As of 2016, there are 65, 000 Malaysians on dialysis and that there is an increase of 15 % in dialysis patients per annum nationwide. The biggest increase can be seen among those 65 years and older and that the biggest cause of kidney failure in the country is from diabetes. In the last five years alone, the country has seen more than 6,000 new patients each year requiring regular dialysis. In a statement earlier this year by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, he foresees that Malaysia will have the highest number of kidney failure patients by 2030 if Malaysians continue to lead an unhealthy lifestyle. The Post Basic Haemodialysis (PBHD) Nursing Programme first started in 2005 and recently, on 31st July, 2017 received the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) accreditation. The PBHD is an in-house programme by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) which trains nurses on dialysis care
(dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes and toxins from the blood in those whose native kidneys have lost the ability to perform these functions in a natural way).
“Nurses are central figures to the dialysis unit,” Vice Chairman of the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia Dr. Thiruventhiran Thilaganathan said. “Dialysis nurses start, monitor and end the dialysis.”
The Private Healthcare Act of 1998 stipulates that only nurses with training in dialysis care can deal with dialysis.
The PBHD programme has a strict admission policy: it only admits nurses who have completed their basic nursing programme and who have two years of experience as staff nurse and with 3 months of stint in a dialysis unit.
The programme is rigorous: the nurses are sent to various hospitals and go through exams.
Studies take place at NKF’s very own training centre. The centre is well-equipped with facilities such as mock wards, a nephrologist room, and library and lecture halls.
So far, the programme has churned out 992 nurses since its first inception.The programme takes in 20 students per intake. The future plan is to expand the programme to four intakes per year but currently, there is a short supply of staff.
Among the courses offered include ‘Renal nutrition seminar 2018’, ‘Infection Control’ and ‘Hepatitis vaccination for dialysis patients.’ The program is divided to 11 weeks of theory, 10 practical, two weeks of clinical attachment and three weeks of exam.
The programme is run by six full-time staff and 20 part-time lecturers.
RM 1.2 million was spent on the programme in 2016. The programme is entirely raised by NKF itself. Fees for the entire 6-months program is RM 6, 500.
There is a huge demand for the programme: currently, 200 nurses are on NKF’s waiting list waiting to be enrolled.
“The waiting list is the (program’s) biggest success,” Dr. Thiruventhiran Thilaganathan said.