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ISN Advocacy Newsletter – Bridging the Gaps – September 2023

Explore Findings From the Global Kidney Policy Forum Summary Report and Catch up With Other Developments in Kidney Care Advocacy

Dear friends and advocates,

Welcome to the latest “Bridging the Gaps update,” where we celebrate our progress in advancing kidney care advocacy and collaboration.

I am pleased to report that this quarter has been remarkably productive:

In addition:

It is your support that drives these achievements! If you share our commitment to achieving equitable kidney health for all, I invite you to reach out to our ISN advocacy director, Anne Hradsky, to explore opportunities for collaboration.

Thank you for your dedication.

Best regards,

Masaomi Nangaku
ISN President

The “2023 Professor Donal O’Donoghue, Global Kidney Policy Forum (PDOGKPF’23): International Focus on Kidney Health Challenges and Opportunities Affecting the Oceania and South-East Asia Regionsummarizes the principal kidney-related challenges affecting this region and provides concrete proposals to deliver best-practice kidney care, as outlined by speakers at the event.

ISN and Academy members can watch a recording of the event here

Download the complete report here

Held in March by the ISN as part of the World Congress of Nephrology (WCN’23), the PDOGKPF’23 brought together an influential assembly of decision-makers and stakeholders, including WHO representatives, patients, and globally renowned nephrologists. Its primary focus was addressing the pressing challenges of kidney diseases while forging policies to enhance their prevention and management.

Key speakers included Bente Mikkelsen, director of the WHO’s NCDs Department, Sophon Mekthon, Vice Public Health Minister of the Thai Royal government, Yot Teerawattananon from the Thai Ministry of Public Health’s Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program, who spoke on behalf of Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary for Public Health, Jadej Thammaaree, secretary general of the National Health Security Office, and Bill Wang, a kidney patient advocate.

Our ongoing commitment to improving kidney care in the region involves collaborating with regional partners to implement the “Recommendations to Global Kidney Health” and help them address the significant variations in the accessibility, affordability, and quality of care.

In the coming months, our primary focus will be on the upcoming PDOGKPF at WCN’24 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This significant event will be held in collaboration with the Argentinian Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the Latin American Society of Nephrology and Hypertension (SLANH), with a shared dedication to advancing kidney health globally.

A panel of distinguished experts recently came together to address challenges in kidney care within the North America and Caribbean (NAC) region.

Watch “Kidney Disease in the Caribbean: Lessons from Successes and Paths to New Discoveries”

This webinar provides valuable insights from peers in the NAC region, offering opportunities to enhance kidney care in your own area. Topics included

  • Raising awareness of pediatric CKD in Jamaica
  • Exploring the diverse causes of adult CKD
  • Emphasizing the importance of renal registries
  • Examining the nuances of Grenada’s kidney care

The webinar, held in August, was organized by ISN North America and the Caribbean Regional Board members and featured contributions from Sandrica Young-Peart, Lori-Ann Fisher, Maria Carlota Gonzalez Bedat, and Lisa Radix. The discussion was moderated by Shuchi Anand and Rulan Parekh, chair and former chair of the NACRB, respectively.

Lori-Ann Fisher and Raquel Lowe-Jones were key participants at the SIDS Ministerial Conference in Barbados held in June, representing the ISN North America and Caribbean Regional Board.

This important conference addressed the challenges of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health in small island developing states (SIDS). It resulted in the creation of the Bridgetown Declaration on NCDs and Mental Health, highlighting the urgent need to combat these challenges, especially in the context of climate change impacts.

SIDS nations made concrete commitments at the event, including improving mental health accessibility and using evidence-based interventions against NCDs. This declaration is set to shape global health coverage and NCD discussions in upcoming international meetings.

Prominent figures such as Barbados Prime Minister Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (director-general of WHO), and Jarbas Barbosa (director of PAHO) contributed valuable insights to the discussion.

The conference concluded with a resolute commitment to addressing NCDs and mental health challenges in SIDS countries through collaborative efforts that combine medical expertise with concerns about climate-related vulnerabilities.

Understanding kidney disease in the Caribbean: a brief overview

“Undoubtedly, lifestyle choices play a significant role in contributing to NCDs. The burden is amplified in the Caribbean as we are a diverse group of people, spanning many ethnic and cultural backgrounds that impact how we live and the environment.

Despite our geopolitical kinship to North America, our collective resources are inadequate to supply the universal healthcare needs of the primary prevention and management of NCDs, especially kidney disease.

Kidney disease often develops in people with NCDs, but symptoms may only appear at a late stage. As hypertension and diabetes start at a younger age, this will likely worsen the kidney disease problem.”

Complex factors affecting kidney health in the Caribbean

  • The islands are more exposed to climate catastrophes affecting the agricultural sector, directly impacting food security and nutrition.
  • The growing footprint of the fast-food industry: When a famous donut franchise opened in Jamaica, people lined up overnight to try these sweet snacks.
  • Low wages, bad work conditions, old-fashioned medical systems, and insufficient healthcare professionals to handle the growing workload are causing many healthcare workers to leave their home countries.

The impact of COVID-19 on kidney health

The COVID pandemic was challenging across all sectors in the Caribbean, with mental health issues coming to the fore through increased media attention on personal stories of burnout and family conflicts.

Kidney patients lacked continuity of care during the pandemic, causing new cases of kidney disease and a worsening of pre-existing cases. We experienced a lack of supply and increased demand for renal replacement therapy. In addition, patients were exposed to psychosocial stressors of the pandemic impacting family life.

The promising insights and commitments made at the SIDS meeting lay solid foundations for the future of kidney care in the Caribbean, where enhanced equity, resource access, sustainable practices, and patient empowerment are poised to drive significant improvements in healthcare outcomes.

Adeera Levin, former ISN President and member of the Advocacy Working Group, will be representing the ISN at a joint side event organized by Devex and AstraZeneca. “How Improving Kidney Health Can Transform Health Systems for All” will be held during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 19 in New York.

The event’s goal is to integrate kidney health into the broader universal health coverage (UHC) agenda. It aims to prioritize kidney health alongside other NCDs like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, positioning it as a central focus in health policy discussions.

Dr. Levin will also attend the UN High-Level Meetings on “Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response” and “UHC” at the UN headquarters on September 20 and 21. During the latter meeting, she will present two ISN statements advocating for kidney disease inclusion in pandemic plans and emphasizing the role of UHC and strong primary healthcare systems in reducing kidney disease impact and poverty.

Dr. Levin will participate in a Global Coalition for Circulatory Health (GCCH) side event titled “Circulatory Health for All: Investing to Reach UHC and Prevent Pandemics” on September 20.

Building on the recent ISN-GCCH joint position paper “The Road to UHC. Why Integration of Circulatory Health Interventions in Primary Care is Essential,” the event aims to highlight the importance of integrating circulatory disease interventions in primary care, particularly during and after the pandemic, as countries strive towards UHC.

On July 13, 2023, the ISN and IDF collaborated to release a joint policy brief called “Renewing the Fight: A Call to Action for Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease.” The launch took place through a highly successful webinar, attracting a global audience of 1,200 participants from 100 countries. The event and the brief received additional recognition when featured in the WHO’s NCDs weekly newsletter.

Antonio Ceriello (IDF) and Roberto Pecoits-Filho (ISN), lead authors of the brief, shared vital findings and policy recommendations based on their diabetes and kidney disease study. Shaifali Sandal, an ISN Advocacy Working Group member and Emerging Leaders Program cohort 2 participant, delivered an impactful speech underscoring the brief’s importance as an advocacy resource.

Watch a recording of the webinar here.

The IDF created a podcast hosted by Dr. Ceriello and Dr. Pecoits-Filho, which delves deeper into this crucial intersection of health concerns.

Access the podcast here.

2024 campaign theme

The World Kidney Day (WKD) Steering Committee has announced the 2024 WKD campaign theme:

Kidney Health for All – Advancing Equitable Access to Care and Optimal Medication Practice

Recent medical advances have significantly slowed CKD progression and reduced complications. However, disparities in accessing these advancements persist.

The 2024 campaign aims to increase awareness of these inequalities and encourage collaborative strategies to improve access to suitable treatment for those with kidney disease.

Take a closer look at the WKD 2024 campaign theme here.

Fresh Logo!

As part of the WKD campaign makeover, the organizers have introduced a fresh logo that embraces modern design and highlights a commitment to sustainability, a core value within the international kidney care community.

Watch the launch video to discover the new WKD logo!

The distinctive stripes symbolize WKD’s dedication to a broad audience, including the general public, those living with kidney disease, healthcare professionals, and policymakers. The brackets depict both kidneys and represent the two hemispheres of the globe.

This updated identity aligns with WKD’s enduring mission: to raise awareness of the global importance of kidney health.

The new WKD logo is available in 20+ languages. Download the logo and share it with your community!

2024 WKD Banners

Help us raise awareness of equitable access to kidney care and treatment – use and share the 2024 WKD banners on your website and social media channels to let your community know that the WKD 2024 has officially launched!

Valerie Luyckx, ISN Advocacy Working Group chair, was invited to join a panel of experts at the World Heart Federation’s Heart Café SessionNavigating the Complex Relationship Between Chronic Kidney Disease and Cardiovascular Complications,” held as part of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Watch a recording of the event here.

Dr. Luyckx highlighted the relationship between chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular complications, pointing out the need for a holistic approach to treatment.

She stated, “To protect the kidneys, you need to protect the heart…most patients with kidney disease actually die of cardiovascular disease…young people on dialysis have a 500 times increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease compared to young people the same age without cardiovascular disease, so part of our message is really breaking down the silos…looking at the entire patient and realizing that cardiovascular disease is a major morbidity for patients with kidney disease but also kidney disease is an enormous risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Luyckx accentuated the need for close collaboration to speed up the availability of effective medication, commenting, “We were very happy to see that the latest ESC guidelines included proper screening for kidney disease. One of our concerns is that awareness of the guidelines is low. We do know that drugs work…but the uptake is low. It takes 17 years to get evidence into practice for both cardiologists and nephrologists, and so one of the synergies is that if we all work together, we can shorten those 17 years and start saving lives now.”

The European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA), of which the ISN is a full board member, held its annual European Kidney Forum in June alongside the MEP Group for Kidney Health. The meeting brought together high-level stakeholders to discuss concrete and forward-looking solutions to the environmental burden of kidney care.

This year’s forum, “The Future of Kidney Care – Investing in Green Nephrology to Meet the European Green Deal Targets,” highlighted the need for green nephrology to become standard practice. It explored the symbiotic relationship between nephrology and the environment, discussing innovative eco-friendly solutions and EU opportunities.

Key speakers included MEP Hilde Vautmans and MEP Juozas Olekas, MEP Group for Kidney Health chair and member, respectively. Daniel Gallego, president of the European Kidney Patients’ Federation, stressed that to achieve both a better quality of life for people on dialysis and environmentally sustainable kidney care, “Innovation is not only possible – it is imperative.

Fiona Loud, a member of the ISN Patient Liaison Advisory Group and policy director at Kidney Care UK, was on the panel, highlighting the impact of the current energy crisis on the continuity of safe and effective kidney care.

For a new approach to kidney care, the EU’s role is vital, bringing awareness, funding, and policy focus. All stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, funders, and policymakers, must collaborate for innovative solutions.

Building on this EU-level progress, the ISN will keep collaborating with the EKHA and other partners to enhance the lives of kidney disease patients in Europe and worldwide.

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