Leading the way forward on CKDu in Sri Lanka

To accelerate priority action on chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka, WHO together with the Presidential Task Force on CKDu, jointly convened an international expert consultation from 27-29 April, 2016 in Colombo. CKDu is a serious public health problem in Sri Lanka and several other countries, particularly in Central and Latin America. CKDu appears to disproportionally affect poor, rural, male farmers living in hot climates. Despite more than 20 years of study, the disease is not well understood. The consultation was held to guide future directions to address CKDu and alleviate the suffering of those affected and their families.

The consultation brought together national and international experts on CKDu representing 10 different countries including Sri Lanka, India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Cuba, El Salvador, Finland, Sweden, Canada and Costa Rica. The expert group consisted of clinicians, researchers, epidemiologists, toxicologists, agriculture scientists, social scientists, hydrologists and other leading authorities in their field. Existing evidence on CKDu was reviewed during the consultation and gaps in information were identified. Research priorities and cost-effective interventions were reached by consensus for the prevention and management of CKDu in future. The key recommendations will be incorporated into the forthcoming National Action Plan on CKDu for Sri Lanka. Following the consultation, the Director of the Presidential Taskforce on CKDu, Mr Asela Iddawela stated that that the priority must be to turn these recommendations into concrete actions in order to make substantive progress on CKDu prevention and treatment in Sri Lanka.