Expensive kidney dialysis, transplant hound patients

Feb. 27, 2014

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY – Costs remain steep for kidney patients such as Alfredo, a 61-year old farmer who was brought by his family all the way from Tulunan, North Cotabato to a private hospital in Davao.

His younger sister told this reporter that his brother has undergone six dialysis treatments this month, and they are already burdened with the costs. A kidney transplant is already far off from their minds.

A dialysis treatment in any kidney centers in Davao City ranged from P1,900 to P2,500 per session. Patients may undergo as much as two to three sessions a week.

For permanent treatment, the more costly option is the kidney transplant operation which may range around one million pesos. Philhealth insurance may shoulder P600,000 of the cost and the patient pays up to P200,000.

In response to the growing problem, a medical team announced Monday that hey are initiating a program of voluntary kidney donation for some 2,000 kidney patients in the region.

Dr. Franklin Guillano, regional coordinator of the Philippine Network Organ Sharing (PNOS) under the Department of Health said this program envisions the city having a pool of donors that could be readily given to kidney patients.

“We want to see a community effort. We envision that kidney patients do not need to approach their family members for donations, but rather they will go to this pool of donors,” said Guillano.

Guillano said individuals willing to take part in the program will register and indicate which organs they are willing to donate onc they die, including kidneys, eyes, liver, skin, heart and lungs.

Organs would be taken by surgeons and brought to Manila for testing and would be made available to patients who are on a waitlist.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end-stage renal disease has been ranked the seventh leading cause of deaths in the Philippines according to the National Kidney Transplant Institute.

Their statistics also showed that 120 Filipinos develop chronic kidney disease every year, and 5,000 are presently undergoing dialysis.

Nephrologist Dr. Theresa Bad-ang said there are around 2,000 patients with CKD in Davao Region with 400 undergoing dialysis treatment at Davao’s government hospital the Southern Philippine Medical Center.

Kidneys function as a filter for the blood supply and regulator of body fluid where excess fluids is passed through urine. CKD means a breakdown of such functions resulting to bloating (edema) in the limbs, difficulty in
concentration and to pass urine, fatigue, depression, and hypertension.

While kidney transplant is the best remedy for people with kidney failure, Dr. Bad-ang admits that finding donors has been difficult.

She said in 2013, the SPMC performed five kidney transplants, while ten were performed in Tagum City’s public hospital, the Davao Regional Hospital.

She added that this year SPMC has a waiting list of 25 patients looking for a match in kidney donors, in which ten are under her care.

Bad-ang said the PNOS had approached local and barangay officials and schools for awareness drive on this program.

The PNOS announced that there would be a public registration on February 28 at Almendras Gym in which they target 5,000 registrants.

Any person above 18 years and mentally and physically able are qualified to donate.

Bad-ang though encouraged people to watch their diet intake as this often leads to kidney problems.

“Business *ang kalaban namin dito *(is our enemy here). We eat junk foods, salty foods with vetsin, and we take in iced tea and coke. We encourage people to at healthy food to prevent kidney problems, ” Bad-ang said. (Tyrone A. Velez/davaotoday.com)

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