One Filipino develops chronic kidney disease (CKD) every 40 minutes, and one Filipino CKD patient progresses to dialysis every hour.1 Impaired kidney function remains one of the highest causes of death and disability in the Philippines, according to recent data. CKD has been identified as a leading cause of premature death among Filipinos.2
Addressing this escalating health concern, Diabetes Philippines Inc. (DP), AstraZeneca Philippines, with patient and educator groups, have recently joined forces with the local governments of Mandaluyong and Pasig to expand ACT NOW Program (Addressing Complications Today through Network of Warriors) against the cardio-renal complications of Diabetes and Hypertension, which aims to create awareness of CKD risk factors and promote early screening to save lives.
Dr. Francis Pasaporte, Immediate Past President of Diabetes Philippines (DP) and proponent of this advocacy, said this initiative aims to further the awareness on CKD through risk factor identification and early screening, education of healthcare professionals on recommended disease treatment, and empowering patients to become part of the solution.
“We, in DP, advocate the implementation of the ACT NOW Program through our network of warriors with the help of local government units (LGUs) that are at the forefront in delivering healthcare. We are happy to partner with them and we are strongly supportive of the programs of the LGU here in Mandaluyong and Pasig. So hopefully, we will put this program at the forefront in screening all high-risk individuals to prevent kidney and cardiovascular diseases,” Dr. Pasaporte added.
Lotis Ramin, AstraZeneca Philippines country president, said, “AstraZeneca is highly committed to forge partnerships with the public sector to address the needs of patients across the full continuum of CKD care. We are one with LGUs and the national government in targeting better health outcomes for Filipino CKD patients.”
Since the program’s launch in 2021, Ramin said they have screened over 500,000 Filipino patients across the country.
“We are not stopping there. We are targeting to screen one million Filipino patients by year end. Indeed, it is an ambitious endeavor, one that cannot be solved by a single organization. Alongside Diabetes Philippines and patient advocacy groups, we are extremely excited to share this goal and partner with the Cities of Mandaluyong and Pasig. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of Filipino patients,” Ramin continued.
With this collaboration, LGUs will open more sites where Filipinos can access free risk assessment, micral test (an immunospecific dipstick for detection of low concentrations of albumin in urine), and uACR (urine albumin-creatinine ratio) testing for monitoring of kidney health and prevention of disease progression. These tests usually cost P2,500 to P3,000 pesos and are not easily accessible in the country.
“Mandaluyong prioritizes the health and well-being of our people. For CKD cases, we want this disease not to progress to dialysis. This is the reason we are partnering with the DP, the private sector and patient groups to roll out ACT NOW CKD program in our city. Early detection and screening are important. And we remain thankful to all our partners for helping us save more lives,” said Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin Abalos Sr.
During the partnership signing ceremony, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto explained, “As the country and communities develop, cases of CKD among Filipino patients are also on the rise. And we are proud to say that Pasig has one of the biggest dialysis centers in the country. But we feel downhearted every time we see Filipino dialysis patients struggling. That is why we are doing a holistic approach. For patients, they can go to our social welfare assistance centers and they will receive the maximum assistance that the city blanket can provide. And we continue to partner with government agencies and the private sector to help us provide patients with the care they need. So, we are trying to look at everything from a holistic perspective.”
Diabetes Philippines and AstraZeneca Philippines plan to seal more partnerships with LGUs this year, in collaboration with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The multi-sectoral partnership envisions to alleviate disease burden, mortality, and healthcare expenditure in the Philippines through a resilient end-to-end healthcare solution starting with prevention and proper management of CKD.
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