BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – An increasing number of kidney patients have opted to undergo peritoneal dialysis over haemodialysis treatment, according to health ministry data.

There was a 40.7 percent jump in peritoneal dialysis patients in 2021 compared to the previous year, Health Minister YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar said in his World Kidney Day message.

Peritoneal dialysis uses a different filtering procedure than the more common haemodialysis to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood, and can be done at home, work or while travelling.

The minister said peritoneal dialysis treatment is the second best and easiest treatment for kidney replacement therapy. 

Treatment through a kidney transplant is the best option but involves many complicated factors, while haemodialysis is a last resort that comes with its own risks, he said.

“One of the barriers for patients to choose peritoneal dialysis treatment is because they are afraid, anxious or less confident to carry out their own treatment at home even though it has been explained that they will continue to be guided, counselled, trained and monitored until the patient and family members can do it themselves,” he added.

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham said misinformation from non-knowledgeable or non-health professionals is also one of the factors causing patients to choose haemodialysis over peritoneal dialysis.

Brunei has one of the world’s highest rates of end-stage kidney disease, with diabetes and high blood pressure identified as the main causes of kidney disease.

The latest data from Brunei Dialysis and Transplant Registration showed that there were 881 end-stage kidney patients and 138 kidney patients passed away in 2020. 

Speaking on this year’s World Kidney Day theme, the minister said there is a persistent knowledge gap in kidney care, thereby increasing the death rate among patients.

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham said the theme, ‘Bridging the Knowledge Gap to Better Kidney Care’ is relevant and important amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

People with kidney disease have a higher risk of developing serious illness if they are infected with COVID-19, including those undergoing dialysis and patients who have undergone a kidney transplant. 

The Ministry of Health (MoH) urged kidney patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19 early, especially those undergoing dialysis.

“Within two months, more than 70 percent of the patients had received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine in November 2021,” he added.

World Kidney Day, which is observed every March 10, focuses on efforts to increase kidney health education and awareness, and reduce the knowledge gap of chronic kidney problems. 

This year’s campaign will see the integration of chronic kidney problems and prevention of renal failure into the national non-communicable disease programme to improve early detection.