Dialysis service at the National Institute of Kidney Diseases and Urology (Nikdu) resumed Wednesday afternoon after a six-hour halt on assurances that money, owed to an Indian company in dues, will be cleared within the next three days.
Sandor Medicaids Pvt Ltd, the Indian company in charge of the dialysis centre, suddenly stopped dialysis service starting at 8am Wednesday to recover Tk23 crore and Tk21 crore for their services at Nikdu and Chattogram hospital respectively.
When dialysis was stopped, patients blocked Mirpur Road in the capital on Wednesday afternoon.
"The service resumed after 2:30pm when we informed Sandor that they will get their outstanding payment within a couple of days, the disbursement of which was already underway," Nikdu Director Professor Dr Mizanur Rahman told The Business Standard.
Indian company Sandor has been providing dialysis to patients at Nikdu since 27 January 2017 under a public-private partnership (PPP) project run by the health services division.
"The government plans to establish a ten-bed dialysis centre in each of the eight divisional cities," said Professor Dr Mizanur Rahman, hoping this will reduce the sufferings of patients as well as the pressure on Nikdu.
Some 200 kidney patients receive dialysis service at the National Institute of Kidney Diseases and Urology every day. The institute provides the service for poor patients for only Tk510, while the remaining Tk2,200 is covered by government subsidies.
Sufferings of patients in Chattogram
Kidney dialysis of about 3,000 patients in the port city depends on the dialysis centre at Chattogram Medical College Hospital.
Incoming patients and their attendants started a demonstration on Wednesday when the dialysis service stopped suddenly.
The Director of the hospital, Brig Gen Shamim Ahsan, calmed the agitators and dialysis service resumed at 4pm after remaining suspended for eight hours.
Earlier, Sandor stopped dialysis service at Chattogram Hospital on the same grounds for five hours on 5 January.
War-injured freedom fighter Abdul Awal, who regularly does dialysis twice a week, was supposed to have his dialysis done on Wednesday.
But he suddenly found the service closed which made him worried.
"I have been availing dialysis service here since July last year. If I cannot do it on the fixed date, various complications appear in my body which can end in death," he said.
Ashraf Ali came from Cox's Bazar on Tuesday night to Chattogram for dialysis. He gets dialysis three times a week. As he is very poor, he takes financial help from local people.
"I cannot work due to my kidney disease and if the dialysis service stops, I will die," he said.
Dr Himel Acharyya, in-charge of the dialysis centre, told TBS there was an outstanding amount of Tk21 crore.
They could not buy raw materials for dialysis and pay the staff salaries due to shortage of funds, forcing them to close the centre.
At the dialysis centre on the ground floor of the CMCH, 31 patients at a time can receive service. Every day, about 100 to 110 patients get dialysis service in four shifts.
About two crore people of the country have been suffering from various kidney related diseases. In 2020, a total of 28,017 patients died of kidney-related complications.
75% of all kidney dialysis patients cannot continue treatment due to poverty.