Access to and coverage of renal replacement therapy in minorities and ethnic groups in Venezuela

Ezequiel Bellorin-Font, Nidia Pernalete, Josefina Meza, Carmen Luisa Milanes, Raul G Carlini
Kidney International. Supplement 2005, (97): S18-22
Access to and coverage of renal replacement therapy in minorities and ethnic groups in Venezuela. Numerous studies have documented the presence of racial and minority disparities regarding the impact of renal disease and access to renal replacement therapy (RRT). This problem is less well documented in Latin America. Venezuela, like most countries in the region, is subject to severe constraints in the allocation of resources for high-cost chronic diseases, which limits the access of patients with chronic kidney disease to RRT. Although access to health care is universal, there is both a deficit in coverage and disparity in the access to RRT, largely as a result of socioeconomic limitations and budget constrains. With current rising trends of the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and costs of medical technology, the long-term goal of complete RRT coverage will become increasingly out of reach. Current evidence suggests that prevention of progression of renal disease is possible at relatively low cost and broad coverage. Based on this evidence, the Ministry of Health has redesigned its policy with respect to renal disease based on 4 elements: 1. Prevention by means of early detection and referral to multidisciplinary health teams, as well as promotion of health habits in the community. 2. Prevention of progression of renal disease by pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic means. 3. An increase in the rate of coverage and reduction of disparities in the access to dialysis. 4. An increase in the rates of renal transplantation through better organ procurement programs and reinforcement of transplant centers. However, the projected increase in the number of patients with ESKD receiving RRT will represent a serious burden to the health care system. Therefore, implementation of these policies will require the involvement of international agencies as well as an adequate partnership between nephrologists and health care planners, so that meeting the increasing demands of ESKD programs may be balanced with other priorities of our national health system.

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