By Violet Nabatanzi
The Government has slashed costs for kidney treatment at Mulago National Referral Hospital.
The patients who have been paying about sh800,000 for dialysis every week at Mulago will now pay only sh180,000 for the services.
“We are going to provide a dialysis at a cost less than sh60, 000 per unit time so that if you have been spending about sh800,000 you will be spending less than that,” the hospital’s Executive director Dr. Baterana Byarugaba said during commemoration to mark World Kidney Day at Makerere School of Public Health.
Byarugaba said: “When we built an oxygen plant, the money that was used to buy it was diverted to buying consumables for dialysis machines and that is why we are going to have a cheap dialysis.”
Kidney-related infections are reported to be on the increase in Uganda, especially in children of five to 15 years of age with at least 60 to 100 being admitted at Mulago in a month.
Health experts say the increase is associated with poor nutrition and dietary habits where people eat foods with unsaturated fats that increase their cholesterol and drink less water, making the sugar in their bodies to stay unregulated. Drinking at least two and a half litres of water a day can keep the body functioning effectively, experts advise.
Kidney dialysis is a life-support treatment that uses a special machine to filter harmful wastes, salt and excess fluid from blood.
Kidney patients are supposed to have dialysis at least three times a week, but because of high costs sometime they get it once or twice.
Byarugaba explained that the hospital used to spend sh800m in buying oxygen per year. He revealed that the hospital will soon get 20 new dialysis machines for the patients, adding that the consumables for these machines will be bought by the Government in April.