Sikh Community Builds People-First Dialysis Hospital in Delhi

A religious community in India has launched a state-of-the-art kidney dialysis treatment center for people of all faiths.

Apr 15, 2021


Sikh Community Builds People-First Dialysis Hospital in Delhi | A religious community in India has launched a state-of-the-art kidney dialysis treatment center for people of all faiths.

Founded in 1971 to manage Sikh houses of worship, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has spent the last four decades focusing on community-based development initiatives. The organization is well-known throughout India for its libraries, hospitals, old age homes and other charitable institutions.

Now, the DSGMC has launched what is likely its most ambitious project yet - a state-of-the-art, 100-bed medical center that provides dialysis treatments to patients. Although the Guru Harkrishan Kidney Dialysis Hospital was planned, financed, and launched by members of the Sikh religious community, the cost-free treatments are open to people of all faiths. 

“The purpose of this hospital is to serve humanity,” DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa told India’s NDTV. In a statement to Tribune India, Sirsa added that all services are provided “totally free” to patients. “There is no billing or payment counter,” he said. 

Funds for the continued operation of the dialysis center will come in part from government taxes and donations. “The DSGMC will take services from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) from [businesses] and from those who are willing to contribute for such initiatives and various government schemes,” Sirsa said.

For people who have limited or non-functioning kidneys, dialysis takes over the role of the kidneys, purifying and filtering the blood via a machine. The critical treatment can be costly, creating a huge economic burden that’s difficult for low-income families to bear.

Ashish D., an unemployed man with double kidney failure, wept with gratitude upon arriving at the newly opened dialysis center. He told the Times of India, “I have been jobless for eight months now and it’s difficult...I traveled from Kolkata to Delhi for cheap medical treatment, but the government hospitals have a long waiting list.”

“I have spent [hundreds of thousands] of rupees at private hospitals in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Delhi.” The free treatment he will receive at the Guru Harkishan Kidney Dialysis Hospital will help ease the financial strain on his family.

The center’s operating policies are designed to accommodate the maximum number of people possible, in a format that puts as few roadblocks as possible between patients walking in and receiving the treatment.

“We can take, in a day, 500 patients for dialysis,” Dr. R. Venkatesh, a physician employed by the new health center, told reporters at a press conference. 

Lauding the center’s no-questions-asked approach, he explained that the center operates in a similar fashion to a soup kitchen, where people in need can simply walk in and get what they need.

“We don’t ask ‘what is their identity?’ We don’t ask [for] their documents for registration. It is just ‘come,’ like how people walk into the [food pantry] and take food...they come and [undergo] dialysis and go.”

The Guru Harkishan Kidney Dialysis Hospital embodies the true spirit of grassroots, community-based aid. By making treatments free of cost and easily accessible, the DSGMC is bringing critical services directly to people who need them most. The dialysis center’s positive impact will go far beyond the local community. This people-first model will hopefully serve as an inspiration for similar medical centers across the globe. 


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Fascinated by storytelling since childhood, Lauren is passionate about the written word. She’s a freelance writer who has covered everything from the latest developments in tech to geopolitics. When she’s not writing, Lauren is interested in genealogical research and family folklore.