Our History

NKF Founder Dr KhooThe story of the NKF began in the early 1960s when Dr Khoo Oon Teik, a nephrologist, witnessed the agonising plight of kidney failure sufferers from close quarters. When his brother became a victim and died from this disease, Dr Khoo was determined to save others. 

In 1969, Dr Khoo and a cohort of friends successfully established Singapore’s first dialysis unit at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). The late Encik Yusof Bin Ishak, the first President of the Republic of Singapore and patron of the NKF, officially inaugurated the NKF on April 7, World Health Day. In the same year, Dr Khoo and a group of volunteers organised a film premier to raise funds to establish the first NKF dialysis unit in Singapore. This unit was located in the attic of the SGH. 

From 1969, when the NKF was established, and through the 70s and early 80s, thousands of Singaporeans died of kidney failure. Many sold their homes and belongings to pay for treatment, as the charge of dialysis was exorbitant – $4000 a month. Kidney transplants were a remote option and death was an inevitable reality. However, things began to change with the inception of the NKF.

History Timeline


1970 – The early years of struggle

Singapore’s first renal transplant was done on Ms Doreen Tan who lived for 20 years.


The landmark Act, the new Medical Therapy, Education and Research Act, was passed on June 1, 1972. With this act, the wishes of those who had pledged their organs could not be overridden by surviving relatives.

The NKF conducted its first kidney donation campaign, launched by the then Minister for Health, Mr Chua Sian Chin, who also signed up as a donor. As part of the campaign, 750,000 organ donor cards were sent to every household through their PUB bills. The card was advertised in all language papers to promote kidney donation. Although only 2,000 people pledged their kidneys, it was a start to creating awareness about the plight of kidney failure sufferers in Singapore.


In November 1974, the NKF sponsored the colloquium on Nephrology where for the first time, renal medicine specialists in Southeast Asia met to discuss kidney-related issues in the region.


In September 1975, the NKF set up a Self-Dependency Centre at the Alexandra Hospital and a training centre for Home and Self-Dependency Dialysis at the Singapore General Hospital at a cost of $250,000. Singapore’s second President, the late Dr Benjamin Sheares, officially opened these centres.


1980s – The crucial years of steady growth

The NKF represented Singapore in the First Asian Congress of Nephrology, held in Tokyo, to learn how other Asian countries were dealing with kidney failure.


In September 1982, the NKF opened its first dialysis centre with 10 dialysis machines at the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital. It cost $1 million to refurnish the place and set it up with dialysis equipment. The NKF headquarters was also moved to a section of the hospital.


The NKF created history for Singapore when, with the help of Singapore Airlines, it flew in a kidney from America to be transplanted to Mdm Choo Tong Lian. It was also the first time that a kidney, kept in cold storage for 48 hours, was transplanted here.


10 of our transplanted patients participated in the 5th International Transplant Olympics in the Netherlands.


The NKF launched a month-long intensive publicity programme to increase public awareness about kidney disease, the exorbitant cost of dialysis treatment, and the pressing need for funds to maintain patients on the dialysis programme.


The NKF rallied the support of more than 1 million Singaporeans for the passage of the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA). The Act presumes that non-Muslims, between the ages of 21 and 60, have pledged their kidneys upon accidental death, unless they have opted out.


The NKF’s determined efforts in lobbying for HOTA achieved its desired result with the passing of the Act in May. This Act was passed with great support from the public, making Singapore the first Commonwealth country to adopt such legislation.

On December 24, 1987, the first satellite dialysis centre, the SIA – NKF Dialysis Centre, was established in Toa Payoh with a grant from Singapore Airlines. It was the beginning of a new era, as it paved the way for more centres to be built within other housing estates, bringing affordable dialysis to the doorsteps of kidney patients in Singapore.

Lifeforce Games raised funds for kidney patients through sports and games like cycling, jogging, bowling, soccer tournaments and aerobics marathon.

The NKF’s innovative rehabilitation programme was launched to inject optimism and self-esteem into patients through counselling, and help them with job placements.


The NKF set stern but positive policies – patients must contribute to treatment costs, hold a job, keep good family ties, and adhere to dietary restrictions – that achieved incredible results, making patients productive and responsible members of society.


The NKF’s second dialysis centre, the National Panasonic – Lifeforce Dialysis Centre, was set up at Kim Keat in April 1989, helping 90 patients under 35 years old. This centre was built through the generous contribution of the Matsushita Group with additional funds raised through the Lifeforce Games.
On September 9, the NKF’s third centre, the Singapore Pools – NKF Dialysis Centre, was set up in Bedok. For the first time, kidney patients living in the East had easy access to affordable dialysis.

The NKF was proud to organise and host the 7th World Transplant Games in Singapore from September 10 to 14, attracting more than 800 participants from 34 countries. This international gathering of organ recipients is a vivid testimony that organ failure cannot only be overcome by transplant, but that rehabilitation can lead to remarkable results.


1990s – The years of crossing new boundaries

On November 1, 1990, for the first time, dialysis treatment was made accessible for kidney patients living in the West with the opening of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) – NKF Dialysis Centre at Clementi. 50,000 SAF men and women, who raised $774,000 through a mass jog, made this centre possible.

The NKF introduced evening dialysis sessions, allowing working patients to work during the day and dialyse three times a week in the evenings.


The NKF successfully lobbied for a reduction in the price of the immunosuppressive drug, Cyclosporin. Transplant patients need to take this drug for the rest of their lives to reduce the risk of transplant rejection. The price of Cyclosporin was reduced by 20% per bottle. The Cyclosporin Fund was set up by the NKF to provide further subsidies of up to $100 for needy transplant patients.

A nationwide campaign was launched to help educate the Muslim community on kidney donation and transplantation and persuade them to pledge their kidneys. Muslims are exempt from HOTA and must opt in. The Muslim Organ Donation Campaign was launched with the appointment of a Muslim Transplant Coordinator who helped to encourage more potential Muslim donors to donate their kidneys.

In December, the first transplant in Southeast Asia was carried out in Singapore using the kidneys of a Muslim-accident victim.


The NKF organised the 1st International Congress on Organ Transplantation in Developing Countries from April 29 to May 3, 1992. The Congress saw more than 500 delegates from over 70 countries gathering to discuss the ethical and medical issues on kidney transplantation in developing countries.
The NKF’s 5th dialysis centre, the Singapore Buddhist Welfare Services (SBWS) – NKF Dialysis Centre, was set up in Hougang on June 13. The SBWS was the first organisation to fully fund the centre’s recurrent annual expenditure of $700,000.

The Urgent Placement Scheme was started in September to accept kidney patients, who needed treatment immediately, at highly subsidised fees, while their application to join the NKF programme was being processed.

The NKF initiated the Patient’s Advancement Fund with a generous contribution of $108,000 from NTUC income and the residents of Bukit Batok. This Fund aimed to help kidney patients improve themselves through vocational training courses and educational programmes.

On October 6, one of our patients, Madam Nooraini Abdul Rahman, gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She was the first dialysis patient in Asia to have a successful pregnancy. This medical breakthrough is a testimony of the high standards of dialysis treatment and care at the NKF dialysis centres.

The NTUC Income – NKF Dialysis Centre was set up on November 28, helping 84 patients in Bukit Batok.


With the support of the Airline Pilots Association – Singapore (ALPAS), the Children’s Dialysis Fund was set up on January 15, 1993. This Fund gave new life to patients under 16 years by providing subsidies of up to 80% for a full range of treatment, including monthly dialysis expenditure, drugs, hospitalisation charges, and transplant and post-transplant expenses.

The NKF, with the Ministry of Health, officially launched the Singapore Renal Registry (SRR) at the Singapore General Hospital on February 20. The first of its kind in Asia, the Registry gathers comprehensive data and statistics on kidney disease from dialysis centres and hospitals in Singapore. The NKF then undertakes appropriate preventive measures based on trends identified by the Registry. This Registry was fully funded by the NKF.


The NKF opened its 7th dialysis centre, the Japan Airlines – NKF Dialysis Centre, at the Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital on February 26, 1994. With 20 dialysis stations, this centre was the largest renal facility in Southeast Asia.
The NKF introduced a novel fundraising method using technology – the telepoll. For the first time, international stars like Jacky Cheung and local artistes performed together to raise funds for charity in Singapore. With the support of Singaporeans, the show raised more than $3.9 million to benefit kidney patients.

The NKF set up its 8th dialysis centre, the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL) – NKF Dialysis Centre, in Bukit Merah on October 8.

The NKF organised the 1st International Congress on Dialysis in Developing Countries from November 2 to 5. Experts from all over the world shared their experiences and learned from the NKF’s unique model of dialysis care to address the special needs and problems of providing dialysis treatment in their own countries.

The leaders in dialysis practice from 33 countries formed the NKF International Science Advisory Committee.


The NKF moved its headquarters from the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital to Kim Keat Road in February 1995.

11-year-old Salina received a new kidney for her birthday after waiting for seven long years, making her the youngest recipient of a cadaveric kidney in Singapore. The NKF Children’s Dialysis Fund took care of all her transplant expenditure.

For the first time, kidney patients living in the North had easy access to dialysis with the opening of the NKF’s 9th dialysis centre, Toa Payoh Seu Teck Sean Tong – NKF Dialysis Centre, in Yishun on March 18.

Persistent negotiations by the NKF with the distributor of Eprex resulted in a 50% reduction of the drug, which treats anaemia, a side effect of kidney failure. The majority of kidney patients who needed it were able to afford the drug.

The NKF appointed an independent audit committee to enhance its system of internal control, making it the first and only charity in Singapore to do so.

The NKF took great pride in opening its 10th dialysis centre, the NTUC/Singapore Pools – NKF Dialysis Centre, in Tampines on August 26, surpassing the Ang Mo Kio Dialysis Centre to become the largest centre in Southeast Asia.


The NKF launched the Continuous Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) programme, which made subsidised treatment available for the first time to patients on this alternative form of dialysis. The first CAPD Centre was opened at the Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital on April 27, 1996.

The NKF’s 12th dialysis centre, the SAF – NKF Dialysis Centre, in Hong Kah was opened on September 21 to meet the increasing demand for dialysis by kidney patients living in the West.

The NKF organised the 2nd International Congress on Dialysis from October 2 to 5. On October 2, the NKF gave its highest accolades to two distinguished doctors for their life-saving contributions in the field of nephrology. The NKF Renal Advancement Award was presented to Associate Professor Woo Keng Thye, Head of the Renal Medicine Unit, Singapore General Hospital, and the Gift of Life Award went to Associate Professor Yap Hui Kim, Head of Paediatric Nephrology, Immunology and Urology, National University Hospital.


The NKF formed a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Centre for the study of kidney disease and the leading authority in the prevention of kidney disease, to bring state-of-the-art medical treatment to its patients in Singapore.

The Sakyadhita – NKF Dialysis Centre, the NKF’s 13th dialysis centre, was set up on March 29 at Sims Drive. It was the first to have a Day Centre to meet the special needs of elderly kidney patients.

The NKF launched its Exercise for Life programme, the first in Asia, on June 14. It enabled kidney patients to improve their physical fitness and gain better control of their health.

The NKF launched a nationwide campaign called Partnership for Prevention in July, offering free health screenings to employees at their workplace. This programme screened more than 100,000 working adults.

The NKF Achievers Award was launched to recognise patients who maximised the quality medical treatment and services of the NKF to improve their lives. The Young Achievers Award was presented to patients’ children who excelled in their studies.

The Champions of the NKF programme was launched to encourage students in primary and secondary schools to make a positive contribution to the community.


Singapore’s first Kidney Resource Centre was established with the opening of the NKF’s 14th centre, Hong Leong – NKF Dialysis Centre, in Aljunied on June 15, 1998. The Resource Centre is a place where dialysis patients and members of the public can access information related to the prevention and management of kidney disease, as well as receive professional consultation from specially trained nurses, doctors and counsellors.

The NKF launched the TMP – NKF Patient Fitness for Longevity and Excellence (FLEX) Programme in 1998. The FLEX Programme aims to empower patients to live healthier and fuller lives through customised fitness regimens.

The Temple opened Southeast Asia’s largest dialysis centre, the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple – NKF Dialysis Centre, at Simei on October 3 with a $2.2 million donation. The Temple became the second organisation to fully fund the centre’s recurrent annual expenditure of $1 million.

The NKF Patients’ Children Tuition programme was launched to help our patients’ children perform well academically. Qualified volunteer tutors were engaged.


The Life Underwriters Association (LUA) – NKF Dialysis Centre was opened on January 30, 1999, providing treatment to 102 patients. This centre costs $1.5 million.

On June 12, the Tampines Chinese Temple – NKF Dialysis Centre opened its doors, helping 78 needy patients. This centre is also equipped with a Day Centre for the elderly where they can rest and chat with other elderly patients after the treatment while waiting for their family to pick them up.

On July 10, the NKF took a major step in the search for better treatment and prevention strategies for chronic kidney failure by establishing the Khoo Oon Teik Professorship in Nephrology at the National University of Singapore at a cost of $1.5 million. Launched by former President Ong Teng Cheong and Vice-Chancellor of NUS, Professor Lim Pin, it also marked the pioneering contributions of the NKF founder, Dr Khoo Oon Teik, a prolific author and co-author of over 100 research papers in the arena of nephrology. Distinguished members from the international Advisory Board of the NKF from world-renowned healthcare institutions such as Harvard Medical School and George Medical Care Foundation, USA lauded our efforts in preventing the epidemic of kidney failure in Singapore.

The NKF extended its help to liver and heart patients by spearheading the multi-organ and tissue donation campaign, a national effort to raise awareness about the critical need for organ pledging. In October, the NKF organised a series of public education programmes, triggering a record-breaking 1,200 Singaporeans who pledged their organs within a five-week period. This was six times more than the annual average of 200 pledges for the past 10 years.


2000s – Conquering new challenges, achieving new heights

The NKF set up its second Kidney Resource Centre at Woodlands. This centre is equipped with multi-media information on the management and prevention of kidney disease, and coincided with the opening of the Thong Teck Sian Tong Lian Sin Sia – NKF Dialysis Centre, the NKF’s 18th dialysis centre. It marked the fulfillment of the dying wish of the late patriarch, Mr Tay Choon Huat, by his five filial children. They donated $1.8 million through their father’s founding company, Thong Huat (Importers and Exporters) Pte Ltd.

Partnering with the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, which donated $15 million, the NKF launched a five-year Early Detection Programme on April 7 to provide health screenings to the public for the early detection and intervention of kidney and other related diseases. A unique initiative was the mobile health clinics, bringing health screenings directly to the people.

The late Mr Tay Choon Hye, a kidney patient and chairman of the SUTL group of companies, helped to establish the Tay Choon Hye – NKF Dialysis Centre with a $5 million donation on May 13. This was the single largest donation by an individual in the history of the NKF.

The NKF, with the Muslim Kidney Action Committee (MKAC), spearheaded an unprecedented five-month campaign called “Suara Hati” or “Voices of the Heart” to garner support from Singaporean Muslims for a law that would immediately make them kidney donors upon death. Gaining overwhelming support from the Muslim community, the NKF and the MKAC will pursue this legislation to save the lives of more kidney failure sufferers.

To help provide the best quality care to save the lives of children with kidney failure, the NKF organised the 7th Asian Congress of Paediatric Nephrology in Singapore from November 4 to 6. This congress equipped paediatric nephrologists and general paediatricians with an avenue to learn the latest trends in paediatric renal care.


For the first time in the history of fundraising, the NKF made use of combined new technology such as Send and SMS appeals with telepoll to garner support for the NKF Charity Show 2001. The show broke the record in Singapore’s fundraising history with more than $11.6 million raised through 1.8 million calls and 477,000 SMS donations.

In June 2001, the NKF Institute of Nursing Education and Research (INER) initiated the formation of the Association of Renal Professionals of Asia Pacific (ARPAP). Ten countries joined as members – Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Oman, Hong Kong and Taiwan. A first in the region, the ARPAP aims to promote interaction and advancement of renal care through continuous education and professional development among renal professionals in the Asia Pacific and in the Gulf countries.

The NKF hosted NephroAsia 2001 in collaboration with two of the world’s leading nephrology societies, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). Hailed as Asia’s Premier Nephrology Meeting, NephroAsia 2001 provided a cutting edge scientific forum with 80 eminent speakers from top medical institutions worldwide, addressing over 1,300 renal healthcare professionals from 60 countries for intellectual exchange on issues that impact patient care.

Students from top business schools joined the NKF MBA Internship Programme. These students from institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT learnt business skills from the NKF’s unique model of non-profit management.

The NKF Children’s Medical Fund (CMF) was set up to help children and young adults suffering from acute and chronic illnesses, and ease the heavy financial burden on their families.

Legendary soccer star, Pele, visited and encouraged kidney patients at the Tay Choon-NKF Dialysis Centre on December 4, 2001. He also lauded the NKF’s customised patient fitness programme, which consists of stretching exercises aided by specially produced videos on strength and cardiovascular fitness training.

Five caring donors – The Shaw Foundation, the late Mr Tay Choon Hye, Singapore Pools, Lee Foundation and Singapore Buddhist Welfare Services – generously contributed $21 million for the entire cost of building the NKF Centre.

To provide the best possible quality of life for kidney patients, the NKF introduced a superior form of dialysis – the Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD). It is a do-it-yourself, home-based treatment that allows patients to treat themselves independently at night while they sleep. Patients on APD save on travelling time because they do not have to visit a dialysis centre three times a week for 4-hour treatment sessions. This innovative form of treatment allows patients to lead a more independent lifestyle.

The NKF set up a peritoneal dialysis management centre at the New Creation Church – NKF Dialysis Centre, which was opened in Bukit Panjang on December 8. Made possible by the generosity of the Church’s leaders and its congregation, this centre features world-class technology for monitoring patients’ progress with internet connectivity to patients’ APD machines in their own homes. Aside from APD, this centre also provides haemodialysis treatment to kidney patients living and working in the West.


Thanks to a generous $4 million donation from The Shaw Foundation, the NKF opened The Shaw-NKF Children’s Kidney Centre (CKC) at The Children’s Medical Institute, National University Hospital on February 23, 2002. The CKC is the first ever one-stop medical centre in Asia dedicated to the unique and complex needs of children suffering from kidney and other related diseases.

In partnership with MediaCorp TV, the NKF produced an 8-episode weekly drama series entitled “Health Matters” that was based on real-life stories of NKF patients. A star-studded cast including Zoe Tay, Gurmit Singh, Vincent Ng and Xiang Yun supported the series, which was aired on Channel 8 from February 26 to April 16. These artistes portrayed the heart-wrenching struggles of kidney patients to convey the urgent message of prevention to every Singaporean.

With an exceptional gift of $1.8 million from the Leong Hwa Chan Si Temple, a unique 18-station dialysis and fitness centre was opened at Teck Whye on March 31. The first of its kind in Southeast Asia, this centre is dedicated to revolutionising the training and rehabilitation of elderly kidney patients through customised exercise programmes to ensure that they continue to enjoy independence and a sustained quality of life.

From July 25 to 27, the NKF hosted Southeast Asia’s 1st International Prevention Summit on Renal Disease. Realising that the increasing incidence of kidney failure is a global concern, over 20 world-renowned experts in nephrology, diabetes and hypertension from institutions such as the National Institute of Health (USA), Centres for Disease Control (USA) and the WHO gathered in Singapore to discuss their research findings and develop a unified approach in the prevention of renal and other chronic diseases.

Through a magnanimous $1 million donation from the devotees of the Bukit Timah Seu Teck Sean Tong Temple, the NKF opened its first Prevention Centre in Clementi on July 28. The first of its kind in Asia, the Centre is modelled after the International Diabetes Centre of USA, a WHO-accredited expert centre in diabetes management. In partnership with local General Practitioners, this centre provides comprehensive medical services to people with diabetes and hypertension such as detailed patient education, care monitoring, follow-up and counselling services.

On September 29, the NKF opened a new dialysis centre, the Sheng Hong Temple – NKF Dialysis Centre, in Jurong West to provide treatment to 108 patients living and working in the West. Since 2000, the Sheng Hong Temple, a Taoist Temple, had undertaken a series of fundraising activities to raise $1.8 million to make this centre a reality.

Sheng Hong Temple – NKF Dialysis Centre, the first centre to offer FLEX, is equipped with state-of-the-art gym facilities that are easily accessible to its patients throughout the week. This centre is open on Sundays with fitness trainers from TMP Fitness Sports and Recreation Pte Ltd, one of Singapore’s leading fitness companies


In 2003, the annual NKF Charity Show made headlines once again by generating a record-breaking $15.7 million though 3 million calls and an astounding viewership of over one million despite the negative impact of SARS, the slow-down of the economy and the Iraq War. The show was a huge success with star-studded performances by over 50 local and international artistes.

TV drama serial, “A Child’s Hope”, the first-ever collaboration between MediaCorp and the NKF Children’s Medical Fund, created awareness about the plight of chronically ill children and their burdened families.
NKF conducted massive public education campaign to educate Singaporeans on the misconceptions of organ donation in support of the proposed expansion of the Human Organ Transplant Act of 1987. This mass outreach event was kick started by Mediacorp artistes, including Sharon Au, Xiang Yun and Gurmit Singh, with Taiwanese pop duo, Power Station. NKF also mobilised over 300 of its staff in the door-to-door distribution of campaign flyers, reaching out to heartlanders.

Twenty-two interns from the top five management and technological institutions in India joined the NKF MBA Internship Programme. These institutions were namely, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow and IIT Bombay, which are among the leading business schools in the world. They served as international ambassadors of the NKF, advocating its life-saving cause and sharing their internship experience with their fellow students professors, and business associates. To date, this programme has attracted students from top institutions such as Harvard and MIT Sloan in the USA, the London Business School, INSEAD, Fudan and Tsinghua Universities in China and the International University of Japan.

The Phoh Kiu Siang T’ng – NKF Prevention Centre was set up with a generous sponsorship of $1 million from the Phoh Kiu Siang T’ng management and devotees. Modelled after the International Diabetes Centre (USA), a World Health Organisation (WHO) accredited centre, it provides comprehensive support services for patients with diabetes and hypertension to help reduce their risk of developing complications. The guest of Honour for the opening ceremony was Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for the Environment.


Following the NKF’s massive educational campaign to dispel common misconceptions about organ donation, the Government passed a new law in January 2004 extending the HOTA beyond kidney donation to include liver, heart and cornea donation; beyond deaths due to accident to include all causes of deaths; and beyond cadaveric donation to also regulate organ donation from living donors.

NephroAsia, Asia’s Premier Nephrology Meeting, kicked off in Singapore between 9 and 12 Feb 2004 with an overwhelming turnout of 1,500 delegates from 80 different countries worldwide. The world-class congress provided a dynamic forum for 96 eminent speakers comprising nephrologists and other leading researchers in the field of kidney disease from the world’s top healthcare institutions, to delve into intellectual exchange and lively debates in the diverse realm of nephrology. The NKF, once again, collaborated with three of the world’s leading nephrology institutions – the American Society of Nephrology, the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association and the American Society of Transplantation – to set a bench mark in renal disease management.

Bringing the prevention message to all Singaporeans, the NKF Prevention Drama, “I Love My Home”, was broadcast on Channel 8, weeknights from 23 Feb to 19 March 2004. The 20-part series, commissioned by the NKF and the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, dramatised the kinship, love, hope and tragedy of a family torn apart by kidney disease.

The annual NKF Charity Show on April 11 and 18 netted in a record S$14.3 million.

The first CMF Charity Show brought in S$13.6 million for the benefit of children with chronic illnesses. The show, which aired on July 11 and 18, showcase spectacular performances by regional and local stars.

To tackle the leading cause of death in Singapore, the NKF launched the NKF Cancer Fund on 24 November 2004. The Fund was established to help stem the rising incidence of cancer through prevention and public education, as well as ease the economic burden on cancer patients and their families by providing financial subsidies and emotional support.

The NKF was commissioned by the American Society of Transplantation (AST), the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the Society of Transplantation Singapore (SOTS) to organise TransplantAsia 2004. Held between December 1 and 4, the meeting drew more than 500 transplant professionals from 40 countries and provided a platform for them to engage in intensive scientific dialogue and knowledge sharing.


With the CMF’s help, Child Bereavement Support (Singapore) (CBSS) was launched on 30 March 2005. The group offered friendship, support and information to bereaved parents and trains medical professional to compassionately deal with grieving families. Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South-West District and Member of Parliament for Hong Kah GRC graced this event.
The NKF joined forces with insurance giant Aviva to officially open the Aviva-NKF Life & Health Hub on 7 April 2005. Located conveniently in the Central Business District at Cecil Street, the Hub was the third in the NKF’s innovative network of Prevention Centres.
The Samoan government sought the NKF’s help to set up the Samoan Kidney Foundation (SKF)-NKF Dialysis Centre, the first dialysis centre in the South Pacific. The centre, which officially opened on 14 March 2005, was part of the NKF’s efforts to help more countries establish their own self-sustaining dialysis programmes to save on medical costs and benefit kidney patients around the world.

As an immediate step to help needy cancer patients and their families, the NKF Cancer Fund launched a $20 million Patient Support Programme on 27 April 2005.

The first-ever NKF Cancer Show in July 2005 drew more than $11 million in donations to help cancer patients in Singapore.

The NKF CMF-KKH Cleft and Craniofacial Centre was officially opened on 22 July 2005. The Centre, a partnership between the CMF and the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), offered multi-discisplinary care for children seeking treatment for cleft lip and palate deformities, as well as other craniofacial anomalies.

The CMF partnered with the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to officially open the NKF CMF-SGH Centre for Hearing and Cochlear Implants on 31 August 2005. The Centre, a first-of-its-kind in the Asia-Pacific region, was established to meet the needs of children suffering from varying degrees of hearing disorders.

Following the NKF saga in July 2005, a new Board was appointed by the Ministry of Health. The Board was led by Mr Gerard Ee, the then President of the National Council of Social Service. Professor Goh Chee Leok from the National Skin Centre was appointed interim CEO.

The turnaround for a leaner and more cost-effective NKF was underway. The Board and Management went about systematically transforming the NKF and fixing its deficiencies, while at the same time preserving its strengths.

To achieve high standards of corporate governance, accountability and transparency, 10 sub-committees were formed (later expanded to 12 committees) to cover key areas of management.

The NKF re-focused its efforts on being a patient-centric organisation – delivering affordable, cost-effective and professional medical services to kidney patients, and providing more holistic care with social and community support.

Focusing on its core functions of helping needy kidney patients, it handed over the NKF Cancer Fund to the Singapore Cancer Society in November 2005.

The NKF was restructured by reducing its non-clinical staff, resulting in cost savings amounting to $3.4 million a year.

Over a period of two years, its dialysis charge went through four reductions, from $200 per session to $130 per session, a 35% reduction.


Mrs Eunice Tay took over as full-time CEO from interim CEO Professor Goh Chee Leok on 2 May 2006. Prior to joining NKF, Mrs Tay was Chief Operating Officer at the National Neuroscience Institute.

The NKF handed over the NKF Children’s Medical Fund to the Singapore Children’s Society in November 2006.

It also adopted an “open-door” policy, working closely with grassroots organisations to conduct regular Dialysis Centre Open House events in the heartlands where residents can learn more about the services provided by the NKF.


To serve more needy patients, the NKF Woodlands Dialysis Centre, its 22nd dialysis centre and 2nd in Woodlands, was established on 16 May 2007 by Minister for Health, Mr Khaw Boon Wan.

The NKF launched its volunteer programme, “Circle of Hearts”, in June 2007 where volunteers provide friendship, care and emotional support to patients through various meaningful programmes and activities, empowering them to better manage their lives.


The NKF established Pei-Hwa Foundation – NKF Dialysis Centre, its 23rd dialysis centre and 3rd in Ang Mo Kio on 17 August 2008 and was officiated by Guest-of-Honour, Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and special guest MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, Dr Lam Pin Min.

The NKF introduced the Whistle Blowing Policy that provided employees with accessible channels to the Chairman of the Board, the Chairman of the Audit Committee and the internal auditors (partner in charge) for reporting suspected fraud, corruption, dishonest practices or other similar matters.

After completing its right-sizing exercise and cost analysis on space optimisation of its 12-storey NKF Centre, it consolidated its offices into seven floors. By doing this, five vacant floors were rented out in 2008 to several local institutions from the healthcare sector. The income generated was used to fund its operating expenses.

The NKF established a Patient Welfare Fund to assist needy patients with basic food necessities and food vouchers: transport subsidies for ambulance and taxi to and from the dialysis centres; free blood tests for all patients; and free diabetic strips for diabetic kidney patients.

To ensure that no needy patient is deprived of dialysis, NKF started a Portable Subsidy Programme. Needy patients who pass the means test but cannot be admitted to NKF’s haemodialysis programme because they suffer from other medical complications are provided with subsidies to receive treatment at private dialysis centres.


On 7 April 2009, NKF celebrated its 40th Anniversary with the theme “Reaffirming our Roots”. It was to affirm the original objectives of what the NKF set out to do when it was inaugurated on 7 April 1969 which, in essence, is to give life and hope to needy kidney patients with the community support. Minister for Health Mr Khaw Boon Wan graced this milestone celebration.

To continue to help needy patients, NKF launched its “Public Transport Subsidy Programme” on 7 April 2009, where patients receive $30 per month to help support their transport expenses to and from the dialysis centres. Patients need to travel up to 13 times, equating to 26 trips for treatment each month.

On 16 August 2009, NKF officially opened its 24th dialysis centre at Hougang Ave 8. Mr George Yeo, Minister for Foreign Affairs and MP for Aljunied GRC graced this event. This is the first dialysis centre in which community residents, grassroots leaders and religious group came together to help raise funds to make this a reality. All previous NKF dialysis centres were sponsored by an individual or a single corporate or religious entity.

To promote kidney transplant, NKF launched a “Kidney Live Donor Support Programme” on 1 November 2009 in conjunction with the amendment to the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA), which provides financial assistance to needy live donors and is limited to kidney-related medical welfare and insurance.


NKF officially launched its Caregivers Support Programme by setting up a Caregivers Support Group during its 41st anniversary celebration on 5 April 2010. This programme provides education and training, in particular, focusing on the family and the caregivers of patients.

The inaugural NKF Kidney Health Week took place from 5 to 11 July 2010 at Bishan Junction 8 Atrium. There were health screenings, kidney-related exhibits and various experiential activities that raised awareness of kidney diseases in the community and encouraged a healthier lifestyle.

NKF launched an employee engagement programme 5Cs – Commitment, Communication, Compassion, Collaboration and Consistency – to promote the right beliefs, attitudes and values in our NKF family culture and deliver quality patient care.


A new programme “Grains of Hope” was launched on 5 April in conjunction with NKF’s 42nd anniversary celebration to provide basic food necessities such as rice, cooking oil and bee hoon to the neediest kidney patients bi-monthly.

With strong support from various individuals and organisations, NKF’s inaugural Charity Dinner held on 15 April 2011 raised $1 million in aid of needy kidney patients. Gracing the event was former President Mr S R Nathan.

Patients from the Contractors Association Limited (SCAL)-NKF Dialysis Centre which has ceased operations to make way for the Housing and Development Board’s en bloc redevelopment plans in Bukit Merah, was moved to a new dialysis centre, the Woh Hup-NKF Dialysis Centre in Ghim Moh, which began operations in July 2011.

NKF introduced the peritoneal dialysis (PD) Home Visit Service, which is part of NKF’s newly launched PD Community Support Programme, so trained nurses can visit patients in their homes to provide guidance and ensure proper self-management of treatment.


NKF launched “Be an A.K. Giver” year-long campaign at the Ang Mo Kio-Hougang constituency’s Chinese New Year celebrations in January 2012. This is part of NKF’s public education cum fundraising initiative that aims to raise public awareness on the importance of a dialyser or Artificial Kidney (A.K.) in dialysis treatments to prolong the lives of kidney patients, and the need for more funds to sustain its dialysis programme.

NKF’s 1st Scientific Meeting held on 4 Feb 2012 showcased the research work and findings of the completed projects supported by Venerable Yen Pei –NKF Research Fund, founded by NKF’s late visionary philanthropist, Venerable Yen Pei.

The Woh Hup-NKF Dialysis Centre was officially opened on 26 February 2012. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and MP for Holland – Bukit Timah GRC was the Guest-of-Honour at the event.

During the opening, NKF announced its partnerships with Tzu Chi Foundation to extend free dental services, including comprehensive consultations, fillings, extractions, scaling and denture-making services to NKF’s needy patients.

NKF mourned the passing of its Founder, the late Professor Khoo Oon Teik, on 5 March 2012. The late Prof Khoo is widely considered the “Father of Nephrology in Singapore”. The Kidney Discovery Centre (KDC) at the NKF headquarters was officially opened by Guest-of-Honour, Dr Amy Khor, Minister of State for Health on 3 April 2012 as part of the 43rd anniversary celebrations, housing hands-on and interactive exhibits to create awareness among the public, especially the young, on the prevention and early detection of kidney diseases.

The Young/Little Champs Programme was launched with the aim of strengthening the abilities of young leaders and to inspire them to make a difference to their community and the lives of kidney patients.

The inaugural carnival “Lighting Up Lives”, which was held at Marina Barrage on 16 September 2012 as part of NKF’s “Be an A.K. Giver” campaign, attracted corporate sponsors, volunteers and members of the public. The Guest-of-Honour of the event was Mr Sam Tan Chin Siong.

In October 2012, NKF received our largest donation from a living individual in 13 years. Mr Kasmadi Melati, who celebrated his birthday in October, felt it was timely to contribute back to the needy in society and generously donated $1 million in aid of kidney patients.

The “NKF Singapore” Facebook page was launched to engage the community and provide information on key events and kidney health as well as reach out to volunteers for support.

Taking over the NKF chairmanship on 29 October 2012 from Mr Gerard Ee was Mr Koh Poh Tiong, who joined NKF as a Board Director on 22 May 2012. Mr Koh had retired as Chief Executive Officer of Fraser & Neave Limited (Food & Beverage Division).”


The Wong Sui Ha Edna-NKF Dialysis Centre, the 2nd in Tampines, was officially opened on 7 April 2013. This is NKF’s 25th dialysis centre, made possible by a legacy gift from its donor, the late Madam Wong Sui Ha Edna. Guest-of-Honour at the event was Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education and special guest was Mr Mah Bow Tan, MP for Tampines GRC and Adviser to Tampines Grassroots Organisations.

NKF’s Patient Advocacy Department was established in June to ensure that the needs of patients are met and that none will fall through the crack by providing psychological, emotional and social support. Model patients are identified through this programme to be advocates who motivate their peers towards rehabilitation.

The first-ever Sit-A-Thon at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza on 28 July 2013 was launched by Guest-of-Honour Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Social and Family Development (now full minister), and was organised to create awareness of kidney disease. More than 1,200 people, young and old, joined us in this meaningful event. Participants sat on stools for four hours while engaging in different challenges with one arm immobilised, to represent the four hours of dialysis that kidney patients need to undergo thrice weekly.

Mr Edmund Kwok took over as Chief Executive Officer from Mrs Eunice Tay on 1 November 2013. Mr Kwok had been NKF’s Chief Operating Officer since joining NKF on 1 October 2012. Prior to this, he was Vice-President of Oncology at Parkway Healthcare.

As part of NKF’s on-going efforts to promote kidney donation, the Foundation made enhancements to its current funding coverage to extend more help to living related kidney donors. Insurance coverage for Group Living Policy based on sum insured by NTUC Income was doubled, from $100,000 to $200,000. This was announced at the 4th Anniversary of the Kidney Live Donor Support Programme on 7 November 2013.


Walk for Your Kidneys took place at Whampoa on 25 January 2014 which saw participants pick up litter along the roads in Whampoa while walking, signifying what our kidneys do for us – clean the body and flush out toxins. Senior Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, and MP for Whampoa SMC, Mr Heng Chee How was the Guest-of-Honour in this inaugural event.

NKF’s 45th Anniversary Charity Dinner 2014 at Resorts World Sentosa raised $11.3 million through the support of caring donors and supporters, of which $10 million was from five caring sponsors to build five new dialysis centres. Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong graced this milestone event.

NKF set up a $10 million Education and Prevention Fund as a means to educate the community on the importance of kidney disease prevention, with an initial funding of $1.3 million from NKF’s Charity Dinner.

NKF launched a new initiative “Healthy Mondays”, consisting of healthy lifestyle programmes to help companies engage their employees and motivate them to create a culture of wellness at the start of the week.

On 15 March 2014, NKF, together with MediaCorp Radio, held the “NKF 100,000 Healthy Steps” event to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys. MediaCorp DJs travelled in two groups from two ends of Singapore to visit kidney patients at all 26 dialysis centres island-wide, finishing the walk at the Toa Payoh Stadium where there were games and activities.

NKF won the Special Mention for Outstanding Leadership in Supporting Fair Employment Practices during the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) Exemplary Employer Award Ceremony on 28 April 2014.

The Walk of Love event at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 7 June 2014 included a 10km relay, a 3km walk, a carnival with music performances and a movie screening revolving around the theme “love”. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong graced this event, which helped raise awareness of the importance of an active lifestyle.

Wheels of Love, which took place on 21 September 2014 at ITE College East, saw participants from all walks of life coming together on different wheels to demonstrate their love, compassion and support for needy kidney patients. The Guest-of-Honour for the event was Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong. Over $270,000 was raised from this event to benefit needy patients.

NKF launched a new Kidney Health Education Bus during the Wheels of Love event, which brings a new learning experience to the doorsteps of schools, grassroots and religious organisations.

From June to October 2014, health messages were placed on buses, taxis and SMRT trains as NKF embarked on a campaign to drive home the importance of healthy living to the masses.

NKF established an Outreach Committee in July 2014 to actively educate the community; form collaboration for better coordination of prevention efforts; and encourage and empower the community to take charge of their health.

NKF held its inaugural Extraordinary Employer and Courage Awards Ceremony on 3 November 2014 with Minister of Manpower, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin as the Guest-of-Honour. This award ceremony gave tribute to seven organisations for their kindness in employing kidney patients – for being understanding and giving special concessions to these patients so that they can remain gainfully employed while still undergoing dialysis. The ceremony also recognised the efforts of nine kidney patients who showed courage and determination to lead fruitful lives despite having kidney failure. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the 1st Anniversary of NKF’s Patient Advocacy Programme.

NKF introduced patient “Buddy System” where Patient Advocates touched base with other patients during their off-dialysis days as part of our new initiative to ensure that everyone has a “buddy” so that no patient walks alone in his journey towards rehabilitation.


NKF’s 20-episode television drama series, “Life is Beautiful”, was screened on Mediacorp Channel 8 from 5 March to 1 April 2015. The touching drama, which featured the hopes and struggles of two families impacted by kidney disease, brought to attention how kidney failure not only affects the patients but also their families. Supported by a strong cast including Mediacorp artistes Rui En and Pierre Png, “Life is Beautiful” garnered positive response from the public and encouraged the viewers to look after their kidney health.

In celebration of its 45th anniversary, NKF organised a series of exciting activities that not only involved staff, patients, and volunteers alike, but also raised public awareness on the topic of peritoneal dialysis. Amongst the many events was the Charity Musical “Titoudao”, which received resounding success and raised over $670,000 for the needy PD patients. At the musical gala on 7 March 2015, NKF announced subsidies and assistance enhancements to its PD Community Support Programme. Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Education, Mr Heng Swee Keat was also invited to launch NKF’s anniversary publication “Beams of Hope”.

Peritoneal dialysis was the theme at the “Love Life Love Your Kidneys” event on 14 and 15 March 2015. Held in conjunction with World Kidney Day and a part of NKF’s anniversary celebrations, the event attracted over 800 participants who learned about kidney health and PD through interactive games and informative exhibitions.

To further get people to think of peritoneal dialysis (PD) and understand better this treatment option, we went on an awareness drive using multimedia platforms such as mass media and online channels.

Four generous well-wishers came together to organise the “S R Nathan SG50 Charity Programme”, in which our late former President of Singapore commissioned 138 pairs of porcelain vases to raise funds for charities. NKF was privileged to receive a pair of these limited edition vases and launched the Prosperity for Generations fundraising campaign on 12 April 2015 at Wisma Atria Mall, raising over $400,000 for needy kidney patients with the vases as lucky draw prizes.

Singapore LionsXII soccer captain Isa Halim volunteered to be our Live Right Ambassador. As a role model, he raised awareness in the community on the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, especially among the youths.

We organised our first Mass Health Screening and Awareness Day on 24 May 2015 at the NKF Centre where close to 1,000 people from all walks of life participated in free kidney health screenings, health talks, exercise sessions, a healthy cooking demonstration and tours of our dialysis centre. There were education health booths on kidney disease prevention and peritoneal dialysis. The event motivated participants to take charge of their health.

In celebration of our Nation’s 50th Birthday, NKF collaborated with Budak Pantai, an a cappella group, to organise “Budak Pantai & Friends” at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 4 June 2015. Made up of Gordon, Mike, Joe, Kah Keh and Danny, they performed with other local groups such as The Main Wayang Singers, Dance Thrilogy and many other friends to commemorate SG50 and helped raise over $200,000 for needy kidney patients.

Under a new model, selected NKF nurses underwent rigorous training in leadership, psychosocial skills and critical thinking and became empowered to do more advanced clinical work. Nurses are more pro-active in dealing with patients’ medical conditions and preventing recurring problems at the frontline, allowing doctors to focus more on complex cases. The nurse-led dialysis centres enable NKF to provide well-rounded quality care for better clinical outcomes.

For many kidney patients, having kidney failure does not only mean the loss of their kidney function. Sometimes, it may also mean the loss of their jobs. To help kidney patients find jobs that can accommodate their thrice weekly dialysis schedules, NKF launched the Patient Employment Rehabilitation Programme on 24 November 2015 with a generous sponsorship from the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. By giving the opportunity for gainful employment, patients feel empowered and have a greater sense of self-worth. Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, was the Guest-of-Honour.