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World Kidney Day 2024: IKA Highlights Lack of Awareness of High Prevalence of Kidney Disease

The Irish Kidney Association and the HSE National Renal Office (NRO) are coming together to raise awareness about Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) on World Kidney Day, March 14, 2024. With statistics revealing that 1 in 10 people of the general population, and 1 in 7 people in Ireland over the age of 50, have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), the focus of the campaign is to urge individuals to take action and prioritise kidney health, especially given its close links to diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Additionally, the World Kidney Day 2024 campaign marks the return of the Irish Kidney Association’s national fundraising campaign after a four-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Early detection is key to slowing down the progression of CKD. A simple blood or urine test can be the first step to check kidney health and identify if kidney disease exists. By catching CKD early, people can take proactive steps to manage their condition, slow down its progression, and possibly prevent further complications.

CKD is categorised into five stages of progression with Stage 5, the final stage, indicating End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) and the need for either dialysis or a transplant. Chronic Kidney Disease is often described as ‘the silent illness hiding in plain sight’ which develops over time and usually does not show any obvious symptoms until it progresses to kidney failure.

According to a recently published report by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)* and the HSE National Renal Office, over 200,000 people in the over-fifty age group in Ireland have CKD. Also, there are more than 5,000 people diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD, also referred to as Stage 5 kidney disease), with over 2,400 patients currently undergoing dialysis treatment. These numbers highlight the urgent need for increased awareness and support for those affected by kidney disease.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is not just a standalone isolated health condition; it is closely linked to hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Individuals with one or more of these conditions are at higher risk of developing CKD, and vice versa, and it is important for patients to be aware of these links. It is also important for healthcare professionals to collaborate closely, ensuring that heightened awareness, treatments, and medications are coordinated to manage these interconnected health challenges effectively.

This year marks a significant milestone as the Irish Kidney Association reinstates its national fundraising campaign after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers, many of whom are patients themselves, will be back in ALDI stores, and other locations across the country, distributing free organ donor cards and collecting vital funds to support patients in need, through the sale of the Irish Kidney Association’s Forget-me-Not flower emblems, which are also available to buy online from the IKA Forget-Me-Not Virtual Garden

Commenting on the campaign, Carol Moore, Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association stated, “Chronic Kidney Disease is a very real and prevalent issue affecting approximately 800 million of people globally, including  500,000 people here in Ireland. The lack of knowledge about chronic kidney disease and its relationship with the better-known high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease conditions needs to be addressed. According to the TILDA survey, 98% of people who had CKD were unaware they suffered from it. The results of the TILDA survey reinforce the Irish Kidney Association’s call for CKD to be integrated into the HSE National Chronic Disease Management Programme as a crucial step towards ensuring better health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.  Through initiatives like World Kidney Day, the Irish Kidney Association wants to start a public conversation on the importance of early detection and collaborative care in managing CKD effectively.”

“The Irish Kidney Association is delighted that World Kidney Day 2024 will also mark the resumption of our much-needed national fundraising campaign after almost four years and we are grateful for the support of our dedicated volunteers many of whom are family members of patients or patients themselves. Over the past four years, the demand for our charity’s counselling services has doubled, while our charity had to forgo national fundraising. Despite this, the Irish Kidney Association has continued to support and advocate for kidney patients as well as managing national organ donor awareness events and promoting and distributing the organ donor card. Securing the support and generosity of the public is now more critical than ever to sustain the work our registered charity does.”

“Referring to the TILDA report, Prof. George Mellotte, Clinical Lead, National Renal Office added, ” The TILDA report highlights that CKD is becoming more common in Ireland. This is consistent with Ireland’s rapid demographic changes, highlighting the importance of action in primary and secondary care to raise awareness and to improve the outcomes for people living with CKD in Ireland. With the demands on the HSE to treat the growing number of people that are progressing to end-stage kidney disease each year requiring dialysis, (equal to building one new dialysis centre every year), it’s clear that concerted efforts by the public and the HSE are needed to address this public health challenge. By raising awareness and supporting initiatives like World Kidney Day, we can make significant strides in improving outcomes for patients with kidney disease.”

General Practitioners and pharmacies play a hugely significant role in patient care in our communities. The Irish Pharmacy Union and several pharmacy chains are supporting the Irish Kidney Association’ campaign around World Kidney Day and many pharmacies will be displaying the campaign poster on their digital screens.

The World Kidney Day campaign materials, including posters and digital resources, are available on the Irish Kidney Association’s website. For more information and to get involved, visit     


*Nowak N, Mellotte G,  O’Halloran A, Kenny RA, Sexton D. Chronic Kidney Disease in

community-dwelling adults aged 50+ years in Ireland: A Report from TILDA and the NRO, October 2023. Website:,