The number of Indigenous patients receiving a kidney transplant in Queensland in the past five years has doubled thanks to a kidney support initiative at the state’s kidney transplant centre at Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Nephrologist, Associate Professor David Mudge said the PAH Nephrology Department had implemented a number of specific cultural initiatives to make kidney support more accessible for Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population resulting in a year-on-year doubling of Indigenous transplant numbers.
“In the last five years in Queensland, the incidence of Indigenous patients receiving a kidney transplant has doubled from less than 30 to more than 60 per million population,” said A/Prof Mudge.
“Historically, there has been a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding preventing the Indigenous population from accessing and accepting the option for transplant.”
In 2015, four Indigenous Queenslanders received a kidney transplant, growing to eight the next year and jumping to 16 transplants in the 2019 year. Excepting the confounding influence of COVID on transplant in 2020, this focussed program for Indigenous Queenslanders is a step in the right direction.
A new intervention from the past year includes the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Kidney Support health worker, Brett Mooney, to work alongside kidney clinicians which has made a big difference.
“With Brett’s help, we are now able to provide educational material and support including an outreach service that ensures the Indigenous population receives information and care that is culturally appropriate and easy to understand,” said A/Prof Mudge.
“This tailored information and ongoing support service has enabled more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to access kidney transplant than ever before.”
Now in its second year, the outreach program which provides educational seminars in the community setting is seeing great results with the patients and their family support reporting an improved level of understanding of how they can manage their kidney condition post-transplant.
“There has already been a great turn around from people attending the sessions,” said Kidney Support Health Worker, Brett Mooney. “We have seen our first transplant from one of the participants from our education seminars.”
Dr Mudge said there is still much to be done to Close the Gap in Indigenous transplant outcomes, but the interventions are clearly a step in the right direction.
“Overall, our Indigenous patients are still less likely to be transplanted for a whole variety of reasons, but it is pleasing to see that some of our initiatives, including raising awareness of transplantation in dialysis units which have a high proportion of Indigenous patients, are starting to pay off,” said A/Prof Mudge.