Kidney dialysis: a life time journey

Seven years ago, I went on dialysis three times a week, Samira Loubani from Naher el-Bared camp, says. “It is a new lifestyle that undoubtedly saved my life, but it also changed it completely. The sessions are long, and I am tired all week. I am no longer as active or mobile as I was in the past and I need the help of my children, especially in managing the affairs of the house. This center is the lung from which I breathe life and as life would have it is always accompanied by great burden, the one I carry today is covering the costs of the supplemental injection for the dialysis which I forgo even though I need them." 

The cost of dialysis for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is not covered by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health or UNRWA. Each patient needs three dialysis sessions per week on average, in addition to a number of medicines.  Each dialysis session takes four hours to complete, making it difficult for patients to maintain a job. 

Taawon continues to cover the costs of kidney dialysis for 164 Palestinian refugees at Al Hamshari Hospital in Saida and at the Kidney Care Unit in Beddawi camp. The costs of over 19,600 kidney dialysis sessions were covered in 2022. The sessions are monitored by a team of specialized nursing and medical staff of 5 doctors and 15 nurses.  

The difficult reality for kidney patients was exacerbated this year by a hike in the price of transportation; getting to treatment centers has become more expensive, especially for those patients living far away from Hamshari Hospital in Saida and the Kidney Care Unit in Beddawi. Also, the price of the accompanying injection has increased 10 times its original price with no promise of a ceiling. These injections are taken after the dialysis due to the extreme susceptibility of an iron level drop after a session of treatment and skipping them like Samira is doing, is a huge risk, but due to the situation, the dialysis patients are being forced to choose between two evils; the cost of the injection and the transportation fees to the center to actually get treated. While the program is taking a huge weight away from the patients, the injections cost remains a heavy load.

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