Promoting kidney health for Indigenous Canadians

Access to health care is a right all Canadians hold dear, and it is a core element of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network’s vision. Through our 18 research projects, we are committed to ensuring all Canadians with or at high risk of kidney disease are able to receive the best available care. This includes Indigenous people and others living in rural and remote locations who may face barriers to accessing appropriate treatment.

A public health intervention led by Dr. Paul Komenda through the Can-SOLVE CKD Network will introduce point-of-care testing in rural and remote communities. This initiative aims to screen 4,000 individuals in Indigenous communities across Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

“It is critical that we work with Indigenous communities to address inequities in access to CKD and diabetes diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Komenda. “This project has the potential to fundamentally change health care delivery for Indigenous Canadians.”

Indigenous patient partners have played a key role in the development of this initiative and will continue to be involved to ensure the work is relevant to communities and reaches those in need.

The project calls for mobile screening teams to either travel to Indigenous communities or train health care professionals already working in those communities. Using new medical technologies and equipment, they will test for high blood pressure, diabetes and risk of CKD progression within minutes.

Screening alone is not a guarantee of appropriate care. Those who undergo screening will be connected with the appropriate health care resources depending on need. Individuals at high risk will receive a referral to a kidney specialist; lower-risk individuals will receive educational materials and will be encouraged to follow-up with their local health care teams. If kidney disease is caught early there are a number of medical treatments that can potentially stop or delay its progression, improving the lives of those within Indigenous communities.

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