A Carpenter’s Battle: How Hans Renal Care Centres are Improving Access to Dialysis in Rural India

Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Khaneri village in Himachal Pradesh, was just 43 when he was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in April 2022.

A carpenter by profession and the only working person in the family of seven members, Kumar was unable to work for the daily needs of his family. He was told to go on hemodialysis for the rest of his life to manage the end-stage renal disease.

Hemodialysis is a process where a machine helps to remove waste, salt and extra fluid from the blood when kidneys can no longer work properly. 

Kumar used to travel from Rampur to Shimla or Chandigarh for dialysis sessions, follow-ups, and consultations, which took about 12 hours to cover a distance of approximately 350 km. 

He comes from an economically weaker section of society, so travelling for treatment affected his livelihood. There have also been instances when he couldn’t access healthcare services due to heavy snowfall. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many stories from India.

Millions of such ‘Kumar’ exists

Every year about 2.2 lahks new End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients are diagnosed in India, resulting in additional demand for 3.4 crore dialysis units annually. 

Dialysis is essential for patients suffering from ESRD. 

Every dialysis has an out-of-pocket expenditure of about INR 2000 per session, a heavy burden on poor and middle-class families. Precisely, this is an expensive and life-long treatment 

Moreover, 70% of those who start dialysis in India eventually give up dialysis due to financial constraints, which leads to their death. Thus only 10–20% of dialysis patients in India continue long-term treatment. 

Such underserved communities “need a dialysis program” that can overcome the above-mentioned limitations and be a viable option. 

Collaborative efforts to rescue

With the vision to provide people in remote areas with access to quality health services and improve their overall well-being, The Hans Foundation (THF), in partnership with the State Governments of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, has set up Hans Renal Care Centres (HRCCs) in various district/zonal hospitals.

Under this program, THF operates and manages 23 dialysis centres, with 10 in Himachal Pradesh, 12 in Uttarakhand and one in Punjab. One of three dialysis machines available is dedicated to infective cases (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, etc.) and is established at each centre. 

Medical, human resources, dialysis machines, RO water plant infrastructure, dialyser, and consumables are provided, managed, and operated by THF. 

The government provides space, power, water supply, and other necessary approvals. Qualified specialists in government hospitals refer patients for dialysis in the District centres. The diagnostic tests (Urea, Creatinine, Sodium, Potassium, complete biochemistry & haematology profile) before and after the dialysis are done through the free diagnostic program or the government’s laboratory.

Of 23 dialysis centres run by THF, Rakesh joined the HRCC Rampur, Bushehr, in November 2022, reducing his travel time by almost 95%. He is also assisted with the required dialysis sessions and injectable medicine free of cost that otherwise used to cost him around INR 5000-6000 per dialysis session. 

Because of HRCC Himachal Pradesh, Rakesh can save on his travel and accommodation expenses and is provided with proper care, counselling, and treatment by trained HRCC staff, including nephrologists, a medical officer, and a dialysis technician.

He is now free from his medical expenses and has resumed his work to support his family financially.

“I am very thankful to The Hans Foundation for giving us quality medical facility and care. I can’t describe the stress and pressure I have faced since I have been diagnosed with kidney disease. Now I can manage my work and livelihood. God bless you for all you do for us people,” Kumar said.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s heartening to see how Hans Renal Care Centres are changing lives by providing quality medical facility and care to those suffering from End Stage Renal Disease. This is a great example of how public-private partnerships can make a positive impact on society. Well done, THF!” The Hans Foundation, Government of Uttarakhand & Himachal Pradesh government #healthcareheroes #publicprivatepartnerships #societalimpact #LetsUPDEED

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