Kidney Health for All: bridging the gap in kidney health education and literacy.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.12809/hkmj2210098
The high burden of kidney disease, global disparities in kidney care, and poor outcomes of kidney failure bring a concomitant growing burden to persons affected, their families, and carers, and the community at large. Health literacy is the degree to which persons and organisations have or equitably enable individuals to have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to make informed health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. Rather than viewing health literacy as a patient deficit, improving health literacy largely rests with healthcare providers communicating and educating effectively in codesigned partnership with those with kidney disease. For kidney policy makers, health literacy provides the imperative to shift organisations to a culture that places the person at the centre of healthcare. The growing capability of and access to technology provides new opportunities to enhance education and awareness of kidney disease for all stakeholders. Advances in telecommunication, including social media platforms, can be leveraged to enhance persons’ and providers’ education; The World Kidney Day declares 2022 as the year of “Kidney Health for All” to promote global teamwork in advancing strategies in bridging the gap in kidney health education and literacy. Kidney organisations should work towards shifting the patient-deficit health literacy narrative to that of being the responsibility of healthcare providers and health policy makers. By engaging in and supporting kidney health–centred policy making, community health planning, and health literacy approaches for all, the kidney communities strive to prevent kidney diseases and enable living well with kidney disease. Given the high burden of kidney disease and global disparities related to kidney care, in carrying forward our mission of advocating Kidney Health for All, the challenging issue of bridging the well-identified gap in the global understanding of kidney disease and its health literacy is the theme for World Kidney Day (WKD) 2022. Health literacy is defined as the degree to which persons and organisations have—or equitably enable individuals to have—the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.1 Not only is there is growing recognition of the role that health literacy has in determining outcomes for persons affected by kidney disease and the community in general, but there is an emergent imperative for policy makers worldwide to be informed and cognizant of opportunities and real measurable outcomes that can be achieved through kidney-specific preventative strategies.