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HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

National Kidney and Transplant Institute bags 2 awards at Healthcare Asia Awards 2019

It pioneered the use of Extracorporal Membrane Oxygenation technology to save a dying patient’s life.

During a Leptospirosis outbreak in June 2018, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) pioneered the use of Extracorporal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) technology to save a dying patient’s life. After four other Leptospirosis patients survived following the ECMO technology treatment, the NKTI showed that suffering from respiratory complications from Leptospirosis is not a death verdict. NKTI is now recognized as the first hospital in the Philippines to use ECMO technology to successfully treat Leptospirosis patients with massive pulmonary hemorrhages. Because of this, the NKTI won the Healthcare Asia Awards 2019 for Facilities Improvement Initiative of the Year and Service Innovation of the Year.

Dealing with Leptospirosis outbreaks is nothing new for NKTI. In 2009, Metro Manila was devastated and suffered a billion dollars in damages caused by Typhoon Ketsana. After the heavy rains and flooding, the national government declared a Leptospirosis outbreak in Metro Manila. The number of patients with suspected signs and symptoms of Leptospirosis increased to 2,300 and around 178 or 8% died.

In June 2018, another Leptospirosis outbreak was declared in Metro Manila resulting in a major concern due to lack of beds and rooms in government and private hospitals to accommodate the patients. To address the looming disaster, the NKTI opened its gymnasium to accommodate more than 50 beds and converted patient rooms for additional ICU beds. More dialysis machines were set up for use of patients needing dialysis. With help from the Department of Health (DOH), cot beds and medicines for treatment and prophylaxis were procured. Other Metro Manila and military hospitals were tapped to mobilize doctors, nurses, nurses, nursing aides, and other medical staff to assist in handling the emergency situation.

On June 24, 2018, Dr. Joselito Chavez, a pulmonologist, led a team of doctors and nurses in trailblazing the use of ECMO technology. The patient survived and was removed from the ECMO machine in the week’s time. In fact, DOH Secretary and other officials paid visit to NKTI, and in several fora, NKTI was commended with its rapid and effective response to the Leptospirosis crisis. The NKTI and its management, under the leadership of its current Executive Director, Dr. Rose Marie O. Rosete-Liquete, maintains the preparedness and efficiency of the institute to meet head on this problem.

The Healthcare Asia Awards 2019 was held on May 23, 2019 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore.

This year's nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Abhay Bangi, Partner, Life Sciences & Healthcare Lead, Ernst & Young; Dr. Loke Wait Chiong Executive Director, Healthcare Sector Leader, Deloitte; Dr. Zubin Daruwalla, Director, SEAC Health Industries Leader, PwC; Chin Chee Choon, Advisory Leader, Nexia TS; and Willy Leow, Partner, Risk Advisory Services, BDO LLP.

Check out the event photos during the awards night here.

If you would like to join the 2020 awards and be awarded as one of the most outstanding healthcare companies in the region, please email Julie Anne Nuñez at

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