During March, IPNA teamed with the Bridge of Life (BOL) organization to screen 300 plus children at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). The screening took place during March 8-15, 2020 in schools in the La Democracia municipality of Guatemala.
The program, organized locally by FUNDANIER, included prevention education for children ages 11 to 14 years old. The BOL nurses, dieticians and IPNA volunteer pediatric nephrologist trained local community health workers and doctors about chronic kidney disease prevention, generated awareness and celebrated World Kidney Day.
“Kidney disease is a huge issue in Guatemala, and this is a very important initiative. Our goal is to screen as many children as possible and address treatment plans for those who test positively for kidney issues,” said Dr. Melvin Bonilla-Felix, Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Puerto Rico. Dr. Bonilla-Felix traveled from Puerto Rico to lead this effort on behalf of IPNA. DaVita, an international dialysis company, provided seven nurses and dieticians to service the screenings, teach and train.
In 2018, IPNA introduced the Sister Centre program with the aim of linking developing pediatric renal units in less resourced regions to experienced pediatric renal units in well-resourced regions. The first pair of centers launched in this exciting adventure are the Foundation for Children with Kidney Diseases (FUNDANIER) in Guatemala and the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Puerto Rico. FUNDANIER and the University of Puerto Rico work closely to strengthen local research and training capacity in Guatemala. “The goal is to develop a training center at FUNDANIER in Pediatric Nephrology and related disciplines for the region of Central America,” said Dr. Hui-Kim Yap, Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and President of IPNA.
“CKD is a huge issue here in Guatemala with a very high incidence rate of renal disease along the Pacific Coast. Screening for risk factors is vital to our efforts to treat the early symptoms and hopefully avoid future problems,” said Dr. Randall Lou-Meda, Medical Director, FUNDANIER, Guatemala Roosevelt Hospital.