Philippine Public Hospitals Called to Expand Hemodialysis Services Amid Rising CKD Cases

Quezon City, Philippines – Representative Marvin Rillo of Quezon City’s 4th District has called on public hospitals to enhance their hemodialysis capabilities in response to the increasing number of Filipinos suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD). This appeal was made as the nation observes National Kidney Month, which focuses on raising awareness about the severe impact of renal diseases.

According to Philippines News Agency, he encouraged public hospitals to apply for additional funding through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP). The HFEP, which supports the construction, upgrading, and expansion of public healthcare facilities, as well as the procurement of medical equipment, has been allocated PHP 28.5 billion in the 2024 General Appropriations Law. Rillo highlighted the importance of increasing hemodialysis stations to accommodate the growing number of CKD patients who require regular treatments.

CKD is a major health concern in the Philippines, leading to significant morbidity and mortality rates. Patients with CKD typically need hemodialysis up to three times a week, with each session lasting about four hours. Rillo emphasized that expanding access to hemodialysis is crucial for improving the quality of life for those affected.

In an effort to enhance treatment accessibility, Rillo facilitated a partnership last month between East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City and Passion Healthcare Philippines Inc., aimed at providing ongoing hemodialysis services to underprivileged patients. Furthermore, Rillo had previously initiated a program offering free hemodialysis treatments in Barangay UP Campus.

The demand for hemodialysis remains high, as evidenced by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) recording 3,627,350 procedure claims in 2023 alone, with an expenditure of PHP 17.4 billion. The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) is also engaging with Congress and the Department of Health to discuss potential amendments to the Organ Donation Act and other related policies, reflecting the pressing need for enhanced CKD care and treatment options.

NKTI’s Public Health Unit head, Dr. Maria Angeles Marbella, noted an increase of 8,000 hemodialysis patients from the previous year, significantly higher than the annual increases of 2,000 to 3,000 seen in past years, underscoring the urgency of addressing this health crisis.