Indigenous people living in colonised countries around the world experience disproportionately high levels of chronic diseases, including kidney failure. This high occurrence rate is directly linked to the ongoing impacts of colonisation and racism, which are firmly embedded into institutions and systems, such as health care and education.

Australian kidney services are no exception, with research showing a distinct lack of cultural safety for many patients and families requiring treatment for kidney disease. For remote and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dialysis patients, the necessity to travel off country for treatment has significant impacts on spirit and wellbeing. A key solution is enabling on country dialysis access, so that patients may continue to connect, and maintain their responsibilities, with their country and communities, including the transfer of cultural knowledge.

The Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (KNAC) represents Nyiyaparli Common Law Holders and aims to preserve and protect Nyiyaparli culture, heritage, and Native Title Land. KNAC has initiated the Nyiyaparli Health and Wellbeing project, funded by the Nyiyaparli Charitable Trust, to establish co-designed, culturally safe models of dialysis care, kidney health support, education, training, and preventative programs in the Pilbara region, alongside accommodations in the Pilbara and Perth metropolitan area which can then be considered by the corporation’s membership.

KNAC have engaged Grounded Impact Pty Ltd. to conduct the initial stage of the project. Grounded Impact’s founding directors, Fran Haintz and Dr Rose Whitau, bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the project. With Fran’s extensive background in community development and social impact, and Rose’s specialisation in impact and evaluation coupled with her deep understanding of indigenous methodologies, the project is grounded in inclusive strategies that prioritise community voices. This stage aims to provide Nyiyaparli members with access to relevant data and recommendations to understand barriers to dialysis care and kidney health, while developing community-controlled models of care and support for member consideration, and further building the capacity of KNAC staff.

The research component will comprise an investigation of relevant literature and projects, alongside a property scan. Grounded in Indigenous principles and practices, the consultation process will gather the experiences and perspectives of Nyiyaparli dialysis patients, families, and healthcare professionals across Hedland, Karratha, Newman, and Perth, and engage with government and other potential partners for collaboration and training opportunities. Results will be presented to participant groups, members at the AGM, the Board, and the Trust for feedback, which will inform implementation strategies.

The Nyiyaparli Health and Wellbeing project is governed by KNAC, with the Board, Executive, and general membership provided distinct opportunities to drive the research throughout this consultation process, which will be facilitated by Grounded Impact. The project represents a collaborative effort to address specific healthcare needs of the Nyiyaparli community, guided by Indigenous principles and aimed at achieving culturally safe and sustainable outcomes.

If you would like to participate in the community consultation workshops, please register your interest by clicking the link here

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