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La Isla Network
CKDnt in Nicaragua
Photographer: Ed Kashi
Exhibit Title: CKDnt in Nicaragua
I returned to Nicaragua in February 2020 with the Adelante Initiative, which is working toward solutions to CKDnt (chronic kidney disease of nontraditional causes), an epidemic that has killed or sickened tens of thousands of people in Nicaragua and all over the world. These sugarcane cutters head into the fields at the Ingenio (sugar mill) San Antonio, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua where they are working with partners to ensure safe and just working conditions.
The disease can strike when high temperatures and a heavy workload cause core body temperature to rise and the body cannot cool itself if the conditions are too warm and humid. This can lead to an outright heat stroke, which has long been known to lead to chronic kidney disease. In too much of the world, workers face seven-day work weeks, 12 hour days, and no access to water, rest, or shade. This initiative in Nicaragua is the leading effort to improve the workday and worker health in the sugar industry and beyond by demonstrating that safe working hours, working conditions, and medical care for all those at risk is good for workers, communities, and employers.
La Isla Network
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