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Tanami Regional Dialysis

The existence of the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation’s (WDNWPT) Kintore renal facility is well known to renal dialysis patients and their families across Central Australia. The success of this model is something that other remote communities are keen to understand in order to explore options for renal dialysis services for their own community members. To this end the Kurra Aboriginal Corporation agreed in early 2007, to set aside $30,000 so the Central Land Council could appoint a consultant to conduct a feasibility study on the provision of dialysis support services for Warlpiri patients from Lajamanu and Yuendumu. WDNWPT was appointed to carry out the study drawing on its relevant expertise and experience. The feasibility study required that WDNWPT form a ‘kidney committee’ of patients and key community members and, with the help of this committee, provide information to patients and community members about current services provided by the Alice Springs Renal Dialysis Unit and WDNWPT, listen to their ideas and priorities with regard to dialysis services, consult government and non-government agencies and then develop dialysis support options and provide costings for those options.  The consultants with the kidney committee presented the feasibility study to the Kurra Aboriginal Corporation in March, 2008.

We quickly realised that we could not just do a feasibility study, people needed help NOW and so we undertook to set up some social support for the Warlpiri mob. Warlukurlunga Artists donated some money to provide support in Alice and for some short trips home to country.

At the Kurra meeting in March 2008, Kurra asked WDNWPT to auspice the development of Tanami Regional Dialysis and put aside over one million dollars to develop services and build infrastructure.

Under the close supervision of the Yapa Kidney committee WDNWPT has built a two chair dialysis unit in Yuendumu and a three bedroom nurses house.

On the 6th August 2010, dialysis started in Yuendumu. We can dialyse 4 people at a time in Yuendumu and are providing significant support for dialysis patients from the region in Alice Springs.

The Tanami Regional Dialysis committee continues to meet and provide strong guidance and governance to WDNWPT. It is their plan to become independently incorporated in a few years when they are well established.

Warlukurlunga Artists, continue to support the project, the Canberra Medical Society made a significant donation in 2010 and from July 2010, the Commonwealth Government has provided money for nurses wages and management costs.

The Northern Territory Government provides the dialysis machines, water treatment and technical support for all machines across WDNWPT sites.