Angara pushes free dialysis for kidney patients in provinces
Senator Sonny Angara called on his colleagues in the Senate on Wednesday to support his measure that would provide free dialysis treatment to kidney disease-stricken Filipino living in the provinces.
“The aim of this bill is in consonance with the Constitutional mandate to make health services available to our countrymen at affordable cost. To further improve the delivery of healthcare services to the Filipino people, I call on my colleagues in the Upper Chamber to help and support me with this important legislation,” Angara said in a statement.
He was referring to Senate Bill No. 1329, which he filed, requiring all national, regional, and provincial government hospitals to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis ward or unit that will give free dialysis medical procedure to indigent patients.
In filing the measure, the senator noted that poor patients suffering from kidney ailment, who are living in the provinces, could not afford the expenses of traveling all the way to urban cities to seek dialysis treatment, and the high cost of the procedure itself, which is needed on a regular and sustained basis.
“The optimum frequency of dialysis is three times a week, but because of its high cost and inaccessibility, some patients settle with less, thus causing their health to deteriorate more progressively,” he said in the explanatory note of the bill.
“Worse, some patients have died without being given a chance to undergo dialysis simply because they could not afford it,” he added.
In line with the government’s efforts to reform the health sector and provide Filipinos with comprehensive health services, Angara said, local government units must be tapped to make healthcare services more affordable and accessible.
“Thus, this bill requires all national, regional and provincial government hospitals to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis ward or unit to ensure that dialysis treatment will be available, accessible and cost-effective especially to those living in the rural areas,” he said in the explanatory note of his bill.
Dialysis treatment, under the bill, must also be provided to indigent patients “free of charge.”
Angara said experts have estimated that there are already 3.51 million Filipinos aged 20-79, who have diabetes, in 2015.
Data from the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing of the Department of Health (DOH), he said, also showed that close to 23,000 patients underwent dialysis treatment due to kidney failure in 2013, a huge jump from 4,000 cases recorded in 2004.
The DOH noted that the figure did not include those suffering from kidney failure but who were not able to undergo dialysis treatment due to its high cost and inaccessibility especially in the rural areas.
In 2013, kidney disease was reported to be the 6th leading cause of death in the Philippines. CBB