Fast-unto-death demanding better kidney treatment
KATHMANDU, AUG 10 -
People suffering from kidney diseases have started a fast-unto-death relay strike demanding better treatment facilities. More than 50 kidney patients on Thursday went on the hunger strike at Shantibatika, Ratnapark, calling on the government fulfil their 11-point demands.
Forming a kidney disease victims struggle committee, they have asked the government to provide a lump sum for their treatment, make amendments to the existing human organ transplantation laws and begin brain-death donations as soon as possible.
Irate patients also urged the government to make dialysis facilities available at every district hospital in the country, provide a sum of Rs 1 million to those desiring organ transplants, increase monetary support from the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to Rs 200,000 from Rs 50,000 annually, among other demands.
“Poor people suffering from kidney failure have been left to die due to the strict organ donation laws or lack of money,” said Ramesh Chalise, acting president of the Nepal Kidney Society. “Even people with diabetes, who need glucose water every two hours, have participated in the strike. If anything goes wrong, the government will be held responsible.”
Chalise said they had earlier submitted a memorandum to the Health Minister Rajendra Mahato on March 27 but as his ministry turned a deaf ears to their demands, forcing the patients to go on a hunger strike.
In Nepal, organ transplantation is regulated by the Human Body Organ Transplantation (Regulation and Prohibition) Act-1998 and the Kidney Transplantation (Regulation and Prohibition) Rules-2002. People with chronic kidney ailments either need dialysis for the rest of their lives or a kidney transplant.
However, the 1998 Act only allows for ‘close relatives’ to donate kidney s to patients, given that they are medically fit. A ‘close relative’ is defined as a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, nephew, niece, grandfather, grandmother and legally adopted family members.
Those fit for the donation can undergo the transplantation at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) and the Bir Hospital at the cost of around Rs 500,000 inside the country. An estimated 2.8 million people in Nepal have some sort of kidney ailments, while 3,000 kidney failures are reported every year. Around 90 percent people with kidney failure die devoid of proper care, say experts.
Despite repeated attempts, the MoHP officials were not available for comments.
Posted on: 2012-08-10 08:39