Relief as dialysis costs set to come down 66 percent

Friday September 24 2021
Dialysisi pic
By Herieth Makwetta

Dar es Salaam. Come January 2022, costs of dialysis will come down by 66 percent to Sh100,000 after the government started procuring machines directly from manufacturers.

Currently, a session of dialysis costs between Sh230,000 and Sh300,000.

The government says fixing of the new machines supplied directly by manufacturers for a price that is 47 percent cheaper has started at some of the hospitals across the country, specifically on Mafia Island in Coast Region and Rubia in Kagera Region.

Speaking yesterday, Medical Stores Department’s (MSD) director general Gabriel Mhidize said hospitals that will be receive first instalments include Muhimbili in Dar es Salaam, Udom in Dodoma, Seketure in Mwanza, Chato in Geita Region, Temeke, Amana and Mwananyamala of Dar es Salaam and Tumbi of Coast Region.

“Dialysis procedures are very expensive in Tanzania making it hard for an ordinary citizen to afford,” he said.

Dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes, and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally.

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Dr Mhidize said, “We will start with the price of Sh100,000 a session, however it might go lower in future.”

He said by buying machine directly from manufacturers the government has saved nearly Sh18 billion annually.

He said MSD has also started to procure machines and medical equipment at a price of 50 to 100 percent cheaper.

“That is the direction that the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and MSD are taking--cost cutting. For instance, a machine that was sold Sh57 million is now bought at Sh25 million; same for a Sh27 million equipment now is Sh14 million,” he said.

He added: “A machine once sold at Sh14 million now is Sh7 million, while that of Sh7 million is sold at Sh2 million.”

Health minister Dorothy Gwajima said the purchase of the machines was part of the plan to improve health services and infrastructure in the country, a move that needs to go hand in hand with the building of pharmaceutical industries.

“Availability of machines at all hospitals across the country would reduce service costs and save patients money, because there will be no necessity to travel a long distance for the service,” she said.