MANILA – As the country celebrates National Kidney Month, three House of Representatives members urged their colleagues to pass a bill requiring government hospitals to set up dialysis wards and make them available for free to indigent patients.
House Bill (HB) is authored by Representatives Paolo Duterte of Davao City’s first district, Eric Yap of Benguet and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Edvic Yap. It has been pending with the House Committee on Health since May 8.
The three solons noted that dialysis treatment for chronic kidney disease stage 5 (CKD 5) remains costly for most Filipinos, especially for poor patients, due to limited dialysis facilities in government hospitals.
They said even with the upgrade of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) coverage for hemodialysis from a maximum of 90 to 144 sessions, this is still not enough to cover all dialysis treatments needed by many CKD patients.
“The cost of medical treatment for kidney disease remains exorbitant—beyond the reach of ordinary patients,” the bill’s authors said.
The cost of dialysis per session ranges between PHP2,000 and PHP5,000 or PHP24,000 to PHP60,000 per month.
Duterte said data from the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) showed that CKD 5 is the seventh leading cause of death in the country, with 120 Filipinos per million population being afflicted with the disease each year. Some 2.3 million Filipinos have CKD.
Under HB 7841, all national, regional and provincial hospitals are required to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis ward or unit within two years after the enactment of the law. (PNA)