In this year's budget, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley had announced the National Dialysis Program which aims to have a dialysis centre in every district of the country under the PPP model. I was skeptical initially on the contours of this program and how it would be implemented. I was also concerned with how long it would take for the program to actually be rolled out.
Surprisingly, many states have already jumped onto the bandwagon and are in various stages of starting the program using the PPP route. The Andhra Pradesh government was the first to do so and has already completed the tendering process for the 13 districts of the state.
This is really a welcome change from the slow manner in which government projects are generally rolled out. Various other states are in the process of rolling this program out.
Some good aspects of the guidelines of the National Dialysis Program:
- Quality makes an appearance, well, not in the most perfect manner but definitely in a non-insignificant manner! The program talks about staff ratios, separate machines for positive cases, Kt/V targets etc.
- There is a facility for Above Poverty Line patients to avail dialysis at these centres by paying what the government is paying the providers.
- There is a requirement for a double RO treatment plant which means even if one plant breaks down, dialysis will not stop
- There is a schedule of investigations to be performed for the patients and this includes viral markers, iPTH apart from the anemia management and biochemistry related parameters
I am still a little worried about how all this is going to be monitored and compliance ensured. But I have been surprised with the initial pace at which this has happened. Hopefully, I will be surprised in the future as well!