Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients in Malaysia are nowable to live well with their condition, thanks to the advancement of medical science and technology, particularly in the area of nephrology. The country has achieved significant milestones in delivering effective kidney disease management and treatment for CKD patients – even those who have undergone transplants, with less adverse side effects on patients.
“This has offered a glimmer of hope for the longevity and survival of many,” said Malaysian Society of Nephrology (MSN) president Prof Dr Abdul Halim Abdul Ghafor, at the World Kidney Day (WKD) 2021 virtual forum recently. The forum marked the national-level WKD 2021 celebrations officiated by Tan Sri. Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Hisham bin Abdullah, Director-General of Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
Dr Halim stressed on the importance for families to receive adequate support. With this year’s WKD celebrations themed “Living Well with Kidney Disease”, the organisers – National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF), Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia and MSN hope to provide awareness and educational support for people living with CKD and kidney care communities.
The virtual forum enjoys over 26,000 views to date and can be viewed again on MyBuahPinggang’s Facebook page as well as NKF’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nkfmy) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/nkfmy). The event was aimed at empowering the public to lead healthier lives and promote more effective disease management for kidney patients.
In his official address, Dr Noor Hisham highlighted that there are more than 40,000 renal failure patients in the country currently undergoing dialysis treatment. He warned that if current the trend persists, as many as 106,000 Malaysians will require dialysis treatment by 2040. “What is more worrying is that 30% of the patients are below 45 years old and undoubtedly this would adversely impact the country’s social-economic sector!” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also urged CKD patients and the public to register for Covid-19 vaccination to protect themselves and the community.
NKF chairman Dato’ Dr Zaki Morad added that equally alarming is that the prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure (BP), heart disease, stroke is also on the rise.
“Sixty one percent of new dialysis patients are diabetic, while 18% suffer from high BP, largely due to unhealthy eating habits and the absence or lack of an active lifestyle. CKD, as we know, comes without warning or symptoms. Often enough, it is only when 90% of the kidney has been damaged that signs emerge. That is why regular health screenings are crucial for early detection,” he said.
The virtual forum featured the country’s leading nephrologists who shared insights on kidney health and latest developments in kidney health management and treatment. The informative sessions covered topics such as “Facts and myth about kidneys” and “Kidney Impairment: Are you at risk?”
Shockingly, in the country there are as many as 8,000 people diagnosed with CKD annually. One of the common myths debunked is that supplements are preferable over prescribed medicine because they have less side effects. People who believe this myth should consider this instead: Doctors won’t prescribe medicines that will harm your kidneys. They want you to safeguard your health!
The main “Living Well with Kidney Disease” session saw three CKD patients including a kidney transplant recipient, narrated compelling personal testimonies of their battle against the disease. Gordon Ling, a kidney donor-cum-caregiver also shared about his family’s challenging journey: from receiving the heart-breaking news of his wife Jaslynn Tay’s diagnosis of CKD while she was pregnant; his courageous, life-changing decision to become a donor and their journey starting a new family together though it all.
The event also shed light the challenges of funding support for CKD patients heightened by a pandemic and highlighting the various avenues available for financial assistance. This is to ensure patients do not miss out on the opportunity to seek necessary treatment and remedy, be it surgery or transplantation. A practical session by Social Security Organisation (SOCSO), NKF and Public Service Department (JPA) provided insights on each of these organisations’ various funding mechanisms offered to alleviate financial concerns among patients living CKD. For instance, NKF shared on the various subsidies offered to patients undergoing dialysis with NKF, as well as for those seeking outpatient treatment i.e.:Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) and the Red Bean assistance program for Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agent (ESA) treatment.
To this end, NKF is complementing ongoing government efforts by providing subsidised dialysis treatment to over 1,700 patients through their 28 dialysis centres located nationwide. Another notable highlight at the WKD 2021 celebrations is the kick-off of the NKF Dance Challenge 2021. The organisers of the event also kept the online audience engaged in an interactive Q&A and quiz session enticing them with attractive prizes.