The saying “desperate times call for desperate measures” may be an apt expression for the times we’re living in. An invasion in Ukraine, poverty and conflict in Afghanistan and some countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and many natural and man-made disasters have harmed peoples’ lives and health.

Politics aside, on World Kidney Day 2022, The American Society of Nephrology (ASN), the European Renal Association (ERA), and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) expressed concern for the health and safety of all people, including those with kidney diseases.

Previously healthy individuals are at risk for acute kidney injury due to crush injuries, dehydration, environmental factors (such as pollution, fire, chemicals, and radiation), stress, and other factors. Patients on dialysis suffer when safe dialysis facilities, supplies, and utilities are out of reach. Transplant recipients and other patients may be forced to go without necessary medications and therapies.

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In Afghanistan, desperate residents with little to no income have resorted to selling their kidneys to feed their families.

A statement by the European Kidney Health Alliance offers valuable perspective and practical advice in these times:

“We strongly demand that governments and medical service providers join forces to ensure treatment for these vulnerable people.”

Nephrology professionals and other medical personnel in ravaged areas deserve our respect and gratitude for their heroic and tireless efforts in the face of personal danger. The indomitable spirit of affected patients, their families, and caregivers inspire and call for action.


Global kidney organizations appeal for kidney health for all war victims. News release. American Society of Nephrology (ASN); March 10, 2022.

ERA declaration of support for Ukraine. ERA Online; March 2022. Accessed March 11, 2022.

Vanholder R, Gallego D, Sever MS. Wars and kidney patients: a statement by the European Kidney Health Alliance related to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. J Nephrol. Published online March 5, 2022. doi:10.1007/s40620-022-01301-4

El Husseini R. Desperate Afghans resort to selling their kidneys to feed families. Yahoo News; February 27, 2022. Accessed March 11, 2022.