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Slaying The Silent Killer of Chronic Kidney Disease

by Natasha Christopher

Malaysians have a silent killer lurking among them. On average, it is estimated to strike nine out of every 100 Malaysians. Needless to say, this is truly a serious issue for the government and health professionals alike. This silent killer is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and the number of patients suffering from the disease is truly frightening, to say the least.

According to Dr Thiruventhiran Thilaganathan, Vice Chairman of National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Malaysia, a total of 35,000 patients were on regular dialysis treatment for CKD by the end of 2016. The graver concern is the fact that this number rises by an average of 15% every year, putting Malaysia in third place of the world’s highest kidney related diseases – and the numbers are not showing any signs of reduction.

What is even more horrendous is that experts suggest that the actual number of people suffering from CKD in Malaysia may actually be higher. This is due to the fact that a person suffering from Kidney Disease goes through five stages of the disease and the signs of the disease only manifest itself in the latter stages.
NKF - Image B
However, Dr Thiru explains that due to the increase in the number of patients with CKD, there is a need for more dialysis facilities as well as qualified personnel to conduct dialysis treatment for patients. To address this need, NKF began the Post Basic Haemodialysis (PBHD) Nursing Programme in its training centre in 2005 to create more qualified nurses to work with dialysis units and patients.

“This programme began as an internal programme in NKF as an in-house training programme to train internal nurses as we were expanding and opening more centres. These trained nurses would then be stationed at these various centres run by NKF to conduct professional dialysis treatment,” said Dr Thiru.

The Mock Ward

The Mock Ward

NKF has invested to provide a wide range of facilities for the students of the PBHD Nursing Programme so that they will get the most out of their learning experience. These facilities that support teaching-learning activities include a computer lab, a mock ward and skill lab, online nursing journals, additional renal-focused books for the library and an additional lecture hall fully equipped with audiovisual equipment. NKF Training Centre has also completed a curriculum review which incorporates Core Sciences such as Basic Medical Sciences, Behavioural Sciences and Nursing Sciences.

“The Ministry of Health too also does its part by providing subsidies for organisations that carry out dialysis, such as NKF. They also have a special programme for the hardcore poor who can’t afford treatment. In this regard, NKF works together with the MOH by subsidising RM100 for each treatment. The cost of dialysis treatment at NKF is around RM150 per treatment,” said Dr Thiru.

A nurse practicing to insert the needles and tubes connected to a dialysis machine on a dummy at NKF’s Training Centre

A nurse practicing to insert the needles and tubes connected to a dialysis machine on a dummy at NKF’s Training Centre

However, he stresses that the most effective way to ultimately combat the issue of the rising numbers of patients with CKD is by increasing public awareness and education.

Those who wish to find out more about NKF’s programmes including the PBHD programme can contact the NKF by calling 03-79602301/02 or by visiting NKF’s website at http://nkf.org.my/

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