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May 9, 2017

Worldwide Preparedness for Kidney Health Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
  • 2Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA
JAMA. 2017;317(18):1838-1839. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.2825

The World Bank reports that the number of people living in absolute poverty (ie, consuming less than US $1.90 at 2011 purchasing power parity) has declined from 42% in 1981 to 10.7% in 2013, representing a substantial improvement in living conditions across the globe, driven largely by developments in China and India.1 As societies modernize and standards of living improve, an epidemiologic transition ensues, with noncommunicable diseases competing increasingly with communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases as causes of morbidity and death, adding to the burden on existing health systems. Among noncommunicable diseases, kidney diseases have not garnered as much attention as other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancers, or chronic respiratory diseases, which constitute the 3 leading categories of noncommunicable disease causes of death.2 Kidney diseases, however, are common and consequential, and increasingly so.