Organ donation advocacy groups say the federal government’s failure to reform the system has failed the Indigenous community.
In 2008, the Federal Government invested $250 million to create The National Reform Program in a bid to increase organ donation in Australia.
The reforms saw an increase in Australia’s donor rates but remain lower than other developed nations. Australia is currently ranked 20th in the world.
An inquiry led by federal assistant health minister Fiona Nash into why the reforms didn’t deliver higher donor participation rates ended this week.
Brian Myerson, director of ShareLife, a community reform group consisting of medical and business experts, told BuzzFeed News that the government priority in any future actions should focus on Indigenous needs.
“We need government to stand up against entrenched practices and make changes that will enable real reform, for the sake the one-in-five Indigenous Australians who have indicators of chronic kidney disease,” he says.
The NT has the highest rate of chronic kidney disease, and the majority of those people are Aboriginal. According to the Northern Territory Department of Health, at least 85% of are Aboriginal.
Myerson says the Northern Territory requires just over two percent of those with chronic kidney disease in the NT are actually on the waiting list to receive a donor’s kidney.
“There’s a lot of work and hassle being to be on the waiting list so the incentive to be on the waiting is if you actually have to believe you’re going to get a transplant. If you believe your chances of getting a transplant are very low then it’s not worth the effort,” Myerson said.
BuzzFeed News has requested comment from the Assistant Health Commissioner Fiona Nash and is awaiting a response.