Chronic kidney disease patient finds vital support through Bong Go and Malasakit Center Program

Chronic kidney disease patient finds vital support through Bong Go and Malasakit Center Program

PRINCE Jerard Cataag, 22 years old and a resident of Caloocan City, has been battling chronic kidney disease stage 5 in the last four years.

His aunt, Gela Mahinay, recounts the terrifying onset of his symptoms, which included severe swelling from his face to his feet, fatigue, unconscious episodes, and continuous salivation.

“Hindi namin kasi alam ‘yung totoong symptoms ng may ganung sakit. Namanas po siya mula po mukha niya hanggang sa paa, namaga po, tapos unconscious po siya, nagbi-bleeding po ‘yung bibig niya, nag tutuloy-tuloy po ‘yung paglalaway niya,” she recalled.

“At that time po, hindi po namin alam kung ano ‘yung sakit niya,” she added.

After initial check-ups, they were recommended for hospital admission, a suggestion that began their odyssey from one hospital to another until they reached the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City. The diagnosis was dire and came at a time when the pandemic financially crippled the family.

At this critical juncture, the Malasakit Center stepped in to lift the financial load off their shoulders.

“Wala kaming ka-pera-pera nung time na iyon kasi nga pandemic. Hindi po namin alam kung saan kami kukuha financially. So, sabi po sa amin doon na pwede kaming lumapit (sa Malasakit),” Gela explained, grateful for the relief provided.

“Hanggang doon sa billing, nilapit po namin sa Malasakit. Nagpapasalamat kami kasi wala po kami halos binayaran. Tapos ‘yung gamot po, ‘yun po naki-carry over po,” she added.

Prince Jerard’s story is a testament to the profound impact of the Malasakit Centers since its inception in 2018. Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, the father of the Malasakit Centers Program, anticipated that this would prove a crucial support system for many Filipinos facing severe health crises, especially those financially disadvantaged.

These centers exemplify the senator’s initiative to streamline medical and financial assistance provided by the government, thereby easing the burdens on patients and their families.

Go’s commitment is echoed in Gela’s words, “Ako po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat kay Senator Bong Go, tsaka po sa Malasakit Center. Kasi po, isa po kami sa natulungan ninyo.”

“Hanggang ngayon, nagtutuluy-tuloy po ‘yung pagda-dialysis ko. Thank you po, Senator Bong Go. Dahil sa Malasakit po, nakapagpatuloy po ako sa session ko sa dialysis,” Prince expessed.

Malasakit Centers aim to support impoverished patients in reducing their hospital costs to the least possible amount. Go is the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 11463, or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program.

Currently, 165 Malasakit Centers are operational nationwide, poised to assist with patients’ medical expenses. The DOH reports that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to more or less ten million Filipinos.

“Malaki pong bagay ‘yung naitutulong po sa amin ng Malasakit. Lalo po sa mga kapus-palad na kagaya namin, ‘yung hindi kaya ‘yung laki ng gastos sa ospital. Kung wala po ‘yung tulong n’yo, baka po hindi na namin napagtuluy-tuloy ‘yung pagpapagamot sa pamangkin po,” concluded Gela, her repeated thanks underscoring the deep appreciation felt by those helped by this initiative.

The initiative by Go provides relief and embodies a caring bridge between the government and its people in need. Through these centers, many more families like Prince’s find a semblance of hope and a path to recovery amidst their health battles, underscoring these centers’ significant role in the country’s healthcare system.

“Bilang inyong Mr. Malasakit, anumang pagsubok ang ating haharapin sa susunod na mga araw, patuloy akong magseserbisyo sa inyong lahat dahil bisyo ko na ang magserbisyo at naniniwala ako na ang serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos,” Go said.


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