The state government has joined hands with a private health centre, Remedy, to set up a kidney transplant unit on the campus of Nilratan Sirkar Medical College and Hospital. Remedy is owned by urologist Mohan Seal.
Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra has cleared the project, expected to start within a couple of months. It will be the state’s second kidney transplant unit, after SSKM Hospital.
By the agreement, the investment in the joint-venture centre and the recurring maintenance cost will be borne by the private party, while the health department will provide it with a suitable site and the primary infrastructure.
The government, in return, will take a percentage from the income. The sum will be decided later. Remedy will conduct surgery at concessional rates — but free for poor patients.
“The number of patients suffering from renal failure is rapidly on the rise and the only option for them is a kidney transplant. The unit at SSKM is too small to cope with the rush. Besides, the infrastructure is inadequate and there aren’t enough specialists for this kind of surgery. So, we badly needed a second unit,” explained Shyamal Basu, special secretary in the health department.
Basu added: “As urologist Mohan Seal is a specialist in kidney transplants, we decided to join hands with him to set up this unit.’’
At present, the SSKM unit can conduct only one kidney transplant per week, while at least 200 patients are waiting with their donors. Many are compelled to rush to Vellore and get operated upon there at very high costs to save their lives.
“Urologist Seal has been successfully transplanting kidneys for the past few years in different parts of the country and is now stationed in the city. The health department will benefit by joining hands with his concern,” special secretary Basu said.
According to health officials, a cardio-thoracic unit, with adequate space, has been lying unused for years at NRS Medical College and Hospital. This space will be used to accommodate the kidney unit.
“It will be a state-of-the-art centre, comparable to any other unit anywhere in the country. But the most important factor is that the surgery cost will be far less than anywhere else. In Vellore, a kidney transplant costs around Rs 3 lakh, but here, we shall conduct it for Rs 1 lakh only, including medicines and all other expenses,’’ urologist Seal told Metro.
The new unit will have the capacity to conduct at least five surgeries daily.