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Hemodialysis clinics will make it possible for Felda residents to save money while receiving treatment


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KUANTAN: The need for hemodialysis centers in all Felda regions is becoming increasingly apparent as the number of patients among settlers rises. Such centers would not only provide essential medical care but also alleviate the financial burden imposed on patients who currently have to travel long distances to hospitals for treatment.

Zaid Sidek, the head of settlers in Felda Chini Timur 3 in Pekan, expressed his hope that Felda Gugusan Chini would be selected to have a hemodialysis facility. Currently, chronic kidney patients in the area have to travel more than 50 kilometers each way to Muadzam Shah Hospital in Rompin for dialysis treatment.

“With treatment required three times a week, the transportation costs for those using their own vehicles are quite high. Having a hemodialysis center here would greatly reduce these costs,” Zaid explained. “The cumulative expenses for travel, when calculated weekly and monthly, amount to a significant sum. As this is an ongoing treatment, the money saved could be used for other essential needs such as daily necessities.”

Zaid shared these sentiments during a conversation with Bernama on July 10.

During the national-level Felda Settlers Day 2023 event in Serdang, Selangor, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the allocation of RM21 million for the construction of 12 hemodialysis centers. These centers will be established in all Felda regions, with one also being built at the Yayasan Felda premise.

Hasnah Abdul Ghani, a 63-year-old settler from Felda Chini 5 in Pekan, expressed her agreement with the necessity of having hemodialysis centers in all Felda regions. She explained that the number of individuals in need of treatment is increasing due to their age. Although she doesn’t require treatment herself, Hasnah mentioned that there are people she knows who have to travel over 60 kilometers to Pekan Hospital, which poses challenges, especially for the elderly.

“As people of our age, we rely on the help of others for long-distance travel, and it is usually our children who accompany us for treatment. Having a nearby hemodialysis center would make it easier for them to take us and pick us up, especially for children who are self-employed and rely on daily wages,” Hasnah said. She further explained that if the entire day is spent traveling to the hospital, it results in lost income. However, if a hemodialysis center is located nearby, they can return to work while waiting for the treatment to be completed, as the process typically takes four hours.

Mohd Asri Lazim, the head of settlers at Felda Lurah Bilut in Bentong, expressed appreciation for the government’s proactive measures, which demonstrate concern for the settlers’ health and acknowledge the sacrifices made by the first generation, who are predominantly senior citizens.

“The construction of a hemodialysis center is indeed good news for the first generation because their health is important. They worked hard to explore and clear the forest to cultivate the land with crops,” Mohd Asri stated. He added that it would be a fitting reward for their sacrifices to have their health matters made easier at their age, and he believes that such facilities would have users if provided.

Mohd Sahrin Abdullah, a 45-year-old settler from Felda Keratong 5, suggested that a hemodialysis center could be established by upgrading the existing health clinic in the Felda area. He emphasized the practicality of such a solution, as it would be easily accessible for all residents.

“As we grow older, more people are diagnosed with multiple diseases. It would be convenient if the necessary treatment is available within the Felda area, eliminating the need to travel far. Additionally, after completing the treatment, patients are not physically strong and energetic,” Mohd Sahrin explained. He expressed his concern for the elderly, who have to travel considerable distances each time they undergo hemodialysis treatment.

Mohamad Shofi Mat Isa, a 39-year-old settler from Felda Hilir 3 in Kuantan, believes that the presence of a hemodialysis center can help reduce the number of patients seeking treatment at government hospitals. Apart from Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital (HTAA), he mentioned that an alternative for dialysis treatment is a private center located in or near Kuantan town, which is over 30 kilometers away from the Felda settlement.

“However, many individuals opt for government facilities due to the high cost of treatment at private hemodialysis centers, which can amount to hundreds of ringgit per session. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands of ringgit every month, considering that treatment is not just once a week,” Mohamad Shofi highlighted. He acknowledged the increasing number of chronic kidney patients each year and suggested that if settlers can receive treatment within Felda itself, the patient quota at hospitals can be allocated to other groups, particularly the B40 or M40 groups in urban areas.

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