The Silliman University Medical Center (SUMC) in Dumaguete City has acquired additional hemodialysis machines to cater to the increasing number of patients with kidney failure or end stage renal disease. From six units operating 24/7 in 2012, SUMC now has 24 units to serve kidney patients in Negros Oriental as well as from the neighboring Siquijor province and from localities in nearby southern Cebu Island and Negros Occidental. This was announced by Dr. Roy Arco, SUMC nephrologist, at the blessing and dedication of its new Hemodialysis Center.
Dr. Arco said that the leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes and hypertension, both lifestyle diseases which can be avoided through healthy living. Sodium-based food high in fat content served in the fast-food chains is a major contributor to kidney disease. In the Philippines, there is an increasing trend in the number of patients diagnosed with kidney failure and needing treatment and those who are aware of the government subsidy through PhilHealth case rates opt to undergo treatment. This, however, is shortlived, with survival rate ranging from two to three years due to inability of patients from low-income families to buy medications. Roberto Montebon, SUMC administrator, commented that government subsidy and discounts for the elderly and disabled persons may bring down prices for dialysis sessions.
Dr. Arco explained that there are three types of treatment for kidney failure and hemodialysis is just one of them. The other two is peritoneal dialysis, a relatively new kind of treatment done at home, and kidney transplant, which is the most expensive and the most difficult due to lack of donors.