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First dialysis course in Senegal hosts the Saving Young Lives project

This blog post is provided by the Saving Young Lives Initiative following the team’s recent visit to Senegal.

In December 2015, the Senegalese Society of Nephrology held its first course on dialysis in West Africa. More than 300 delegates attended this highly successful conference.

The course tackled peritoneal and hemodialysis and hosted side events for allied health professionals. Nephrology is developing fast in Senegal, where the CHU Le Dantec has become an important training center, hosting a number of fellows from neighboring regions. Knowledge and capacity is disseminated across the country. Senegal’s authorities have also just passed a transplant law, which will soon enable transplantation there.

One conference session was entirely devoted to the Saving Young Lives (SYL) project. Representatives from Ghana, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Coast and Nigeria presented the challenges and opportunities of setting up a program for treating acute kidney injury (AKI) in Western Africa.

Various representatives from IPNA, ISPD and ISN were also present and emphasized the importance of developing peritoneal dialysis (PD) in Africa in the context of the 0by25 initiative.

At present, SYL has helped develop acute PD programs in eight centers where dialysis was previously unavailable. They are currently working to establish treatment in three other sites.

Between January 2013 and September 2015, 175 children and adults received dialysis in these centers. The project was cautious in reporting successful outcomes, restricting this to patients who left hospital with fully recovered renal function. This occurred in 33% of cases, reflecting 58 young lives saved.

The initiative continues to face many challenges including the high costs of transporting consumables in a sustainable way. In many cases, the only solution is to use locally made supplies and improvising catheters.

A last issue is the Governments lack of support for acute treatments, which limits the access to care for most of citizens. The SYL project representatives remain very committed and will work towards solving various issues and looking at how the object could be expanded further in the future.

SYL is a partnership between ISN, the International Pediatric Nephrology Association, the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis and the Sustainable Kidney Care Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to make dialysis supplies available in very low resource settings. They are developing sustainable programs for treating AKI in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. A recent article has been published in The Lancet summarizing the first result of this important project.

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