Skip to main content

Dr. Bello’s Story

The likelihood of development of kidney failure among Indigenous people is 2- to 4-fold higher compared to the general population in Canada.
As a kidney specialist and researcher based at the University of Alberta, I spend a good amount of time travelling to rural and remote Indigenous communities in northern Alberta to provide care in places with limited access to primary medical care. 

I am passionate about this work. Growing up in Nigeria, I saw first-hand many great challenges regarding health care, including the limited access to care for patients with kidney disease. Many parts of the world face similar challenges, including Canada. 

Putting my training and research experience into practice, I joined the patient-oriented research network Can-SOLVE CKD as the lead scientist of the Kidney Check program.  This truly innovative program is addressing the gaps in access for Indigenous patients with kidney disease who live outside of large urban centres. 

For Indigenous communities in Canada, lack of access to care is further complicated by the high burden of certain diseases – including chronic kidney disease (CKD) and associated risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The risk for development of complications is also higher in Indigenous peoples.  In fact, the likelihood of development of kidney failure among Indigenous people is 2- to 4-fold higher compared to the general population in Canada. 

If we diagnose chronic kidney disease early, or identify which individuals are at the highest risk, early treatment can help prevent development of kidney disease or stop the progression to kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant among those with established kidney disease. 

One of the most rewarding things about the Kidney Check program is our team approach. We work closely with Indigenous leaders on tailoring and implementing the program in their community and shaping it to incorporate their unique needs and culture. This can mean having our team provide services directly to the community or offering training to local nurses so they can operate the program themselves.

The Kidney Check program is reducing the risk of patients developing chronic kidney disease. By reducing the risk, these patients won’t have to leave everything they know and love, their home and family, their culture, to move to an urban area with access to treatments like dialysis. 

It is working. And your support makes this possible.

Dr. Aminu Bello, MD, PhD, FRCP, FACP, FASN
Kidney Specialist &Professor of Medicine
Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta