The International Society of Nephrologists (ISN) recently honoured Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena for his “extraordinary contribution” to the fight against Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu).
The recognition comes months after the World Health Organisation declared Sri Lanka “malaria-free”, a significant public health achievement in the region.
About Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu): ‘Silent condition’
While hypertension and diabetes are known to be common causes for kidney ailments, CKDu falls outside that ambit. In every renal data base in the world there is a percentage of CKDu which causes long-term progressive damage to the kidneys.
CKDu is a specific term used to connote conditions where causal factors remain unknown. It is also termed as “silent condition”, symptoms are seldom manifested till the final stages.
Spread of CKDu
CKDu was in the news some years ago when farmers working in Central America’s sugar cane farms succumbed to a “mysterious” kidney disease. In 2014, Sri Lanka media widely reported on a “mysterious” kidney disease spreading among farmers.
More recently, there are reports of the disease in some parts of Andhra Pradesh, among people from the agricultural community.
There is a lot of hypothesis that agrochemicals and contaminated water could be likely causes.
So focus on providing good quality drinking water, raising awareness about the risk of dehydration and ensuring supervised use of agrochemicals and fertilisers is done.