Dr. Sovann Kanitha is still excited after having spent two weeks in Melbourne, Australia The nephrologist from Cambodia, who runs a small dialysis clinic in Phnom Penh, can only dream of conditions like those at the Monash Medical Centre, a teaching hospital linked to the neighboring university.
Dr. Kanitha is a CREED fellow in Australia, where he has shadowed staff in the renal unit for two weeks. CREED is a program set up in 2001 to promote the exchange of dialysis knowledge in Southeast Asia; the abbreviation stands for “Cross-Regional Education & Exchange in Dialysis”. The program is jointly supported by Fresenius Medical Care, the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology ( ANZSN ) and the International Society of Nephrology ( ISN ).
One method of exchange is enabling a stay abroad for physicians and nurses from less developed countries. Dr. Kanitha would have liked to have taken even more new knowledge home with him, but he is nevertheless satisfied as he was able to familiarize himself with latest-generation dialysis machines.
In Cambodia, where there is no health insurance, he has to make it work with simpler technology and limited resources. Although he is organizing initial attempts with peritoneal dialysis in Phnom Penh, patients still have to go to Thailand for a renal biopsy, for example.
The Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne is one of the most active dialysis centers of the CREED network. This is in no small part thanks to Prof. Dr. Peter Kerr, Director of the Department of Nephrology. Prof. Kerr has been Chair of the CREED Executive Committee for several years. Prof. Kerr has also introduced CREED to the International Society of Nephrology (ISN).
The ISN now helps to raise the profile of this previously small initiative. Not only the physicians and nurses from Australia and New Zealand, but also the employees of Fresenius Medical Care invest a lot of time in supporting CREED.
That is really impressive, I don't know of any other company that does anything like that.
To improve the way dialysis therapy is carried out in Southeast Asia, CREED also sponsors so-called CREED ambassador programs. The biggest of these events to date took place in Vietnam recently. Two physicians and two experienced dialysis nurses from Westmead Hospital in Sydney spent five days there holding workshops and training sessions.
The overwhelming interest in the event shows how urgently this kind of knowledge transfer is needed : More than 600 physicians and nurses from all over Vietnam signed up to see the Australian experts. CREED resources are available above all for ambassador programs, fellowships, and to enable young nephrologists to attend international conferences to present their research.
The exchange of knowledge facilitated by CREED is bearing fruit. The initiative was launched in 2001 as a cooperation program between Australia and New Zealand on the one hand and the Indonesian Society of Nephrology ( PERNEFRI ) on the other. Back then, dialysis care in Indonesia was comparable with the current situation in Cambodia and Vietnam.
A great deal has happened since then. The Indonesian healthcare system has evolved considerably, as has the dialysis infrastructure. “When we started, there were 30 nephrologists in the whole of Indonesia,” recalls Prof. Kerr. “Now, there are over 115, and many other physicians offer dialysis.“CREED has been instrumental in bringing about vast improvements to the situation for dialysis patients in Indonesia,” Prof. Kerr ascertains.