Senator Sonny Angara has proposed to give free dialysis treatment to kidney disease-stricken Filipinos living in the provinces.
Under his Senate Bill 1329, all national, regional, and provincial government hospitals are required to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis ward or unit that will give free dialysis medical procedure to indigent patients.
Angara filed the measure, noting 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. Worse, some patients have died without being given a chance to undergo dialysis simply because they could not afford it,” the senator pointed out.
Section 5 of Angara’s bill, to be known as the “Dialysis Center Act,” provides that dialysis treatment in all national, regional and provincial hospitals shall be given for free to indigent patients.
“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,” the lawmaker said.
Angara said experts have estimated that there are already 3.51 million Filipinos aged 20-79 in 2015 who have diabetes.
Based on the data from the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing of the Department of Health (DOH), 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 figure, the DOH noted, 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 the 6th leading cause of death in the Philippines.