In October 2002 the Kimberley Satellite dialysis Centre in Broome was opened to accommodate 40 residents of the Kimberley requiring haemodialysis. By April 2004 the unit reached capacity and once again Kimberley residents needing haemodialysis began mounting up in Perth.
As a result of this, a review of kidney disease in the Kimberley was performed jointly by WACHS and KAMSC. Figures in 2004 showed that the incidence of end stage kidney disease within the Aboriginal population greatly exceeded the national burden of disease. That dialysis prevalence for the region had more than tripled in the last decade and is increasing at a much faster rate than in the rest of Western Australia (WA).
A second review was performed in 2006 showing a slight increase on the 2004 projections. Recommendations for the expansion of renal services were made.
From the 2004 and 2006 reviews were for the development of two haemodialysis units to accommodate the growing number of Kimberley residents relocating to Perth for haemodialysis treatment. The report also recommended that renal services not only provide dialysis treatment but more importantly look at the prevention of end stage kidney disease through the establishment of the Kimberley Renal Support Service (KRSS).
In May 2008 funding was allocated for the KRSS. The KRSS is a support service that works in with health services across the region with the aim to prevent morbidity and mortality from kidney disease in the Kimberley. The focus is on improvements in prevention, early detection, tracking / monitoring, management of CKD and its risk factors, timely and coordinated pre-dialysis education and care, and improved support for clients on home therapies. Over the last two years the KRSS has been developing and is now well under way.
In May 2009 the federal budget announced capital funding for the Derby and Kununurra dialysis units. Today these units are both in the design stage. Derby will have a 10-12 machine unit situated next to the Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) and Kununurra a 4-6 machine unit situated next to the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service (OVAHS). Both DAHS and OVAHS will have an advisory group to ensure the units are established in accordance with the communities needs. The units hope to be up and running by the end of 2011. This will allow those currently living in Perth to return home or at least be closer to home for their dialysis treatment. The Kimberley Kidney newsletter will keep you updated on the progress of the units.
After many many years of lobbying the Kimberley Renal Service is now coming to fruition and consists of; the Kimberley Satellite Dialysis Centre, Derby dialysis unit, Kununurra dialysis unit and the Kimberley Renal Support Service.