at 23,000. The cost of treatment for a kidney patient ranges from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 a month. The government has been contributing only Rs 30,000 for it.
The government had allocated Rs 1.2 billion for the fund last fiscal and Rs 1.33 billion in the fiscal 2015/16. A majority of this budget was spent on the treatment of kidney patients followed by cancer patients and heart patients, Ghimire informed. A total of 17,867 patients have benefited from the fund so far this fiscal.
A version of this article appears in print on October 26, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.