The incidence of end-stage renal failure (ESRF) in the Kimberley region at the top end of Western Australia far exceeds known national rates and trend analysis demonstrates a close parallel to what is occurring in the Northern Territory. Dialysis prevalence in the Kimberley has nearly tripled in the last decade and has increased at a much faster rate than the rest of Western Australia. Almost all of these people with ESRF are Aboriginal Australians living in remote communities. In January 2004, the Western Australia Country Health Service and Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services' Council, under the auspices of the Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum, embarked upon a review of renal disease in the Kimberley funded by the Western Australia Department of Health. The main purpose of the review was to identify the scope of the problem and make projections upon which to base programme and service development over the next 10 years. This paper outlines the findings of the Review of Renal Disease in the Kimberley and presents, for the first time, regional data analysis and comparisons. In addition, future projections on the impact of ESRF and recommendations for improving current service delivery are discussed. Given the challenges of remoteness and individuals' desire to return home, this review recommends development of locally-based expertise capable of providing training and support to patients and their families, reinvigoration of community-based dialysis modalities, and the initiation of planning for a second satellite service in the Kimberley.
- Remote communities
- Renal disease