Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Raising awareness of kidney disease

Tim Statham, CEO of the National Kidney Federation (NKF) sent me a link to these 7 raising awareness posters which can be used in conjunction with World Kidney Day (12 March 2009).

Getting the public to understand kidneys in the way they understand cholesterol is a key long-term goal. The kidneys are such amazing organs, in both health and disease, that the woman on the top of the Clapham omnibus should be interested. The fact that acute kidney injury is so common - over 5% of hospital admissions, and that chronic kidney disease even moreso, affecting over 10% of the adult population, means whoever you are reading this you must know many people with kidney disease.

Over the last year when I have been sitting on trains working away with kidney papers strewn around me, my fellow passengers frequently remark about a parent or relative who has recently been found to have kidney disease. The knowledge they have however is often pretty poor or downright wrong.

Those of you who have heard me talk know that I often quote Sir Muir Gray "knowledge is the enemy of disease" indeed I have a slide of that title showing the graph (from Strippoli et al. JASN 15:411-419, 2004) of randomised control trials in different medical disciplines. It's a cause of frustration that kidney research has fewer trials than all the other big killers. Knowledge is more than data and results from trials. Raising the knowledge base about healthy kidneys and how to keep them as healthy as possible is now a real opportunity given the visibility that the introduction of a chronic kidney disease domain into the Quality and Outcomes Framework and the systematic reporting of estimated GFR has given kidney disease.

So wherever you are working why don't you put one or more of these posters up. They will get people thinking and asking questions. If you are a teacher like my wife Marie and sister in law Barbara or you work directly with groups of people of any age you have a golden opportunity. Take it.