Speech by Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, at NKF Wheels Of Love, 21 Sep 2014

Mr Edmund Kwok, NKF CEO,

Board Members, Management and Staff,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning to all of you.

1.            It is my pleasure to be part of NKF’s 45th anniversary celebrations at this Wheels of Love event. My heartiest congratulations to NKF! This is a meaningful event where people come from all walks of life, to come together on different wheels to show their support for the kidney patients.

Going beyond providing haemodialysis treatments

2.            Since its establishment in 1969 with the mission to provide good quality and affordable haemodialysis services, NKF has become the largest Voluntary Welfare Organisation providing dialysis services in Singapore. Today, with strong community support, NKF is able to provide quality treatment and care to more than 3,300 kidney patients.

3.            However, with four new cases of end-stage kidney failure being diagnosed each day, today’s NKF must go beyond providing haemodialysis services. I am therefore very heartened that besides increasing the capacity for haemodialysis, NKF is concurrently working on three areas to help existing patients as well as curtail the rising burden of kidney failure. This includes, first increasing community awareness on kidney diseases and preventive efforts; second, providing more support to patients on peritoneal dialysis, or known as PD for short; and third, promoting kidney transplant as another treatment option.

4.            Let me now share some of the good work that NKF has done in these areas.

Efforts in preventive measures

5.            As I have mentioned at NKF’s 45th Anniversary Charity Dinner in April this year, diabetes and hypertension are the two leading causes of kidney failure in Singapore. Lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet and smoking are known risk factors for hypertension and diabetes. We can significantly reduce our risk of these diseases by leading a healthier lifestyle through having a balanced diet, exercising regularly and stay away from smoking. Even if we have developed these conditions, early detection and timely treatment can prevent the development of complications including kidney failure. Therefore, it is important to go for regular check-ups.

6.            In this regard, I am pleased to know that NKF regularly conducts public education and outreach programmes, including health talks, health screenings and roadshows to raise awareness of the importance of healthy living. Apart from reaching out to the general public, NKF has also implemented specific programmes to reach out to companies and schools.

7.            As mentioned by Edmund, NKF has taken another significant step in its prevention efforts by launching the Kidney Health Education Bus, to bring general kidney-related health education and diabetes-related screening to the doorsteps of schools, community and religious organisations.

Promotion of PD

8.            As part of NKF’s efforts to provide more support to PD patients, NKF has set up the PD Community Support Programme. Under this programme, NKF’s PD nurses help prepare and coach patients who are started on PD so that the patients could carry out the PD exchanges independently and confidently in the comfort of their own homes. In doing so, they would enjoy the time flexibility that PD offers as these patients would not be restricted to the schedules of the haemodialysis centres. This is in line with the Ministry’s efforts to promote PD and empower suitable patients to take charge of their kidney conditions as well as their treatments.

Promotion of Kidney Transplantation

9.            On the option of kidney transplants, NKF has gone beyond existing financial support for needy live kidney donors through the Kidney Live Donor Support fund. NKF has taken steps to raise awareness of kidney transplants. This includes producing a video of recipients who have benefitted from a kidney transplant. This then helps to initiate the conversation with the patients to consider kidney transplant as another possible treatment option.

Conclusion

10.         While the NKF has done well, there is more to be done. It would not have succeeded without strong community support. Community support is needed so that it can continue to provide quality treatment and care to needy patients. On this note, I would like to thank all of you for your involvement, contributions as well as your generosity, and urge you to continue with your active support for the NKF.

11.         I would also like to thank the NKF for your partnership and wish you all the best as you continue your journey to care for needy kidney patients. On this note, thank you very much and have an enjoyable Sunday.

 

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