The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) granted accreditation status to the Post Basic Haemodialysis (PBHD) Nursing Programme of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Malaysia.

According to Dr Thiruventhiran Thilaganathan, Vice Chairman of NKF Malaysia, there were a total of 35,000 patients on regular dialysis treatment for CKD by the end of 2016. This number has been rising by an average of 15% annually, putting Malaysia in third place of the world’s highest kidney related diseases.

In order to cope with the number, there was a need for more dialysis facilities as well as qualified personnel to conduct dialysis treatment for patients.

Qualified nurses needed

Dr Thiruventhiran explained that the doctor is usually not on-site, thus nurses are often relied upon to carry out and monitor dialysis treatment.

“In 1998, when the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act was introduced by the government, there was then a need for dialysis centres to have what we call credentialed nurses – nurses who have undergone their basic nursing programme, and subsequently, have a post-basic training in dialysis so that they are specialised to carry out dialysis treatment,” he detailed.

Once the Act was implemented in 2006, it became mandatory for all dialysis centres in Malaysia to have units that are equipped and manned by fully-trained dialysis nurses. As such, it created a large demand for nurses to take up the course, which led to the organisation to decide to receive accreditation from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

To address this need, NKF began the Post Basic Haemodialysis (PBHD) Nursing Programme in 2005 to create more qualified nurses to work with dialysis units and patients.

“This programme began as an internal programme in NKF as an in-house training programme to train internal nurses as we were expanding and opening more centres,” said Dr Thiruventhiran.

“However, around 2009, with the boom of dialysis centres being set up around the country, we were getting requests from the Ministry of Health (MOH) as well as various private organisations and companies to train qualified and professional nurses for dialysis. It was then that the decision was made to take the PBHD programme external,” he explained.

The PBHD programme is open to nurses who have completed their three-year basic nursing programme and two years working experience as a staff nurse, out of which three months have to be in a dialysis unit. During this six-month programme, they received practical training as well as receive attachments in various government hospitals and dialysis centres in the Klang Valley to gain hands-on real-world experience. Towards the end of the programme, they will undergo an examination conducted by in-house tutors and external examiners.

Last year, NKF received full accreditation for the PBHD programme by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) as well as full recognition by the Malaysian government.

This year, NKF hopes to conduct two intakes for the PBHD programme, taking in about 20 nurses per intake. Plans are already underway to increase both the number of intakes per year, as well as the number of nurses per intake. MIMS

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Press release from National Kidney Foundation Malaysia