Signature campaign for free dialysis nationwide ongoing

>> Sunday, February 5, 2017

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio media-led signature campaign for free dialysis treatment nationwide is now gaining ground after it formally opened here recently gaining support from city officials and heads of health institutions and medical facilities in the city.
Councilors Edgar Avila and Peter Fianza, principal authors of the city council resolution supporting the cause led the representatives of Rep. Marquez Go, Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the Department of Health Cordillera, PhilHealth, Baguio General Hospital, BBraun dialysis center and others in signing the petition after the “Kapihan” program led by the Philippine Information Agency Cordillera (PIA-CAR) and the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club Inc. (BCBC).
The BCBC headed by newsman Ramon Dacawi and PIA-CAR under regional director Helen Tibaldo encouraged other government officials in the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels not only in the Cordillera region but in all parts of the country to also approve resolutions requesting the Office of the President, the Senate and House of Representatives, the Department of Health, Philhealth and other national government agencies to come up with a unified Free Dialysis Health Program for the whole country.
They also asked the public to support the cause by signing the petition at the following venues: the city public information office at the Baguio City Hall, PIA-CAR in front of the Mansion, Luisa’s Café along Session Road, Baguio General Hospital dialysis section and at the Bookends bookstore along Calderon St.
Bookends owner entrepreneur Maricar Docyogen with the Pasakalye group of local artists started gathering signatures ahead of the launch as part of their own ongoing advocacy to help indigent patients.  Docyogen submitted 500 signatures during the launch.
A complementary online signature drive will also be opened soon for easy access by individuals living abroad or in other parts of the country who wish to support the advocacy.    
“We hope that support will snowball from all over the country for the sake of the thousands of kidney patients dependent on this blood cleansing procedure to prolong their lives and for their own families buying for more time with their loved ones,” Dacawi said.   
Dialysis patients and their relatives who came in full force at the launch expressed hope that the petition will be given due course.
“Suntok sa buwan but we are hopeful for the sake of our loved ones.  Alam nyo naman,  ahit isa lang sa pamilya ang magkasakit, apektado na lahat so sana po mapagbigyan kami sa aming kahilingan,” said Mario Enrade whose wife has been undergoing treatment for five years now.
Aware of the predicament of the dialysis patients, the speakers acknowledged the urgency of making the treatment totally free of charge to alleviate the plight of the increasing number of renal disease patients many of whom are forced to abstain from their treatment protocol due to lack of funds.
Avila, Fianza, secretary to the mayor Rafael Tallocoy and  Go’s staff member Imelda Sedano committed to do their best at the city government and congressional level to make the clamor a reality.
Mayor Domogan is expected to sign the city council resolution authored by all the councilors in support of the campaign while Go, according to Sedano, is looking at the possibility of tying up the present clamor with a related senate bill earlier filed by Senator Sonny Angara known as the dialysis center act. 
 Cordillera Center for Health and Development Medical Officer III Dr. Shelly Aral, BGHMC Hemodialysis Unit head Dr. Virginia Mangati, Philhealth medical specialist Dr. Glen Lamsis and BBraun head nurse Mark Andawi lauded the move that compliments their offices’ mission to maintain the well-being and quality of life of the patients 
Aral said their office recorded 941 new cases of kidney disease in 2015 which is double the number of the incidents in 2014.  For 2016, she said they expect the number of new cases to reach 1,000 as they have noted an average of 200 new cases per quarter.
Mangati said the move will greatly help the patients who require an ideal dialysis protocol of three sessions a week.
Philhealth information officer Maggie Del Rosario said that among all diseases, hemodialysis rated highest in the payments made by the Philhealth in the past years indicating the extent of the affliction.
Andawi said that as nurses interacting with the patients, they are well aware of the problems being experienced by the patients not only physically but also emotionally which are normally brought about by worries on their finances.  


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