Acute Kidney Injury in Low-Resource Settings: Barriers to Diagnosis, Awareness, and Treatment and Strategies to Overcome These Barriers

Joseph Lunyera, MBChB, MSc, Kajiru Kilonzo, MBChB, MMED, Andrew Lewington, MBChB, Karen Yeates, MD, MPH, Fredric O. Finkelstein
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Acute kidney injury (AKI) is increasingly recognized as a major health problem worldwide, responsible for an estimated 1.4 million deaths per year. The occurrence of and approach to AKI in low-resource settings (LRS) present special challenges due to often limited health care resources, including insufficient numbers of trained personnel, diagnostic tools, and treatment options. Although the International Society of Nephrology set a goal of eliminating preventable deaths from AKI by 2025, implementation of this program in LRS presents major challenges not only because of the lack of resources, but also because of the lack of awareness of the impact of AKI on patient outcomes, factors that are complicated by the challenge of cognitively dissociating the care of patients with AKI from the care of patients with chronic kidney failure. To better understand how to increase the awareness of AKI and develop strategies to improve the identification and treatment of patients with AKI in LRS, we administered an 18-item web-based questionnaire to physicians actively engaged in providing nephrology care in LRS. A checklist was then developed of meaningful and targeted approaches for implementation, with focus on engaging local and regional stakeholders, developing education programs and appropriate guidelines, enhancing training of health care workers, expanding health care resources, linking with other regional health care projects, and broadening research opportunities.