CKD prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa: a call for governmental, nongovernmental, and community support

Am J Kidney Dis. 2008 Mar;51(3):515-23. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2007.12.006.


The upsurge in incidence and prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in both developed and developing nations has necessitated a renewed interest in global CKD prevention because it is now regarded as a public health threat. Although CKD management is consuming a huge proportion of health care finances in developed countries, it is contributing significantly to morbidity, mortality, and decreased life expectancy in developing ones. CKD epidemiological characteristics in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are strikingly different from those observed in other regions. Although middle-aged and elderly populations are predominantly affected in developed countries, in SSA, CKD mainly affects young adults in their economically productive years, with hypertension and infection-related chronic glomerulonephritis as the major causes. Morbidity and mortality are high because most affected individuals cannot access renal replacement therapy. Other contributory factors for this dismal picture include late presentation, limited renal replacement therapy and its unaffordability, absence of kidney disease prevention programs, and the poor literacy level. This gloomy outlook of CKD in the subregion makes prevention the only viable option in the long term while struggling to improve access to renal replacement therapy in the short term. Unfortunately, most countries in SSA have no prevention programs, and where available, they are either institutions or individual based with very little or no governmental support. This review focuses on the burden of CKD in SSA and reviews the available prevention programs with a view to stimulating governments, communities, and organizations to establishing an inexpensive and affordable program in the entire subregion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Developing Countries
  • Disease Management
  • Glomerulonephritis / complications
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Nephrosclerosis / complications
  • Population Surveillance
  • Primary Prevention / organization & administration*
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / prevention & control*