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Kidney disease acknowledged as NCD at UN meeting

Recent ISN efforts to better position kidney disease on the global health agenda paid off recently as kidney disease was mentioned in the resolution stemming from the recent United Nations High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The document recognizes that: “renal, oral and eye diseases pose a major health burden for many countries and that these diseases share common risk factors and can benefit from common responses to non-communicable diseases…” This is the first time the importance of kidney disease has been acknowledged in the United Nations’ (UN) or World Health Organisation’s (WHO) plans to address the growing burden of NCDs.

ISN Programs Chair John Feehally says: “This is an exciting moment,  but we will continue efforts to  ensure that the importance of kidney disease as a major NCD is understood by health planners both nationally and globally. It has been marvellous to see the determination and commitment of our ISN advocates in ensuring the message is heard by those with influence.”

After voicing continuous concern that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) was still absent from the WHO list of NCDs, ISN leaders recruited some 350 ISN ‘advocacy volunteers’ to carry its message to WHO. They lobbied for the organization to include CKD in its NCD strategy, especially at the UN High Level Meeting. As a result, over 30 health ministers actively lobbied to include kidney disease as an NCD in the long-term health agenda.

To raise further attention, ISN produced CKD supportive ‘Op-Ed’ articles and an advocacy piece entitled: “Awareness of Kidney  Disease Low Despite Affecting  500 Million People Worldwide and Global Costs Surpassing  $1 Trillion this Decade.

This August, ISN was granted membership in the NCD Alliance “Common Interest Group” – the first renal organization to be included in this group. This achievement will go toward building a successful relationship with the NCD Alliance and WHO. An ISN application to be the first renal group accorded “official working relations” with WHO will be acted in January 2012.

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