What we’re doing about kidney disease

Kidney disease is a debilitating chronic condition in its own right. It can also contribute to, or be affected by, other major chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease (also called renal disease) is a general term for when kidneys do not work as they should. The kidneys filter your blood to remove waste. When they do not work properly, waste and fluid builds up in the body.

What are we doing about kidney disease?

We are addressing kidney disease nationally with the National Strategic Action Plan for Kidney Disease.

National strategic action plan for kidney disease

This Action Plan aims to provide a blueprint for transforming kidney disease in Australia over the next 10 ten years with over 30 actions across 3 priority areas designed to address the most pressing needs in kidney disease.

We have funded Kidney Health Australia to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to create specific guidelines for Indigenous kidney disease. Compared with the non-Indigenous population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

  • develop chronic kidney disease 3 times as often
  • are almost 4 times more likely to receive kidney transplants
  • are 9 times as likely to rely on dialysis

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander renal health roadmap will address this uneven burden of kidney disease.

Several programs and initiatives help treat or manage problems related to chronic kidney disease.

  • The Medical Research Future Fund and the National Health and Medical Research Council fund research into chronic kidney disease, including:
    • $1 million to the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute for a project using human stem cells to develop kidneys as an alternative for kidney transplant
    • $22 million to Certa Therapeutics to commercialise their treatment that makes patients less likely to suffer kidney failure, and shortens the time spent on dialysis
  • We worked with New Zealand to set up the Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange (ANZKX) Program, which increases access to life-saving kidney transplants.
  • We provided $800,000 to Kidney Health Australia to establish a support program for the 500 young people aged 15 to 24 who have received a kidney transplant.
  • We provided funding to Dialysis Australia to develop and implement specialised home dialysis software (Dialysis Medical Records). Dialysis Australia has given over 400 treatments to eligible Medibank Private members across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland in their own homes. Dialysing at home improves quality of life and overall wellbeing for these patients.
  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) monitors and reports on kidney disease.

See more chronic conditions resources.

Last updated: 
12 March 2020

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.