Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis Care in Asian Countries

Asia is reported to have the highest rate of Chronic Kidney Disease in the world. In 2016, CKD was to be one of the leading causes of death in Asian countries.

The Philippines has seen a growth of dialysis patients for about 400% in the past 10 years and in fact, is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the country.

Unfortunately, not all Asian countries have satisfactory access to kidney care facilities and treatment. In the Philippines, despite the high rise in dialysis and mortality, kidney disease treatment and facilities remain a low priority and in some other Asian nations.

According to the survey, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in 13 out of 17 Asian countries. Developed Asian countries have adequate access to kidney replacement therapy and registries to aid and inform practices.

Affluent Asian nations have high extensive dialysis care and transplantation rates. However, this is not the case for low-income countries. Health care policies, resource availability, and allocation are scarce and when available is only given to patients who can afford the expenditure out of their pockets.

Access to kidney dialysis care facilities and treatment has improved in the Philippines. In 2015, Philhealth issued Circular No. 022 expanding dialysis coverage from 45 to 90 sessions per year. But the increased number of dialysis sessions is still not enough as patients with kidney disease need around 144 sessions a year.

What is more disheartening is if the principal member of Philhealth insurance and one (1) dependent are both on dialysis, they shall share the 90 sessions.

Kidney replacement therapy support is still limited depending on funding availability. But in 2019, the City of Manila, Philippines opened Flora V. Valisno de Siojo Dialysis Center and is now the country’s biggest free dialysis facility.

Despite the growing numbers of patients with kidney diseases, access to care, and treatment still remains suboptimal in poor Asian countries.

In India, 90% of dialysis patients started on dialysis with a temporary catheter than which can result in increased bloodstream infection. In Cambodia and other poor Asian countries, vascular access creation for hemodialysis costs approximately $250-$350.

Limited access to kidney care in Asia is also reflected in the number of nephrologists available in a country. The number of nephrologists per thousand patients with kidney failure or chronic kidney disease or nephrologist per million population.

With these issues and shortcomings, the Philippines and other Asian nations need to improve their health care programs, access, coverage for dialysis treatments, and transplantations.

Unlike rich Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan, they have almost full coverage for dialysis patients. These high-income countries are able to provide adequate kidney care for their patients; where patients can freely choose their KRT (Kidney Replacement Therapy) procedure.

Advances have been implemented in Asian countries to improve health care policies, especially in kidney disease.

Hopefully, government funding for kidney care may be extended to the less privileged, expansion of kidney transplantation and kidney organ donation, campaigns, awareness, and prevention programs to extend and improve life quality.


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