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01 March 2024

Expats set up free dialysis centre in India

A dialysis session costs Dh120 in India. (AFP)

By VM Sathish

A clinic that will provide free dialysis for kidney patients who cannot afford to pay for treatment has been set up in India by the Dubai branch of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC).

The clinic at Calicut, Kerala, has nine dialysis machines donated by philanthropists and the business community in the Gulf and is the first free medical facility of its type in the state.

Many Indian expatriates return home to Kerala from the Gulf after contracting diabetes and kidney disease, and a large number have to sell their properties to pay for treatment.

The KMCC is the overseas wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) political party. The organisation, which has 150,000 members in the UAE, is also starting a scheme to provide free medicines worth Dh100,000 per year.

Poor patients in the UAE will each receive drugs worth Dh200 from pharmacies across the country.

AP Abdusamad Zabil, President of the CH Centre Dubai and Chairman of the dialysis centre in Calicut, said the multi-million-dirham project had been launched after a severely ill kidney patient who underwent dialysis 400 times at the Calicut Medical College could not afford to pay for a 401st session. The KMCC is working closely with the college to establish the free clinic.

The CH Centre is a medical facility with branches at the Regional Cancer Centre in Trivandrum, Trichur Medical College and Calicut Medical College that gives free medicine and accommodation to patients and their relatives.

"The CH Centre has been at the forefront of providing free medical services to poor patients in the Malabar region of Kerala," said Zabil. "Many Indian expatriate workers return home from the UAE with diabetes and kidney disease and after spending all their money on the initial treatment some cannot afford dialysis, which costs Dh120 a session.

"Many patients often have to sell their homes or other assets to complete their treatment. The new dialysis centre will provide free treatment to all patients irrespective of their caste or religion and will give preference to expat workers who return from the UAE and other Gulf countries."

Ibrahim Ilayettil, General Secretary of KMCC Dubai, said the centre will provide free dialysis to 27 patients per day and the facilities will eventually be expanded with the support of Gulf-based Indian businessmen.

"The KMCC, the largest Indian expatriate community association in the UAE, has received support from its members and well-wishers to finance the charity project back home and needs their continued backing to meet the day-to-day expenses," he added.

"A non-resident Indian in Saudi Arabia has provided three dialysis machines and AP Shamsudhin bin Moihideen, Chief Patron of KMCC and Chairman of the Regency Group, has also contributed generously to the project."

The free medicine scheme for patients in the UAE – known as the Jeevan Raksha Programme, or life saving scheme – is being financed by the Malabar Gold jewellery chain.

Patients who cannot afford to buy medicines can approach KMCC offices and obtain drugs from participating pharmacies. A prescription from an approved doctor is the only documentary proof needed to obtain the free medicine, said Ilayettil. KMCC members will, in addition, be able to claim discounts from the outlets.


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