KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 8 – Batu Gajah MP V. Sivakumar has called on the federal government to establish more fully-equipped kidney dialysis centres to ease access to dialysis services across the country.
Sivakumar said kidney disease is becoming a growing problem in Malaysia, with the country having among the highest prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) globally.
In 2018, Malaysia recorded about 8,000 new kidney failure patients, with about 40,000 patients undergoing dialysis treatment nationwide currently. The total number is expected to hit 106,000 by 2040, according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“This is a worrying trend as it can harm the country’s health care system. An estimated RM1.5 billion to RM3.2 billion is needed annually to treat patients with kidney disease.
“What is the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) preparation to address this predicament?
“I’ve suggested many times in the Dewan Rakyat, urging the government to establish fully-equipped dialysis centres throughout the country to help patients with kidney disease get treatment, especially those in low-income households,” Sivakumar said in his debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Sivakumar said many MOH hospitals today do not have sufficient dialysis machines for treatment, forcing many patients to seek expensive treatment at private hospitals.
“Even though aid and subsidies are provided, they are not enough. The government has to draw up a more comprehensive policy to address kidney disease that will soon become a massive burden to the Health Ministry,” Sivakumar said.
According to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), conducted by the MOH, the prevalence of diabetes in adults has increased from 13.4 per cent in 2015 to 18.3 per cent in 2019, with diabetes defined as having sugar levels 7.0 mmol/L or above.
High blood sugar (blood glucose) can damage blood vessels in the kidneys. Many patients with diabetes can also develop high blood pressure which can also damage the kidneys.
An estimated 3.9 million adults in Malaysia aged 18 and above had diabetes as of 2019, higher than 3.5 million in 2015.