Oldest NKF centre in S'pore's west gets new equipment, more capacity, thanks to $2m donation

Lew Foundation founder and chairman Lew Chee Beng at the redesigned dialysis centre at at Blk 326 Clementi Avenue 5. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The National Kidney Foundation's oldest dialysis centre in the west of Singapore has got a new look, thanks to a $2m donation from local charity, the Lew Foundation.

Located at Blk 326 Clementi Avenue 5, the refurbished centre now has 30 dialysis stations, up from 20 previously, allowing it to serve up to 180 patients a week.

The redesigned layout of the centre, which was set up in 1990, has done away with the patient cubicles of the past.

Instead, it now has a more open and spacious look with no partitions between dialysis stations, allowing patients to interact with one another while undergoing treatment, and enabling staff to better observe all the patients.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Sunday (March 7), clinical nurse manager Vinothan Umarani said: "At one glance, I can view all the patients, identify any issues and attend to them immediately."

Following the renovation, all of the centre's equipment is also brand new and fully digitalised, and the centre's storage facilities have been expanded as well.

Thanking the Lew Foundation for its donation at the opening ceremony of the centre on Sunday, NKF's chairman Arthur Lang said: "The upgrading works allow for effective space usage and enhanced patient flow. This translates to better coordination of care, patient safety and patient satisfaction.

Mr Yeo Puay Hin, Lew Foundation's executive director, said: "Through our partnership with the NKF, which has been providing affordable and quality renal care for more than 50 years, we hope to support kidney patients in their treatment and, in turn, improve their quality of life."

Mr Lang highlighted the need for the NKF to strengthen upstream measures including kidney disease prevention and early intervention.

Simply building dialysis centres will not be sufficient to cope with the growing number of kidney patients and Singapore's ageing population, he said.

Singapore currently has about 8,000 patients on dialysis, about two-thirds of whom are under the NKF's care.

An average of 855 new dialysis patients were admitted to the NKF every year for the past five years. The NKF spent about $116 million to treat kidney failure in FY2019/2020.

The NKF said that dialysis treatment costs about $25,000 per patient each year before subsidies, and that kidney disease usually comes with other medical costs and opportunity costs, such as when patients are unable to work.

Noting that March 11 is World Kidney Day, Mr Lang said: "Beating this disease is a collective effort. The best way to fight kidney disease is for all of us to take charge of our health and spread the awareness by informing our loved ones."

Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng, who was also at the opening ceremony, said it is important to help families get better access to healthier food and encourage children to adopt healthy diets and eating habits from young.

(From right) Mr Arthur Lang, Dr Tan Wu Meng, Mr Lew Chee Beng and Mr Tim Oei at the official opening ceremony of the Lew Foundation - NKF Dialysis Centre. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

"It's also about improving health education so that families who may not be so well informed can help look after themselves better, thereby reducing the risk of chronic diseases," said Dr Tan, who is also chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee on Health.

Mr Lang urged Singaporeans to go for regular health screenings, cut down on salt, oil and sugar in their diets, and exercise regularly.

"Let us sacrifice now for our good choices, (rather) than pay the heavy price down the road."

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