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Clinical e-News Blog - December

Written by Lydia Lauder, National Advocacy and Policy Manager, Kidney Health Australia

A year in advocacy - 2023

2023 has been a busy year for advocacy at Kidney Health Australia, with a focus on raising awareness and support for early detection of kidney disease at the federal government, we have been working hard to bring the voice of kidney disease to our nation’s decision makers.

Our work began at Parliament House, Canberra on World Kidney Day, Thursday 9th March 2023. Kidney Health Australia launched a ground-breaking new report outlining the impact of kidney disease on the Australian economy alongside a health check event where MPs and parliamentary staff were tested for kidney disease. The report, commissioned by Kidney Health Australia and compiled by Deloitte Access Economics outlined the economic cost of chronic kidney disease in Australia in 2021 and the return on investment that could be achieved through early detection and best practice management of CKD (chronic kidney disease). Importantly, we demonstrated that for every $1 invested in early detection of CKD, we save $45 to the health system in the costs associated with treating kidney failure. This was modelled by detecting CKD through kidney health checks (eGFR, uACR & BP check) on people at the greatest risk of CKD – namely those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and then proactively treating CKD to slow disease progression. The modelling was undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics throughout 2022 in collaboration with Kidney Health Australia and in consultation with ANZDATA registry, AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) and members of Kidney Health Australia’s PEAK advisory committee. We were able to show just how critical early detection is, especially considering the 1.8 million of the 2 million Australians who have markers of the disease and do not know about it. Learn more here.

We continued to make noise at Parliament House in Canberra on 30 November for the launch of The Parliamentary Friends of Kidney Health Group, co-chaired by Senator Marielle Smith and the Hon Warren Entsch MP. We were joined by members of the kidney community and the message that we sent was strong - people living with kidney disease can no longer be ignored. As Australians living with kidney failure struggle to get access to lifesaving dialysis treatment, due, in part to significant capacity issues within renal units nationally, we made a call to action to the Federal Government to invest in early detection and prevention of kidney disease.

We are spreading the word that Australia needs to change the paradigm and have a renewed focus on early detection and prevention of kidney disease. As 90% of kidney function can be lost before people experience symptoms, detecting CKD early gives us the best chance to get in front of the disease and save patients them the burden of dialysis, the risk of dying from a cardiovascular event and reduce the toll on our health system and economy. When demand is so much higher than supply for dialysis and organ transplant, the solution must be early intervention; stopping progression to kidney failure. Early diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease is simple, cost effective and critical.

But what does this all mean for your practice?

While we continue to advocate at a national level, you can make a difference in your patient’s lives by finding people in your practice who are at risk of kidney disease, especially those who have diabetes or hypertension and do a simple Kidney Health Check – that is a blood pressure check, eGFR and urine albumin:creatinine Ratio. Treatment for early stages of CKD is easier and more effective than ever, but these treatments cannot be started unless people in your practice are diagnosed.

While this advocacy has raised awareness of CKD, there is still more to be done! If you would like to know more about our advocacy efforts or would like more information, [email protected] or call me on 03 8521 7480.

    See previous blog posts here