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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 20: Eligible kidney patients have been encouraged to apply for the Special Aid rolled out by the state government aimed at easing their financial burden.
Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah explained that the aid would not be paid to the patients but credited directly to the dialysis centres or service providers.
“This also applies for the transportation cost as we need to get confirmation from the dialysis centres,” she told a press conference during a visit to the NKF Dialysis Centre – Kidney Association of Sarawak/Rotary here today.
“The state government has allocated RM4.7 million for the Special Aid this year and the assistance is subjected to review after one year which will take into account situation development and a year end report,” she said.
Fatimah stressed that the state government understood the difficulties faced by kidney patients as Sarawak recorded about 200 new patients annually.
“The burden shouldered by patients is heavy so the government provided the assistance to ease their burden,” she added.
The forms to apply for the aid can be downloaded online via the Ministry’s website at https://kwkpk.sarawak.gov.my/modules/web/index.php?lang=enfrom as well as obtained from any Health Department and Welfare Department branches in the state.
“Completed forms must be submitted to the Welfare Department in the 12 divisions respectively across Sarawak,” she said.
Applicants must be Sarawakians with ‘K’ status on their MyKad and belong to the B40 or M40 groups with a maximum monthly income of RM1,020 or according to current guidelines on the poverty level.
Civil servants, government pensioners, and Social Security Organisation contributors do not qualify for this assistance.
Under clinical assistance, there will be a one-off maximum aid of RM3,000 each for patients receiving Arteriovenous Fistula (AVF) treatment; maximum RM240 per month for those receiving Erythropoietin (EPO); maximum RM200 per session for patients undergoing haemodialysis treatment or RM2,400 a month; and a maximum of RM2,800 per month for Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) treatment.
“AVF is the most costly and we don’t want patients to wait for donors while not receiving treatment as they could not afford it. This will be a one-off assistance of RM3,000.
“Aid for dialysis in NGO (non-governmental organisation) centres is RM100 per session and RM200 per session at private hospitals for referral patients, of 13 sessions a month.
“For transplant procedure in government hospitals which has no charge, a RM5,000 one-off aid would be credited to cover the expenses of patients and family members getting operations in Kuala Lumpur,” she elaborated.
Fatimah added that rural patients in particular burdened by costly transportation to get treatment will be provided with RM50 travelling allowance per dialysis session.
The allocation, she continued, would also be utilised to procure more new dialysis machines to replace old ones in government hospitals.
“Dialysis machines in public hospitals are old and at risk of breaking down which would affect the patients’ treatment schedule.
“We are looking into ways to improve access to dialysis for more patients so they would not have to wait up too long for their turn to get dialysis,” she added. —DayakDaily