KATHMANDU, Aug 12: Four kidney patients who were on indefinite relay hunger strike at Shanti Batika, Ratnapark for the past three days have been hospitalized on Sunday, after their health began to deteriorate.
The protesters, backed by Nepal Kidney Society, have forwarded an 11-point demand to the government, complaining that the condition of kidney patients are worsening due to cold and rain. The kidney patients on strike have accused the government of indifference to their plights and uninterested in solving their problems.
“All the properties of my husband and that of my maternal side have been spent on my treatment,” said Ramila Dahal, 30 of Bandipur, Siraha. “I don´t want to die as I have a little son to take care of.” The Dahal family, who has already spent properties worth Rs 2.5 million in dialysis, knows that Ramila would not have to die of the kidney problem if she had the money.
Prakesh Basnet, 42, of Dolakha, who underwent a kidney transplant recently, said he does not have any money to buy medicines. Basnet said that the doctors have told him that he needs to take medicines worth Rs 80,000 every month. “I cannot afford the medicines. I had to sell all my properties for the transplant,” Basnet said. He lamented the fact that he has to die even after a costly kidney transplant. Basnet asked the government to provide support to the kidney patents.
Amroj Shah of Lazimpat, Kathmandu, joined the protest after the health of his 63-year-old father, who had a kidney transplant recently, worsened. The kidney transplant carried out on his father failed and he is now under dialysis. “We have to spend Rs 10,000 a week which we can no longer afford,” he said. Shah family has already spent more than Rs 3 million for transplantation and dialysis.
Likewise, Gumansingh Budhathoki, whose wife suffers from kidney problems, said that he has lost all his properties in the treatment of his wife and has now become a squatter. “We are not in a position to collect money for transplantation at once. The money we had collected so far has been spent in dialysis,” he said. He said that the government should remove taxes on medicines related to kidney problems and provide free medicines to those who cannot afford them.
The 11-point demand of the kidney patients includes Rs 1 million assistance to patients who need to undergo transplantation and permission to donors willing to donate their organs of their own free will.
The agitating patients and their relatives have threatened to take to the streets if the government does not address their demands.