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Set up a govt-run kidney dialysis centre

July 21, 2005
The Straits Times

PEOPLE with kidney failure, especially those from average-income families, face a tough challenge coping with their illness as government hospitals do not provide dialysis services.

Very often, these patients are not eligible to receive help from voluntary welfare organisations such as the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF) that provide subsidised dialysis treatment only to the poor and needy. The average earners are marginalised and forced to go for expensive treatment at private dialysis centres, leading to financial hardship.

An equitable public health-care system is one that provides medical care for all types of illness, for all people.

Take the National Cancer Centre. It extends treatment to all patients, using both standardised and non-standardised drugs. Poor patients can seek help from Medifund and local cancer charities.

Likewise, all kidney-failure patients should have a National Kidney Dialysis Centre to provide both peritoneal dialysis (PD) and haemodialysis. Needy patients can seek help from Medifund and local kidney foundations such as KDF and NKF.

In PD Link, a newsletter of the Singapore Children's Society-SGH Peritoneal Dialysis Centre, it was stated that to meet the needs of the growing PD population, the Ministry of Health (MOH) organised a meeting between Singapore Children's Society and SGH to set up a liaison to help needy people on PD.

Clearly, MOH recognises the needs of kidney-failure patients. Ideally, it should embark on setting up a National Kidney Dialysis Centre that would benefit all kidney-failure patients, instead of partnering a children's charity to meet the needs of the growing PD population.

As PD is a home-based treatment, many patients would have benefited from bulk purchase of dialysate if undertaken by government hospitals or a dialysis centre.

Lee Soh Hong (Miss)
Founder, CancerStory.com

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