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DOH urges more Pinoys to become organ donors

The Department of Health (DOH) hopes to obtain more organ donations to address the increasing number of patients in need of life-saving transplants.

According to a 24 Oras Weekend report by Jamie Santos, the Health Department said as of February 2024, almost 300 patients are waiting for a transplant, wherein most are in need of a new kidney.

It said chronic kidney disease (CKD) is still one of the main deadly diseases in the Philippines.

"Latest estimate shows that around 2.3 million Filipinos have CKD," said National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) Transplant Coordinator Chief Dr. Peter Paul Plegaria.

According to Michael, who has been struggling with CKD for five years since he was 33 years old, he undergoes dialysis three times a week.

"Napakamahal ng gamot sa dialysis (The medicine for dialysis is very expensive)," he said. He also hopes to have a kidney donor soon.

The DOH said an organ transplant costs from 1.2 to 1.7 million pesos, but the government can help lower the bill.

"We have this PhilHealth C-package where the patient is entitled to receive P600,000," said DOH Public Health Unit Head Dr. Maria Angeles Marbella.

"Ilalapit po namin sila sa Malasakit Center at social services namin para po mapababa po yung bills nila (We refer patients to the Malasakit Center or social services so their medical bills are lowered)," said Dr. Plegaria.

The DOH added that they are distributing cards to expand the public's knowledge about kidney transplants and how for those who are interested can become donors.—Sherylin Untalan/RF, GMA Integrated News