This submission outlines a brief history of key events and initiatives over the past 15 years that have been directed at improving the provision of dialysis services for end-stage renal patients from remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia, including Anangu communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.
In reflecting on this 15 year history, it is suggested that all the necessary ingredients were available to provide an appropriate response to the needs of dialysis patients living in remote communities but that a lack of political will and the absence of a genuine commitment to closing the gap in Aboriginal disadvantage served to thwart the realisation of such a much-needed response.
In September 2015, we once again have an ideal opportunity to do the right thing. The current availability of $1.7 million for establishing a permanent dialysis facility in Ernabella/Pukatja on the APY Lands, the willingness of a service provider to coordinate and provide community-based dialysis services, and a responsible and compassionate response from the South Australian Government could all combine to realise a long-held dream, improve people’s health and wellbeing, and save lives. The Anangu Lands Paper Tracker Project of Uniting Communities appeals to all those with decision-making powers to not allow this to become another missed opportunity.