Founded in 1993, The Tamilnad Kidney Research Foundation was set up primarily to provide financial assistance to underprivileged patients for dialysis, transplantation, investigation and medication costs. The Foundation also aims to encourage organ donation at the time of death. TANKER was started by Dr. Georgi Abraham along with a group of like-minded individuals. From providing financial assistance to needy patients and spreading awareness to providing subsidized and free dialysis, TANKER has taken every effort to live up to its vision. It currently provides services in the following areas:
Dialysis: A person suffering from kidney failure can survive only when he/she undergoes dialysis or a kidney transplantation. Haemodialysis involves the use of an artificial kidney termed "Dialyser", which emulates the functions of a normal kidney. It needs to be done 2-3 times a week and is an expensive process. TANKER Foundation has made dialysis affordable for economically backward sections using their Subsidised Units. Dialysis in a private hospital costs anywhere between Rs 1500 to Rs. 2500. At TANKER, dialysis is offered either free or at a subsidised rate of Rs. 375 to patients. It costs TANKER Rs.1100 for every dialysis. The shortfall of Rs.725 is covered by donations from well wishers. Presently 377 patients benefit from this every month.
Fistula- An A V fistula is essential for dialysis. This is created surgically by joining a vein to an artery in the area of the wrist. Impure blood is first drawn from the fistula on the patient's wrist, passed through the dialyser machine and clean blood is returned to the patient. A Fistula surgery costs between Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 15,000/-, which is beyond what many patients can afford.
Financial Support- The Foundation helps needy patients from all over India by offering them one-time contributions ranging from Rs.1,500/- to Rs.20,000/- towards transplantation, investigation and post-transplantation medication costs.
Research grants- The importance of advances in Kidney research is recognised by TANKER. Funding is provided to research projects for studies in various aspects of kidney disease.
Internships and training- TANKER at its various dialysis units provides training and internship for budding nurses, lab technicians and those looking at Administrative roles. The Foundation is also a training ground for students of Social Work, Public Relations and Sociology.
Organ Donation- TANKER encourages deceased-donor organ donation that can be a boon for not just kidney patients but also for others suffering from life threatening ailments. Deceased-donor organ donation is not very popular in our country and hence the recipient waiting lists are long.
Deceased-donor organ donation consists of removing viable organs from brain dead donors and then transplanting them into a living patient who needs it. Soon after a patient is declared brain dead (the patient is dead but the heart maintains circulation usually with mechanical ventilation support), the organs are harvested. The harvested organs are then kept cold to delay the natural decaying process. These are then transplanted to the needy patient.
TANKER under the Deceased-Donor Transplantation Programme, sponsored a meeting of surgeons and physicians in October, 2005. Their recommendation to the health Secretary resulted in the expansion of the panel of specialists who certify brain-stem death. The TANKER Trustee Doctors were part of the team that performed the first government approved multi organ deceased-donor transplant in December 1995. TANKER also supports MOHAN (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network) Foundation in creating awareness about deceased-donor organ donation.