EKHA & EKPF open letter ‘Protecting Chronic Kidney Disease patients amid the conflict in Ukraine’2 March 2022
In the wake of the escalating conflict in Ukraine, the European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) and the European Kidney Patients’ Federation (EKPF) published an open letter to Ms Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, and Ms Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. We aim to alert EU policy makers about the extremely worrying situation of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients on site and in neighbouring countries.
In a country with more than 40 million inhabitants, full-scale hostilities can have shattering consequences for the population, in particular for patients requiring constant care and well functioning health infrastructures. All chronic disease patients in/or fleeing Ukraine are currently facing an increased risk of mortality and morbidity and deserve our urgent attention. Kidney disease patients in need of dialysis or having a renal transplant are particularly vulnerable in these settings. In Ukraine, they represent 10,000 patients.
As the delivery of EU humanitarian assistance is underway, EKHA and EKPF ask EU Commissioners to pay attention to CKD patients and ensure the provision of:
- Safe and reliable life-saving therapies and medication to all CKD patients on the ground and fleeing to surrounding countries,
- Rapid training for relevant healthcare professionals on how to take care of CKD patients in time of war and on the prevention and control of infections,
- Telemedicine equipment to maintain the continuity of care (when possible) to avoid travelling long distance amid conflict zones,
- Mental health support to patients and healthcare professionals who are at immediate risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other stress-related conditions,
- Free access to care to all refugees arriving in another EU country,
- Facilitated air transport to other EU countries in situations where the health infrastructures of surrounding countries become overloaded.
In this fast-evolving and complex context, the health of our neighbours from Ukraine must remain our priority. EKHA and EKPF stand ready to support any action to help CKD patients in the region.
Read the open letter here.