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Welcome to the ISN Blog

This space is dedicated to the activities of ISN Leaders and Committee Members. Follow them and find out how they are supporting local medical communities in developing countries. From sharing their knowledge, providing guidance to training other nephrologists, you can find out how they are making a difference and helping advance kidney care and research worldwide.

Monday, 19 November 2012 10:20

New ISN Pioneer awards


As always, most of my free time at ASN Renal Week in San Diego was consumed by ISN Committee meetings. The most rewarding for me were the discussions by the GO Core Committee around selecting recipients of the new ISN Pioneer Awards. The Pioneer Awards are a bit different from the usual awards that go to people who have done the best or most of something.

These awards are designed to honor previously unrecognized, or under-recognized, individuals who have made pioneering contributions to the development of nephrology in their respective countries or regions in the developing world, but who were not visible internationally. Identification of such individuals has required considerable beating of the bushes and input from our regional committees who know their local nephrology pioneers in a way that we as ISN leaders cannot.

Many have been nominated for the awards and one recipient will be selected for each region to be honored at the World Congress of Nephrology (WCN) in Hong Kong. Their stories, as might be anticipated, are quite moving portraits of a generation of dedicated people who often overcame considerable obstacles to make renal care or training available in places where none existed before. The inaugural Pioneer Award recipients will be honored and their stories capsulized on individual posters that will be displayed in a "GO Gallery" at WCN. I know everyone who takes the time to visit the display will find these people and their stories a particularly inspirational part of the overall WCN experience.

Monday, 19 November 2012 09:46

APSN partners with ISN GO


For several years the Asian Pacific Society of nephrology (APSN) has partnered with ISN to offer ISN-APSN Fellowships. The Executive Committee of APSN recognizes the importance of other programs within ISN Global Outreach Programs (GO) and so has offered to partner with ISN from 2013 in its other GO programs as well: CME, Education Ambassador, Research & Prevention, Sister Renal Centre. These sorts of partnerships make sense because the mission of ISN and APSN (and other regional societies) are closely aligned, unnecessary duplication can be avoided and valuable resources can be stretched further. It is a good model for other regional and national societies to consider!

Tuesday, 06 November 2012 02:00

Kidney Failure in Kenya

This article made me sit up and pay attention:
“As of today, there is more than one million Kenyans who suffer from kidney disease. There are less than 100 working dialysis machines in the country. Most of the patients in Kenya with end-stage kidney failure either do not have access to a dialysis clinic or they cannot afford to go to the very few available dialysis clinics (which are less than 10) since they are very expensive.
The most affected are those in remote areas and smaller towns all over Kenya. The main causes of kidney disease in Kenya are mainly hypertension and diabetes. Kenya also suffers from acute shortage of kidney specialists with one nephrologist catering for a 100,000 people. There is urgent need to train more kidney specialists and renal nurses to cater for the increasing number of patients in the country.”
*** Re-posted by kind permission of The Kidney Doctor ***

Just back from a great trip seeing GO in action in Russia and Belarus. And in particular seeing the power of the Sister Renal Center program.

First to Minsk in Belarus, whose Sister Center link with Oxford, UK has now ‘graduated’ from the Sister Center program. The Sister Center development has been a key factor in transforming kidney care in Belarus over the last few years with more dialysis facilities and a very rapid growth in transplantation. But make no mistake though ISN can facilitate many things, it is the fine leadership of Aleh Kalachyk in Minsk and Paul Harden in Oxford which is at the heart of the success.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:40

Chinese nephrology today


Remuzzi and Cheng webThere is no doubt that in the past few decades Chinese nephrology has made impressive advances regarding know-how, infrastructures, education and training for young doctors caring for patients with kidney disease as well as in clinical and experimental research.

These achievements reveal the ability of Chinese nephrologists to address, at different levels, the issue of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in China with the same instruments currently adopted in Japan, Europe and USA. This is a relevant problem for China’s health system since the country is experiencing a huge CKD transition, with unprecedented social and environmental change.

It is just over a year ago that the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) was convened in New York (September 19-20, 2011). This came at the end of an intense period of ISN activity – many ISN members finding opportunities to influence their health ministers to ask for an increased emphasis at that meeting on the importance of kidney disease as a major NCD.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 12:03

Back from a great visit to South East Asia!


Web ISN delegation welcomed to Mittephab Hospital Vientiane LaosI will admit that August was rather quiet for me – as always plenty of ISN business to keep me on my toes from my office at home, but four whole weeks without getting into a plane! But now things are in full swing.

Dr Lameire webAn ISN leadership team began a trip to South East Asia by conducting the first ISN GO Oceania/South East Asia (OSEA) Regional Workshop on September 11, 2012, held in conjunction with the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

2012-Nanjing Forum webAs I participated again in the ISN GO CME portion of the "Forefronts in Glomerular Disease - Nanjing Forum" meeting in Nanjing on August 25, I could not help being reminded of the first such event. It was called the "International Workshop on Renal Diseases" held at Jinling Hospital and Nanjing University in June 1988.

At that time, several ISN leaders including Robert Schrier from the US, Stuart Cameron from the UK and Priscilla Kincaid-Smith and Robert Atkins from Australia went to Nanjing at the invitation of the late Lei Chi Li, later an ISN Councilor and Honorary Member, who had personally organized the first ever nephrology meeting held in China with international speakers presenting in English. The enormity of that task was brought home the next year when the events in Tiananmen square in Beijing led to cancellation or postponement of follow up renal meetings in China.

But the seeds have been sown, and the Nanjing Forum has been held and supported by ISN almost every year since. The forum is unique among ISN CME events for reasons beyond its historical distinction of being the first ever international nephrology meeting in a modernizing China. It has always presented state-of-the-art renal science. This year it focused on newer aspects of podocyte function and systems biology mixed with clinical presentations and local speakers. The audience of 500-600 Chinese registrants also exceeds that of most CMEs and rivals an ISN Nexus or Forefronts meeting.

The high quality of the Nanjing meeting (now organized by ISN Councillor Zhi-Hong Liu, Director of the Research Institute for Nephrology at Jinling hospital) parallels the incredible growth of China itself over the past 20 years and the accompanying emergence of world class nephrology clinical care and research in Nanjing as well as in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other large cities.

Over 20 years of ISN CME, fellowship and Sister Renal Center support for the Nanjing programs, along with the visionary leadership of individuals like Lei Chi Li and Zhi-Hong Liu, have been essential to making this program the center of excellence it is today. The challenge for the future will be using the Nanjing model to extend these same programs to more rural and much less developed renal centers in China.

Schrier and Imed webI recently read the article by Harris et al. in Kidney International about the impact of the ISN Global Outreach (GO) Fellowship Program. The training of 545 nephrologists from 83 developing countries is quite remarkable. I was on the ISN Executive Committee as Treasurer when this program was launched and the goals of this Fellowship program have been more than realized.

On a recent trip to the Baltic countries, I again realized how important the ISN Fellowship Program was. The President of the Estonia nephrology program, Professor Mai Ots Rosenburg, is a former ISN fellow. She has played a major role in developing nephrology in Estonia. Another former ISN fellow, Dr. Marius Miglinas, is Chief of Nephrology in Vilnius, Lithuania and has been an important force in the development of nephrology in that country. Dr. Harris’ excellent review of the many such successes of the ISN Fellowship program is inspirational.

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