Battling diabetes key to fight against kidney failure

We applaud the Ministry of Health's plans to battle diabetes ("MOH to wage war on diabetes"; April 14).

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF), as an integral part of the health system, has an important role in joining and supporting the Government's efforts to tackle this growing problem, as two in three cases of kidney failure are due to diabetes.

Singapore currently ranks second worldwide for diabetes-induced kidney failure. There is one new case of kidney failure every five hours, and we are concerned the situation will get worse due to the ageing population and increasing diabetic, hypertensive and obesity rates.

The key is prevention. While kidney failure cannot be reversed, diabetes and hypertension can be prevented or controlled.

Good food choices, regular exercise and appropriate health checks are effective lifestyle interventions that can help prevent kidney disease.

NKF is partnering the community to organise health education and awareness programmes, such as health screenings, health talks and outreach events, among others, all year round.

Our Kidney Health Education Bus brings preventive healthcare to the doorsteps of schools and grassroots and religious organisations.

To complement the MOH's efforts, we also have our diabetes screening bus. Three more such buses will be added at a later stage.

We cannot agree more with the MOH that it is important to lay the foundations to healthier lives early.

Early education on kidney disease and its related diseases such as diabetes should be instituted from a young age, as more young people are getting diabetes.

We collaborate with schools through our Schools Outreach Programme, where students learn how to care for their kidneys.

Our upgraded Kidney Discovery Centre, to be completed at the end of this year, will enhance interactivity and engagement on kidney health learning.

Through NKF's Healthy Mondays programme, companies can do their part to motivate their employees to create a culture of wellness.

We also encourage family members of patients to go for health screening for early detection and intervention, as they may be at higher risk of kidney disease.

NKF will continue to work closely with the MOH and community to bring across the message of healthy living. For more information, the public can call 6299-0200 or visit www.nkfs.org

Edmund Kwok

Chief Executive Officer

National Kidney Foundation

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'Battling diabetes key to fight against kidney failure'. Print Edition | Subscribe