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Chronic Kidney Disease in Tanzania

Thanks in large part to an ISN Research and Prevention grant, we are learning about many important aspects of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Tanzania.

Preliminary data suggest that the burden of CKD is likely to be as substantial (if not greater) than that of the United States and Europe, and alarmingly, we are finding similar prevalence estimates for diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

In light of these ongoing findings, the importance of CKD in the spectrum of non-communicable disease must be stressed especially in the context of it as a cardiovascular risk factor and in context of the uniform fatality of early stage renal disease in almost all low-income countries.

In addition to these traditional risk factors, we are beginning to understand the important role that the pervasive use of herbal or traditional medications plays CKD and Acute Kidney Injury patients. Herbal medications are a very important part of healthcare in the region, and understanding the reasons for their use is critical in developing a prevention and treatment program for any chronic disease. They not only serve as important etiologies of renal failure, but they also play a major role in treating the failure of chronic diseases.

Currently, treatment failure (either through retention, non-adherence, or ineffective care) is a major issue in the management of chronic diseases. Cost and access are only small parts of this. In a region where untreated malaria is considered a paradigm for ‘chronic disease’, informing patients that their disease is lifelong and chronic (which can often translate as incurable) most commonly results in isolation, fear, and increased use of herbal medications in a curative effort.

Find out more about the ISN Research and Prevention Program HERE.

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