Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Thursday, 9 March 2023 - 11:46am

The Virgin Islands community is being urged to protect their kidneys as the Ministry of Health observes World Kidney Day today March 9.

 Public Health Officer, Ms. Renee Leonard said that this year’s goal is to bring attention to the fact that people living with kidney disease are especially vulnerable during and after the impact of hazards because they may not have access to appropriate diagnostic services, treatment, and care.

Ms. Leonard said, “The impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria has taught us quite a bit as it relates to the accessibility of healthcare post disaster.  There are quite a high number of people with kidney health issues in the Territory who were adversely affected not just during the storms but also because of COVID-19 and we just want to arm them with vital information that can potentially save their lives.”

Ms. Leonard said kidney disease is a global public health problem that is increasing in prevalence. She said chronic kidney disease is often linked with high health care costs, poor quality of life, and serious adverse health outcomes, such as heart disease and stroke.

“We want to encourage persons to take care of their kidneys by maintaining a healthy diet and weight, increasing physical activity which helps control blood sugar levels and by monitoring diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” the Public Health Officer advised.

The kidneys are responsible for the following:

  • Regulating the body’s fluid levels
  • Filtering waste and toxins from the blood
  • Releasing of hormones that assist in the following functions
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Keeping bones healthy
  • Stimulating the bone marrow to make red blood cells

      Natural disasters, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, can happen without any warning. In an emergency, people suffering from kidney disease are among the most vulnerable and at-risk groups and must be prepared for any emergency by doing the following: Prepare an emergency kit that includes:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Medical supplies (A list of your medications and at least a month’s supply of each).
  • Medical records
  • Follow the emergency diet provided by your dialysis provider

World Kidney Day is observed   annually on the second Thursday of March to remind people of the importance of kidney health and encourage more people to be screened for chronic kidney disease. This year’s observance is being held under the theme “Kidney Health for all Preparing for the Unexpected, Supporting the Vulnerable”.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286