BAGUIO CITY, March 9 (PIA) - - Burdened by financial difficulties in maintaining a lifetime dialysis treatment, kidney patients seeking treatment in the city reiterated their appeal for the government to provide free dialysis treatment.
Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club (BCBC)past president Ramon Dacawi, led around 70 dialysis patients and their guardians in airing their experiences and appeal for a free – dialysis assistance from the government during a kapihan media forum at the PIA Regional Office grounds here, Thursday.
Dacawi, retired chief information officer of the City Government of Baguio, and a columnist of various papers, has been assisting dialysis patients through his columns and write –ups. As a dialysis patient himself for two years now, the more that he feels the sympathy and the burden on how such medical procedure keeps them alive.
He explained that the present Philhealth Dialysis Benefit package is not enough especially for those undergoing a three- times a week procedure and those who have no financial capability. They have to go to different government offices, to elected officials, friends and family members to solicit financial assistance just for them to continue their treatment.
The present Philhealth Dialysis Package provides P2, 600 assistance per procedure and with a maximum of 90 sessions (availment) per calendar year.
Dacawi disclosed that they started the free – dialysis campaign a year ago when he was the BCBC president, to help those having financial difficulties in keeping up with their dialysis sessions.
Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Dialysis Section chief Dr. Virginia Mangati, in the same forum, also affirmed that kidney problem remains to be a major health concern. For BGHMC alone, there are around 4 to 6 new cases a day.
For this year, BGHMC has 417 dialysis patients with 253 Baguio residents. The oldest patient is 98 years old and the youngest is a 13 year old girl, Mangati said.
For the city government response, Councilor Peter Fianza reported that they have supported the free – dialysis campaign through a local ordinance.
This support move of filing a bill at the House of Representatives pushing for free – dialysis treatment.
Baguio Congressman Mark Go informed that in partnership with several other congressmen, they filed last year House Bill 5503 pushing for free dialysis as well kidney transplant. The bill was passed at the committee level and set to be submitted to the House Committee and Appropriation before it will be sent to the Plenary discussion. Hopefully, it will be passed soon, he said.
Go called for prayers and patience from the kidney patients until the free dialysis law is enacted as he affirmed that his office is always ready to provide them assistance on their health concern. (JDP/CDD with Dannica Palberas- PIA CAR/SLU Intern)