BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei has one of the world’s highest rates of patients living with kidney failure, while the number of renal patients continued to rise every year, health ministry data showed.

There were 881 end-stage kidney disease patients who required renal replacement therapy at the end of 2020, according to statistics from the ministry’s Department of Renal Services.

In his message to mark World Kidney Day 2021 on Thursday, health minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said another 3,000 patients were being treated for serious chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the main causes of kidney disease in Brunei.

To improve the quality of healthcare services and meet the growing number of kidney patients’ needs, the minister said a new dialysis centre will start operating at the Jerudong Park Medical Center (JPMC) this month.

The JPMC Renal Dialysis Unit is a public-private partnership project aimed at reducing the government’s burden in establishing more dialysis centres.

Brunei has six haemodialysis treatment centers across the four districts — Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleh Hospital, Kiarong Dialysis Centre, Rimba Dialysis Centre, Temburong Dialysis Unit, Kuala Belait Dialysis Centre and Tutong Dialysis Center.

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham said haemodialysis is the most common treatment for patients with permanent kidney damage in Brunei as 85 percent of patients opted for haemodialysis, which cleans and filters blood through a machine.

The government introduced a peritoneal dialysis preference policy in 2014 as studies found that the procedure improves kidney patients’ quality of life.

Peritoneal dialysis uses the inside lining of a patient’s abdomen as the filter, rather than a machine.

The minister said patients can perform peritoneal dialysis at home instead of visiting a haemodialysis center for treatment.

Apart from raising awareness on chronic kidney disease, the Department of Renal Services is expected to promote peritoneal dialysis as the main option of patients who need kidney replacement therapy.

Themed ‘Living Well with Kidney Disease’, this year’s World Kidney Day commemoration aims to provide hope to kidney patients that they can still lead a quality life with effective management of symptoms.

Kidney patients face a number of challenges in leading a normal lifestyle as the disease and treatment can cause mood swings, sudden weight loss, fatigue, and their ability to work.