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Statement by the International Society of Nephrology on delivering essential services to affected populations during health emergencies, at the 73rd edition of World Health Assembly

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) congratulates the WHO on its work delivering essential services to affected populations during health emergencies.

People living with kidney disease are extremely vulnerable during health crises, being at higher risk of contracting more severe illnesses. Indeed, those requiring dialysis tend to have weaker immune systems, which makes it harder to fight other infections.
When facing health emergencies, a strategic response and joint operational plans are essential to provide people living with kidney disease with the necessary support to access and receive treatment. As such, the ISN was particularly pleased to note WHO’s support – via the provision of supplies – to 21 Yemeni dialysis centres, thereby ensuring the continued treatment of more than 3500 patients requiring life-saving dialysis sessions .

In addition, COVID-19 continues to cause catastrophic health consequences for patients with acute or permanent kidney failure, many of whom face additional interruptions to, or the unavailability of, life-saving treatments such as dialysis and transplant during health emergencies.

Accordingly, we call upon Member States and the WHO to:

  • Strengthen efforts to include and address kidney disease prevention, treatment and care in WHO’s responses to health emergencies worldwide.
  • Ensure the timely treatment of acute and chronic kidney disease, including access to essential medications, dialysis equipment and supplies, and safe transplantation during health crises.
  • Ensure that patients with kidney disease, who tend to have high rates of co-and multi morbidities and are therefore especially vulnerable in health systems weakened during health emergencies, are not left behind during or after the COVID-19 pandemic.
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