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Statement on a Voice to Parliament

First Nations Australians experience disproportionate levels of kidney disease, regardless of whether they live in urban, regional or rural areas. First Nations people are twice as likely to develop kidney disease and four times as likely to die from kidney disease than non-indigenous Australians.

In remote areas of Australia, the incidence of kidney failure among First Nations Australians is especially high, with rates up to 20 times higher than those of comparable non-Indigenous peoples. Exacerbating these statistics is the underlying current of individuals who are living with signs of kidney disease who are unaware they are living with this life changing condition.

In November last year, Kidney Health Australia launched the guidelines for Culturally Safe and Clinical Kidney Care for First Nations Australians. It was developed through Yarning Kidney Consultations with First Nations Australians, health experts, service providers and peak bodies around the country to ensure new guidelines are aligned with community preferences and needs.

The new guidelines deliver seven main recommendations:

  • Addressing institutional racism and cultural safety
  • Ensuring community and family involvement
  • Improving access to transportation and accommodation
  • Supporting and developing an Indigenous health workforce
  • Screening for kidney disease and referring early for specialist treatment
  • Promoting self-management of kidney disease through education and public awareness
  • Exploring alternative models of care that meets the needs of First Nations Australians.

While Kidney Health Australia is working to address the inequities in care for First Nations Australians living with chronic kidney disease, more must be done. Through the work we have undertaken over the last four years, we have seen first-hand the impact that listening to people's stories and hearing their voice can have on health outcomes. We are fully supportive of any initiatives that lead to individuals being champions of their own health journey and active participants in their healthcare and health outcomes.

That is why we support a Voice to Parliament as an important step in addressing the disparities that currently exist in kidney health in First Nations people's in this country. We hope that through giving our First Nations communities a legislated voice to parliament, we will be able to achieve better outcomes and ensure that the recommendations voiced by First Nations communities are acted upon by both our government and healthcare community.

Kidney Health Australia supports all steps to better understand, support, and reconcile the inequalities experienced by First Nations Australians, driving positive change and kidney health for all Australians.

More than 125 health organisations say yes. A Voice to Parliament will improve health outcomes. Click here to read An Open Letter to the Australian Public.

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