There are about 20 lakhs kidney disease patients who get added in India and require 34 million dialysis sessions in total every year and the COVID-19 outbreak in the country has made things even more challenging for them.While the Government of India has introduced Haemodialysis under the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP) in 2016; its scope has now also been extended to Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) to help patients get affordable and accessible treatment remotely. With the inclusion of the home-based dialysis treatment, the government seeks to bring down the overall cost of treatment by efficiently leveraging the resources, which in turn will help all the kidney failure patients to have easy access to the services.
The lives of the patients with diabetes and kidney diseases have been in disarray as patients especially on Haemodialysis (HD) have to frequently visit hospital for dialysis. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF&W), people having co-morbidities like Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and on dialysis, are at an increased risk of contracting the deadly virus. CKD is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in India. To address this concern, the ongoing pandemic has given impetus to a more advanced and convenient technology for home-based dialysis treatment such as PD which is accessible cost effective and improves the lifestyle of the patients.
PD frees patients from the routine of having to go to dialysis clinics multiple times per week and can be performed with little to no specialized equipment. PD is carried out at home by the patient, often without help. PD is a painless and needle-free process which allows patient a much-needed quality of life and sense of freedom which is missing in HD session. PD is also suitable for young children below five years as it makes their lifestyle flexible, be it schooling or other activities. These factors make PD a preferred choice of treatment therapy as it allows patients to use it at the convenience of their homes thereby restraining their visits to the dialysis centre.
Peritoneal Dialysis is an efficient treatment mechanism for patients suffering from kidney failure. PD is a cost-effective therapy that allows therapeutic intervention at home, empowering patient autonomy, and reduces the financial burden on the patients. Scope of PD has increased during the time of the pandemic as it allows the patient to perform dialysis in the comfort of his/her home. Therefore, PD is a cost-effective and efficient method to provide dialysis to patients, said Dr. P. Vikranth Reddy, Chief Nephrologist, Head Department of Nephrology, CARE Hospitals, Hyderabad.
Dialysis is growing rapidly in India, but there is room to improve its accessibility for efficient and convenient dialysis therapies. While HD is a dominant modality, wider adoption and reception of PD especially during and post COVID-19 era will allow more rapid and equitable expansion, taking it to remote rural areas and improving the quality of life as well as be cost-effective in the long run. With the commitment from the union and state governments and entry of new service providers, kidney care seems a realistic goal in India.