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The Kidney Action Network has been formed to lobby governments to improve the lives and treatment of renal patients from remote Indigenous communities.
At the Network's recent launch in Alice Springs, John Paterson, CEO of Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) said in his address that kidney disease affects Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory (NT) at greater rates than anywhere in Australia. ‘Its impact is felt most acutely in our remote communities, where the social and cultural structures and everyday wellbeing of our communities depends on the presence of our old people. We need them to be present as long as possible.'
Mr Paterson called on the South Australian (SA), Western Australian (WA) and NT governments to work together with the Commonwealth and the community sector to ‘engage in proper planning and provide the extra services and infrastructure that are essential for a fair deal for remote area kidney patients.'
Valerie Foster, who attended the launch, is an Indigenous Health Worker who has renal failure. She moved 900km from her community of Wanarn in WA seven months ago to live in Alice Springs so she can receive dialysis. She says it's tough being so far from her family back home.
In his address, Preston Thomas, Deputy Chair of Ngaanyatjarra Health and Director of Western Desert Dialysis, stressed the importance of tri-state planning between the NT, SA and WA. ‘Expecting people to seek renal treatment thousands of kilometres from home is not closing the gap.' he said.
Source: Australian Broadcasting Commission and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation