Kidney Care UK has joined forces with 16 patient advocacy organisations from North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to form the Global Patient Alliance for Kidney Health. The Alliance aims to elevate patient voices and advocate for policies that enhance access to screening and early treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Chronic kidney disease is one of the most neglected public health crises of our time.
Globally, CKD affects nearly 850 million people. In the UK it is estimated that there are around 7.2million people with CKD stages 1 to 5 (around 3.5million people have the later stages 3-5). However, many people often go undiagnosed; about 90% of people with CKD are unaware of their status. This can have dire consequences: CKD is incurable, and when left unmanaged, it can lead to kidney failure, necessitating dialysis or kidney transplants.
The global prevalence of CKD shows no sign of slowing; it is projected to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2040. Yet policymakers are failing to give it the urgent attention it deserves. Only 47% of 160 countries have a strategy for CKD care, and where national strategies exist, they are focused on dialysis and transplantation, not early intervention6.
Fiona Loud, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK, says: “As part of the Global Patient Alliance for Kidney Health we are collaboratively urging governments to act decisively to protect people who are most at risk by investing in proven policy solutions that can substantially slow disease progression and prevent severe complications and death from chronic kidney disease.”
Addressing CKD requires a system-wide approach that prioritises early disease identification and management. According to a report published by Global Alliance for Patient Access, this approach should include
- policy solutions focused on improving access to risk-based screening
- eliminating health care system inefficiencies
- prioritising education and training of healthcare professionals.
The cost of chronic kidney disease on people, governments and the environment is high.
The negative impact of CKD reaches far beyond patient health. Treatment for people with kidney failure places huge costs on healthcare systems and harms the environment immensely. Countries can spend 2-3% of their annual healthcare budget and use about 265 billion litres of water to provide dialysis therapy to people with kidney failure annually.
Individual level approaches to CKD fall short.
Fiona Loud concludes, “While lifestyle modifications and medications can slow progression of chronic kidney disease, without a transformation of healthcare systems to prioritise screening and early treatment, many more people will be affected. It’s important to educate people who are most at-risk about how to keep their kidneys healthy but governments also have an obligation to implement policies that reflect international best-practice.”