Urgent need for a healthcare system to improve early screening, diagnosis and treatment of chronic kidney disease | The Financial Express

Urgent need for a healthcare system to improve early screening, diagnosis and treatment of chronic kidney disease

CKD can be prevented if risk factors are identified early, and if CKD is detected early, worsening of kidney function can be slowed or averted by inexpensive interventions.

Urgent need for a healthcare system to improve early screening, diagnosis and treatment of chronic kidney disease
Earlier diagnosis of CKD or the kidney health through timely diagnostic tests, would reduce the number of patients at risk of developing CKD. (File)

By Saurabh Pokhariyal

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is estimated to be one of the leading causes of years of life lost worldwide. The global burden of CKD is rapidly increasing as it is projected that by 2040 it will be among the top 5 most common causes of short span of life globally. In fact, CKD is already a major cause of catastrophic health expenditure. Research suggests that the cost of dialysis and transplantation consumes up to 3% of the annual healthcare budget in some of the high-income countries such as US; the monthly spend on such patients is about 30 times compared with the non-CKD patients

The Indian story is not too different from the global average. The prevalence of CKD in India was 15 percent, according to a 2020 study,  but various studies have also pegged the rate at 17 percent in recent times.

Considering the huge burden of CKD in India, there is an urgent need for a healthcare system to improve the early screening, diagnosis, and treatment of this disease.

How can the healthcare system address this challenge?

Earlier diagnosis of CKD or the kidney health through timely diagnostic tests, would reduce the number of patients at risk of developing CKD as well as allow individuals to commence treatment that may either treat the disease or prolong its progression, thereby decreasing demand on services in times of unprecedented pressure on healthcare systems.

Efforts to implement effective early CKD detection, treatment, and management require multi-stakeholder implementation strategies to overcome barriers to high-quality CKD care, with aligned financial and non-financial incentives.

As part of this process, governments need to have early detection and management of CKD policies and ensure programs are in place to integrate CKD with the prevention and treatment of other NCDs.

A key rationale for early CKD detection is the availability of many effective interventions to delay CKD progression and reduce cardiovascular risk. People with hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease should be part of early detection programs for CKD. Other population-specific risk factors may be used to identify groups that might benefit from targeted detection programs.

Since a huge population has limited access to CKD treatment including kidney transplants and dialysis in India, so treatment process must be made more accessible in tier I and II cities by opening more dialysis centers.

Conclusion

CKD can be prevented if risk factors are identified early, and if CKD is detected early, worsening of kidney function can be slowed or averted by inexpensive interventions. The early detection of CKD can also be a healthcare exercise on how to build resilience and sustainability in our future healthcare systems. CKD needs to be prioritized as a public health priority and effective preventive measures and early detection programs are critical in this regard.

(The author is Co-Founder, VitusCare Dialysis Centres. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)

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