Poverty: One of the Causes of Death of Dialysis Patients

By | April 25, 2009

“Bawal Magkasakit” (It is forbidden to get sick). You can see this words on Ad campaign billboards by the DOH, the Philippines’ national health agency, and on most of their TV Ads. This rings true for most Filipinos, and is a bitter fact among us dialysis patients. It’s not news anymore to hear that a fellow patient died because of the lack of means to sustain treatment. This is quite depressing, though all I can do is contemplate on the matter.

Dialysis treatment, or most medical conditions for that matter, is not fully subsidized here in the Philippines. Although government agencies like Philhealth and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) provides assistance and financial aid to patients, it still falls short on dialysis patients’ financial needs. Some of my fellow patients on the clinic where I go cut on their treatment frequency. Instead of following the prescribed twice a week regiment, they make it once a week just to make ends meet.

There might be no immediate effect that can be felt with this kind of regiment, but doctors say that it’s bad for the patient in the long run. I guess there’s a simple explanation as to why is this so: when your kidneys are okay, they work 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week to rid your body of harmful toxins. If you suffer kidney failure, your kidneys aren’t able to do this so you rely on dialysis to work as your kidney replacements. Having to undergo dialysis twice or thrice per week would seem inadequate in terms of efficiency compared to fully functional kidneys. How much more if you’re just taking dialysis once a week? Harmful toxins would not be properly removed from your body and excess water might accumulate and lead to edema.

But you can’t really blame these patients. I myself am aware of the reasons behind their decision. After all, for a poor patient, it’s much easier to tolerate pain and inconvenience rather than await death simply because you can’t pay for your treatment anymore. This is indeed a sad and depressing fact, but it’s a reality nonetheless. In my case, I’m fortunate enough to have a generous Aunt and Uncle that shoulders the financial needs of my treatment. But let me tell you that I’m still seeking ways to be able to help myself financially. Why? Because my relatives wouldn’t be able to support me indefinitely, that’s why.

Poverty is still a growing menace, not only for us patients, but for everybody as well. And with the Global Crunch hovering above,  matters seems to look a lot bleaker. I contemplated on this matter simply because anyone could be in this situation, any moment at any time. Preparing yourself for the worst to come isn’t pessimism. For me, it’s simply bracing yourself from reality.

50 thoughts on “Poverty: One of the Causes of Death of Dialysis Patients

  1. Angel Stolarik

    Such a brilliant idea to blog your situation, Julius! Thank you. My mother has the fistula on about two weeks ago and will go back next week for a check up and see if she’s ready for her first dialysis. She can’t eat, everytime she tries, she throws up. Did you experience the same issue as well, just wondering. What I am doing now to since our resources are very limited is that I created a facebook group page to raise funds for my Mother’s dialysis. I am an OFW, in Canada, but I am an at-home Mom now. I have a newborn that no one can look after if I work. I am a bit unhappy when I heard that when you seek help in our country and you don’t appear to be poorest poor, you won’t get help. Overseas, we do not just pick up money from the sidewalks, we worked hard and we have needs here as well. I hope for more understanding from our workers at any charity to not make looks as basis when helping out. We were advised that when my brother goes to PCSO Office, he has to wear clothing which is not pleasant and never to mention he has a sister abroad. I totally do not understand why we have this kind of mentally. Julius, if you have some more information to help us with Mama’s treatment, please email me at angelita.stolarik@yahoo.ca. My Mother is in Sagbayan, Bohol. We need help for her treatment! Thank you. God bless.

  2. remy gamel

    My mom is been doing hemodialysis for 7 years now here in US. She want to go back home but i cannot afford to pay for her dialysis when she go back. She’s 69 and i want to make her happy but making her wish to comeback to philippines will cut her life short. And it’s something so hard for me to accept. She’s still strong enough to do dialysis and she can still take care of herself. Is there any program i can apply so hopefully i can be able to afford to pay for the treatment and just grant her wish to go back home. Pls let me know i been stressing about this issue for the past 3 weeks now. I want her to be happy on her remaining life while she’s still have. Hope i can hear from u soon.

  3. mira

    Ako po ang isang anak ng dialysis patient. My father is 59 years old and presently admitted in Nazareth General Hospital-ICU for more than a week now due to several complications. He is receiving every-other-day dialysis treatment. Na diagnosed po siya ng kidney failure secondary to hypertension last 2008 and started to take medicines. Sadly, di po sila na cure sa medicines at naging stage 3 na sila at nag start po mag dialysis last 2010. Sobrang hirap ihandle ang situations dahil sa finances, dalawa kami ng sister ko sumusuporta sa knya financially — kahit may kanya kanya na po kaming pamilya, kaso nakakalungkot lang, na kahit anong gamutan at pagpapadialysis, naging worse pa din condition nila…nasa stage 5 (endstage) na po sila ngayon at sobrang nahihirapan na sila…pero di pa din namin sila isinusuko —- umaasa pa din kami magkakapatid na gagaling sila, kaso we are running out of budget, kahit gustong gusto namin sila ipa transplant — wala kaming sapat na pang gastos….sana matulungan ang mga dialysis patients na magkaron pa ng normal at madugtungan pa ang buhay nila

  4. mae

    hellow to all i just want to ask if there is some institution who help financially..because we really need it now my mom have a thymoma but we dont have money anymore to pay her chemo..

    hope ur positive response

  5. private krankenkassen

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with helpful info to work on. You have performed a formidable job and our whole group might be thankful to you.

  6. angelyn ocumas

    hi1 im angelyn ocumas 19 years old and suffering of kidney disease. i have been dialysis seen last year and i want to have a kidney transplant but i have no money to have a operation and also i have no kidney donor pls help me to find i want to live longer plss contact me in my email!!!!aocumas@yahoo.com….my God bless you

  7. Debora

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  8. emily

    my husband was diagnosed with end stage CKD … i dont want to lose hope but he doesnt want to undergo any dialysis dahil na rin sa pareho kaming walang trabaho at lahat ng lapitan naming mga kamag-anak ay puro walang maitutulong. May philhealth man ako pero lahat ba ay mako-cover nun kasi kung hindi rin ay hindi ko na alam kung saan pa ako kukuha….nakaka-inspire lahat ng mga blogs pero hindi ko rin mapilit ang maysakit … kahit anong gawin ko … talaga bang walang foundation na sumusuporta para sa mga ganitong case …

  9. Jason Villegas

    Hi guys, my father is diagnosed with stone in his kidney, sad to say during his check up in PGH they found out that he has stage 4 thyroid cancer, and it complicate to his lungs and some other part of his organ. He under went thyroid removal last may, and it was a success, however we still have to find a government agencies that can help us to financially to removed his kidney stone, PCSO we dont know what is the process please help us. My mother talk to me yesterday that doctor of PGH is advise her to seek assistance to National Kidney Institute (are they providing same as PGH?) Last week my fathers creatinin level is at 465 but now it shoot up to 871.6. The Doctor advise also that PGH has no facilities same as NKTI to perform PCNL. My father needs also to undergo dialysis to help his kidney to function well. They also advise us that we can no longer have a open surgery since he is 62 years only and his bone is weak also. We need our father very much, i dont want to see him suffering. We entrust him to our LORD to give him a miracle.

  10. stephanie

    my father is on dialysis rytnw almost 1month, im applyng for PCSO but i don’t knw how to ryt a letter…kindly give me sample letter pls…

    1. rene ferrer

      hi, basically it is a personal letter address to pcso chair, ms juico (check pcso web). then include the latest medical abstract of the patient (inclusive of dialysis center quotation and acceptance of letter of guarantee). also xerox of id of the patient and the one who’ll facilitate the medical assistance request. hope ur dad also have philhealth coverage. oh btw does ur dad have fistula already? better check with the charity opd of nkti to get better price.

  11. tessa

    My husband is also a ESRD patient and having dialysis twice a week. we heard about the home dialysis treatment and we’re quiet interested to try it. Does anyone of you knows any institution or hospital in Philippines offering a training for this? your information is highly appreciated.

    1. Julius Post author

      Hi! Thanks for dropping by. I don’t know any institution that offers this kind of training for sure, but you could always inquire. The Nat’l Kidney & Transplant Inst. (NKTI) might be a good starting point.

    2. nsmorado

      i think you were referring to peritoneal treatment. and as far as i know NKTI (national kidney institute) is offering that kind of treatment. better check out with the institution so they can give you information and training on how to do about it.

      best regards,

    3. Jason Villegas

      I think you are talking of peretoneal dialysis, you can do it at home, but some told us that is dialysis is prone to infection. It is better to consult on NKTI i think they have that. but the consequences is there. My father now is schedule for two times per week dialysis, lucky that he has philhealth. we can get 45 session per year. God Bless

    4. kristine

      hi sir gerald, where is your center located? my husband is undergoing a twice a week session here at laguna,,,

  12. liza

    I also have a brother doing dialysis. He has been on this for less than one year, yet he seemed to be getting worse, not better. It is painful to see him suffer. I was thinking maybe he should get a kidney transplant (i am willing to donate my kidney and if I’m not a good match, we have many relatives that may be willing to also donate . I don’t know how much it will cost and actually we cannot afford it.
    But I cannot just watch my brother suffer, I thought maybe I can do something before it’s too late. Is there an institution that can help us?

  13. nicole

    We also heard that PCSO can help, but we dont have the reply from them yet as to our application.Reading this articles to know about a lot of information..Thanks for sharing..
    nicole´s last blog post ..fabric window awnings

  14. Rose Purple Reyes

    Hi I’m 37 years old, new on hemo dialysis (2 months now), I’m still working does anyone now if people like us have exception on taxes? The dialysis 3 times a week , injections of epokine and medicine are wearing me down financially. I have my philhealth and PCSO but it would help if we have tax exemptions considering the circumstance we are in.

  15. jam

    ang latest benefit na binibigay ng philhealth ay 4,000 pesos outright deduction per session. included na sa package ang dialysis, injection at professional fee. maximum of 45 sessions a year. since september 1, 2011 lang sya effective marami pa dialysis center ang hindi pa nagiimplement. sa ngaun ang TMS Dialysis Center palang ang alam ko na nagiimplement. ang Capitol Medical Center anytime this month of october baka magimplement narin sila.

    TMS Dialysis Center – 4121395 (executive assistant)
    4932102 (sampaloc manila branch)

    Capitol Medical Center-3767320 (dialysis secretary)
    3712155 (CMC philhealth)

    Philhealth – 4417442 (call center)

    this coming monday palang kami magpapass requirements sa TMS, sana by tuesday maka avail na kami outright deduction.

    my contact no. 09489426380

  16. benedict ylagan

    hi!im benedict 33 yrs old.i was diagnosed with CKD in july 2008 and its been 3 yrs now since i started to undergo dialysis treatment.its emotionally and financially exhausting.but im thankful i have some friends and relatives who supports me.i do get financial support from them but its not on a regular basis so i have to look for somebody or an organization that could financed my succeeding dialysis sessions,its really hard but i have to strive to survive.i thank God im still lucky after 3 years am still here.i would want our government to put up a dialysis centers for us, for people who cant afford dialysis treatment.i hope we could create a group of dialysis patients with one common goal to help each other and make programs for the betterment of each one of us and our families as well.a group that will stand for our right and uplift our self worth.

  17. Rodney

    Hello there guys i’m also a dialysis patience poh have you try asking help from you governor and congressman for help because my mom have try it and she got a cash on Mr. Governor’s office and for Mr. Congressman still waiting! My mom said she will try to ask a financial support on our senators i will update you guys………And i hope we can form a group or org. So we can help each other for our needs i will remember this site…….. and dont forget to pray always….Me still hanging in HOPE and miracles

  18. Kenzie

    Hi Julius

    I just can’t help myself not to feel sorry for you brave guys out there fighting tooth and nail to overcome so many problems… Ranging from Ryan who is as young as only 22 years old (who has more guts and full of positiveness than anybody else I know for his age) to the brother of Lisa who is 48 (considered as pretty young too) where poverty is the main issue and concern for the dialysis patient… I am from Malaysia and my heart goes out to everyone embattling such a heinous disease like chronic kidney failure – not only the disgusting and unpleasantness of alternate-days dialysis treatments you guys have to deal with but also the always bothersome financial constrain you have to cope up with such sessions

    As if the poor economics hasn’t done enough damage, the dilemma of suffering from a serious ailment speaks of indescribable torment especially when the disease needs such regular treatments at 3 times weekly; where at the same time money is so hard to come by too. At extreme times like this, it just seems that life is so unfair but on a lighter note, you have nice people out there like Noel who wrote precisely how to get financial assistance through PCSO and Philhealth

    It is with the combined efforts of you putting up your site and your courageous readers who contribute their comments that compelled me to create my own blog which touches on dreadful diseases like cancer and chronic kidney failure. I will post my comment again here when my blog is published along the week and I hope my blog will be of some help and bring enlightenment to those suffering from these atrocious diseases through the herbal plant of Malaysia

    With God on our side, may all be blessed and prevail over all sicknesses: Kenzie

  19. Edward Baker

    Hello, My wifes brother is curentlly in the hospital right now with this same problem and the family is in need of assistance in a bad way. I myself have over extended with his care. He is 15 years old and will require dialysis 4 times a day to start. At 600 peso a day for meds and 10,000 peso for the start up kit, it is way out of our range to pay this. We have tried to find non-profits here in the Philippines that could help but there are none. Most of our responces have been, we dont assist with long term care. Its like they just expect you to let your child die because they will never get well. If any of you know of anyone or any program that can help us please let us know. Thanks..

    1. Julius Post author

      Hi! Your patient is in the Philippines, right? Try applying for assistance to PCSO. They provide long term assistance for dialysis patients, as long as you complete their needed requirements and pass their interview. Also, there is Philhealth.

      Thanks for visiting my blog.

  20. ryan

    Hi! I like your blog, it’s very inspiring.. but have you gone through transplant? NKTI scheduled me this may 6, if i could find kidney donor.. my access is still placed in my neck, does getting a fistula a painful operation?

    1. Julius Post author

      Hi! Thanks for dropping by and reading my blog, i’m glad you like it. No, I haven’t tried any transplant yet, and does not have any future plans about it. Having an AV Fistula done is just like any minor operation, it’s anesthesized so you won’t feel a thing. After the anesthesia wears out, well that’s a different matter altogether.

      1. Ann

        Hi! I’m just curious, why don’t you have any future plans on transplant? I am 24 and undergoing dialysis 3x a week but due to financial instability, I am not able to keep it up and goes for 2x a week. I am hoping for a transplant but I got no funds yet. any advise?

  21. ryan

    Hi! I am also suffering from the same disease, I’m 22, I should have graduated this march 2011 only to find out that my kidneys failed, I now go to the hospital to be dialised 3 times a week.. it’s good to have people with the same problem, exchanging experiences about this, being on dialysis is not bad after all, i try to live my life, like a normal being. It’s just a matter of how you cope with the situation.

    1. Julius Post author

      It’s good to hear that you’re having a positive outlook on things. Keep it up, trust me this kind of attitude will pull you through every obstacle you’ll be facing along the way.

    2. noel

      hi ryan,

      that’s the kind of attitude one should have to hurdle this dreaded disease. think positive and always pray that God will always give us the strength…

  22. lisa

    I am currently helping my brother who is jobless for the longest time with 4 kids.I am helping his kids go to college too.Then He was struck by this dreaded kidney failure.I am the only one helping him and his family.I spent a fortune and I don’t know if I am gonna be able to sustain this any longer.They applied for philhealth but they said it takes months.Can you help me about the pasikot sikot in getting financial assistance thru PCSO?My brother is very sick,get dialysis 2x a week,he is only 48.I am very exhausted and i sacrifice a lot and i owe so much money already for him.

    Thank you so much for your input.


    1. Julius Santos Post author

      I’m sorry to hear about this. I don’t know the process of applying or getting help from PCSO. I’ve never been there and hasn’t yet acquired the benefits they give. I advice that you go there and inquire yourself to better get a hold on the matter. I also suggest start applying for the Philhealth benefit now, as you said so yourself, it takes a long while to process.

      You still have a long way of battle ahead of you, as much as financial aspects are concerned. I wish you all the luck. May God be with you always!

      1. lisa

        Thank you so much for your input.You have a big heart.I wish you more blessings as far as getting funds for your treatment.If I am gonna be blessed with financial blessings from above,I will definitely support charities that help people that can’t afford dialysis treatments and even kidney transplant!Ask and you shall receive and I believe in that.I am making it happen for my brother,with GOD’s blessing!

        Take care,


      2. Rene

        Hi lis.
        for PCSO:
        1. prepare a patients personal request letter for medical assistance address to the Chairperson Margie Juico.
        2. get indigency barangay certification
        3. get dswd social case study from municipal dswd
        4. get medical abstract and certification & dialysis quotation from your brother’s dialysis center
        5. bring 2 of yours & brothers id and photocopy it
        6. proceed at pcso dialysis assistance office at the back of QuezonCity Hall.
        Note: Please be early so you can be interviewed on the same day, i think they have a cut off of 300 patients a day. It is realy a long wait but be patient. Also try to check pcso website.
        for Philhealth:
        1. for its benefits to take effect it requies 9 months of active contributions. It is a long wait if your brother have just recently been enrolled. He should be under voluntary contributor.
        2. you may also inquire at your municpality if they provide Philhealth ng Bayan for indigent.
        1, secure you brother a PERSON WITH DISABILITY ID (PWD ID), its benefits are simlar to senior citezen, 20 % discount for medicine, restaurant, etc. try to check it also with Mercury Drug, i got an email that effective May 01,2011 they’ll be honoring it.

    2. NOEL

      hi lisa,

      just like your brother, i am also undergoing dialysis treatment and had sought financial assistance thru PCSO and Philhealth. Here’s what you should do;

      for PHILHEALTH:
      1. an active philhealth member is allowed to reimburse 45 sessions of dialysis treatment provided he submits all the necessary receipts (including that of his doctor and medicines). you can submit it to any philhealth regional offices every month. and it usually takes 3 months before you can get the payment.

      for PCSO
      you have to be ready with the following documents:
      1. medical abstract
      2. price quotation from your dialysis center
      3. case study report from your local DSWD
      4. barangay certification
      5. personal letter addressed to PCSO Mgr. Margie Juico

      then proceed to QC City Hall Gate 6. There’s the PCSO office and submit the documents. you will be scheduled for interview and picture taking. once interviewed, wait for 2 weeks before you make a follow as to when PCSO will release the guarantee letter addressed to your dialysis center. right now, PCSO is giving P20K financial assistance to every dialysis patient… good enough for 8 sessions.

      hope this helps.

  23. Aldrich

    PCSO at PHILHEALTH lang po ba pwede lumapit para sa financial support?

    1. annie

      tulad nyo ang kpatid ko ay kasalukuyang nagpeperitoneal dialysis CKD ang case nya, kapos din kami sa kakayanan para i-sustain ang gastos na kaakibat ng sakit na ito pero sa tulong ng dasal at taimtim na panalangin ay nairaraos namin kahit papaano ang araw-araw nyang dialysis. Lumapit kami sa aming cong at tumulong nman siya aftr 3 days magpass ako ng rquirements n nid nila, ang dswd din dw ay tumutulong para sa tulad natin pati sa mga senators ay pwedeng lumapit

      1. kristine

        what is peretonial dialysis? and how much does it cost?

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  25. grawp

    Dont we have any institution or foundation that support dialysis patients so we can get free dialysis treatment?

    I dread to think of how our less fortunate kababayans, especially those in provinces where dialysis center is not existent cope with this kind of ailment. We also heard that PCSO can help, but we dont have the reply from them yet as to our application.

    And you are so blessed for having aunt and uncle who support your treatment.

    1. julius santos Post author

      There are institutions that help dialysis patients, like PCSO and PHILHEALTH, lessen their treatment expenses. But a fully subsidized treatment? There’s none I could think of at the moment. Though I am hoping that the incoming government would take notice of our needs and do something about it.

  26. noel morado

    thanks so much for the encouragement, sir julius. that’s what i am doing right now. reading on articles to know more about this condition and possible solution. 🙂

    1. julius santos Post author

      You’re most welcome. If you still need more information or have questions that I could be of help, just feel free to drop by. Thanks.

  27. noel morado

    hi, i was recently diagnosed with kidney failure and quite at a loss as to what to do. can you enlighten me more about this and are the any support group that provide assistance to these type of people?

    1. julius santos Post author

      There are many resources that you can find in the internet for kidney failure information and education. You could try the National Kidney Foundation for a start, or you could try reading some of the articles on this blog. I’ve posted some FAQ articles and I hope it could be a help to you.

      Don’t be disheartened or lose hope simply because you’ve been diagnosed with CKD. Remember, life goes on no matter what and you must strive to live each day to the fullest however and whichever things might come.

      Good luck and God bless!

      1. noel morado

        thanks so much for the encouragement, sir julius. that’s what i’m doing right now. reading on articles to know more about this condition. 🙂


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