Haemodialysis @ Neesum: A Chance for Life

Neesum, a kidney charity organisation, was incorporated in April 2008 as a non-profit NGO dedicated to help all Malaysians irrespective of race, creed or religion having kidney disease requiring haemodialysis, who are unable to afford the high cost of treatment in the private sector.

The dialysis centre is run in collaboration with the medical expertise from St John Ambulance Malaysia and supported financially by both Persatuan Kebajikan Dialysis Neesum Ipoh and St John Ambulance Malaysia.

“The basic subsidy for all patients is RM10 off for every dialysis session for life. After looking into the needy patient’s background, further subsidy will be granted upon application due to our limited funds. We also subsidise blood tests and  injections to improve the production of red blood cells for each patient. Plus, there are volunteer doctors and a nephrologist who come every month to see the patients. Hence we do not impose doctors’ fees,” Dr Foo Loke Kong, chairman cum founder of Neesum told Ipoh Echo. He was formerly a volunteer doctor for the National Kidney Foundation Haemodialysis Centre in Ipoh.

The organisation is set up in memory of Dr Foo’s late father, Foo Khoon Lim, who was a kidney patient on dialysis. According to Dr Foo, the statistics show that there are approximately 7000 new patients on dialysis every year in Malaysia.

To subsidise all the patients, the monthly running cost of the centre is a minimum of RM11,000. “With the amount of patients increasing, we have to raise more funds to subsidise them. It gets harder every year. We are nearing full capacity of 48 and looking to start a third shift later this year,” Dr Foo said. The team also thoughtfully provides lunch for the patients every operating day.

Each patient will be arranged for treatment as soon as possible after the necessary documentation, background screening, medical condition screening and blood investigation for infectious disease etc before admission.

Neesum is hoping for a donated piece of land from either the government or private sector for expansion and to realise their initial dream to set up a kidney hospital with facilities for dialysis, training, exchange of expertise and nursing care to accommodate more patients. Currently, the organisation is renting the existing premises which is filled to the brim with rows and rows of dialysis machines. “There are the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital and National Heart Institute in Malaysia, why don’t we have one specifically for kidney?” Dr Foo highlighted.

When I visited in January, I witnessed the arrival of a patient all the way from Cameron Highlands. He had a fall a month ago rendering him immobile and has to come to the dialysis centre for haemodialysis by ambulance. The transportation charges for him alone costs RM80 one-way.

Wong Pak Dee, manager of the St John Ambulance Station 15 at the centre explained, “Currently, we have 44 patients who come in three times a week on schedule. Every session will take four hours. Every day, we have two groups of patients, one in the morning and one in the evening. My oldest patient is over 80 years old while my youngest one is in his/her 20s. Our capacity for each shift is 12 because we have 12 machines. Hence, all patients will have their schedule prearranged.” He has been working at the centre since 2013.

“Most of the patients here are at the end stage of renal failure. We must educate them on the importance of dialysis to make them come to the centre diligently. Or else they’ll wait till the fluid overloads. When the stubborn patients change for the better, I feel motivated and satisfied,” Wong added.

Depends very much on monetary donations, readers who would like to help can remit the funds directly to the account number 17600017795 (Hong Leong Bank Berhad) under beneficiary name Persatuan Kebajikan Dialysis Neesum Ipoh Perak. Readers can also opt to adopt a needy patient on a monthly basis. For further details, kindly call the organisation at 05 321 0570 (Monica Chan).

Volunteers with medical qualifications are welcome to contact the organisation too. To date, the centre has 12 medical staff.

The organisation would like to express their utmost gratitude to the following regular contributors: Perak Furniture Makers & Dealers Association, Estee Pook Academy and V’nam Kitchen.

The organisation also organises a free-of-charge public forum and seminar at its premises every year. Do call for more information.

Address: 288-290, Jalan Chung Ah Ming, 31650 Ipoh, Perak.
Operating hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 6.30am – 5pm.

Mei Kuan

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