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“Rich Interactions and Abundant Learning” – Find Out How a Kidney Care Center in Guatemala Has Grown Through the ISN SRC Program

Staff from the IGSS and WashU at one of their annual scientific meetings

An ISN Sister Renal Centers (SRC) partnership between the Instituto Guatemalteco de Seguridad Social (IGSS) in Guatemala and the Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) in the USA has graduated from the SRC Program.

The primary goals of the collaboration were to improve knowledge and practice of acute kidney injury, continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), kidney transplantation, interventional nephrology, clinical nephrology, and glomerular diseases at the emerging center in Guatemala through support from WashU.

Ten Guatemalan nephrology fellows visited WashU to learn from the nephrology team and share the regional challenges of delivering kidney care.

Under the supervision of specialist nephrologist Dr. Steve Bander, three Guatemalan fellows acquired advanced training in interventional nephrology and helped establish an interventional Nephrology clinic at IGSS.

Two nephrology fellows from the team in IGSS were trained in glomerular disease, two in ICU and CRRT, and one in transplantation. Staff at IGSS also received training in biopsies and catheter placement and the use of handheld ultrasound devices. CRRT is now in use at the ICU unit at IGSS.

The teams established an annual course in nephrology, and five meetings – four in person and one online due to COVID-19-related restrictions – have been held with up-to-date scientific content presented by staff from WashU.

The 5th Annual Nephrology Symposium, held last February in Guatemala City, was beyond wonderful,” according to co-organizer Dr. Rothstein. “The high-level talks were incredibly well-received,” he added.

According to Dr. Jose Vicente Sanchez-Polo, the liaison officer at IGSS, the teams forged strong professional relationships, enjoying “rich interactions and abundant learning.” He said the opportunities staff had to hear interesting and challenging clinical cases from WashU professors at the annual courses were highly valuable, as was the possibility to present and discuss their own complex cases with them. These exchanges “transformed the mentality of the nephrology team in Guatemala,” positively affecting their approach to patient care.

Dr. Sanchez-Polo praised the ISN SRC Program, commenting, “It is incredible! I have no words to describe it. I thank the ISN so much for everything we’ve experienced and how much we’ve grown in six years. The participation of the support center has been fundamental to this. Thanks to this program, our nephrology unit is on another level. The funding, efficiency, and support from ISN have been remarkable.”

Plans to form an SRC trio partnership to help establish a formal transplant program in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, are now underway.



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