A newly opened dialysis unit (the center does not want to be named) at Changzamtok is now helping patients in need of dialysis treatment.
Currently, there are 146 patients registered at the unit with one doctor and 24 staff. An additional four machines have arrived and soon they are going to be in operation.
At the new dialysis unit, a shift of 16 patients is treated in the morning and 16 in the evening. It means that in the morning 16 patients are given dialysis treatment with four hours for each person and after completion, they are replaced with another 16 patients in the evening. In the old unit (behind JDWNRH), they follow the system of three in the morning, three in the evening and three at night. They provide 24 hours services to dialysis patients.
One of the staff, Rinchen Pelden, said that they take four hours each to do dialysis treatment of a patient. Moreover, they face challenges as patients don’t understand the importance of maintaining their health as they do not come on time for dialysis checkup. Mostly, the patients do not like staying at the hospital and they want to return home as the patients have to do life-long dialysis until they get kidney transplantation.
Since the unit has16 dialysis machines, they do treatment for only 16 people at a time and they use the shift system. There are another four machines ready to be installed. Gradually machines and they are going to add more in the future. For patients, hypertension and diabetes are the main cause of dialysis treatment.
However, Rinchen Pelden said that right now they are comfortable with the number of patients visiting the unit.
The founder of Bhutan Kidney Foundation (BKF), Tashi Namgay said that with the opening of the new unit, the pressure on the old dialysis unit behind the Thimphu hospital has eased.
The old unit has three machines which are mostly used during emergency since the patients are directly referred to the JDWNRH.
The cost of the machines is around Nu 1mn each. There is a guest house for dialysis patients who come from faraway places and those who could not effort to rent themselves in Thimphu gifted by His majesty the King.
Tashi Namgay said that kidney disease comes with various challenges as social issues being the severe one. “In the absence of one’s own family member at the treatment unit, the affected families contact us to avail various services,” he said.
He said that BKF help Kidney patients with counseling and guidance (medication, diet and hygiene education and treatment and transplantation procedure) and patient care and support programs like providing hygienic accommodation and nutritious diet through monthly supply of grocery and vegetables to patients at the Dialysis unit, Thimphu. BKF’s temporary kidney patient house at Gelephu and Mongar, support skilled patients with home-based business for livelihood, school going patients with academic expenses and renders financial support during referrals to in India.
However, the BKF lack funds and sustainability, office space of its own, human resources and patient’s fund raising duplication.
He said that under the patients care and support program, from 2012 till December 31 2019, BKF had spent more than Nu. 6.5mn
Tenzin Lhamo from Thimphu