The Morrison Government will provide $2.3 million to drive a national project to increase the low rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians receiving donor kidneys.
Opening the 2019 Donation and Transplantation Conference today in Sydney, Minister Wyatt released and endorsed the Improving Access to and Outcomes of Kidney Transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia report.
“It is untenable that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in need are having kidney and organ transplants at only around 25 per cent of the rate of non-Indigenous people,” Minister Wyatt said.
“Our people are nine times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to be receiving kidney dialysis and there is barely a family who is not affected by the devastation of renal disease.”
The report prioritises three of its 35 recommendations:
· Establishing a National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce to consult with and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
· Enhanced data collection and reporting processes on pre- and post-transplant outcomes
· Establishing an Indigenous reference group in every transplant unit, with the trialling of patient navigators and expansion of initiatives targeting cultural bias in health services
Minister Wyatt commissioned the report – compiled by the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand – in June 2018, with figures showing that among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people registered for Renal Replacement Therapy (RRP), only 13 per cent received transplants, compared with 51 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.
“This report provides a blueprint for improving and saving lives,” said Minister Wyatt.
“While there are many dedicated individuals and organisations, including Purple House and Alan Cass and the Menzies Institute, making a big difference in treating and preventing kidney disease, we know we have to do better.
“We need to lift transplant rates and ensure more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with renal failure have the opportunity to live their lives on country, connected with their communities.
“In the ten years since Australia’s national program started, organ donation has more than doubled, saving nearly twice the number of people every year.
“It is only fair that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have equal access to the increasing rates of transplantation in Australia.”
The TSANZ report complements a review being progressed through the COAG process, to ensure the national health system has the capacity and capability to realise potential donation opportunities and improve access to transplantation for more Australians.
The report comes in the wake of the COAG Health Ministers Council endorsing progression of a national Renal Health Roadmap to help in Closing the Gap in health equality.
The transplantation conference brings together Australian and international clinical leaders in organ donation and transplantation to share knowledge and expertise, as Australia looks to the next decade of its clinical program.
Organ and tissue donation is now firmly embedded in Australian hospitals, with over 260 donation specialist nurses, doctors and support staff covering 96 hospitals.