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'India lacks proper facilities for children with kidney ailments'

Children suffering from kidney ailments have a higher chance of mortality as they tend to lose their immunity faster than adults and find it difficult to cope with the disease, said Dr Abhay Sadre, president of the Nephrologist Association of Pune.

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Children suffering from kidney ailments have a higher chance of mortality as they tend to lose their immunity faster than adults and find it difficult to cope with the disease, said Dr Abhay Sadre, president of the Nephrologist Association of Pune.

According to Sadre, while adult patients have 30-35% chances of mortality, this shoots up to 70% in paediatric cases. Lack of awareness and late detection of renal diseases in children is the reason for this, he said.

Despite the grave scenario, the country lacks a dedicated management system for paediatric kidney patients, who are dealt with like adult patients, he said.

Apart from an acute shortage of paediatric nephrologists in the country, there is no qualified course in paediatric nephrology.
As against just two paediatric nephrologists in Pune and 10 in India, there are nearly 800 adult nephrologists in the country, said Sadre.

Talking about the situation in Pune, he said the city does not have paediatric dialysis machines that forces doctors to administer a continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) to patients in the last stage of the disease. Paediatric machines are not available in India, but are used successfully in Western countries, he added.

Though almost 15 to 20 paediatric cases need to undergo dialysis in a month, it has been observed that only two children undergo the procedure in a span of six months. This is due to high expenses that force parents to delay treatment.

Paediatric nephrologist Dr Manoj Matnani said there is no dialysis machine for paediatric kidney patients in the country as the manufacturing companies refuse to produce catheters (tubings) that are needed for the procedure. “Due to this, we are forced to use the same machine and thick tubes for the children that are used for adult patients,” he said.

Matnani said that given the high cost of treatment, many parents who cannot afford the expenses forego the treatment and plan another child. This worsens the child’s condition and s/he fails to recover.

He said that firms manufacturing medical equipment are least interested in paediatric end-stage renal disease (ESRD) care due to lack of profits.

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