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NKF opens new dialysis centre amid rising number of kidney failure cases

Patients Mao Fook Ching (left) and Mohamed Hiswady exchange greetings at the NKF dialysis centre at Block 105 Bedok North Avenue 4 on May 14. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - A new dialysis centre in Bedok has been set up to cope with the high demand for dialysis treatment in the eastern part of Singapore.

Located at Block 105, Bedok North Avenue 4, the new facility is the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) sixth centre to be built in the east.

Supported by Man Fatt Lam Buddhist Temple, the centre was officially opened on Sunday by East Coast GRC MP Cheryl Chan.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ms Chan said that as many patients struggle with transportation issues, it was important to bring the centre closer to their home so they can consistently keep up with their treatments.

“Bringing this dialysis centre closer to their homes means a lot to the individuals and also to the caregivers,” added Ms Chan.

The centre has a covered linkway and drop-off porch between Blocks 102 and 105 to minimise the risk of falls and slips on rainy days.

NKF chairman Arthur Lang said there is a high demand for dialysis across Singapore, especially in the east.

“The last NKF dialysis centre built here was almost 11 years ago in 2012. I’m heartened that the timely set-up of this centre helped to fill the gap and relieve some demand,” he added.

NKF operates 41 dialysis centres across Singapore. The opening of the Bedok centre comes amid concerns over a potential “kidney tsunami”, with the number of kidney failure cases here rising at an alarming pace.

About six people are diagnosed every day, a three-fold increase from two decades ago.

More than 300,000 people suffer from chronic kidney disease. But the number could be higher on account of undiagnosed cases, NKF had previously said.

The Bedok centre, which has been operating since the end of 2021, is equipped with 16 dialysis stations to serve up to 96 patients.

NKF said it is currently operating at near full capacity, with 95 patients already on board.

Madam Mao Fook Ching said she takes about 20 minutes to get to the centre by riding her personal mobility device (PMD).

The 57-year-old, who requires dialysis three times a week and receives free treatment, said the new centre has helped relieve her financial burden. The widow, who is currently unemployed, had to previously pay $1,700 a month for private dialysis treatment.

Madam Mao said in Mandarin that her daughter, an ITE student, is working part-time at a Japanese restaurant to help her cope.

Mr Mohamed Hiswady Mohamed Salleh said the centre in Bedok has given him a better quality of life as he is now able to receive adequate treatment for his condition.

“I used to receive treatment at a private dialysis centre and there were limited slots. I could get treatments only on Mondays and Fridays.

“In between those days, I would feel very bloated and breathless, and I couldn’t sleep well at night.

“But now, I can get treatment on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. With treatment three times a week, I don’t suffer from those issues any more,” said Mr Hiswady, who is unemployed and also receives free treatment.

On Sunday, the 43-year-old was commended for helping to alert the Singapore Civil Defence Force of a fire that broke out outside the dialysis centre on Nov 15, 2022.

“I had arrived early for my treatment and I saw a PMD that was parked outside the centre had burst into flames. I immediately called 995,” he recalled.

“I was thinking of all the patients receiving treatment inside the centre. Luckily, the nurses managed to evacuate all of them quickly.”

An NKF spokesman said 12 patients were evacuated from the centre that day and the fire was put out in eight minutes.