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Sunway Medical Centre kicks off 30 Days to Happy Kidneys campaign


Sunway Medical Centre kicks off 30 Days to Happy Kidneys campaign in collaboration with National Kidney Foundation

Campaign to raise awareness on caring for the kidneys and also raise funds for NKF

BANDAR SUNWAY, 12 October 2015 – Sunway Medical Centre (SunMed) today kicked off the 30 Days to Happy Kidneys campaign in collaboration with the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF). The campaign, held in conjunction with SunMed's World Diabetes Day celebration this year themed Eliminate Diabetes, seeks to increase awareness on caring for the kidneys and reducing the incidence of diabetes, and also to raise funds to benefit NKF. The campaign was jointly launched by Choo Voon Chee, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Sunway Medical Centre and Dr Thiruventhiran Thilaganathan, Vice Chairman of the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia, and also a consultant nephrologist at Sunway Medical Centre.

“Sunway Medical Centre believes in consistently initiating efforts to raise awareness on public health issues and the 30 Days to Happy Kidneys campaign in conjunction with our World Diabetes Day celebration are among the ways we are using. Although many efforts have been made to increase awareness on caring for our kidneys, there are still over 5,000 new kidney failure cases diagnosed every year. This is further compounded by the rise in diabetes patients and the huge number of undiagnosed diabetics – as many as 50%*, as many diabetics end up with kidney failure. Statistics show that approximately 60% of kidney failure patients in Malaysia are diabetic – one of the highest ratios in the world. This motivates us to continue pushing for greater awareness on diabetes and kidney disease risks, and also to raise funds to help NKF continue their good work,” said Choo Voon Chee, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Sunway Medical Centre. 

“For 46 years, NKF has been working to raise awareness on kidney disease among Malaysians and to help kidney failure patients. Year after year, we continue to see an increase in patients, which necessitates more funds to run the foundation. We are pleased to work with Sunway Medical Centre for their noble effort to help raise awareness on kidney health, and we thank them for choosing NKF as the beneficiary of their fundraising initiative. At the same time, we would also like to use this platform to raise awareness on the importance of organ donation. Having more donor kidneys in Malaysia will make a world of difference to kidney failure patients and free them from a lifetime of dialysis,” said Dr Thiruventhiran Thilaganathan, Vice Chairman of the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia, and consultant nephrologist at Sunway Medical Centre.

“In Malaysia, new kidney failure patients are mainly aged from 50 to 65 years and diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This reflects poor management of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, as it generally takes 10 to 20 years of uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure to damage the kidneys irreversibly. While kidney transplants are the preferred treatment for kidney failure patients, the relatively low donor numbers means there are few transplants done – only about 60 a year in Malaysia,” added Dr Thiruventhiran.

Meanwhile, the International Diabetes Federation indicates that of the estimated* 3.2m people** living with diabetes in Malaysia, approximately 50% of them remain undiagnosed, and the total number of diabetics is expected to rise by another 50% by 2035.

 The 30 Days to Happy Kidneys campaign and NKF

The 30 Days to Happy Kidneys campaign aims to get Malaysians to commit to take better care of their kidneys by taking up the 30 Days to Happy Kidneys Challenge. The challenge features a 30-day calendar with a different daily activity that prompts members of the public to learn about kidney health and adopt kidney-healthy practices. The calendars are also being sold to raise funds for the NKF. Anyone who donates a sum of RM11 and above will receive one 30 Days to Happy Kidneys Challenge pledge card incorporating the calendar. Each card will have a unique serial number. The fundraising campaign will take place from 12 October 2015 until 17 January 2016. At the end of the fundraising period, Sunway Medical Centre will also make a donation to NKF matching the amount of funds raised from the public.

The campaign aims to raise funds to help NKF, from both the public and Sunway Medical Centre, to help support the cost of dialysis and other operating costs. Each patient is required to undergo 3 dialysis sessions every week for life, unless they are able to undergo a kidney transplant. NKF helps over 1,600 patients annually and spends close to RM15 million a year subsidising dialysis, while the total operational costs are approximately RM30 million a year, including running 27 centres nationwide, expenses for public education programmes, welfare contributions for hardcore poor patients and their children, professional training for personnel, transportation for patients, and replacement of equipment. Close to 60% of NKF patients are hardcore poor with household disposable income of less than RM800 per month, while the other patients also fall into the low-income category. In 2015 alone, NKF needs to replace four reverse osmosis water treatment systems costing RM120,000 each, 10 dialysis machines costing RM45,000 each, and 20 units of other dialysis-related machines such as dialyser reprocessors or artificial kidney machines costing RM32,000 each.

The 30 Days to Happy Kidneys Challenge contest

The 30 Days to Happy Kidneys Challenge sees more excitement with a contest to further encourage members of the public to take up the challenge. Every day, members of the public need to perform the activity indicated on the calendar and take a creative picture showing this. Then, on the same day, they should upload the photo on Instagram and caption it with a positive message and include the unique serial number on their pledge card, and tag it with #30daystohappykidneys and @sunwaymedical. There will be five mystery prizes given out per week. Participants can submit as many photos as they like and can win more than once. Photos with the highest number of likes will win. There will be one Grand Prize of flight tickets worth up to RM5,000 to be won at the end of the contest period. A participant who has participated in the 30 Days to Happy Kidneys Challenge contest will be selected through a random draw of serial numbers and be required to answer 3 questions on kidney health correctly to receive the Grand Prize. So, get more pledge cards and start participating in the daily challenge to stand a higher chance of being selected!

The last day of the contest will be on 15 November 2015 – to allow more time for collecting likes. This follows Sunway Medical Centre’s World Diabetes Day celebration on 14 November at Sunway Pyramid.

How to donate and get your pledge cards

The pledge cards are available for donors at Sunway Medical Centre and during the following World Diabetes Day roadshows by Sunway Medical Centre. Members of the public can also get free health screenings, play interactive games and get attractive freebies at the roadshows:

·         Sunway Carnival, Penang on 17 October 2015 (Saturday)

·         Menara Sunway, Bandar Sunway on 27 to 29 October 2015 (Tuesday to Thursday)

·         Blue Concourse, Sunway Pyramid on 13 to 15 November 2015 (Friday to Sunday)

For the convenience of the public, they can also donate online at http://www.peoplegiving.org/campaign-page?campId=174 using their credit or debit card, or Maybank2u and CIMB Clicks accounts. They will receive a pledge card with a unique serial number through email within 3 days. Remember to select Other Amounts on the web form for a donation of RM11!

*IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th ed., International Diabetes Federation, 2014

** Age range from 20-79 years

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