Dr Fuad Halim, Kolkata Swasthya Sankalpa

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2020: dialysis for ₹350, ₹50

Anuja Jaiswal, This Kol doctor provides dialysis for just ₹50, July 2, 2020: The Times of India

At a time when instances of hospitals and doctors turning away critically ill patients are surfacing with alarming regularity, a doctor in Kolkata is performing dialysis on severe kidney patients for a nominal charge of Rs 50.

Dr Fuad Halim, son-in-law of former vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, started the service during the lockdown. “I saw the problems patients were facing due to the lockdown. So many had been rendered jobless and didn’t even have money to travel for treatment. So I decided to charge a token amount of Rs 50 for a dialysis at my clinic,” he told TOI. So far, his team of three other doctors and four technicians has conducted 2,357 procedures. Two of the doctors are volunteers.

With Covid-19 status no bar, the clinic has seen a surge of patients. “We are not insisting on Covid-19 certificates. We want to give hassle-free treatment. Approximately, 95 patients are visiting the clinic for dialysis every month as opposed to 70 during pre-lockdown period,” said Halim. And patients are turning up even from far-off places like Murshidabad, about 200km from Kolkata.

Halim is being assisted by Kolkata Swasthya Sankalpa, a nonprofit initiative he started with 59 others. The association has been providing affordable dialysis services to needy patients for over a decade.“Before lockdown, we were conducting one dialysis for Rs 350, but brought down the costs during the pandemic,” said Halim, adding that every dialysis procedure costs the hospital Rs 850.

Gaurav Kapoor, a businessman who is part of the initiative, said their NGO is likely providing the cheapest dialysis in the world. “The idea to help those in need brought us all together,” he said.

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