Mobile Renal Dialysis Bus Launched
An innovative way to treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who require renal dialysis when returning or visiting remote communities in the Northern Territory has been launched in Alice Springs.
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The Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
Federal Member for Lingiari
Kon Vatskalis MLA
Northern Territory Minister for Health
31 March 2011
An innovative way to treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who require renal dialysis when returning or visiting remote communities in the Northern Territory was launched in Alice Springs today.
The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, joined NT Minister for Health, Kon Vatskalis, to officially launch a mobile renal dialysis bus in Alice Springs.
“This is a fantastic facility because it allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dialysis patients who must live in urban areas for treatment to safely visit their remote communities for special occasions such as festivals and cultural business.
“The bus consists of a renal dialysis module fitted to an Isuzu truck. The module comprises a two-chair, nurse-assisted renal dialysis clinic area for up to four patients, plus onboard accommodation for staff,” Mr Snowdon said.
Mr Vatskalis said trained renal nurses will staff the bus, which will also be used to provide education on kidney disease and kidney health.
“The bus has already been trialled in August at the Garma Festival in Arnhem Land.
“It is now providing respite services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Central Australia, starting with its schedule of visits in Ali Curung, 379 km north of Alice Springs, and Elliott, 250 km north of Tenant Creek.
“These visits have enabled eight patients to return home to their communities,” Mr Vatskalis said.
The Ministers thanked Fresenius Medical Care and Amgen Australia for donating both funding and equipment which will provide ongoing capacity for the bus to continue to support renal dialysis in remote communities.
Mr Snowdon said the Australian and Northern Governments are working together to address the high rate of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
“We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples commence ongoing treatment for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) at a much higher rate than other Australians.
“This situation is obviously of great concern, and along with the NT, SA and WA governments we have commissioned the Central Australia Renal Study to explore the best ways to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients from remote communities requiring renal dialysis in Central Australia.”
The Australian Government is providing $5.3 million over five years for the Renal Access Project in the NT. A total of $396,000 has been provided to the Northern Territory Government under this project to develop the bus.
Other significant Australian Government investments in renal services includes:
The construction and fit out of three separate renal dialysis rooms. Two of these rooms are now in operation in the remote communities of Lake Nash and Barunga. The third renal dialysis room will be constructed at Maningrida.
- Construction and fit out of six relocatable dialysis units in remote and very remote communities at Ti Tree, Ali Curung, Millingimbi, Ngukurr, Amoonguna and Ntaria. All of these relocatables are on site and operational with the exception of Ti Tree.
- Renal Nurse Case Managers in four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations at Alice Springs, Darwin, Katherine and Tennant Creek.
- Construction of drop-in renal facilities in Darwin and Alice Springs. Both of these facilities are now fully operational.
For more information, contact Mr Snowdon’s office (02) 6277 7820
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