KUCHING: A total of 61 applications for the Sarawak’s government kidney patients assistance have been approved last year with an amount of RM420,452 provided, said Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
“The number of kidney patients in the state and in the country as a whole has been increasing for the past years and kidney failures are mostly caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity,” said the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development at a press conference here yesterday.
Among the applications that were approved, Fatimah said 32 were from male applicants and others were from female applicants with the youngest being 17 years old only. Twenty-nine of the successful applicants were 60 years old and above.
Giving a breakdown of the approved applications by division, she said 16 were from Kuching, one each from Samarahan and Serian, two from Sri Aman, one from Betong, one from Sarikei, five from Sibu, one from Kapit, two from Bintulu, 25 from Miri and six from Limbang.
A total of 18 applications were rejected last year because the beneficiaries had passed away, were currently receiving subsidised treatments at public hospitals, their household income did not meet the criteria and treatments are being fully paid by the Health Ministry, Public Services Department or Social Security Organisation (Socso).
Nine applications submitted were incomplete, including absence of confirmation by nephrologist on the applicant’s conditions and some requiring further investigations by the ministry on the applicants.
“The expenses associated with treating kidney failures are quite significant if it is to be shouldered by the poor individual alone. So, the state government decided to take the initiative by providing such assistance to kidney patients in the state last year,” said Fatimah.
The assistance includes one-off payment of RM3,000 for arteriovenous fistula (AVF) installation, RM100 per haemodialysis session at non-governmental organisation treatment centre, RM200 per haemodialysis session at private treatment centre, RM240 per month for erythropoietin (EPO) injection, RM2,800 per month for Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) treatment and transportation assistance of RM50 per haemodialysis session.
Fatimah said the state government is also providing one-off payment of RM5,000 for kidney transplant procedure to cover flight and accommodation and an allocation to purchase haemodialysis machine costing RM42,000 per unit.
“This year we will be requesting to purchase 12 new haemodialysis machines because last year we did not purchase any and the machines will then be donated to public hospitals across the state,” she added.
Fatimah also informed that there are currently 15 dialysis centres across the state, with six in Kuching; namely Mawar haemodialysis centre, MAA Medicare at Lorong Laksaman Cheng Ho, Normah Medical Specialist Centre, Kuching Specialist Hospital, Sarawak General Hospital and Sarawak Medical Centre.
Dialysis centres are also available at Betong Hospital, Sri Aman Hospital, Sibu haemodialysis centre at Yayasan St. John Ambulance Malaysia building, Sibu Hospital, Kanowit Hospital, Bintulu Specialist Hospital, Malaysia Red Crescent dialysis centre in Miri, Limbang Hospital and Lawas Hospital.
Fatimah hoped the assistance provided to kidney patients will be continued this year.
As of Jan 19 this year, the ministry had received nine applications for the assistance.
Based on the data from State Health Department for 2018, there were 3,317 kidney patients with 2,920 of them receiving haemodialysis treatments and the others receiving CAPD and kidney transplant treatments in the state. Forms to apply for the kidney treatments assistance can be obtained from the state health department’s office, district offices and Resident’s offices. Applications can also be made via the ministry’s website.
On a separate note, Fatimah said a total of 53,209 applications had been received for the endowment fund initiative, 23,564 applications for post-natal care assistance, 5,826 applications for the Special Yearly Grant, 190,168 applications for Kenyalang Gold Card and 1,568 applications for death compassionate assistance.