NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 12, 2020) — The following is an address by Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration to mark World Kidney Day on March 12, 2020.
The Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs and the people of Nevis once again join the rest of the world in recognising World Kidney Day 2020.
This important health day, which is observed on 12th March, aims to increase awareness of the vital role that kidneys play in our general health. It is also an opportunity to encourage behaviours and reinforce the practice of habits that can prevent the development of kidney disease, such as reducing salt intake and drinking adequate amounts of water.
There is a range of kidney diseases which develop for different reasons. However, chronic non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are prevalent in our islands and account for the majority of local chronic kidney disease cases.
Chronic kidney disease is the progressive loss of kidney function and, if not detected early, can lead to kidney failure. Usually there are no symptoms during the early stages. Therefore, screening for kidney impairment is of paramount importance in prevention, because when detected early, treatment can be provided to delay progression.
The theme for this year is “Kidney Health for everyone, everywhere – from prevention to detection and equitable access to care.” This theme emphasises the need for everyone to be aware of their kidney health and encourages access to prevention and control services across all populations.
Ideally, everyone should be informed of prevention strategies, receive screening and, where necessary, have access to care, regardless of socio-economic status, or geographical location. However, in some settings, services are not readily available and economic factors prevent access to care.
Let me reassure you that the Ministry of Health on Nevis continues to work assiduously to ensure all of our citizens have access to the services available for prevention, early detection and treatment of kidney diseases, especially in our at risk groups.
Our community health services, strategically located throughout the island, allowing easy access for all citizens and residents, continue to provide screening through routine laboratory tests to our clients which are either free or affordable. This allows healthcare providers to detect early signs of reduced kidney function and offer appropriate medical intervention where necessary.
We continue to collaborate with the private sector to ensure that the whole spectrum of care is provided. Over the past few years, (2016 to 2019), our citizens and healthcare workers, that is, nurses and doctors, benefited greatly from the significant work done through the Chronic Kidney Disease Project, funded by the ICDF of the Republic of China (Taiwan), which helped to strengthen our prevention and control services.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health continues to collaborate with the Nevis Renal Society. This organisation must be commended for its work in advocacy for prevention, screening, support of persons with renal disease and continued efforts to raise public awareness of kidney health, over the past 21 years.
These efforts will be further highlighted during their week of activities in observance of World Kidney Day 2020. The activities are scheduled for this week, March 8 to 13, and commenced with church services across various congregations on the island. Other activities include:
- Tuesday, March 10th: Let’s Talk show appearance and Launch of 21st Anniversary Magazine
- Wednesday, March 11th: Talks in Schools, in conjunction with the Health Promotion Unit
- Thursday March 12th: World Kidney Day Observance
- Friday March 13th: Take Away Tea Party at the Red Cross Building
I encourage everyone to support these activities as the Nevis Renal Society, along with the Ministry of Health, continues to provide services to help our individuals, families, and communities.
Kidney health is for everyone, everywhere and we will continue to provide all our citizens with the services to prevent and control kidney disease.