Govt may train junior docs under nat’l dialysis scheme
New Delhi: With just one nephrologist for every 10,000 kidney patients, the Centre’s ambitious plan to provide dialysis care in all districts across the country faces a stiff challenge. To overcome this, the government plans to train doctors and senior technicians to tackle the increasing burden.
According to the Indian Society of Nephrology, there are around 1,400 nephrologists across the country, whereas around 120 are added every year from the country’s premier medical institutions, including AIIMS, PGIMER Chandigarh and Christian Medical College, Vellore.
With an alarming rise in diabetes among Indians, kidney failures have more than doubled in the last 15 years. The incidence of endstage kidney disease is estimated at 150-230 per million. About 2,20,000-2,75,000 new patients need renal replacement therapy every year.
“We are in talks with institutions as well as states to ramp up infrastructure and facilities to be able to train more clinicians to conduct dialysis,” an official in the health ministry said.
Last week, the health ministry rolled out the national dialysis care programme across the country under a public private partnership model. Currently, there are around 5,000 dialysis centres across the country.
Though the government’s initiative has been lauded, the severe dearth of nephrologists to run planned centres has given rise to apprehension. “Dialysis is a technology-based therapy and requires trained clinici- ans,” says Dr Saurabh Pokhariyal, director and head of department, nephrology and renal transplant at Fortis Memorial Research Institute. According to Pokhariyal, post MBBS and MD courses with a duration of at least two years can be run to produce skilled clinicians.
“Most of the nephrologists are either based in southern India or in Delhi and Mumbai. States like Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and north east are worse of,” says Dr Pradeep Deshpande, president, Indian Society of Nephrology.