- Center for Kidney Diseases and Urology Hospital founded in 2014
- Kidney transplant costs only around Tk210,000
- Follow-ups free
- Founder Dr Kamrul Islam has conducted most kidney transplants in country
- 500-600 patients avail free tests each month
The Center for Kidney Diseases and Urology Hospital (CKDU) in the capital's Shyamoli is housed in an unassuming six-storey building.
A large sign boldly declares that this building, with a façade mimicking other apartments, is indeed a hospital. The facility does not shy away from being less flashy; substance over style reigns here, with the CKDU boasting some of the dialysis machines in the country.
Those not in the know may be quick to have an opinion of the hospital. Here, comfort takes a backseat to cost.
Quality, however, is not compromised. Doctor Kamrul Islam, founder of the CKDU, has conducted the most kidney transplants in the country – a staggering 1,004.
A kidney transplant sets one back only around Tk2 lakh.
The amount is not just for the transplant. It takes into account the donor's treatment, the medications involved and the free follow-ups. A similar operation, inclusive of all costs, would set one back around Tk5 lakh at private hospitals. For public hospitals, the transplant alone would cost Tk2 lakh.
For its patients, the CKDU saves lives and it does so at the most affordable cost.
Sujan Miah, 29, of Kishoreganj suffered 50% damage to two kidneys in 2018. At the time, he was working in Dubai and the medical costs became unbearable. He soon moved back to Bangladesh.
He did not have the Tk15 lakh required to undergo a kidney transplant in India, where he had originally planned to go. In February 2019, an acquaintance directed him to the CKDU. Sujan's elder brother Fazlu Miah donated a kidney and Sujan is now living a healthy life.
The entire transplant cost Sujan only Tk2 lakh.
Like Sujan, Abdul Alim, 33, learned in 2018 that his two kidneys were damaged. Eight months of dialysis, injections and medicines cost him around Tk10 lakh at different hospitals around the country, including the ones in Dhaka.
In December, he had a kidney transplant at the CKDU at a cost of Tk210,000. He has since been healthy, having required follow-up treatments for three years and two months. Now, he has bKash and Flexiload dealerships.
The work the CKDU has done over the years has been termed remarkable by its patients. For those who cannot afford the large, private hospitals – here or abroad – the CKDU is the preferred option.
The hospital has grown under the supervision of Professor Dr Kamrul Islam, the founder of the CKDU.
Dr Kamrul told The Business Standard that he had observed that there were many private hospitals in the country for affluent members of society, who can also choose to go abroad. But those did not cater to the poor and middle class people, around 80% of the country's population.
"For them, there is our Center for Kidney Diseases and Urology Hospital," he said.
Established in 2014, the hospital does four kidney transplants a week on average.
"Our hospital cannot provide an environment like a big hospital, but quality of treatment is ensured. There are some of the best dialysis machines here, with advanced machines used for treatment. We offer quality, but it comes at the cost of comfort. Everyone wants to serve the affluent; there is no one for the poor. I made this hospital for them," Kamrul proudly declared.
Low-cost treatment, free follow up
The cost of a kidney transplant in the CKDU is Tk210,000. This includes the cost of the donor and the patient's operation, the patient's kidney being kept in the ICU for 14 days, the donor's medicines, and the doctor's expenses. The same transplant costs around Tk12-15 lakh in neighbouring India.
Dr Kamrul Islam does not charge any surgeon fee for transplants.
Proceeds from other treatments – kidney stone leakage, stone treatment, cancer surgery, prostate Surgery and other urological surgical interventions – are spent on kidney transplants to subsidise the cost.
Patients are also given free follow-up tests. According to hospital data, 500-600 patients come every month for free tests worth Tk3.5 lakh.
Sujan Mia and Abdul Alim follow up at the CKDU every month and do all the tests for free and show the reports to Kamrul.
Kamrul said a patient's kidney stays healthy for a prolonged period due to the follow-ups. If a charge was levied on those, then a large portion of people would not come for follow-up tests after transplants.
The 50-bed CKDU boasts a 22-bed dialysis unit, with the treatment offered at Tk1,500. The cost of an ICU bed is between Tk7,000-9,000.
1,000 transplants in next 5 years
Kamrul began doing kidney transplants in September 2007. So far, he has done 1,004 transplants in 14 years. In the next five years, he wants to do 1,000 more.
Kamrul said transplants were being done every day in neighbouring countries, but only four could be done in the hospital per week. "We are working towards doing transplants every day. We are working to do around two hundred transplants a year," he said.
In addition to his own hospital, he has also worked for the Kidney Institute, Dhaka Medical and the Combined Military Hospital when necessary. Doctors and nurses at those hospitals have also been trained by him.
Such is his dedication that while the country came to a standstill during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Kamrul was busy performing over 250 kidney transplants at that time.
His work is never-ending, but that doesn't seem to bother him.
"I want all hospitals to be able to do transplants. I want to take the pain away from kidney patients."