The number of patients registering for kidney dialysis has risen significantly after Government scrapped charges for the procedure in August this year.
Dialysis helps the kidneys, which filter blood, to continue functioning when they have stopped working properly.
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals public relations officer Mr Linos Dhire said they registered about 21 new renal patients weekly over the past three months.
“Since August 2018, there has been an increase in the number of renal patients registering at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. On average, 21 patients register per week. Government has availed $1,5 million to the hospital, specifically covering renal patients.
“The hospital is doing everything in its capacity to look after the increasing numbers despite challenges which include staff shortages, as there are few specialised renal nurses,” he said.
People on medical aid are still expected to pay for the service. Patients usually part with $300 per session for dialysis.
Harare Central Hospital CEO Dr Nyasha Masuka said there had been a notable increase in the number of renal patients since August.
“A total number of 25 has benefited since we started free dialysis. Among the 25 patients, 16 patients are chronic patients who come twice weekly. Each session is five hours long.
“Nine patients were acute and they recovered their renal function. On average, we dialyse 10 patients per day,” he said.
The hospital commended Government for helping repair some dialysis machines.
“Also blood is availed on the coupon system and a grant was availed for dialysis commodities,” added Dr Masuka.
Like Parirenyatwa, Harare Hospital has a shortage of renal nurses and essential drugs.
Dr Masuka said, “The hospital is facing challenges in the renal department as there is a shortage of renal nurses. There is also erratic supply of essential drugs such as heparin, erythropoietin and iron sucrose in the renal unit.
“Inadequate haemodialysis machines is also a challenge. We have five working machines, of which each session is five hours, so we can accommodate two patients per each machine per day.”
The hospital has limited supply of sundries like dressings, tegardem and sterile surgical gloves.
Free renal treatment is available at Harare, Parirenyatwa and Mpilo hospitals.
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