First new dialysis clinic opens in Coober Pedy

The first of the new dialysis clinics to open under the government’s Better Renal Services for First Nations Peoples initiative was officially opened in Coober Pedy on Tuesday, June 18.

First Nations adults are twice as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to have chronic kidney disease and almost four times as likely to die from chronic kidney disease.

Dialysis is an essential, lifesaving treatment for patients with end stage kidney disease, which can otherwise only be treated by kidney transplant.

Providing dialysis treatment closer to a patient’s home increases the likelihood of regular treatment, continued support and care, while remaining on Country and connected to community and family.

The Coober Pedy clinic will see approximately eight patients per week with potential to increase to 16 at times of high demand.

The new services will be delivered by the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (Purple House).

“On behalf of Purple House Directors and all our community leaders who have worked tirelessly to help people return home to family and Country whilst still receiving the very best care, we are incredibly happy to be opening dialysis in Coober Pedy,” said Purple House CEO Sarah Brown AM.

“We thank the many community members, philanthropists, organisations, and the SA and Commonwealth governments for their help.

“Most of all, to the family members of dialysis patients past and present from Coober Pedy who contacted Purple House and asked if we would come to talk to them about our community-controlled model of care. . . well done! You did it! This is just the start.”

Founded in 2003 by Pintupi Luritja people of the Western Desert, with the help of CEO Sarah Brown, Rotary has supported the work of Purple House since the Rotary Club of Woden Valley, ACT, converted an abandoned building in Kintore into a dialysis centre and nurses’ accommodation in 2010.