The early years…
In December 1966, the press highlighted the plight of Harry Kydd who was suffering from end-stage kidney failure and severe hypertension. Kydd, age 22, married with two children was then a teacher at the Methodist Boys Primary School in Jalan Davidson. Kydd who was at the prime of his youth, would die if there is no kidney machine available for his treatments.
Dr SS Gill, Consultant Nephrologist at Assunta Hospital was sympathetic; along with Kydd’s uncle Carrol Harry, who was a reporter with Malay Mail at that time – he helped to highlight Kydd’s case in the press. The news caught the attention of the public and funds begun to pour in. Then a Drake Willock Dialysis Machine was flown in from the US and Dr SS Gill became the first doctor in Malaysia to provide dialysis treatment.
Later, when Kydd died of a stroke after few months of dialysis treatment, the machine was used to dialyse other patients suffering from end-stage renal disease (ESRD) at the hospital. Kydd’s death raised public awareness on kidney failure and haemodialysis.
This incident spurred the Rotary Club of Petaling Jaya to take interest in the management of patients suffering from end-stage kidney disease. This event significantly brought about the change of fate for many who were diagnosed with ESRD in Malaysia.
In 1968, Dr Gill was invited to share his experience of treating kidney patients at the Rotary Club of Petaling Jaya – the Club then undertook, as one of its projects, the provision of financial assistance to those with ESRD, thus paving the way for National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia to be established.
With the approval from the Registrar of Societies, National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) was launched at the Lake Club, Kuala Lumpur under the patronage of the Rotary Club of Petaling Jaya on 16 January 1970. The Minister of Health then, the late Tan Sri Haji Sardon bin Haji Jubir became the first President of NKF, whilst the Foundation’s first chairman was J.W Henderson of the Rotary Club of PJ.
Over 200 business and community leaders and diplomats attended the launch dinner. A color film entitled “Everybody’s Problem” showcased much information on artificial kidney dialysis facilities was screened at the function. 4 kidney failure patients were also present at the dinner; they mingled with the attendees, shared their experience on dialysis treatments and explained how they have benefited from it.
In the early stages, NKF’s founding members Dato’ Dr Sreenevasan and Dr SS Gill were constantly involved in the training of personnel such as staff nurses, renal technicians; they also conducted various seminars on kidney diseases and kidney transplantation.
NKF also worked hand-in-hand with the Government to establish the Institute of Urology and Nephrology at General Hospital Kuala Lumpur in 1970. This was to lay the foundation for setting up an NKF model dialysis unit.
In 1991, NKF’s aspiration to set up a model dialysis unit at Jalan Hang Lekiu, Kuala Lumpur was made possible with the funds raised through a Telethon project and donations from the Ministry of Welfare.
First model dialysis centre at Jalan Hang Lekiu
On 21 April 1993, NKF became the first NGO in Malaysia to establish and run a dialysis centre for the benefit of the poor and needy patients suffering from ESRD. This achievement was made possible with the help from Dr SS Gill, Dato Dr Sreenevasan and Dato Dr Zaki Morad Bin Mohd Zaher – Senior Nephrologist at GHKL; all who contributed significant resources for this meaningful project.
For the first time, dialysis treatments were made available to lower income group of kidney patients at a subsidized rate of RM60 with the opening of NKF’s first dialysis centre at Jalan Hang Lekiu, Kuala Lumpur.
7 dialysis centres were set up (including the centre at Jalan Hang Lekiu) in the first 7 years. To date, NKF runs 28 dialysis centres nationwide with plans for more upcoming centres at locations with kidney failure patients who are underserved. NKF’s achievement today is the foresight, prudence and hard work of the founding members – along with the continuous support from various organizations and the public.
Note: NKF dialysis centre at Jalan Hang Lekiu ceased operation in April 2011. However, NKF’s aim to continue providing quality dialysis treatments at subsidized rate to poor kidney patients remains unchanged. All NKF’s 28 dialysis centres are fully licensed by the Ministry of Health.
First Board of Governors
With the rapid expansion of NKF, a Board of Governors was needed to develop and plan the organization’s policy – hence, the first Board was made up of eight distinguished members: Tan Sri Sardon bin Hj Jubir, Mr Lim Chooi Seng, Mrs Douglas KK Lee, Mr SH Tan, Dr LS Sodhy, Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie, Senator Dato’ EJ Crawford and Dato’ Yusoff bin Hj Ahmad.
In 1994, NKF’s Board of Governors welcomed many reputable personalities; including Dato’ K. Pathmanathan, Dato’ Syed Idris, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Dato’ Lam Peng Chong, Dato’ Lee Lam Thye, and Datuk Hj Ibrahim Abdul Rahman. Tan Sri Datuk Clifford F. Herbert joined the Board of Governors when Dato’ Lee Lam Thye retired in 1997. Mr Lynn Kulasingam, formerly of the Auditors General’s Office was invited to be a member of the Board of Governors at its first meeting on 17th August 1994.
The late Dato’ Pathmanathan, the Deputy Minister of Health then, proved to be an invaluable asset and headed a Committee which prepared the ‘Memorandum on a Proposal to Establish a Nationwide Kidney Dialysis Programme’. The other members in the Committee were Prof. Datin Dr. Norella Kong, Dr SS Gill, Mr Ho Soon Choy, Ms Lynette Lim and Dato’ Dr G A Sreenevasan.
Under the governance and professional help given by the Board of Governors, NKF always maintained a transparent procedure in managing the organization’s funds.
Government pledged RM25 million to NKF
NKF’s continuous efforts towards helping poor kidney failure patients was officially acknowledged by the Government in 1996 when the Ministry of Finance promised RM25 million to NKF so that 5 new dialysis centres can be established in a span of 5 years.
However, NKF received RM15 million while the rest went to organizations which are also running subsidized dialysis centres in a similar manner. NKF invited government representatives to sit on its Board of Governors upon receiving the grant. Dato’ Dr Haji Megat Burhanuddin represented the Ministry of Health while Tuan Syed Abdul Rahman bin Syed Adnan represented the Ministry of Finance.
First NKF “SHARE” Newsletter
The first issue of NKF’s quarterly “SHARE” newsletter was published in January 1996; since then it has been a useful channel for the organization to have direct communication with our donors, peers, stakeholders, patients and the public.
The newsletter served to informed readers on kidney-diseases matters and to increase awareness on kidney care and kidney health. Also, we wanted to share with our readers what NKF is doing to make a difference.
First NKF Chief Executive Officer
Growing numbers of dialysis patients and expansion of dialysis centre makes it necessary for the organization to appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to manage the overall administration, as well as to ensure NKF’s budgets and expenditures adhere to the requirements of both internal and external auditors.
On 15 October 1997, Mr Lee Siew Kuan was appointed as the first NKF CEO. During his tenure, he set a clear course for NKF to achieve its goals, when Mr Goh Seng Chuan took over in 2002; NKF had specific guidelines for efficient running of its dialysis centres within established budgets.
NKF Welfare Unit… “We Care & Cherish”
For more information, click HERE.
NKF Public Education Department… “Spreading the Message”
For more information, click HERE.
NKF Training Department… “Quality & Consistency Matters”
For more information, click HERE.
NKF New Secretariat Office
NKF members celebrated the opening of the new secretariat office located in Section 14, Petaling Jaya on 30 May 2003. The launch was officiated by Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman – the President of NKF’s Board of Governors.
Previously, NKF was operating in its rented premises since the establishment of its first dialysis centre. Due to NKF’s rapid growth, the Board of Governors then decided to acquire the adjacent property of its Petaling Jaya dialysis centre in January 2003; hence, the secretariat office was relocated to the new building in April 2003.
NKF Dialysis Centres… “Giving Hope”
As the leading dialysis treatment provider in Malaysia, NKF grows significantly with new dialysis centres being established every year. To date, NKF operates 29 dialysis centres nationwide – with 10 in Klang Valley area, others in various states throughout the country. There are also plans to set up more centres in Sabah and Sarawak.
Year 2000 onwards, various organizations have pitched-in and joined NKF as partners in setting up dialysis centres. NKF welcomes organizations or individuals to join us in this life-saving endeavour; so that dialysis treatment can be made more accessible to the poor and needy kidney patients.