The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to acquire dimensions of a humanitarian crisis as it spreads in the countries outside of Europe and the USA in the coming weeks and months.
The pandemic is exposing the basic structural deficiencies of health care in general, and kidney care in particular. Lockdowns and loss of livelihoods have severely restricted the ability of adults and children with kidney disease to access regular care and medications in some parts of the world. Patients with end-stage kidney disease have been particularly affected: lack of availability of transport is impeding the ability to access regular dialysis. Vital supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and patients and dialysis consumables, have become threatened due to interruptions in the free movement and challenges in acquisition. In some instances, restrictions imposed by governments have also contributed to the shortages.
We, the representing societies of kidney professionals around the world, call for concrete actions by governments and agencies overseeing care of patients with kidney disease including:
- Ensure the timely diagnostics and treatment of acute and chronic kidney disease including access to essential medications, dialysis and safe kidney transplantation.
- Ensure availability of adequate and most appropriate use of PPE to protect the healthcare workers and patients by overseeing their purchase, distribution, supply, and responsible use.
- Ensure rapid scaling up of COVID 19 testing capabilities.
- Promote strategies for rapid training of health personnel in providing care to patients with acute and chronic kidney disease at home and in hospital, and in the use of personal protection strategies, including in the most adverse contexts.
- Support collaborative research and collection, analysis and wide dissemination of information regarding COVID19 in acute kidney injury and end-stage kidney disease thus far generated throughout the world.
- Widely share the results of all the actions taken, in order to generate guidelines and recommendations relevant to each national healthcare capacity.
We also call for intervention by multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations to encourage concerted action by the member states so that the global community responds appropriately to the current challenge of acute and chronic kidney disease, and is appropriately prepared for future adversities.