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Do you know about the ISN Saving Young Lives Project?

SYLLast year, the ISN joined forces with the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis (ISPD), the International Pediatric Nephrology Association (IPNA) and Sustainable Kidney Care Foundation (SKCF) to develop a cooperative project in Africa and South East Asia.

The Saving Young Lives (SYL) Project sets out to establish sustainable programs using acute Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) to treat Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) in low resource settings in both regions.

Five years of funding was donated by a charitable foundation and it is expected that the centers established through this project will provide a model for developing similar programs in many other low and middle income countries in Africa, South East Asia and beyond.

The ISN, IPNA, and ISPD contribute their expertise by providing education, training, and capacity building – but these three organizations are not involved in helping to meet the direct costs of patient care.

Accra Visit webSKCF is using its expertise and resources to ensure that PD catheters and PD fluid are made available in the centers, and provide these supplies sustainably.

Mary Carter, co-Founder and Director of SKCF is optimistic: “The challenge is to get the products approved and registered by authorities before they can enter in the country. This can take up to several years, but we have now been successful in several African countries such as Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Tanzania.”

Since its inception last year, the Saving Young Lives (SYL) consortium has gathered information and contacts across various countries and sites from both regions to assess the needs and help identify the challenges. John Feehally, ISN President and Chair of the SYL Steering Committee says: “The project, as well as helping to establish the centers in hospital, will also focus on training and education in the community to improve awareness of AKI, and equip local health practitioners for prevention and early care of AKI, as well as identify cases needing hospital care.”

The project supported an important training workshop in Cape Town, South Africa last November. Sixteen nephrologists and surgeons from various sub-Saharan African countries travelled to Cape Town to attend a one-week, hands-on training focused on PD catheter insertion and related clinical skills. The training was held at the Red Cross Children Hospital, organized by pediatric nephrologist Mignon McCulloch, and the head of pediatric surgery, Alp Numalogu.

SYL Cape Town webMignon McCulloch says: “The workshop was a mix of theoretical lectures and practical training around PD, helping physicians to understand the practical challenges of inserting PD catheters in children. The highlight of the week was definitely the practical training where doctors could gain hands-on skills and confidence in numerous techniques including central line and PD catheter insertion in an almost real life experience.”

Victoria May Adabayeri, a participant in the Cape Town course, from the Korle Bu Hospital in Accra, Ghana found this course extremely helpful. “The course has given me the confidence to insert PD catheters. About 10 hours after arrival back home I inserted my first catheter, and it was very rewarding. The first one is the icebreaker. I do not think there could have been a more hands-on experience anywhere else.”

In February this year, the SYL Steering Committee met during the 12th Congress of the African Association of Nephrology, the 5th Congress of the African Pediatric Nephrology Association and the 2nd Congress of the Ghana Kidney Association in Accra, Ghana.

The aim of this fact-finding mission was to meet representatives of seven African sites to assess their needs and challenges to develop Acute PD programs in their hospital centers. Fredric Finkelstein, IPSD representative: “We met extraordinary people who really try to make a difference in their country to establish acute PD programs and save children who otherwise would face certain death.”

Based on the talks with the representatives and selection criteria, which have been developed, the SYL Project will be providing support this year for programs in Benin, Ghana, and Tanzania.

William Smoyer, IPNA representative explains: “SYL activities will vary from facilitating nurse training, sending educational ambassadors to spend a week at the hospital centers to teach nurses and physicians, or organizing CME workshops with worldwide nephrology leaders traveling to the country. This will all depend on the needs of each particular site and country.”

The Saving Young Lives partnership will also continue its work in South East Asia selecting sites and identify needs of various hospital centers.

For more information, visit the SYL project homepage or please contact: Kelly Hendricks khendricks@theisn.org.

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