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Back to cooler temperatures – returning from AFRAN Congress in Ghana

ISN President John Feehally talking about the Saving Young Lives ProjectAn ISN Blog Entry penned by 2011-2013 ISN President John Feehally.

Another of those temperature changes which I have got used to as ISN President. It was 3C° when I left home in England and 30 degrees warmer when I  arrived in Accra, Ghana  for the biennial  AFRAN (African Association of Nephrology) Congress, February 20-23, 2013.

This year’s AFRAN Congress was in partnership with the African Pediatric Nephology Association, and it was great to see many adult and pediatric nephrologists from all over Africa meeting together, and learning from each other. This makes so much sense at this stage of the development of nephrology in Africa when it is inevitable that many children with kidney disease are being cared for by adult physicians.

Local organizersCongratulations to Jo Adu from Accra, Congress President and incoming AFRAN President, and his team for putting on a high quality meeting, most efficiently run.  ISN supported a CME on the day of the opening ceremony. Other ISN speakers were Bill Couser and Norbert Lameire. And Bill also led a very successful GO Regional Workshop at which there was plenty of vigorous discussion and some very good ideas emerged to help ISN GO programs be even better focused on meeting the needs of Africa.

A great start to Congress was the participation in the opening ceremony of not only the Minister of Health for Ghana, but also the President of the Republic of Ghana who spoke with wit and understanding about the importance of kidney disease. The first time I have attended a nephrology meeting opened by a Head of State!

President of Ghana opening the eventThe role of acute peritoneal dialysis (PD) for the treatment of Acute Kidney Iinjury (AKI) is getting increasing traction in sub-Saharan Africa, including countries where there is little or no chronic dialysis. It was a pleasure to meet a number of nephrologists who are energetically trying to overcome the many practical problems faced when starting an acute PD program in a low-resource setting.

The ‘Saving Young Lives’ project (being led by the ISN in partnership with ISPD, IPNA, and the Sustainable Kidney Care Foundation) is working hard to facilitate these programs and ensure their sustainability. But in each place where programs are now up and running, the real key to success is the remarkable drive and commitment of individual nephrologists who are successfully treating children and young adults with AKI in spite of so many stumbling blocks. I am very optimistic that the ‘Saving Young Lives’ project will enable several more such programs to start in Africa (and also in South East Asia) over the next few years.

Less than three months now until WCN 2013 in Hong Kong. I hoped you have registered, and booked your flights and hotel. See you there!


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