Two patients underwent free kidney transplantation on Sunday following the government's decision to waive the fee for those who cannot afford to pay for the procedure.
Deepak Gurung, 30, of Pokhara and Laxmi Dhakal, 26, of Kathmandu underwent successful kidney transplantations at the Human Organ Transplant Centre in Bhaktapur, becoming the first two recipients of the service introduced by the Ministry of Health. Dr Pukar Shrestha, the centre's director, said Gurung and Dhakal had received kidneys from their mothers and all four of them were recovering after the surgery.
The centre has scheduled another patient for kidney transplantation on Monday and three others on Wednesday and Thursday, he added.
The free kidney transplantation service has offered a major respite for the patients who cannot afford it. The cost of kidney transplantation at government hospitals comes to the tune of Rs 400,000.
The fund to run the free kidney transplantation programme has been earmarked from the tobacco tax revenue.
Health Minister Gagan Thapa has said that the ministry was preparing to ask for an additional Rs 500 million from the Ministry of Finance to support the programme.
The plan is to widen the coverage of the program and help more people in need, he said. Patients can avail themselves of the program only after securing recommendations from a committee, formed by the Health Ministry, to investigate the financial background of the applicants.