In recent times the number of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) has escalated across Sri Lanka. While those who have the means seek dialysis in private medical institutions, many others need to depend on the free dialysis provided by the national hospitals in the country. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its numerous repercussions, hospitals cut back the free dialysis given to patients, sometimes from thrice weekly to once only. Due to this situation, patients are compelled to seek dialysis at private hospitals where each session costs between LKR 7,000 to 9,000. Over and above this expense, they also need to spend on transportation to and from hospital.
In February 2020, recognising the severe challenges kidney patients face, CandleAid launched its Kidney Dialysis Assistance Programme. This was facilitated by generous donors who were keen to assist such patients. All donations received are channelled to a fund to be distributed among pre-screened patients. As dialysis is an expensive procedure, it was decided to limit the commitment per patient to LKR 50,000 for a period of six months.
CandleAid gathers the relevant information from patients who apply for such assistance and screens them for their eligibility to receive assistance. CandleAid requires proper certification of the patient’s need for dialysis from a registered medical practitioner while obtaining confirmation of the dialysis given free by the Government Health services. Patients are mostly recommended for assistance by CandleAid’s network of volunteer coordinators and also by medical staff in the Government sector hospitals.
Wherever possible, CandleAid endeavours to make the payment for dialysis direct to the respective hospital, failing which monies are made available to the coordinator, patient or a nominated person, who will be required to submit the relevant receipt in due course. Monies paid for transport to get to the relevant hospital to obtain the free dialysis is generally disbursed to the coordinator who ensures that acknowledgements are obtained from the patient or family along with the relevant documentation to prove the hospital visit.
A four monthly report is compiled and circulated among all donors and other associates of CandleAid. This report contains the details of patients assisted.
Todate, 65 have been assisted under this programme. Sadly 10 have succumbed to their illness, albeit knowing that CandleAid cared for them.
Anyone wishing to donate towards this cause is requested to send in their contribution to CandleAid The donations are then channelled to the KDAP Fund. A receipt is forthwith issued acknowledging the donation.