NGO praised for role in helping kidney patients
Published on: Tuesday, January 08, 2019
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Kota Kinabalu: Kidney failure is a growing concern among Malaysians due to our increasingly modern sedentary lifestyle in urban and rural areas.

High blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes are the most common causes of kidney disease. Hypertension causes over a quarter of all cases of kidney failure. Diabetes has been established as the cause of around one-third of all cases.

Treatment options for chronic kidney disease are only two – kidney transplant or dialysis treatment, and out of some 100,000 patients, only 60 to 70 kidney transplants were carried out in Malaysia annually, according to Dr Kenneth Wu Soon Tak of KPJ Specialist Hospital here.

He said many in rural areas without access to hospital facilities and dialysis machines, did not know that they have chronic kidney disease and some could die suddenly. When patients living with kidney failure without dialysis treatment or transplant, how long they can live depends on the amount of kidney function they have, how severe their symptoms are and their overall medical condition.

Hence, an NGO like Persatuan Hemodialisis Kinabalu, Sabah (PHKS) was praised by Dr Kenneth Wu for offering affordable dialysis treatment for kidney failure patients here at Tanjung Aru that prolongs life.

"NGOs like PHKS are very important to provide affordable dialysis treatment for kidney disease patients."

Dr Wu is a Sabahan consultant nephrologist or kidney specialist doctor trained in the United Kingdom, as well as an author, speaker and reviewer of international medical journals.

"Patients suffering from kidney failure would require dialysis treatment up to three times a week. Private centres charge between RM200 to RM300 per session for dialysis treatment only and charges will be varied depends on extra services such as blood taking, doctor consultation, and Epogen.

His book 'Life is Short, Don't Make it Shorter' is a very successful patient-focused medical health book which also has been translated into several languages and distributed worldwide.

"By this calculation, the cost of treatment is approximately RM3,000 to RM4,000 per month. Medical bills are high and this resulted in patients and families reduced to poverty.

"Therefore, it is noble of PHKS to keep on helping poor and needy patients by subsidizing dialysis treatment costs.

Hosted by PHKS at E West banquet hall at Luyang on January 5, 2019 from 2pm to 4 pm, Sabah, Dr Wu delivered a public lecture on 'Powerful Treatment for Kidney Failure'.

The health talk, is part of PHKS's awareness programme to educate the public on kidney disease and dialysis treatment, and its office can be contacted vide telephone no. 088-272277 for receiving donations which donors can claim tax exemption for amount donated.

Dr Wu advised the audience to look after their dietary intake with emphasis on a balance diet with less salt and sugar intake, and exercise more, for physical activities are a good form of treatment.

PHKS was formed and registered on August 26, 2004 under the Society Act 1966 and was officially launched on November 14, 2005 and has also registered as a member of the National Renal Registry (Malaysia Society of Nephrology).

The prevalence of chronic kidney disease likely reflects similar increases in obesity and its associated ailments – diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of chronic kidney disease, and its associated costs, are expected to continue to increase.

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years. Each of your kidneys has about a million tiny filters, called nephrons. If nephrons are damaged, they stop working. For a while, healthy nephrons can take on the extra work. But if the damage continues, more and more nephrons shut down. After a certain point, the nephrons that are left cannot filter your blood well enough to keep you healthy.

When kidney function falls below a certain point, it is called kidney failure. Kidney failure affects your whole body, and can make you feel very ill. Untreated kidney failure can be life-threatening.

Early chronic kidney disease has no signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease usually does not go away. Kidney disease can be treated. The earlier you know you have it, the better your chances of receiving effective treatment. Blood and urine tests are used to check for kidney disease. Kidney disease can progress to kidney failure.

Some 20 per cent of the adult population have some form of kidney damage, and every year millions die prematurely of complications related to chronic kidney disease.

The first consequence of undetected chronic kidney disease is the risk of developing progressive loss of kidney function that can lead to kidney failure (also called end-stage renal disease) which means regular dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant is needed to survive.

The second consequence of chronic kidney disease is that it increases the risk of premature death from associated cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart attacks and strokes). Individuals who appear to be healthy who are then found to have chronic kidney disease have an increased risk of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease regardless of whether they ever develop kidney failure.

PHKS has dedicated itself to continue to provide affordable dialysis treatments by ensuring it is accessible to all Malaysians in need of it, especially the poor and needy.

From October 18, 2005 to December 2018, PHKS has provided dialysis services to a total of 61 patients. It started with four dialysis machines and after 13 years in operation, the centre has eight dialysis machines treating 32 patients referred from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Perkeso and walk-ins.

The cost of operating the centre is expensive and treatment can be approximately RM1,100 without Eprex injection or RM1,600 to RM2,100 with Eprex injection of 2000iu or 4000iu per patient per month and treatment cost is expected to rise in the future.

Despite the rising costs incurred on dialysis treatment, PHKS has dedicatedly provided treatment to the needy patients at a minimum fee depending on the patient's background. The fee per dialysis treatment remains as low as RM15.00 and above.

Persatuan Hemodialisis Kinabalu, Sabah (PHKS) is proud to be a place for treatment for kidney patients regardless of their ability to pay. Log on to www.facebook.com/phks2005 or email: phkshemo@gmail.com. - David Thien


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