Monday, 29 August 2011 09:08

ISN advocates to get CKD on the WHO health agenda

Cancer, diabetes, heart and lung disease are the main targets of a new World Health Organization (WHO) campaign launched in 2005 to address the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) does not get a passing mention even though it meets all the criteria of a major public health problem.

Aside from raising awareness with World Kidney Day, ISN is currently working to better position CKD in global health thinking by building official working relations with the WHO. ISN President John Feehally says: “Gaining a position for kidney disease in global health strategies is long. There are many obstacles along the way. However, we remain committed to ensuring that kidney disease patients share the benefits that come with increased awareness and attention to NCDs worldwide. ”

Starting in 2008, ISN put forward its mission and proposed a joint work plan to implement CKD prevention and intervention programs into WHO’s health agenda and build “official relations. ISN has now submitted a final progress report on the 2009-2011 ISN/WHO work plan and a new work plan for 2011-13.

The first part of this work plan was completed this July when William Couser, Marcello Tonelli and Giuseppe Remuzzi  submitted a paper to WHO entitled: “The Contribution of Chronic Kidney Disease to the Global Burden of Major Non-Communicable Diseases.” Remuzzi and Norberto Perico also completed the second part by applying WHO/ISH risk charts to the ISN KDDC data base to study the  association between kidney disease markers and the risk of cardio vascular disease.

In June, ISN leaders contacted the WHO’s Assistant Director General for Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health to review and update the status of ISN’s application. On August 2, 2011 ISN was notified that the application was complete and will be reviewed in January 2012.

At the ISN World Congress of Nephrology 2011, leaders continued to voice concern that CKD remains absent from the WHO list of NCDs even though it affects twice the estimated number of the world’s population with diabetes. A senior advisor for public policy was hired to put together a plan of action to position CKD more prominently in the global health agenda, especially at the United Nations High Level Meeting on NCDs taking place in New York  in September 2011. Joint efforts with the International Federation of Kidney Foundations, European Kidney Health Alliance and leaders of major US renal organizations have also been carried out to get ISN’ a seat at the table for CKD policy planning.

This got the ball rolling for ISN to recruit some 350 ISN ‘advocacy volunteers’ to carry its message to the WHO and lobby for the organization to include CKD in its NCD strategy. So far, these volunteers have cultivated relationships with Health Ministers in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Guatemala , India, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, The United States, Uruguay.

To raise further attention, ISN has produced CKD supportive ‘Op-Ed’ articles and an advocacy piece entitled: “Awareness of Kidney  Disease Low Despite Affecting  500 Million People Worldwide and Global Costs Surpassing  $1 Trillion this Decade .” On August 22, 2011, ISN was granted membership in the NCD Alliance “Common Interest Group” – the first renal organization to be included in this group.

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