Kidney disease presents a significant challenge to the Government of Brunei Darussalam, especially the Ministry of Health (MoH), said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to outsource public haemodialysis services to Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) yesterday.
Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said that by the end of last year, the number of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) patients in Brunei had risen to 881, of which 85 per cent (752) were on haemodialysis, adding that the figures will continue to rise.
He said the MoH is facing a significant number of people requiring renal replacement therapy which is complex and costly, at approximately BND25,000-BND35,000 per year per patient, just for dialysis alone. “Given the increasing demand and significant costs, it is easy to see that kidney disease presents a significant challenge for the MoH,” he said.
To accommodate the high prevalence of ESKD, the MoH and JPMC signed an MoU to provide quality care for patients requiring long-term haemodialysis.
Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham, who is also JPMC Chairman and Executive Director, shared data from the 2019 Brunei Dialysis and Transplant Registry indicates 1,708 per million population, which corresponds to 786 prevalent patients in the country.
“The national incidence of ESKD was 382 per million population, resulting from 176 new dialysis patients in the same time period. The predominant cause of ESKD in our population (58 per cent) is due to diabetes mellitus,” he said.
The minister said JPMC has been chosen in view of its existing infrastructure and recognised benefits of a hospital-based dialysis centre.
“We need to plan for the future to ensure that the existing health infrastructure and capacity do not get overwhelmed by the growing demand (in patient care).
“With privatisation, the burden of building and maintaining a new dialysis centre and its associated procurement of medical machinery, supplies and recruitment of trained staff is removed,” he said.
The opening of the JPMC Renal Dialysis Unit is a result of the Renal Services Department’s foresight in addressing the high growth in demand for dialysis and to ensure there is sufficient capacity in enabling quality treatment, in particular sufficient dialysis hours per week.
The new Renal Dialysis Unit has 17 dialysis points (stations), operating three shifts per day, six days a week, offering comprehensive thrice- weekly treatment that can accommodate up to 102 patients per week on an ongoing basis.
The minister also believed there is also potential for medical tourism with private facilities being able to attract paying foreign dialysis patients who are in the country for short or longer term stay.
“The opening of this new Renal Dialysis Unit in Jerudong Park Medical Centre exemplifies the committment of the Ministry of Health and the Government of Brunei Darussalam towards the value of healthcare.
“It demonstrates that foresight in planning and the desire to cross traditional boundaries in healthcare by collaborating with the private sector. Most of all, it demonstrates a commitment to quality patient services for the people of Brunei Darussalam,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said.
Signing on behalf of MoH was Medical and Health Services Acting Director General Pengiran Dr Haji Mohd Khalifah bin Pengiran Haji Ismail while JPMC was represented by Medical Director Dr Meera Sahib Kabeer.
Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, who is also JPMC Deputy Chairman witnessed the signing.
Both ministers toured the new dialysis centre.
There are six existing dialysis centres in the country – Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Renal Dialysis Unit, Kiarong Dialysis Centre, Rimba Dialysis Centre, Temburong Dialysis Unit, Kuala Belait Dialysis Centre and Tutong Dialysis Centre – with the latter opened almost nine years ago, at a cost of BND3.89 million.
The JPMC Renal Dialysis Unit is the seventh dialysis centre and the first-ever public-private partnership of its kind in the country.