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 Press release

International Society of Nephrology Calls for a

Global Fund to Fight Kidney Disease

World leaders convene in Bellagio to define prevention strategies

Brussels, Belgium ? 15 March 2004

? Chronic kidney diseases represent a new and rapidly developing worldwide threat to human health, according to the International Society of Nephrology (ISN).  Today, more than 1 million people around the globe are alive on renal dialysis.  The incidence of kidney failure has doubled in the last 15 years and is expected to continue to increase.  Millions of people around the world are likely to need renal replacement therapy within the next 10 years exceeding costs of US$ 50 billion.  These are some of the developing health trends that lead the International Society of Nephrology to believe that it is now imperative to launch a Global Fund (similar to those established to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria) to help prevent the worldwide spread of chronic kidney diseases.

To address the severity of this global health threat, ISN has convened a meeting of world leaders in Bellagio. Eminent nephrologists and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) meet in the seclusion of the Rockefeller Foundation?s Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy this week (16-18 March) to define the necessary prevention strategies and their financial implications.   It is hoped that this 3-day summit will lead to the establishment of the Global Fund before the end of 2004.

?The need for a fund is a question of global equity and capacity building,? points out Dr. Jan. J. Weening, President of the International Society of Nephrology.   ?It fits in entirely with the InterAcademy Council?s campaign of ?Inventing a Better Future.?  We are convinced that action now is essential to secure a better future in many parts of the world.?

Due to the combined efforts of scientists, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry effective drugs and treatments are now available to prevent or slow down the progression of kidney diseases.  The problem is the associated costs and accessibility.  Patients in developed countries will be able to benefit from these new discoveries but those in developing and low-income countries will not.   Inadequate facilities, poor infrastructure, lack of awareness, the lack of access to essential drugs and equipment (such as dialysis machines and renal transplant therapy) mean that millions of patients in poor countries will die from kidney diseases unnecessarily.  ?The creation of a global fund will allow us to export to developing countries know-how on combating progressive renal diseases,? adds Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, Research Committee Chair of the ISN?s  Commission for the Global Advancement of Nephrology (COMGAN).  ?Furthermore, it is hoped that the fund can provide for appropriate infrastructure, training, care and drugs according to the needs of a given country.?

During the 3-day ISN Bellagio summit entitled ?Preventing the Progression of Kidney Disease: Toward Global Equity? nephrology experts from around the world will work together to determine the dimension and burden of kidney diseases in the developing world. This will lead to the establishment of clear recommendations for the implementation of prevention strategies and their impact on national health systems around the world.

Once consensus has been reached between these world leaders, the International Society of Nephrology will be in the position to set about devising suitable continuing medical educational (CME) programs for practitioners and healthcare workers. The Society will also understand better the financial implications of such a capacity building program and the consequent scope therefore of the Global Fund. It is recommended that future planning gives priority to the regions of the world showing greatest risk.  



For further information, contact:

Nikki Walker, Director of Communications, International Society of Nephrology

+32-2-743 1552 / +32-478 202961; 

[email protected]

Notes to editors:

The International Society of Nephrology will be publishing a scientific update from its Bellagio Summit in the late summer.   Furthermore, it will announce additional information concerning the Global Fund, and how contributions can be made, as soon as this becomes available.

Further information about the global threat of chronic kidney diseases and prevention techniques may be found in Dr. Remuzzi?s article published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology J.AM Soc Nephrol 15: 704-707, 2004. 

About the International Society of Nephrology

Since its foundation in 1960, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) has pursued the worldwide advancement of education, science and patient care in nephrology. This goal is achieved by means of the Society?s journal, the organization of international congresses and symposia, and various outreach programs around the world. The ISN acts as an international forum on nephrology for leading nephrologists as well as young investigators, from both developed and emerging countries.  Further information is available at



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