Kidney disease is a global public health problem, affecting over 750 million persons worldwide. The burden of kidney disease varies substantially across the world, as does its detection and treatment. In many settings, rates of kidney disease and the provision of its care are defined by socioeconomic, cultural, and political factors leading to significant disparities. World Kidney Day 2019 offers an opportunity to raise awareness of kidney disease and highlight disparities in its burden and current state of global capacity for prevention and management. Here, we highlight that many countries still lack access to basic diagnostics, a trained nephrology workforce, universal access to primary health care, and renal replacement therapies. We point to the need for strengthening basic infrastructure for kidney care services for early detection and management of acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease across all countries and advocate for more pragmatic approaches to providing renal replacement therapies. Achieving universal health coverage worldwide by 2030 is one of the World Health Organization's Sustainable Development Goals. While universal health coverage may not include all elements of kidney care in all countries, understanding what is feasible and important for a country or region with a focus on reducing the burden and consequences of kidney disease would be an important step towards achieving kidney health equity.
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