Chronic kidney disease in India: challenges and solutions

Nephron Clin Pract. 2009;111(3):c197-203; discussion c203. doi: 10.1159/000199460. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


Chronic diseases have become a major cause of global morbidity and mortality even in developing countries. The burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in India cannot be assessed accurately. The approximate prevalence of CKD is 800 per million population (pmp), and the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is 150-200 pmp. The most common cause of CKD in population-based studies is diabetic nephropathy. India currently has 820+ nephrologists, 710+ hemodialysis units with 2,500+ dialysis stations and 4,800+ patients on CAPD. There are 172+ transplant centers, two-thirds of which are in South India and mostly privately run. Nearly 3,500 transplants are done annually, the total number of cadaver donors being approximately 700 till now. Thus, taken together, nearly 18,000-20,000 patients (10% of new ESRD cases) in India get renal replacement therapy. The cost of single hemodialysis varies between USD 15 and 40 with an additional cost of erythropoietin being USD 150-200/month. The cost of CAPD using a 'Y' set with 3 exchanges/week is USD 400/month. The cost of the transplant procedure in a state-run hospital is USD 800-1,000, and the cost of immunosuppression using tacrolimus, steroid and mycophenolate is USD 350-400/month. Until recently, the government did not recognize CKD/ESRD as a significant problem in India. However, some illustrious activities in relation to CKD brought attention of the media and policymakers to this very common but till now deprived group of diseases. On the one side the government has initiated a process by which it is planning to establish stand-alone hemodialysis units in the country to increase the facilities at an affordable cost, and on the transplant side it had launched a National Organ Transplant Program to facilitate transplantation on a national scale. Hemodialysis program is halfway to being implemented. Thus, in India there is still a long way to go with respect to CKD. Until then, in a country like India, screening of high-risk individuals for CKD and the risk factors is the best bet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Kidney Transplantation / trends
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy