Pressure on dialysis centres at public hospitals has increasing rapidly. Getting dialysis care is proving to be a big challenge for patients during the coronavirus lockdown.

Around 40 Aarogyasri centres across Telangana are running at full capacity, creating fears amongst hospital staff that there might be an overload on dialysis machines. The facility is being used round-the-clock by patients coming to Aarogyasri centres, as private centres are not taking new cases due to Covid-19.

The new cases of dialysis are a challenge as their travel history, temperatures for fever and symptoms have to be checked before they can use the unit. The protocols of care have to be maintained as an infection can be a disaster for the unit. Hence, doctors are ensuring that only those cases with no symptoms and travel history are admitted.

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Dr Manisha Sahay, senior nephrologist, Osmania General Hospital, said, “we are operating at full capacity at OGH as all patients from Gandhi Hospital are now coming here. Initially, there were challenges due to non-availability of transportation, but after issuing certificates, patients are coming regularly.”

The biggest challenge is for patients who can afford these services, because private sector facilities are shut down due to the lockdown. They do not want to go to government centres even as other private centres are screening them before giving services, adding to their problems.

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Vikram Vuppala, founder, NephroPlus, said, “with private hospitals becoming isolation centers for Covid-19, dialysis patients have been hit badly. Adjusting them in other centres means they have to travel some distance, which is more than usual. Our data estimates show that 20 per cent of them are not able to come to centres. Some of them are skipping a round of dialysis due to cash constraints. This will not be good for their health.”

Dialysis patients need to visit hospitals once in three days. Those who are on peritoneal dialysis have to visit only once in a month but there are very few patients in that category. #KhabarLive