Archive for February, 2021

EKHA launches a call to action to improve CKD prevention, treatment and care in the aftermath of COVID-19

Today, on 26th February 2021, EKHA launched a call to action calling on EU leaders to improve CKD prevention, treatment and care in the aftermath of COVID-19. This call to action, which has been endorsed by 89 stakeholders, urges policy makers to include four key recommendations in future EU policies and initiatives to address the long-term challenges surrounding CKD in Europe:

  1. Augment efforts on CKD prevention;
  2. Collect and share data on CKD at EU level;
  3. Promote home therapies, transplantation and the uptake of digital tools;
  4. Make research and innovation in Kidney Replacement Therapy an EU priority.

75 million people suffer from CKD in the EU, and projections estimate that CKD will be the 5th leading cause of death worldwide by 2040. Hence, it is expected that CKD will be one of the greatest public health challenges in the next decades.

COVID-19 further emphasized the vulnerability of CKD patients. Studies found that they have a higher mortality risk and are among the patient groups most impacted by medicines shortages and treatment interruptions. Hence, the pandemic has showed the importance of addressing shortcomings in CKD prevention, treatment and care. It is now essential that these are addressed at the political level to limit avoidable deaths in current and future health emergencies.

Read the call to action here.

EKHA meets with EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides to discuss challenges of Chronic Kidney Disease at the EU level

Today, the 26th February 2021, EKHA, together with the European Kidney Patients’ Federation (EKPF) met with EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides to discuss the unmet needs and challenges around Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Europe.

During this meeting, EKHA & EKPF discussed the growing and alarming burden of CKD and the long-standing challenges faced by CKD patients in the EU, paying particular attention to the impact of COVID-19.  Further, EKHA seized the occasion to share its Call to Action to improve prevention, treatment and care of CKD in the aftermath of COVID-19, also launched today.

During the meeting, Commissioner Kyriakides was remarkably receptive to these issues and expressed strong concern about the dire consequences of COVID-19 on CKD patients. In the coming months, EKHA and EKPF will keep working with the European Commission to ensure that CKD patients’ needs, especially in the context of COVID-19, are placed high on the EU agenda.

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is now part of the EKHA Board of Directors!

We are pleased to announce that the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) has become a member of EKHA’s Board of Directors, as of the 21st February 2021. ISN is a global professional association dedicated to advancing kidney health worldwide. According to EKHA President Raymond Vanholder: “ISN is a major player in the international fight for kidney health. As such, by becoming the fifth member of EKHA’s Board of Directors, ISN will surely broaden the reach of EKHA’s many policy and advocacy actions.” Not only will this new membership support EKHA’s advocacy work at the international level; it will also contribute towards the achievement of EKHA’s strategic goal to strengthen international collaboration around innovation on Kidney Replacement Therapies as part of the ‘Decade of the Kidney’ campaign.

ISN will be represented by its Brussels-based Advocacy Director Paul Laffin.  Further, we welcome the following statement by Paul Laffin: “At a time of both unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the global nephrology community, ISN is delighted to join EKHA and share its expertise in the battle against kidney disease.”

COVID-19 and policy changes for kidney disease: the need for a ‘decade of the kidney’

The new article by Prof. Vanholder, EKHA’s President, and Prof. Lameire, former EKHA’s Chairman brings to attention the high burden of COVID-19 for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), who have a high risk to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms and mortality. The article presents EKHA’s recommendations in CKD care, which were promoted to EU policy-makers through an open letter in September 2020.

Emerging studies demonstrate that patients with CKD have higher mortality rates than patients with other chronic diseases. End-stage kidney disease patients are particularly at risk, with a mortality rate over 20% for dialysis and transplanted patients. Furthermore, many severe COVID-19 patients without a history of kidney disease developed acute kidney injury (AKI), a condition that often leads to CKD.

Kidney care was strongly impacted by disruptions in care as nephrology interventions were classified as non-essential, which reflects the lack of understanding of kidney disease in the wider health community. The EKHA open letter is calling on EU policy makers to enable actions protecting kidney disease patients against the negative consequences of the pandemic in the long-term. These actions are likely to be beneficial across the health sector as they strive to improve patient outcomes, quality of life, and to reduce the health-economic and societal cost of CKD.

In the open letter, EKHA calls for a paradigm shift towards innovation, prevention, home therapy, and transplantation. EKHA thus strongly advocates to make the next decade ‘the decade of the kidney’ by focusing on innovation and improving cure & care for all kidney patients.

Access the full article here.

Supplemented ERA-EDTA Registry data evaluated the frequency of dialysis, kidney transplantation and comprehensive conservative management for patients with kidney failure in Europe.

EKHA’s recent study uses data from the ERA-EDTA Registry to estimate the rates of dialysis, kidney transplantation, and comprehensive conservative management (i.e. planned holistic care rather than kidney replacement therapy) for patients with kidney failure in Europe.

The results from 33 countries show substantial variations across European countries in the prevalence of kidney replacement therapy, peritoneal dialysis, home dialysis, kidney transplantation, and comprehensive care management. Hence, major discrepancies in nephrology persist across Europe, which must be addressed by improving the access to kidney treatment options for patients with kidney failure.

Access the full article here