Pune, 1st January 2024: In a bid to provide affordable dialysis services to citizens, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) collaborated with an organization to operate the dialysis centre at Kamla Nehru Hospital. However, persistent issues, including frequent shutdowns of dialysis machines, led to significant disruptions in the services. Despite the initial intent to serve ordinary families and economically weaker sections, the facility became inaccessible due to operational challenges.
Facing this predicament, PMC has decided to terminate the contract with the existing organization and has initiated an agreement with a new organization. As a result, citizens will have to endure a wait of at least another month for the resumption of dialysis services, which have been halted for the past eight days, as confirmed by the PMC health department.
The number of patients in need of dialysis treatment in PMC hospitals is substantial, but the available dialysis machines are insufficient. Additionally, the lack of timely updates compounds the challenges faced by patients. Operating on the ‘Dialysis Public-Private Partnership’ (PPP) principle, PMC has often shifted responsibility to private organizations, leading to a less-than-optimal patient experience.
The Kamla Nehru Hospital, being the first dialysis centre established by PMC seven years ago, faced issues under the management of the existing organization. Despite a total of 15 machines at the hospital and seven more at nearby locations, citizens, especially those suffering from kidney diseases, experienced inconveniences due to the frequent shutdowns.
Patients voiced their concerns over the increasing wait times for dialysis, with one patient stating, “One has to wait for four to five hours for dialysis facility in Sonawane Hospital. Dialysis is required three times a week. So you have to come to the hospital. But due to crowding, dialysis takes a full day.”
Expressing frustration, another patient emphasized the need for PMC to promptly finalize the agreement with the new organization to recommence the dialysis facility. The patients’ demand is rooted in the critical nature of the treatment, which requires consistency and accessibility.
Dr. Sanjeev Vavre, Assistant Health Officer at PMC, acknowledged the closure of the dialysis facility for over a month but reassured citizens that efforts are underway to secure a new organization that can provide improved services. He urged citizens to utilize other PMC dialysis units during this transition period.
However, citizens and patients have highlighted PMC’s failure to ensure a smooth transition and called for an increased number of dialysis machines to meet the growing demand. The health department remains optimistic about resolving the situation within the coming month but acknowledges the pressing need for enhanced healthcare facilities in PMC hospitals to better serve the community.