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PIA Press Release

Kidney transplant better but costly option, says expert

by JMD Abangan

Davao City (23 January) -- Nephrologists are advocating kidney transplant to save patients of End Stage Renal Disease (ERDS) but its affordability is an issue.

American transplant surgeon Dr. Peter N. Bretan Jr. said the cost of availing a kidney transplant is a big issue in the Philippine because many still cannot afford it.

In an interview at the Kapihan sa PIA, Bretan estimated Kidney transplant to cost about US$145,000 in the United States.

Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP) manager Dr. Remedios de Belen-Uriarte in a separate forum said that a Kidney transplant cost in the Philippines ranges from P500,000 to P1 million excluding laboratory and other medical expenses.

Dr. Uriarte recommended ESRD patient to go for kidney transplant instead of undergoing urinalysis for life which, she said, is much more costly in the long run than having an ailing kidney replaced.

She pegged dialysis fee at a range of P2,500 to P3,000 per session which should be done thrice a week.

Guesting at the Kapihan sa PIA, Davao transplant nephrologists Dr. Franklin Guillano said ESRD can now undergo dialysis at a much lower cost at P800 per session using the Philhealth card.

However, the rate of survival of ESRD patients undergoing urinalysis is lower than those whose ailing Kidneys were replaced.

ESRD has inched up its way up the ladder of leading causes of death in the country, ranking 6th or 7th based on reports from the regional offices of the Department of Health, Dr. Uriarte said.

She showed data placing at 11,160 cases of ESRD in 2009 but she said the actual number of ESRD patients who started dialysis and those who received transplant, was only 8,258.

Dr. Uriarte recommended that ESRD patient should go for kidney transplant than undergo urinalysis for life which, she said, is much more costly in the long run than having an ailing kidney replaced.

Meanwhile, a benevolent mission called LifePlant organized and supported by Rotarians, offers free kidney transplant operation and also shoulders hospitalization fees of both the donor and the recipient.

LifePlant founder Dr. Bretan said the mission may not be able to save all ESRD patients in the Philippine but it wants to save people that have value to society as teachers.

"They strived hard to get education, get masters degree and they just die? You love teachers, right? They are valuable members of the society. People like them usually are bread-winners," he said.

Rotary Club West president Salvador Angala, a co-founder of LifePlant, explained that the mission chose beneficiaries who would be able to sustain the cost of medication after kidney transplant operation.

It also prioritizes those who have relatives who are willing to donate their Kidneys. (PIA XI) [top]

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