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MANILA, Philippines — A dialysis center that would provide free treatment for indigent patients has been launched in Quezon City, as a lawmaker warns against rising cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the country.
Quezon City 4th District Rep. Marvin Rillo and Councilor Imee Rillo said in a statement on Thursday that they signed a memorandum of agreement with Barangays UP Campus and Doña Imelda in the city with Passion Healthcare Philippines Inc. for the Dialysis Centers Para Sa Bayan program.
According to Rep. Rillo, the project is seen to push for an accessible, state-of-the-art yet free dialysis treatment for indigent and low-income families.
“We are absolutely determined to improve the quality of life of CKD patients, and we want them to enjoy longer lives with their loved ones. Our intention is to guarantee patients, especially from indigent and low-income families, absolutely free, zero cash out access to routine dialysis treatment,” Rillo said.
“We find it unacceptable that many poor Filipinos living with CKD are dying early simply because to their inability to pay for costly dialysis treatment,” he added.
Rillo warned a CKD epidemic is currently sweeping through the country, saying that the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) itself pointed out last June 2022 that at least one Filipino develops CKD every 40 minutes — or equivalent to 36 per day.
CKD is a condition where kidneys are too damaged to even filter toxins from the blood — which can lead to poisoning of the body if left untreated. One way CKD is treated is through dialysis, where a patient’s blood goes through a machine to drain toxins and excess fluid from the body.
The process is repeated around three times a week for the rest of a patient’s life.
Rillo also mentioned that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the state-owned insurer, would be paying a record P17 billion for dialysis claims in 2022, as around 3.6 million patients have availed of the treatment.
“The state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) is projected to pay a record P17 billion in dialysis claims this year, with an estimated claims count of up to 3.6 million,” the lawmaker said.
“In the whole of 2021, Philhealth spent P14 billion to cover 2.9 million dialysis claims, up 11.4 percent from the P12.6 billion spent for 2.7 million claims in 2020. Dialysis claims payments accounted for 15.8 percent of the aggregate P88.3 billion spent by Philhealth in 2021 for all covered illnesses, treatments, and procedures,” he added.
Aside from the Rillos, the memorandum of agreement was signed by UP Campus Barangay Chairperson Zenaida Lectura, Doña Imelda Barangay Chairperson Fernand Ubaldo, and Passion Healthcare Philippines Inc. president Eric Olay.
With reports from Trisha Manalaysay, trainee