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ISN Highlights Key Outcomes from WHA77 Side Event on Expanding Access to Kidney Care

Brussels, June 6, 2024
The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is pleased to share outcomes from the side event, “Advancing Kidney Care for All: Expanding Access to Lifesaving Therapies,” hosted at the World Health Assembly 77 on May 29 in Geneva. As a non-state actor in relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), the ISN organized this event to emphasize the need to raise kidney disease on the global health agenda.
This impactful meeting brought together a diverse group of experts – WHO representatives, policymakers, and people living with kidney diseases – to address the critical issue of global disparities in kidney care.
Kidney disease continues to affect approximately 850 million people worldwide(i), often with devastating consequences. It is expected to become the 5th leading cause of death globally by 2040(ii). The expert panel, featuring Dr. Valerie Luyckx (ISN), Daniel Gallego (Kidney Patients Federation), Dr. Bianca Hemmingsen (WHO), Alison Cox (NCD Alliance), and Dr. Anna Stavdal (World Organization of Family Doctors), discussed solutions and strategies to ensure that lifesaving therapies are accessible to all, regardless of geographical or socio-economic barriers.
Panelists agreed that early detection and prevention of kidney diseases are the most effective ways to save lives. Achieving this requires ongoing awareness campaigns, the prioritization of kidney disease as a health priority by decision-makers, and the need to include civil society members and individuals with lived experience in the decision-making process. This involvement is vital for ensuring equitable access to lifesaving strategies.
During the event, Guatemala’s Health Minister, Mr. Oscar Cordón Cruz, emphasized that kidney health is a critical public health issue in his country, highlighting the significant impact of kidney diseases on the population. Recognizing the urgent need for improved kidney care, he committed to explore, along with the Central America Council of Health Ministers, the possibility of introducing a resolution on kidney diseases to the WHO, recognizing it as a priority non-communicable disease (NCD). “We need to address the medical and legal aspects of kidney transplants. This approach is crucial for effective kidney care, ensuring we create strong policies that enhance access and outcomes for all patients in our region.”
The Guatemalan Minister’s commitment to this initiative signals a promising step toward international collaboration. It emphasizes the importance of engaging with the WHO to fulfill the ISN mission to “Advance kidney health globally. Together.”
The meeting was organized in collaboration with Devex, with support from AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim & Lilly, and Novartis.

 

(i) Francis, A., Harhay, M.N., Ong, A.C.M. et al. Chronic kidney disease and the global public health agenda: an international consensus. Nat Rev Nephrol (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41581-024-00820-6
(ii) EKHA, Kidney Manifesto 2024, https://ekha.eu/kidney-manifesto/
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