Close to Country: $25 million for remote area dialysis

The Australian Government is funding a $25 million expansion of remote renal clinics, so more Aboriginal people in Central Australia who suffer from kidney disease can receive dialysis on country or as near to their communities as possible.

Page last updated: 09 May 2018

PDF Printable Version of Close to Country: $25 million for remote area dialysis (PDF 277 KB)

The Australian Government is funding a $25 million expansion of remote renal clinics, so more Aboriginal people in Central Australia who suffer from kidney disease can receive dialysis on country or as near to their communities as possible.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the Government was proud to support the highly successful Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku, also known as Purple House, to complete four new clinics and extend a fifth.

“Purple House is making a huge difference to the physical, mental and spiritual health of people across Central Australia, by allowing them to receive care while remaining connected to their land and their people,” Minister Wyatt said.

“This expansion will take the number of remote clinics in the region to 17 and builds on this community driven project’s outstanding record.

“Purple House now provides 70 per cent of Central Australian dialysis services and is not only changing lives, its vast program has saved many lives, because patients don’t have to leave their families and communities for treatment.”

Recent clinical data shows the mortality rate for people on dialysis in Central Australia is now less than half the rate of the rest of the nation.

The funding will allow completion of clinics this year at Utopia, Ampilawatja, Kalkarindji and Ernabella, plus the expansion of the Lajamanu clinic. It will also support the operating costs of another three clinics

The expansion will take the number of remote dialysis machines from 36 to 54 and increase the remote patient group from around 250 to more than 400.

Chronic kidney disease is a significant health challenge among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. More than 1,800 First Nations people are currently receiving dialysis, with almost 60 per cent of these starting dialysis before they were 55 years old.

Minister Wyatt said reducing the misery and death caused by kidney disease was a key Turnbull Government priority.

“Following a recent roundtable in Darwin, development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander renal health road map is underway,” said the Minister.

“Prevention is crucial and it starts during pregnancy, with low birthweight babies born with weaker kidneys.

“Organisations like Purple House are showing the way, through community based, holistic services and strong and effective Aboriginal governance.

“An independent study has shown Purple house delivers remote renal services at a cost comparable to or even lower than the standard Australian hospital dialysis cost.”

Purple House was formed in 2003, following years of work by Aboriginal leaders and supporters that culminated in a million-dollar fundraising auction of local art to establish the project.

The Commonwealth Government has previously provided $17.6 million over four years to Purple House for renal support services in the NT and Western Australia, including $6.45 million to enable the Purple House to build and expand renal infrastructure in Central Australia at six locations in the NT and one in South Australia.

The new funding, under the Government’s Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, will apply for three years from July 2018.

Media contact: Nick Way, media adviser 0419 835 449

Top of Page