Press Release
February 18, 2018


With kidney disease fast becoming one of the leading causes of death in the country, Senator Sonny Angara wants all provincial government hospitals to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis ward or unit and provide free dialysis treatment to indigent patients.

Under Senate Bill No. 1329 or the proposed "Dialysis Center Act" which he filed recently, Angara said the planned dialysis ward or unit in national, regional and provincial hospitals must be equipped with complete dialysis machine, equipment and supplies.

"This will ensure that dialysis treatment will be available, accessible and cost-effective especially to those living in rural areas," Angara said.

He lamented that kidney patients had to travel all the way to urban cities just to avail themselves of dialysis treatment, 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 but with their health deteriorating more progressively," Angara noted.

"Worse, some patients have died without given a chance to undergo dialysis because they could not afford it," he added.

Once the bill is enacted into law, each government hospital will be given two years to set up its own dialysis unit.

Any hospital chief, administrator or officer-in-charge who fails to comply with the law could face hefty fines of up to P100,000.

The Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) is tasked to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement the law's provisions.

The DOH had earlier expressed alarm over the rising cases of kidney disease, the country's sixth leading cause of death in 2013.

Based on the data from the DOH's Philippine Network for Organ Sharing, close to 23,000 patients underwent dialysis treatment due to kidney failure in 2013, a huge jump from the 4,000 cases recorded in 2004.

This figure does not include those suffering from kidney failure, but who are not able to undergo dialysis treatment due to its high cost and inaccessibility, especially in the rural cases.

It is estimated that about 3.51 million Filipinos aged 20-79 have diabetes in 2015.

Angara said his proposed measure was in line with the government's efforts to reform the health sector and provide Filipinos with comprehensive health services.

"The aim of this bill is in consonance with the constitutional mandate to make health services available to our countrymen at affordable cost. For more efficient delivery of healthcare services to the Filipino people, the immediate approval of this proposed measure is earnestly sought," he said.

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