- 2·6 million people with
end-stage kidney disease are on dialysis in the world.
million need dialysis but, they
are unable to access it and die prematurely.
- India has
only 400 dialysis units and two-thirds are in private sectors.
low-cost dialysis machine provides short-term dialysis for people whose kidneys
had stopped working temporarily.
- The new design is a briefcase-sized dialysis
system that runs on solar power and costs less than thousand dollars to make.
Disease (ESRD) is the final stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD)
. This is a condition in
which the kidneys can no longer support the body's needs. The kidneys excrete
waste and excess water from the body. When the kidneys are not functioning, a
patient with ESRD will have to undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Dialysis is a
procedure that replaces the function of a kidney. It removes waste and excess
fluid from the blood. The process involves diverting blood to a dialysis
machine to be cleaned. The two types of dialysis are hemodialysis and
‘The solar powered low-cost dialysis machine offers hope to save millions of lives as it favors easy accessibility for patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.’
than 9 million people in the world need dialysis. But only 2.61 million people
have access to this life-saving treatment. But, as many as seven million have
missed out on this life-saving treatment. The number of people diagnosed with
ESRD continues to increase at a rate of 5 to 7% every year.
Access to ESRD Treatment
published by The George Institute in 2015 reveals that millions of people die
every year due to lack of access to treatment for ESRD such as dialysis or
kidney transplant. About 2.28 million people may have died prematurely as renal
replacement therapy could not be accessed. Most of these preventable deaths
were reported in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria. The number of
people who receive renal replacement therapy is predicted to double to over
In India, about
70% of the people with CKD live in the rural areas, with limited or no access
to treatment. Treatment of ESRD is a low priority for most of the
government-run hospitals. In the absence of health insurance plan, less than
10% of all patients receive any kind of renal replacement therapy.
There are 400
dialysis units in India, but, more than two-thirds are in the private sector.
who start on dialysis, 71% die prematurely or stop treatment within the first
three months due to financial reasons. About 23% of the patients go for a kidney
. Of the patients who continue to be on hemodialyses, 60%
receive irregular treatments and 3% start on continuous ambulatory peritoneal
dialysis (CAPD). Hemodialysis for twice a week at private hospitals can cost up
to $2500US a year. Hemodialysis for thrice a week can cost up to $3500US a
first low-cost dialysis machine has been unveiled on the World Kidney Day
(March 10) after a year-long international competition. The Affordable Dialysis
Prize encouraged innovative researchers around the world to design a new
technology which will help reduce the high costs of dialysis that can severely
limit opportunities to make renal replacement therapy available in low and
The winning inventor
of the innovative design is Vincent Garvey, a British engineer. He was awarded
the Affordable Dialysis Prize worth of US$100,000. The
prize was jointly established by The George Institute for Global Health, the
International Society of Nephrology and the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology
and supported by the Farrell Family Foundation. The winning design by Garvey is
compact and it can fit into a small suitcase. It uses a standard solar panel to
power a highly efficient, miniature distiller capable of producing pure water
from any source.
A group of ten global kidney specialists unanimously selected Mr Garvey's
invention. This machine could save millions of lives
each year and transform the way ESRD is treated around the world.
Mr. Garvey was a manufacturing engineer and therefore, had little knowledge about dialysis and kidney disease when he entered the competition. But,
the challenge and the chance to save lives inspired him to develop a
cost-effective dialysis machine.
Mr Garvey said, "The
statistics are pretty chilling. We are not just talking about one individual,
there are millions of people who don't have access to dialysis and currently
suffer pretty awful deaths."
"I have always
loved a challenge and the idea of solving this problem excited me from the
start. It's incredible to win this prize but I am already focused on building
the team to tackle the challenges ahead."ť
Vivekanand Jha, the Executive Director of the George Institute for Global
Health India, congratulated the winner and said that the invention was timely
since the Union Finance Minister has announced an ambitious
scheme of providing dialysis in every district hospital in India.
an innovative and affordable system will go a long way in meeting that goal,
and will allow development of sustainable programs across the country, It would
be a game changer, since the system will allow patients to perform the dialysis
treatment at their homes." said Jha.
been around for half a century, and yet has remained hugely expensive even
though the technology hasn't evolved substantively. In this time, computers have
shrunk from the size of buildings to that of a watch; that's the kind of
radical overhaul needed."ť
dialysis therapies are expensive and can cost several
tens and thousands of dollars. They are widely available in most developed
countries but much less in countries with limited or no healthcare funds.
Perkovic, Executive Director of The George Institute for
Australia, said, "We congratulate Vincent Garvey and look forward to supporting
him to build and test his exciting invention, and bring it to those many
millions of people around the world who are currently missing out on dialysis
been with us for more than 50 years but there has been no great leap forward in
its design or, more importantly, its cost, remaining hugely expensive and out
of reach for millions of sick people. It's been a long time coming but this invention
just might be the radical overhaul we've all been hoping and waiting for."ť
Sponsorship and funds are actively being sought to build a
prototype. Animal trials will be started as early as 2017 and human trials will
take about two to three years.
How Does the Low-Cost
Dialysis System Work?
critical barrier to developing low-cost dialysis was the lack of cheap, sterile
water as in many countries the electricity supply is unreliable and water
becomes contaminated. Therefore, the new device has been developed by keeping
its barriers in mind.
dialysis system uses a solar panel to heat water taken
from any local source to make steam. It is used to sterilize water and also
fill empty peritoneal dialysis (PD) bags under sterile condition.
hemodialysis, PD is potentially much cheaper. But in developing countries, the cost of transporting thousands of foreign manufactured two-liter bags of PD fluid to remote locations are difficult,
making the technique less reliable.
The invention is
useful for short-term dialysis for acute kidney failure and also benefits children and young adults whose kidneys have stopped
working temporarily due to infection and dehydration. The design also provides
detailed plans to use the system for affordable hemodialysis, which is the more
common type of dialysis.