A comprehensive cooperative project for children with renal diseases in Nicaragua

A. Edefonti, G. Marra, M. Castellón Perez, M. Sandoval Díaz, F. Sereni

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In low-income countries renal diseases generally and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in particular represent a wide-spread and often underdiagnosed clinical problem. The aim of the cooperative project between the pediatric nephrology units of Milan, Italy, and Managua, Nicaragua was to improve the diagnosis and treatment of renal diseases and CKD in Nicaraguan children. When the project started, in 2000, there were many constraints in human andmaterial resources in the Children's Hospital in Managua. Since 2001, a specialized Unit of Pediatric Nephrology and Urology has developed, offering free of charge basic clinical assistance to hospitalized children, and training abroad of the whole staff. Shared protocols, renovation of infrastructure and an information technology (IT) program were implemented. In 2003, renal replacement therapy (RRT) for selected children was initiated, along with a network of six department hospitals in 2005 and, in 2007, a CKD prevention program in the most peripheral Health Units, so that 61% of the Nicaraguan pediatric population is now covered by the project. To ensure implementation of the project, applications for funds to Italian private and public institutions were made and a Nicaraguan charity foundation was activated. The Nicaraguan Ministry of Health and the hospital directors were always involved in the plans of the development of the project and accepted the progressive transfer of the costs to the government, throughout the 9-year duration of the project. The IT program, inclusive of a database of children with kidney and other urinary tract (UT) diseases and a web connection between Milan and Managua, was crucial in monitoring the activities and providing epidemiological data, in order to better allocate resources. The clinical activities and the number of children managed in Managua in 2008 are similar to those of pediatric nephrology units worldwide and depict the level of clinical autonomy achieved. The sister-center model of cooperation and the top-down strategy we applied, along with the careful consideration of all the economic, logistic and political issues, were and are the key factors which explain the favorable results of this cooperative project.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Nephrology
Issue numberSUPPL.1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Children
  • Cooperation project
  • Nicaragua
  • Renal diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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