Hop on bus to keep diabetes in check

Ms Audrey Ngo, an outreach executive of NKF, checking blood pressure during a consultation session aboard the Diabetes Health Bus.
Ms Audrey Ngo, an outreach executive of NKF, checking blood pressure during a consultation session aboard the Diabetes Health Bus.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Staffed by NKF nurses, the Diabetes Health Bus visits partner clinics to screen diabetics

A bus that travels across Singapore to help the fight against diabetes was officially launched by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) yesterday.

Staffed by NKF nurses, the Diabetes Health Bus visits the partner clinics of the foundation to screen diabetic patients.

It is part of NKF's preventive strategy to curb the onset of kidney failure, which diabetes is a precursor to. The regular screening of diabetic patients can prevent their condition from deteriorating and resulting in kidney failure.

Nurses will conduct blood tests while dietitians on board will recommend diet and exercise regimes.

The bus has been making its rounds since February but was launched yesterday to mark the opening of the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple-NKF Dialysis Centre at Kolam Ayer - one of the foundation's 30 centres. The event was graced by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, an MP for the area.

Of the 53 diabetic patients from the three partner clinics screened by the NKF Diabetes Health Bus so far, 38 did not have good control of their condition. Of this group, 15 eventually developed proteinuria, a sign of chronic kidney disease that could result in complete kidney failure. Should the patient's condition reach this stage, a kidney transplant, or dialysis, is required.

The Diabetes Health Bus has brought about promising results so far. About 60 per cent of the 53 managed to maintain or improve their proteinuria results.

NKF chairman Koh Poh Tiong said: "One in three known diabetics does not do enough to control the condition. Diabetes, being the leading cause of kidney failure, can be prevented or controlled, if diagnosed and treated early."

The bus is the first of four such vehicles, worth $2 million in total, sponsored by the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, which also donated $2.3 million towards the new Kolam Ayer dialysis centre. The other three buses will be launched by 2018.

Diabetic Saad Elias, 63, was one of those who went for screening on the bus. "After attending the counselling, I realise how serious diabetes and kidney disease are," he said. "I am more motivated to protect my health by better managing my condition, like complying with medication and adopting a healthier lifestyle."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 26, 2016, with the headline 'Hop on bus to keep diabetes in check'. Print Edition | Subscribe