Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experience of organ donation and transplantation
For referencing Montgomery E. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experience of organ donation and transplantation. Transplant Journal of Australasia 2020; 30(1):3.
Considerable health inequalities exist between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians including a higher incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases such as renal failure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The disproportionate health challenges are also apparent in the organ donation and transplantation sector1.
In 2016, 9% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were on dialysis. Despite this, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organ donations accounted for 2.4% of total organ donations in Australia1. In addition, although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately affected by end-stage organ failure, they are less likely to be placed on a transplant waiting list or receive a transplant. A recent review found that donation rates and variable waitlisting practices across transplantation units influence access to transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people2.
For those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who do undergo transplantation, there is an evident gap in the post-transplantation morbidity and mortality rates compared to non-Indigenous Australians3. In addition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are underrepresented among key stakeholders of the donation and transplantation sector1.
It is vital that these inequalities in our sector continue to be addressed in order to optimise the care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our April edition aims to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experience of organ donation and transplantation.
Professor Stephen Macdonald and his team provide an update on the invaluable work of the National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce (NIKTT). The taskforce aims to improve access to kidney transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aboriginal health workers are a vital part of the multidisciplinary team. Our interview with Pauline Deweerd, Director of Aboriginal Health at St Vincent’s Health Australia, examines the role of Aboriginal health workers and the difference they make to the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Shan Cairnes and colleagues provide a fascinating literature review on the views of First Nations People, including First Nations Australians, on organ donation. This multi-national perspective will help inform the organ donation sector in the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Daniela Burke and colleagues from the Lung Transplant Service, Alfred Health, describe their innovative approach to maintaining the lung transplant ambulatory services via a remote telehealth model. The rapid employment of novel work practices ensured the lung transplant service remained operational while maintaining the safety of both patients and healthcare workers.
I would like to thank Libby John for her support during the development of our April edition. Libby has provided unwavering support and assistance as I navigate life as a new parent and has ensured the April edition doesn’t get left behind.
Last but not least, I am looking forward to the TNA National Conference in Adelaide this October. As the conference draws closer, I encourage all TNA members to consider submitting an abstract. This is a fantastic opportunity to disseminate your work amongst supportive colleagues. Abstract submissions are now open. Please see the TNA website for full conference details, including abstract submission details.
Transplant Journal of Australasia
- Australian Government, Department of Health. Review of the Australian organ donation, retrieval, and transplantation system: final report. 2018 [cited 2021 Apr 27]. Available from: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/review-of-the-organ-donation-retrieval-and-transplantation-system-final-report
- Khanal N, Lawton PD, Cass A, McDonald SP. Disparity of access to kidney transplantation by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Med J Aust 2018;209(6):261–266.
- Boan P, Swaminathan R, Irish A. Infectious complications in indigenous renal transplant recipients in Western Australia. Intern Med J 2017;47(6):648–655.