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Several MLAs on Friday urged the government to extend Aasara pensions to people suffering from kidney diseases and availing the free dialysis service offered by the government. The MLAs also asked Health Minister Etela Rajender to create waiting rooms and other amenities at the dialysis centres as patients spend half a day or more at the facilities.

Saying the widespread concern shown by MLAs about people suffering from kidney ailments requiring dialysis reflects the severity of the problem, Rajender said he will take their request for Aasara pensions for the patients to the notice of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. He also assured the house that the government will work towards improving amenities at dialysis centres. The MLAs had said patients suffering from kidney ailments among the poor were unable to continue working and earning and that puts a lot of strain on their families.

The requests from the MLAs came after Rajender’s reply to a question on dialysis centres from TRS members Bigala Ganesh and K Bhupal Reddy in the State Assembly. In his reply, the Minister said the government was currently operating 43 dialysis centres in different parts of the State and the setting up of four more – at Armoor, Korutla, Huzurabad and Kamatipura (in Hyderabad) – was being considered.

As the members spoke on the need to create basic facilities for patients at the hospitals as they await their turn for dialysis, TRS MLA Gongidi Sunitha supported the call for including the patients in the Aasara pension scheme that was mooted by Dr Anand Methuku. Narrating how her father, who had to undergo dialysis often had suffered and how it impacted the family’s finances, Sunitha nearly broke down into tears. Minister for Women and Child Welfare Satyavathi Rathod got up from her seat and comforted Sunitha.

Rajender said he understood the emotions accompanying a serious health issue such as kidney disease. The government has already taken several steps to address this issue. There are 270 dialysis machines at the 43 centres and the amount spent on each patient who requires at least 10 sessions a month, is between Rs 1.20 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh, he said. The government will take the views expressed by the MLAs and take appropriate decisions, he added.

Bigala Ganesh earlier in the discussion suggested that the government should consider a kidney health screening programme on the lines of Kanti Velugu that was undertaken to identify existing and potential health problems relating to eyes.




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