BULAWAYO businessman David Ncube has appealed to the government to subsidise critical consumables needed for dialysis sessions saying this made treatment for patients suffering renal failure out of reach.
Ncube, a renal patient who has been on dialysis for the past three years, last Thursday donated three dialysis machines to Mpilo Central Hospital during the health institution’s donor conference.
He said businesspeople should not take advantage of shortages of consumables to charge exorbitant prices.
Some of the consumables in short supply include needles, tubes and fluids.
“As a patient, I am appealing to the government to make consumables easily available at affordable costs.
“For one session, one has to spend close to $200 which translates to about $600 as one has to go under dialysis three times per week,” Ncube said.
“The government should strive to procure machines for all district hospitals as that would reduce costs for patients who have to travel to major provincial hospitals for treatment.”
Dialysis is very expensive and average medical costs for a dialysis patient are five times higher than for other average patients.
Ncube said some businessmen were taking advantage of the shortage of consumables to charge exorbitant prices.
“This is a lifelong treatment and people should not take advantage and try to milk patients.
“People are dying as they are struggling to source such consumables,” he said.
A dialysis machine helps remove toxic substances in the body for patients with chronic renal failure.
It is a life-long kidney substitute, which acts as an artificial kidney. In developed countries, however, chronic renal failure patients undergo kidney transplants.
Renal patients have problems removing toxic material from their bodies due to malfunctioning kidneys. The government procured dialysis machines for Harare, Gweru and Mpilo hospitals to enable patients, who cannot afford the high costs, to get the treatment for free.
However, most of those machines have broken down.