Failing to keep hospital equipment functional, the government has embarked on Public Private Partnership (PPP) to offer haemodialysis services in two public facilities, report agencies.
Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services Deen Mohd Noorul Huq and Managing Director of India-based Sandor Medicaids Pvt Lt Rajeev Sindhi signed an agreement in this regard on Tuesday.
This is the first such agreement in the health sector after the government had adopted PPP model in 2010.
Health was one of the 20 identified sectors for expediting economic development.
Officials say under this PPP, they would be able to offer “non-stop” quality services to the people. Health minister Mohammed Nasim and his deputy Zahid Maleque witnessed the signing.
Bangladesh has a track record of buying sophisticated medical equipment, but many of them remained idle due to lack of manpower for running and maintenance.
The finance ministry has long been pushing the health ministry to adopt PPP model for running the costly machines.
According to the agreement, Sandor would invest Tk 250 million for the next 10 years.
They would buy 110 dialysis machines, and install 70 at the National Institute of Kidney Disease and Urology (NIKDU) and 40 at the Chittagong Medical College and Hospital.
The government will give them space, utility facilities, and nephrologists, in the hospitals.
The Indian company will be responsible for everything from buying those machines to installing and maintaining them.
They will also recruit support staff, if needed, according to the agreement.
Prof Muhibur Rahman, project director of the Establishment of Two Haemodialysis Centres under PPP, told bdnews24.com that this would be the “best centres” in Bangladesh.
They will charge the existing price of Tk 400 from the poor patients for each dialysis while the well-to-do patients will have to pay Tk 2190.
“It will be subsidised rate for the poor. The hospital will decide who is eligible for the poor category,” he said.
A patient with damaged kidneys needs at least two sessions of dialysis a week.
“We cannot give services properly now. That’s why we went for the PPP scheme,” Prof Rahman, who is working with the NIKDU, said.
He said in his hospital they had 35 dialysis machines but only 17 were operable.
“Others went out of order due to lack of maintenance,” he said, arguing for the PPP signing.
“They will buy and maintain those machines,” he said.
However, the company would take all the money they would earn from dialysis.
“It was subsidised before. The government had to spend more than what it could earn,” he said.
“One dialysis costs Tk 1300 to Tk 1400, but we used to charge only Tk 400.”
“So we don’t think we will be losing anything,” he said.
The two centres would start running within six months.
“We can guarantee that those centres would be of international standards for dialysis,” he said. “We will monitor them”.
The health ministry says at least 400,000 people suffer from kidney diseases a year. Of them, 20,000 die from kidney failure.
At least 10 percent cannot afford treatment. But many did not get quality treatment due to lack of facilities, the health ministry said in a media release after the signing.
Currently, the number of kidney patients is 20 million.
The health minister during the signing said this PPP would help the poor.