Solidaridad receives millions to tackle chronic kidney disease among sugarcane cutters

Solidaridad has been granted 3 million euro to work on the elimination of Chronic Kidney Disease among cane cutters in Central America. This was announced by the Dutch Postcode lottery at its annual gala in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Sven Sielhorst, International Programme Manager Sugarcane at Solidaridad: "This is fantastic news for the affected man and their families, and great recognition for all those people who have worked hard to understand the causes of the disease. Together, we can make this epidemic a thing of the past.”

Chronic Kidney Disease is one of the leading causes of death among cane cutters in the lowlands of Central America. Recent research links the disease to dehydration, heat stress and the consumption of energy drinks at the time of dehydration. The disease threatens the existence of communities that rely on sugarcane for their livelihood.

The project: La Isla de Viudas

The granted project is titled La Isla de Viudas, after one of the most affected regions in Central America where the male population is decimated by the disease. The funding period of the project is three years.

Solidaridad, with support of its many partners, including La Isla Foundation, aims to identify and scientifically validate ways to prevent the disease by changing work practices and improving hydration of workers. Only prevention can bring solace on a grand scale as mass treatment would be unaffordable for any society let alone for the countries in Central America.

Nevertheless, there are people today who are suffering from the disease. This will remain a reality for sometime into the future. Through the project we aim to find cost effective public health support systems that will prolong and improve their quality of life. This will not just be a paper exercise, but actual health care and development support to selected communities.

Solidaridad and its partners will use this opportunity to identify and demonstrate solutions to one of the gravest issues in Central America and in sugarcane cultivation worldwide. In order to accomplish these ambitious goals, Solidaridad wants to join forces with any actor that is committed to ending this epidemic. Only if we build on the insights and efforts of those committed actors, can we find solutions that work and that meet the broad support that is needed to end Chronic Kidney Disease.

How to change the world with sugarcane?

The project will be part of the international Solidaridad sugarcane programme entitled “How to change the world with sugarcane?” Sugarcane is the source of many everyday products, like sugar, transport fuel, and plastics. The cultivation of sugarcane provides millions of farmers and cutters worldwide with an income to support their family. The crop has great potential to solve some of the challenges we face as a global society. To do that, we need to work alongside to make sure that sugarcane is produced in accordance with global best practices.