The ISN Joined European Event to Celebrate 80th Anniversary of Dialysisjbrown
As a European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) member, the ISN was pleased to participate in the film screening and roundtable, “Celebrating 80 Years for Dialysis: Time Again for Science-Fiction to Meet Reality,” organized by the EKHA at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 26, 2023.
Hosted by MEPs Ondřej Knotek and Martin Buschmann, co-chair of the MEP Group for Kidney Health, the event brought together high-level stakeholders in patient advocacy, nephrology, and policy-making to raise awareness of the physical and mental burden that kidney disease and treatment have on kidney patients and to discuss innovative solutions to dialysis 80 years after its invention.
Professor Raymond Vanholder, EKHA president, commented, “We [in the kidney community] are too shy and do not express what kind of burden this is for societies; we need to urgently raise awareness on these issues.”
All the speakers highlighted the pressing need to make treatment easier for people with kidney diseases. Daniel Gallego, president of the European Kidney Patients’ Federation, who has undergone dialysis since 1995, affirmed, “After 80 years of dialysis, we [have] learned that patients prefer quality of life over a long life; it makes no sense just to survive, we need quality. Treatments are far from adequate even today ̶ [the] tech revolution didn’t reach kidney care.”
It is precisely this burden that led the late Delphine Blanchard, a kidney patient representative from the EKHA member association Renaloo, to the tragic decision to voluntarily stop her dialysis treatment, resulting in her untimely death in 2022, aged 45. The event was organized as a tribute to her in the hope that it would serve as a wake-up call for European and national policymakers to prioritize research and investment for innovative and less-invalidating kidney disease treatments.
MEP Knotek urged more attention to kidney disease within European institutions, especially now that new technological advancements in kidney care are on the horizon. He emphasized, “Without action, the healthcare system won’t be sustainable anymore…it is time to put innovation for the treatment of chronic diseases among the top EU priorities.”
With momentum building at the EU level, the ISN will continue to work alongside the EKHA and other partners to help develop forward-looking policy solutions to improve the lives of people with kidney diseases in Europe and elsewhere.