Churches enlisted to fight kidney disease
More than six million African American adults in the United States have signs of kidney disease – a total equal to the population of Tennessee.
African Americans experience the highest rates of kidney failure – rates approximately 3.4 times greater than whites. Two major causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, 80 percent of new cases of kidney failure among African Americans are due to one of these conditions.
Throughout March, National Kidney Month, the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), along with the American Diabetes Association’s Live Empowered initiative and national nursing sorority Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., encouraged churches across the nation to hold Kidney Sundays. More than 85 black churches were targeted for the campaign, which aims to help the population better understand the disease and encourage testing and offer support to those battling kidney ailments.
“Throughout National Kidney Month, we hope to educate people on the importance of kidney testing and the link between kidney disease and diabetes and high blood pressure. Our goal is to create healthy, lifelong habits and behavior change, particularly among African Americans,” said National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers.
Each of the churches were given tools and materials, such as an event checklist and health ministry talking points, to help elevate kidney disease as a health issue requiring attention. All the congregations will conduct kidney health education sessions and provide blood pressure screenings.
“We are thrilled to partner with NKDEP on this important initiative,” said Priscilla Murphy, first VP of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. “Kidney Sundays is an opportunity for our nurses to directly affect the health of their communities. Through blood pressure screenings and kidney health presentations, we open the door to a discussion on kidney disease and raise awareness about risk factors.”