Rotarians ask hospitals to cut costs for kidney treatment

Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala.Officials have said the institute registered up to 7,000 new cases of cancer in 2021 which more than doubled the 3,000 cases it detected in 2018. PHOTO/ FILE

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  • The president of Rotary Club of Kampala South, Mr Charles Odaga, made the appeal at the launch of Mengo Hospital Rotary Dialysis Centre on Friday.

Rotarians have asked hospitals in Uganda to cut costs for patients on dialysis, saying many are failing to afford the treatment and are dying from chronic kidney disease and related complications.

The president of Rotary Club of Kampala South, Mr Charles Odaga, made the appeal at the launch of Mengo Hospital Rotary Dialysis Centre on Friday.

“We have lost our relatives, friends, brothers and sisters because of the inadequate number of dialysis machines in Uganda, which are mostly owned by private hospitals,” he said.

“I read in newspapers that a number of pregnant mothers die because of kidney failure. And according to the news, Kirundu hospital has subsidised the cost for dialysis services at Shs60,000 [per session] yet other private hospitals are still charging Shs350,000. That is the reason I am requesting Mengo hospital board of directors to subsidise costs of dialysis service since it [the machine] has come up here as a grant,” Mr Odaga said.

Mr Odaga said Rotary Kampala South club applied for a global grant of $84,000 (about Shs297m), which was approved and has helped them put up the dialysis unit at Mengo hospital.

“So far, the dialysis unit is fully operational with three beds plus the necessary equipment and all the patients admitted at the unit will have their bills catered for by Rotary Club of Kampala South,” Mr Odaga said.

The Rotary Club of Kampala South district governor, Mr John Magezi Ndamira, said: “Rotary members believe we have a shared responsibility to take action on the world’s most persistent issues, namely promote peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies and protecting and sustaining the environment.”

“We are here today to save lives of kidney patients and I add my voice to the request to Mengo hospital to lower costs of dialysis services and if possible, give pregnant mothers services free of charge,” Mr Magezi said.

Dr Patrick Lwanga, the Mengo hospital acting medical director, said the launch of the dialysis centre is another milestone for the 125-year-old health facility.

He said the hospital will continue to provide quality care health services to their patients. He, however, he asked the government to give them a tax weaver so as to help them to ease their work.

Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, in a speech read by Dr Daniel Kyabayiza, the director of health services in the Ministry of Health, said more than nine million Ugandans are at the risk of acquiring kidney diseases and non-communicable diseases.