The World Kidney Day is organized in March every year since 2006 by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF). This year, the day will be observed on March 8, which incidentally is also the International Women's Day.
The theme for this
year's World Kidney Day is "Donate- Kidneys for Life - Receive." Kidney transplantation has become a
successful procedure enabling more and more people to live a normal life
without the need for dialysis. The theme highlights the positive outcomes of
kidney transplantation and the life-saving aspect of kidney donation. The
overall results of kidney transplantation has improved because of better
immunosuppressive drugs and cutting edge research in this area and better
understanding of rejection of the transplanted kidney. Though the quality of
life of a patient who has had a transplant is much superior to the one on
dialysis transplants are far and few. This has been mainly due to the shortage
of organs and the ever increasing wait- list for a transplant.
The incidence of
end-stage kidney disease in India
is estimated to be 150 to 175 per million population per year (or between
150,000 and 175,000 cases). Against this we are doing 3,500 kidney transplants
in year. In USA
there are 72,500 patients waiting for a kidney transplant but last year only
28,535 transplants were done. To take care of the kidney disease burden, we
need to have a two pronged approach - on one side we need to work towards
prevention of kidney disease and on the other towards generating more organ
donors. In India, with a very high rate of
fatal head injuries due to road accidents, the pool of potential organ donors
is over 100,000. This pool could easily take care of organ shortage not only
but also for other countries. This
requires better planning, strengthening our trauma services and better tertiary
care hospital in smaller towns of the country that can perform transplant
The World Kidney Day
also aims to create awareness among people to maintain their kidney health so
that they do not reach a point where they need dialysis or transplantation.
Common conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can cause kidney
damage; a lot of people may be unaware of this fact. In the early stages,
kidney damage may go unnoticed in the absence of any symptoms. Diagnosis may be
possible only on preventive check-ups and blood and urine tests. Simple tests
such as getting the blood pressure checked and checking the urine for protein
leak can be the first step in prevention of kidney disease.
On this day, health
care professionals are encouraged to advise people how to prevent kidney damage
and undergo tests to detect any damage early, especially if they are suffering
from other conditions like hypertension and diabetes.
Kidney patients can also participate in making the day successful by sharing their experiences with others through the internet or other social media. And if you are neither a patient nor a health care professional, you can still make a difference by organizing or participating in various awareness events in your city.