Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our P.M's apology to Australia's Aboriginal people paves the way for reconciliation. However, one wee problem needs urgent response.

Kidney Health Australia Welcomes Rudd Commitment on Indigenous Health.

Kidney Health Australia today welcomed the commitment by the Federal Government to tackle the health issues facing Indigenous Australians with a concerted effort to close the seventeen year life expectancy gap between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the community.

Anne Wilson CEO of Kidney Health Australia said, "The overall death rates from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) are up to ten times higher in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities compared to the rest of the Australian community.

"The incidence of kidney failure is increasing in the Aboriginal population at a faster rate than in non Aboriginal communities."

Ms Wilson said that the public statement and commitment on resources to tackle the health issues of the Indigenous communities as part of Prime Minister Rudd's "Sorry Statement" is a major signpost to the people in the front line of combating chronic diseases that the Federal Government is looking beyond the band-aid approach of the past.

Medical Director of Kidney Health Australia Dr Tim Mathew said, "Greater prevalence of CKD in some Indigenous Australian communities is due to the traditional high risk factors including , diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.

"This can be compounded due to increased levels of poor nutrition, high alcohol use, streptococcal throat and skin infection, and socio economic disadvantaged living conditions which makes the Federal Government commitment to housing an important step in chronic disease prevention.

"Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is often referred to as the "silent killer" as 80 -90% of kidney function can be lost before an individual experiences any symptoms.

"The latest research has recognized kidney disease is a "disease multiplier". It causes death in many people with diabetes and hypertension and predicts the development of a cardiovascular event."

Kidney Health Australia with the support of the Federal Government and BHP Billiton has organised KEY - 'Kidney Evaluation for You', an early detection program to evaluate kidney function, cardiovascular health and diabetes in high risk individuals to be carried out in three States as Australia's first national screening program.

"If detected early through the screening of high risk groups CKD can be treated, thereby reducing other complications," Dr Mathews said.

(end of media release)

Don't let any wee problems in your life become chronic kidney disease. Take action now.

Ask your family doctor for a kidney function test or phone 1800 682 531 to make a "Kidney Evaluation for You" appointment. If you use a TTY telephone, call 1800 005 881.

E-mail contact for Kidney Health Australia is,

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.

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