The number of people seeking dialysis treatment at Sibu Kidney Foundation (SKF) has increased by 122% during the Covid-19 pandemic.
SKF chairman Temenggong Datuk Vincent Lau revealed that two to three years ago, there were only 35 patients but now, there were 77.
“Of the 77, 48 are men.
“We are now reaching our full capacity.
“As a result, we also have to double the number of dialysis treatment shifts from two to four.
“Furthermore, we need to keep those who have come from out of town separate from other patients during this pandemic,” Vincent said after accepting an air purifier machine donated by Gree Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
He explained that isolating such patients was necessary to keep Covid-19 from spreading at the centre.
If a patient’s PCR test turned out positive, they would be in an isolation room for 21 days while undergoing dialysis treatment, he said.
“To cater to these patients, nurses and doctors sometimes needed to work until 11pm,” he added.
Treatment for those in the isolation room is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while regular patients are treated on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
“The increase in patients and extra shifts required for dialysis treatment have put a strain on the staff at the centre,” said Vincent.
He attributed the increasing number of people suffering from kidney failure to an unhealthy lifestyle.
“Those with diabetes and hypertension are more prone to kidney failure.
“Our centre not only provides dialysis treatment, but also educates people on how to avoid developing kidney failure,” he said.
SKF manager Ivy Lau said the centre had slowly started to change from using the old type of haemodialysis machine to the haemodiafiltration (HDF) one.
“We now have 13 of each machine type.
“About two-thirds or 22 patients are now using HDF for dialysis as it provides better haemodynamic stability during treatment,” she said.
The cost of each treatment using the HDF machine is RM285 while treatment with the older type costs RM200.
Ivy said donations from the public were helping poor patients pay for treatment three times a week. — By ANDY CHUA