African-Americans are nearly four times more likely than white Americans to develop kidney failure, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and a reason for an effort now underway to better inform black communities about chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dialysis.
The effort, by the NAACP working with Baxter International, is centered on a series of town hall events, and will focus on access to care for CKD and treatment options. Experts will also speak to the excessive impact that kidney disease has on blacks and other minorities.
African-Americans comprise more than 35% of all patients in the U.S. being treated with dialysis for kidney failure, according to the National Kidney Foundation, despite blacks representing only about 13% of the American population. Among those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), studies also show particularly low rates of home dialysis, although technology allowing such treatment in the home is now widely available. Other studies link at-home dialysis to better quality of life for kidney patients.
The program is titled “NAACP Dialysis Health Imperative for Access, Choice, and Equity (ACE), and the NAACP is also collaborating with the Alliance for Home Dialysis, an advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., to inform the public about treatment options.
“Given the high rates of African Americans and people of color living with kidney disease, it is important that they have the information needed to manage their illness effectively and access the best treatment modalities available, including home-based therapies,” Marjorie Innocent, senior director of health programs at NAACP, said in a press release.
“At the same time, there needs to be more targeted efforts in communities nationwide to inform people about how to prevent kidney disease and live healthier lives. We must focus on disease management while not putting aside basic prevention,” Innocent added.
The town hall series include visits to Los Angeles, Jackson, Mississippi, and Chicago between January and April this year.
More information about the ACE town hall meetings, and kidney disease resources, is available on this NAACP webpage.